Five Things We Liked This Week – 05/05/23

Further Listening:

5. Muriel Really Paint A Picture

Muriel is the recording project of Cardiff-based songwriter, and tattoo artist, Zak Thomas, alongside a rotating cast of friends and musicians brought in to take his songs from the bedroom to the world at large. The first Muriel live show only just took place, yet already they’re making waves as they’re booked to perform at Welsh tastemaker festival Swn Fest, as well as this week confirming they’ve signed to the eclectic label, Venn Records. With a debut album in the works for later this year, this week Muriel shared their first single, Seaside Painter.

Described by Zak as, “a celebration song”, Seaside Painter is an exploration of vulnerability, and the anxiety that can come with that, as Zak explains, “I get a lot of anxiety about sharing vulnerable things, but I don’t want to share anything that’s not honest or vulnerable, so this is kind of about winning the battle of grappling with that duality of going all in or not at all”. Musically, the track exists between the introspection of Sparklehorse and the dreaminess of Here We Go Magic, as classical guitars collide with stop-start drums and a sound-bed of wavering atmospheric noise. Atop it, Zak seems to seek to become transparent, although it’s not clear if that’s a desire to be open and honest with the listener or fade from view as he repeats the refrain, “I’ve got to be see-through, I need to”. Early days of course, yet Muriel feels like a fresh voice from the ever-productive Cardiff scene and one well worth keeping an ear out for in the weeks and months ahead.

Muriel’s debut album is due later this year via Venn Records. For more information on Muriel visit

4. Meagre Martin Are Lost In Their Thoughts

A somewhat self-deprecatingly named project, Meagre Martin is a Berlin-via-Boston project, fronted by songwriter, Sarah Martin. Sarah started writing back in 2021 as, “a means of survival, and catharsis through uncertain times”. Within a few months Sarah had recruited bandmates Freddy and Max, and the Meagre Martin band was formed. This week Meagre Martin announced their signing to Berlin-label Mansions And Millions and celebrated the news with a brand-new single, All My Thoughts.

Described by Sarah as a song, “about the pervasive feelings of grief and how we internalize it”, All My Thoughts is also in some ways an exploration of the after-life, not as some other place we go to but as an echo of loss travelling with those left behind. As Sarah explains, “we continue to reference grief and the ones we’ve lost for the entirety of our livesgrief can shape the way we move through the world after those people are no longer here to advise us“. Musically, the track seems to fuse the emotional hit of lo-fi with the sonic ambition of Americana, as a luxurious bed of chiming guitars and meandering keyboards accompany a country-licked vocal howl, “In all my thoughts I listen for you, ’cause I can’t stop thinking of you”. Fans of Neighbor Lady or Lady Pills in search of their new favourite band need look no further, Berlin’s best-kept secret is ready to be embraced by the world at large.

All My Thoughts is out now via Mansions And Millions. For more information on Meagre Martin visit

3. Prima Queen Are Growing Into Their Dylan Stage

Prima Queen are the hotly tipped duo of transatlantic best friends, Bristol’s Louise Macphail and Chicago’s Kristin McFadden, which does admittedly sound like something of a logistical headache. The band have already found themselves playing at SXSW and Green Man, appearing on the 6Music playlist, and supporting everyone from Wet Leg to Whitney, not bad going for a band who hadn’t until now even released an EP. That much-anticipated record arrived this week in the shape of the four-track Not My Baby EP, which they shared alongside an accompanying video to its stand-out moment, Dylan.

Not My Baby was recorded with the talents of acclaimed producer Ali Chant, and finds the band exploring change in a myriad of forms, as the band explain, “we’ve both experienced a lot of change in the past few years and since we write all our songs together we’re usually drawn to write about our parallel experiences”. A masterclass in the slow-build, Dylan starts gently, a muted guitar run introducing us to the titular Dylan, “a strong and silent type”, with a penchant for beer and being emotionally unavailable. You can almost feel the antipathy grow throughout the track, the increasingly pounding drums and urgent guitars building to a layered, Warpaint-finale, as Louise and Kristin sing in a round, “Dylan please let me in, it’s hard to reason when you act like this, Dylan you’re not alone”. The buzz around Prima Queen is growing along with the quality of their songwriting, and a breakthrough now is surely a case of when not if, they’re going to be stars.

Not The Baby is out now via Big Indie Records. For more information on Prima Queen visit

2. Westelaken’s New Single Is Glowing

Back in 2020, I featured the Scandinavian-sounding Torontonian’s Westelaken on the site. That was around the release of their excellent album, The Golden Days are Hard. Three years on and the band are set to return later this month with their intriguingly titled new record, I am Streaming Mushrooms, previewed this week via their latest single, Fixed Up By Orange Light, accompanied by a rather excellent live recording from the somewhat unusual settings of a book shop.

Approaching the creation of I am Streaming Mushrooms, Westelaken set out to do things somewhat differently, wanting as much as possible to record it live from the studio floor, a tricky thing to pull off for a track as full of, “tricks and twists” as Fixed Up By Orange Light is. As well as wanting to capture “the space in the room” with this approach the band were also keen to bring in as many friends and collaborators as possible, to make a record that, “documents a period of time and having friends who have been meaningful in the part of your life when you were making it”. The result is a track of beautiful layering, reminiscent of the bar-room howl of Kyle Craft, as near honky-tonk piano and clattering Tom Waits-like percussion are adorned with layers of vocals, guitar and viola. There’s a particularly wonderful breakdown at two minutes which starts off like the best Barn Dance ever, before descending into a wall of guitar-noise courtesy of a solo provided by Kenny from excellent fellow Canadians Little Kid. There’s an almost delirious quality to Westelaken’s new music, it feels like a celebration, a joyous explosion of sound and friendship documented for the world’s delight.

I am Streaming Mushrooms is out May 26th. For more information on Westelaken visit

1. I’m Predicting Better Days For Anna St. Louis

It was just last month that Anna St. Louis returned with the sparkling single, Phone and announced the June release of her long-anticipated second album, In The Air. Anna has described making In The Air as a, “surrender to the unknown”, writing in a small one-bedroom cabin in the middle of the woods of upstate New York with nothing but time on her hands, she let her imagination run wild, exploring a world of possibilities, even when her own world felt very small. With the album release just a month away, this week Anna shared the latest offering from it, the subtly optimistic, Better Days.

Although Anna admits to, “tones of sadness” on Better Days, she’s quick to stress it is at its core a song of hope, “it’s about making do with what you have, even when that’s just a little optimism that this too shall pass and better days are always ahead“. Better Days might be Anna’s most straight-up country song to date, full of keening pedal-steel, Hammond-like organ and the almost effortless rhythmic tick of the drums, it has a timeless quality, owing as much to Patsy Cline or Emmylou Harris as it does to contemporaries like Jess Williamson or Esther Rose. What really makes the song shine though is the sincerity of the vocal, Anna capturing all the sweet sadness and hope that comes with waiting for the future to arrive, “it seems so real and true like a well-worn wheel, so I’m up in my mind saying alright, I’ll wait for better days”. Wait no longer Anna St. Louis, with music this good, better days are surely just around the corner.

In The Air is out June 9th via Woodsist / Mare. For more information on Anna St. Louis visit

Header photo is Anna St. Louis by Brinkley Capriola.

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