Five Things We Liked This Week – 24/02/23

Further Listening:

5. Oropendola Puts Her Faith In The Sun

After catching the ear with the excellent Knocking Down Flowers, I picked Oropendola out as one of my top picks for 2023. Oropendola is the solo project of New York-based artist Joanna Schubert, who has previously collaborated with acclaimed musical luminaries including Half Waif, Barrie and Samir Langus. With her new album Waiting for the Sky to Speak set to arrive next month, this week Joanna shared the second single from it, Trust The Sun.

Trust The Sun was written in the March of 2020, Joanna recalling how, “I would write facing a big window laced with delicate ivy, that looked out onto our backyard. Brooklyn was rapidly blooming into the most incongruously stunning springtime version of itself…exploding open as the world was shutting down”. In the blossoming New York spring, Joanna found a pattern in nature she often fails to spot in her human relationships, “a slippery slope that leaves trust – in others, in myself – wounded at the base”. As she recalls the title, “started as a lament, a plea, but eventually, it became a mantra”. In the same way there’s beauty in the death and rebirth of the seasons, Joanna began to accept it in herself, “to be more generous with my heart, to extend myself outwards more and more, trying not to fear, but rather embrace, the unpredictability and ephemerality of it all”. In falling in love with walking the streets of an ever-changing city, Joanna expanded her own ability to trust and to love herself and others, a feeling mirrored in the track’s swelling musical palette, as the initially sparse backing becomes a technicolour explosion of processed beats, and swelling synths reminiscent of the likes of Mistki or Stars. As Joanna repeats the refrain, “how do trust the sun”, her voice seems to grow more certain, more sure of her validity and place in the world, trusting her instincts might just take Oropendola a very long way.

Waiting For The Sky To Speak is out March 17th via Spirit House Records / Wilbur & Moore Records. For more information on Oropendola visit

4. Be Prepared To Forget All Your Worriers

For the last decade or so, Worriers have been drawing increasing acclaim for their brand of straight-talking, celebratory songwriting talents. The project of Los Angeles-based songwriter Lauren Denitzio, Worriers’ music has taken on every subject going whether it’s gender liberation, capitalist violence or searing heartbreak, and spun them through their own unique lens. Despite the freedom that has always been a key part of Worrier’s sound, for their new album Warm Blanket, Lauren is arguably more themselves than ever. Accepting what was a band was actually a solo project, Lauren cast aside a lack of production experience and set about recording, mixing and creating a record inspired by the realisation, “I could write whatever I wanted”. With Warm Blanket set to arrive in April, this week Lauren shared the second track from it, Prepared To Forget.

Prepared To Forget is something of a nostalgic celebration of youthful exuberance, as Lauren puts it a, “paean to the time when they had friends who still thought they could get away with anything; even the most self-destructive things”. Musically, the track seems to exist in a middle ground of Why Bonnie’s “shoegazicana” and Tramp-era Sharon Van Etten, as the hefty chug of the guitars and steady drum pulse are contrasted by the spectral quality of Lauren’s beautiful vocal delivery. The lyrics are laced with reminiscences, whether it’s late-night hook-ups for the sake of not knowing what to say or finishing up work for the summer and heading home. Throughout Lauren comes back to the repeated line, “I’m heading out ready to forget, all the memories I haven’t even made yet”, hinting at a nostalgia for possibilities, the idea that something has been cut off before it had a chance to bloom. Lauren has spoken of this record as an attempt to be, “whoever they want to be”, a sense of freedom permeating a record that a decade into their career feels like a fresh, and very exciting new start for Worriers.

Warm Blanket is out April 7th via Ernest Jenning Record Co. For more information on Worriers visit

3. Sluice Find Trouble At The Old Mill

Rapidly becoming one of my favourite discoveries of the year, Sluice is a project based out of Durham, North Carolina and built around the songwriting of musician/engineer Justin Morris. While new to me the band have actually been active since 2019, when they released their self-titled debut album. Three years on they’re teaming up with Ruination Record Co. who will next week release their new offering, Radial Gate, which was recorded with a string of local musical talents, who’ve previously worked with the likes of Tomberlin, H.C. McEntire and Indigo De Souza. At the start of the month the band featured on this page with the excellent single Centurion, and this week the band further previewed Radial Gate with their new single, Mill.

Listening to Mill, it feels almost like re-discovering an old favourite, a track with a timeless quality that could have been written anytime in the last thirty years, equally indebted to the likes of Lift To Experience or Palace Music-era Bonnie “Prince” Billy as it is to contemporaries like Wednesday or Friendship. The track starts with relative calm, a guitar riff that sounds, to my ear at least, a bit like Lola by The Kinks, yet quickly crosses the Atlantic with its urgent drum track and wistful, picture-painting vocals, “the river bends to a pool, it is deep, you can jump it is cool”. The track seems to flick quickly between moments of darkness and light, at one point grinding to a complete halt, before Justin comes back, gradually joined by a clattering crescendo as he almost angrily repeats the line, “what’s the problem man?”, before the squall parts to a sedate outro. Further evidence that with Radial Gate, Sluice might just be on the verge of releasing one of the year’s first great albums.

Radial Gate is out March 3rd via Ruination Record Co. For more information on Sluice visit

2. Become A Consumer Of Living Body

I find it slightly hard to believe, yet it has been over six years since Living Body shared their excellent debut album, Body Is Working. The band, led by Leeds-based Chicago ex-pat Jeff T. Smith, have been conspicuous by their absence since then, with just a handful of stand-alone singles serving as signs of life to remind us the body is still living. Recently though there’s been a definite increase in activity, with the announcement of a string of live dates (some of which have support from the fabulous Carpet) and this week a brand new single, CONSUMER.

As you’d probably guess from the title, the band’s new single is, “a song about the information we consume, how we consume it and how it consumes us”. The track reflects on the power of algorithms, and how they have been monopolised by capitalist forces to try and make us buy things, as Jeff explains, “corporations have managed to inject their will into our need for genuine human connection and use their algorithmically generated knowledge about our own desires to keep us locked into a niche where they can try to sell us things”. The track starts with an almost dream sequence, as a flurry of guitar notes rush forth, the calm soon punctuated by the almost maths-rock-like rhythms of the bass and twin drummers. Atop sit the dual vocals of Jeff and Alice Rowan, of Mayshe-Mayshe, the pair playing the role of drones enamoured only with the desires of the algorithm, “what’s real with no price tag on it, for art or love aren’t valid economies”. Ultimately any battle for humanity is lost, in the face of the remorseless slide into consumerism, “once I have clicked 1000 times, desire is fully digitised”. Intricate, complex and very intriguing, Living Body’s return couldn’t be more welcome.

CONSUMER is out now. For more information on Living Body visit

1. Naima Bock Draws A Line In The Sand

2022 was a pretty special one for Naima Bock, with the London-based musician teaming up with Sub Pop and Memorial Of Distinction to release her spectacularly good debut album, Giant Palm, one of my favourite records of the year. While you could probably forgive her for taking a quick breath, Naima looks set for an equally busy 2023, with a string of US dates next month, followed by UK dates with Orlando Weeks, and a summer of festivals that seems to be looking busier by the hour. Somewhere along the way, Naima also found time to head over to Bristol to producer Ali Chant’s Playpen Studio, to record a brand new single Lines, which she shared with the world this week.

A song that has been part of her live set for a number of years, Naima describes Lines as, “a song about what we do to each other”, reflecting on the baggage we all carry and how we pass it on, for good and bad. Rooted at the core of the song is the idea of change, and how it is not something we should always wait for as Naima explains, “the idea of change I had grown accustomed to but the reality that some things won’t change until you actively work on them is something new to me, preferring to adopt a slightly lazy attitude and misunderstanding the saying ‘all passes’. Sometimes it doesn’t pass quickly enough“. The intimacy and connectivity of the song are reflected in the music as much as the lyrics, as what starts with Naima alone with just an acoustic guitar for company, swells on the arrival of first violins and then crashing drums and soaring electric guitars that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Neil Young record. Amidst the musical dance, Naima’s voice seems to almost drift in and out of focus, at times holding centre stage, at others stepping back into the mix, letting the smoky saxophones or Warren Ellis-like violins take the lead. That sense is completed as the track ends with Naima sliding into the background, just one voice in a bar-room choir as they repeat the mantra-like line, “and your lines”. Lines seems to speak to Naima’s views of creativity as a whole, a solo artist who knows that the best moments are found not in solitude but in community and shared experience, her music makes you feel part of something, and allows her talents to shine brighter than ever as a result, a very special record for a very special talent.

Lines is out now via Sub Pop / Memorials Of Distinction. For more information on Naima Bock visit

Header photo is Naima Bock by Holly Whitaker

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