Five Things We Liked This Week – 17/03/2023

Further Listening:

5. hemlock is a monarch we could all get behind

It was back at the start of 2022 that hemlock, the “swamp-raised, phone-fi bedroom folk” project of Carolina Chauffe, last appeared on these pages. That was around the release of their full-band album, talk soon. To mark the album’s one-year anniversary, this week Carolina shared a brand new stand-alone single, originally planned to appear on the record, monarch.

Originally written back in 2019, monarch is a song that has followed hemlock on their travels, all the way from Louisiana to Oregon, where the skeleton of the song was recorded during the talk soon sessions, to Chicago, where with the help of current bandmates the song reached its final form. The track, written for former tour-mate and, “lifelong inspiration”, Merle Law, is a noticeably more stark piece than previous hemlock material, the bones of the track are just Carolina’s vocal and a fluttering nylon-stringed guitar. The result is a beautiful contrast, the guitars are delicate, like intricate lace or a well-spun spider’s web, yet Carolina’s voice is strong, cutting through like a spring flower bursting forth from the barely thawed soil. Even as the words speak of, “the ebb and flow of sorrow, the loneliness not yours to keep, but borrow”, Carolina stands undimmed by the weight of the world, resolutely delivering a message of solidarity, standing with history and nature from the fleeting beauty of the monarch butterfly to the enduring strength of the ancient redwood. A labour of love it may have been, yet listening to the magnificent final form, it was well worth the wait.

monarch is out now. For more information on hemlock visit

4. I’ve Got A Good Feeling About Samuel Nicholson

Neuro-divergent Edinburgh songwriter, musician, and composer ​Samuel Nicholson has become something of a fixture on the London music scene. Performing with the likes of Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something and Jeremy Tuplin, as well as releasing two albums under his own name, 2015’s If You Be My and 2020’s Missing Persons Report. This week Samuel announced his new album Birthday Suit, set for release in June. Alongside the album announcement, Samuel also shared the first single from the record, West Coast Feeling.

Recorded in his own house with producer Caradog Jones, Samuel recalls how West Coast Feeling, “found me at 2am on the edge of my bed, fully formed“, since then it went through many guises, “from a full Neil Young/Zuma-esque rock out to a sound-art collage“. Eventually, it went back to where it all began, “after many restless moments, however, I decided to release it as starkly as I found it“. The final version is unquestionably raw, largely just Samuel and his guitar letting out the scream inside, nodding to Frightened Rabbit or early Bon Iver as he melds hope and angst into one emotional amalgam, “I heard someone screaming for a stranger feeling, I heard someone screaming for a west coast feeling”. Birthday Party is an album about finding love when you felt you were unlovable, about self-discovery and ultimately about truth-telling, rejecting, “the odd ritual we adopt of disguising our flaws and malice when we’re trying to find a soulmate and instead found power in honesty and candour”. By becoming more openly himself, Samuel Nicholson has never sounded better.

Birthday Suit is out June 9th. For more information on Samuel Nicholson visit

3. Everyone’s Going To Go Mad For Panic Pocket’s Thirty Minutes Of Fame

After four years of radio silence, it’s a welcome return this week for London DIY-pop duo Panic Pocket. The band were something of a fixture on this site when Reckless Yes released their debut EP, Never Gonna Happen. Now freshly signed to Skep Wax, the band are set to step up to long-players with the May release of their debut album, Mad Half Hour, which they previewed this week via the record’s sparkling title track.

Not simply a title track, Mad Half Hour is almost a manifesto for Panic Pocket, a tick box of everything that’s so lovable about them, from the luxurious harmonies to the often comical levels of sass. The track is an honest, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek, celebration of a “90s icon who turned ‘Girl Power’ into a slogan”, celebrating the moment of social awakening, even if, “this might not have been the revolutionary feminist moment the music industry tried to package it as“. More than a straight tribute though the song seems to dig deeper into the aftermath, riding a wave of nostalgia so long you face plant into the moment when everyone else has moved on and you’re still not quite sure what you’re doing. While the themes are familiar, musically the track finds Panic Pocket re-defining their sound, a full-band sound bringing their Pipettes-like take on a 60s girl group crashing into the Riot Grrrl clarity of Bratmobile. Anthems for those who don’t necessarily follow all the traditional life rules, Panic Pocket are as sharp, funny and honest as ever, and just waiting for the world to notice.

Mad Half Hour is out May 26th via Skep Wax. For more information on Panic Pocket visit

2. You’ve Just Got To Hand It To Memorials

Based out of Brighton, Memorials are the duo of former Electrelane frontwoman Verity Susman and Matthew Simms, known for his work with Wire, It Hugs Back and Better Corners. The pair originally met back in 2007 when both were signed to the Too Pure label, and have spent the subsequent years collaborating whenever they could. Back in 2020, both were exploring film soundtrack work and decided it might be more fun to do that with someone else! They never really planned to form a band, but after a screening of Women Against The Bomb, they suddenly found themselves with a gig offer, and the rest as they say is history. In May they will release a double album of sorts, featuring the soundtracks to both Women Against The Bomb and Tramps! and this week they shared the first taster of the former, their new single, It’s In Our Hands.

Now when you think film soundtrack you might initially think of something bombastic and classical, or the sort of artsy minimalist electronics of Jonny Greenwood or Trent Reznor, yet listening to It’s In Our Hands, Memorials sound considerably more like a traditional band. The drums rush by nodding to the rapid jangle-pop of Literature or The Cleaners From Venus, while Verity’s precise vocals and meandering keyboards showcase a clear love of Stereolab, as well as krautrock and Bossa Nova sounds that influenced them in the first place. With the promise of everything “from choral harmonies to experimental sound collage”, Memorials might be hard to pin down, but on this evidence, it’s going to be a lot of fun finding out.

Music For Film: Tramps! & Women Against The Bomb are out May 12th via The state51 Conspiracy. For more information on Memorials visit

1. Lisa/Liza’s Return Is So Exciting I Can Barely Hold It Together

For the past decade, Liza Victoria has been sharing music under the moniker of Lisa/Liza, her songwriting blossoming amidst the “strange and wonderful”, DIY music scene of Portland, Maine. Without a huge breakthrough moment, there’s been a sense of gradual growth across Liza’s career, releasing a string of albums self-released and via Orindal Records, touring with Jens Lekman and Advance Base, and sharing stages with the likes of Angel Olsen and Lucy Dacus. Having last appeared in 2020 with her kitchen-recorded outpouring, Shelter of a Song, this week saw Liza announce a new record, Breaking and Mending, out in April via Orindal Records, as well as sharing the first single from it, Held Together.

In some ways Breaking and Mending picks up where Shelter of a Song left off, again it finds Liza exploring the “heavy aspects of living with chronic illness”. The record was written in between the moments when the illness left her unable to write, the moments of, “recovering and then not knowing when I would have to be strong again”. Held Together finds Liza looking for certainty in a world that keeps on changing, “after the night is over, recite October. Recite the weather, recite the sky that, held it together”. With just her spectral guitar lines and keening vocals, Liza manages to paint an intricate portrait of struggle, loss and the strength to keep on going, here crafted from the changing seasons and the desire to grow, “all this time I was building a garden, I was waiting for rainfall”. As the track reaches its conclusion, there’s an almost bittersweet quality, a sense of coming through the dark but emerging from it with something missing, “I recite the blue in the sky above you, but the here and the now is the place I can love you”. Beautiful, tender, and restorative, Breaking and Mending, as its title suggests, is a record about rebuilding, about acknowledging the past and finding a way to live with it in the here and now, already this record feels like it could be very special.

Breaking and Mending is out April 28th via Orindal Records. For more information on Lisa/Liza visit

Header photo is Lisa/Liza by Alexa Clavette.

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