5. Be Careful With bdrmm
Hull-based shoegazers bdrmm came to the world’s attention back in 2020 with the release of their widely acclaimed debut album, Bedroom. Back in February, the band announced they had signed to Mogwai’s Rock Actions label, and in June they will release their second offering, I Don’t Know, recorded at The Nave Studios in Leeds with regular collaborator Alex Greaves. Ahead of the release this week they shared their new single, Be Careful.
As Ryan Smith recalls, the track was written during the early days of the pandemic, “I had set up a little studio in the back of my garden and would often take myself there on evenings with numerous bottles of wine“. The track reflects on the need to know when you need to change, “I’ve been guilty of indulging too much and I definitely noticed myself becoming somebody I don’t like…trying to be a better person is hard when you don’t know you’re doing something wrong“. Musically, the track feels like real progress for bdrmm, dialling down some of the shoegaze sounds for a trip-hop beat and a slithering meander of guitar, reminiscent of King Of Limbs-era Radiohead. The whole thing is delightfully unhurried the sound of a band moving confidently into a new phase, by following their instincts bdrmm have never sounded more ready to take on the world.
I Don’t Know is out June 30th via Rock Action. For more information on bdrmm visit https://linktr.ee/smellybdrmm.
4. Angel Olsen Forever
Last year Angel Olsen continued her run of acclaimed records with the release of Big Time, an album, “born from the twin stars of grief and love”. During those sessions, Angel also recorded a collection of tracks reflecting on the idea, “that there is no finish line, no destination or static end point to life while you’re living it”, which she has now pulled together into an EP, Forever Means, a collection in her own words “in search of something else”. With the EP out this week via Jagjaguwar, Angel shared the sparkling title track.
Discussing the track Angel is quick to credit the influence of George Harrison, an artist she had, “been getting back into during the pandemic as I was finally calming down and finding moments of peace with myself”. Musically, the track seems to throw back to Angel’s earliest material, the swirling guitars and effortlessly glistening vocals, reminiscent of the stripped-back beauty of her debut, Half Way Home. Lyrically, the track seems to serve as something of a mantra to self-acceptance and allowing yourself the space and time to grow into things, “each moment arrives and then disappears, but the searching goes on forever”. Always searching, never settling, Angel Olsen’s celebration of always moving on is far more than a stop-gap, it might just be one of her most intriguing moments yet.
Forever Means is out today via Jagjaguwar. For more information on Angel Olsen visit https://angelolsen.com/
3. ther Hit A Home Run
Hailing from West Philadelphia, ther is the slowcore project of Heather Jones, alongside members of the likes of Sadurn and Crooks & Nannies. The band caught my ear last month with the excellent with you, lifted from their debut album, a horrid whisper echoes in a palace of endless joy, which is out today. Ahead of the release, this week the band shared their latest single, big papi lassos the moon.
As baseball fans probably know, Big Papi is the nickname of Baseball legend David Ortiz, who in 2019 was shot on a trip to his native Dominican Republic, an event that had Heather thinking about “how the american empire and other forces of global capitalism make us unwitting participants in their schemes, against the interests of ourselves and our communities“. As well as baseball, the other influence on the track is It’s A Wonderful Life, a reflection on how even the Socialist icon George Bailey shares a cigar with the money-grabbing Potter, as Heather explains, “we are all comprised of both naive kids dreaming of the moon, and desperate people tempted by evil to secure our individual futures…the song title is a convoluted metaphor”. Musically, the track is both quite muted and contrastingly luxurious, all easy acoustics, layered vocals and minimal twinkles of piano, as Heather’s thoughts meander through bringing children into a messy world, contractual binds and the need to keep life progressing through the things that matter most to you. One of the year’s most intriguingly unique prospects, a horrid whisper echoes in a palace of endless joy is a very special glimpse into the mind of its creator that you won’t want to miss.
a horrid whisper echoes in a palace of endless joy is out today. For more information on ther visit https://linktr.ee/ther_ther_ther.
2. V.V. Lightbody Is An Artist You Can Plan Your Day Around
The world last heard from V.V. Lightbody back in 2021 with the release of the single Really Do Care, the follow-up to 2020’s album, Make A Shrine or Burn It. Not that V.V. hasn’t stayed busy since, performing with everyone from Adeline Hotel to a slightly surprising moment filling in as a member Harry Styles’ band at the BBC’s Big Weekend. With work on a new album underway and a string of dates this month supporting Fruit Bats, this week V.V. shared a new single, Itinerary.
Described by V.V. as, “shimmer-sludge”, Itinerary is a beautiful flow of a track, as the languid guitars drift in and out of focus, pulling themselves out of the murk and then drifting back into it again. The track is a reflection on letting life find you as you are, asking why love has a habit of finding us outside of our own schedule, “I think it’s kind of scary, you always have a plan, maybe a little early baby, for me to understand”. As V.V.’s muses on good intentions and conflicting schedules, she keeps coming back to the single-word chorus, a dangerously catchy delivery of the track’s title, that’s not likely to leave your head anytime soon. An artist who seems set on doing things her own way, with new music this strong, V.V. Lightbody’s itinerary shows no signs of getting any less busy.
Itinerary is out now. For more information on V.V. Lightbody visit https://www.vvlightbody.com/.
1. Don’t Listen To Anyone But Josienne Clarke
Back in 2021, Josienne Clarke caught the ear of many with her debut album, A Small Unknowable Thing, released via her own Corduroy Punk label. For the follow-up, Onliness (songs of solitude & singularity), Josienee took the somewhat unusual approach of a sort of early career retrospective, re-workings of songs that pre-date A Small Unknowable Thing, a chance to re-frame them entirely on her own terms, designed to stand-alone as a brand new chapter. Ahead of the release, this week Josienne shared her new single, Anyone But Me.
Described by Josienne as, “a study in possessiveness”, Anyone But Me is a driving and distinct affair, as a claustrophobic clatter of drums and rapid guitar chords creates something engulfing and knowingly dark. The track starts intensely and only puts the throttle down from there, as Josienne channels Jolene-era Dolly Parton, flipping Dolly’s pleading for a more demanding reprise, “how dare you love anyone me”. The song’s bristling insecurities regularly cross over into controlling and damaging, “I’ve seen you laughing in the light, I see it over and over every night, it’s torture to think of you with them instead, and it hurts no less for being only in my head”. The album’s title Onliness is a word Josienne thought she’d made up, only to find out it had a very fitting meaning: solitude and singularity, “being one of a kind, but also alone in the sense that you are apart from other things…it has both a positive connotation and a really melancholic one–and I feel like that fits every song that I’ve ever written”.
Onliness (songs of solitude & singularity) is out today via Corduroy Punk. For more information on Josienne Clarke visit https://josienneclarke.com/.
Header photo is Josienne Clarke by Alec Bowman-Clarke.