Modern Woman have today shared their debut single “Offerings” as well as announcing their signing to End Of The Road Records. The new label is established by the festival of the same name.
Modern Woman began life as the songwriting project of Sophie Harris, a literature graduate who started playing the songs solo at spoken word nights she ran. “I had a firm idea of the direction I wanted the project to go in, and I knew that couldn’t be achieved without a full band.” Harris says speaking of the band’s beginnings. “It was important to me to keep the tenderness and lyricism of folk music but blend this with heavier and weirder experimental elements.”
On their debut single the band twist and dance in-between various moments of fast-paced grinding punk riffs, fluttering vocal passages and wonky interludes. With vocals reminscent of the likes of Florence and The Machine, it’s easy to see why this band gained early praise from the likes of black midi and Squid.
There is an unspoken “curse” placed on artists who win the Mercury Prize that their next outing never quite lives up to its award winning predecessor. What Visions Of A Life showcased was a band at an important moment. Diverging their sound into various territories and sounds of punk, dream-pop, shoegaze and alt-rock; moving anywhere and everywhere. On Blue Weekend the band distill these sounds into a fluid story of self-doubt, longing and emotional triumph.
Throughout the narrative of Blue Weekend the band extract various stories of social affairs like the night out on the raging “Smile” or the trip through Los Angeles on “Delicious Things”. Picked from different worlds and places, they all collide together with the underlying narrative with the desire for freedom and happiness. “Could I belong here? The vibes are kinda strong here / Ask me if I’m from here and I won’t say no” sings Ellie Roswell on “Delicious Things”. She may be dabbling in pills and inhabiting with a “bad man named Adam” but you can feel this great sense of liberation pouring out of every moment. From the swaying harmonies to the coastal drifting guitar lines, the sound of this song is as delightfully delectable as the title.
Speaking of shorelines, the album is bookended by “The Beach”, which acts as the albums cinematic opening and closed with “The Beach II”, a dream-pop ballad that touches on the small beauty of those summer moments spent enjoying the natural world with friends. Not only do these songs set the scene for the album but they help bring about this narrative of connection. Although this album was largely written before any notion of the last year happened, it remains even more potent that these songs should define the journey through the album in this way.
There’s a certain dynamic switch that the band tap into on this album, and it’s one they play on for most of the track-listing. On “Feeling Myself” they switch from sultry mellotron chords and a lounge like beat, to suddenly burst out into a wash of synth-wave balladry. It sweeps and crashes over you like a wave of emotional triumph. It’s not only a switch up within the song itself, but coming straight after the pop-punk driven “Play The Greatest Hits” you feel as though you’re coming down after the excitement of a night-out and feeling the solitary blues you get in the morning after.
The title of the album Blue Weekend, comes from both a literal sense of seeing a blue sky at the weekend. And the melancholia of knowing that your weekend, no matter what happens, is going to leave you feeling blue. This sense of complete and utter disparity from the rest of the world is where the band finds their greatest moments on this album. “The Last Man On Earth” truly is an anthem for the abandoned. “And when your friends are talking / You hardly hear a word/ You were the first person here/ And the last man on the Earth” exclaims Roswell as she pulls apart every last emotion you thought you could hide. It’s that juxtaposition of being somewhere whilst feeling a million miles away that the band capture perfectly through slow building pianos and Beatles-esque guitar passages.
For all the moments of subtle beauty, like the fluttering and gut-wrenching “No Hard Feelings”, there are equal moments of outright bravado and showmanship. Playing it large has always been a trope for Wolf Alice, look back at “You’re A Germ” from debut My Love Is Cool and you’ll find a young band exploding with unkempt energy, packaging everything into every moment. On “Safe From Heartbreak (if you never fall in love)” you’ll find a track that is almost overpacked to the brink of spilling out at the sides. This move into folk-balladry is awry with beauty in the vocal and guitar passages, but just feels that slight bit too over-produced. Layers of harmonies sweep over each other to become so angelic that it feels as though the rawness and spirited energy that Wolf Alice has been known for has died a studio induced death.
The curse of the Mercury Prize seems to have been lifted though thanks to the incantations that Wolf Alice distill on this album. It showcases a band that have defined and refined their sound to become their most substantial and free-flowing album to date. Heartbreak and headbangers ensured, this is one for those dark nights sat alone.
Amsterdam based singer Mazey Haze has today released her debut single “Sad Lonely Groove”, a dream-pop infused heartbreak ballad that draws sonic melodies and movements from the likes of I Break Horses and Beach Fossils.
Growing up surrounded by music from ABBA, Tears for Fears, Talk Talk, Fleetwood Mac and The Bee Gees, Mazey Haze started writing songs at age 13 before recording full demos on her laptop by the age of 16 – experimenting with different genres, sounds, decades and production elements.
Speaking on her debut single Mazey reflected:
“The song is about me feeling the lowest and loneliest I’ve ever felt in my life. I hadn’t built lots of friend relationships yet and I forced myself to be alone with myself. It’s about missing the guy I thought I was in love with. It’s a stream of thoughts that were circling around in my head all the time. It was the first time that I realised I wasn’t able to be happy by myself and was very dependent in the past relationship. Suddenly I had to meet and get to know myself, something I had never done before. When I wrote this song I was still running away from it all.”
Witch Fever have returned with exhilarating new single “Reincarnate” along with an accompanying erotic music video that explores women’s desires and fetishes. The Manchester based band have also signed to Sony Music’s Music For Nation and will be performing live on Twitch tonight at 7:30pm for Scruff Of The Neck, available to watch here.
Exploding and devastating riffs sees the band come out in full force with a brutalist drive. It brings about that chaotic early Nirvana energy whilst propelling forward with an unstoppable drive. This band is fucking cool and they know it.
Speaking on the new signing to Sony lead singer Amy said:
“We’re not here to say, ‘This is what you need to do with your life’, we just want to make angry music and make sure we don’t take any shit from people who give us shit,”
When a band emerge with a sound that is so refreshing, yet brings together so many wide influences and sounds, you get something truly special. A cornerstone of alignments and crossed paths thats end result is something truly spectacular. Every part of that is true of You, Nothing., your new favourite shoegaze/punk/pop-punk/ dream-pop band. Formed of Gioia Podestà on guitar and vocals, Federico Costanzi on Guitars and synthesisers, Giulia Cinquetti on bass and Nicola Poiana on drums and drum machine. The band hail from Verona, Italy but have their sights set on the world. First emerging last year with debut single “Waves”, the band showcased their ability to create tender and yet ever expanding soundscapes that were shrouded with an underlying wave of longing. They’ve now broken out with their debut album “Lonely // Lovely“, that will have you head-banging one moment and feeling hopelessly nostalgic the next. It’s a remarkable showcase of just how diverse the band already are and leaves an incredible wealth of potential for whatever they want to go from here. We asked the bands a few questions about who, what, why and when they’re all about.
What drew each of you to music and how did you get into it?
We have all been playing for several years and we have all had various projects of different musical genres. The thing that unites us the most is that we all play because we need it, an essential need like breathing.
Where did the band form?
We formed in October 2019 in Verona, thanks to an ad from Federico on Facebook, where he wrote that he was looking for a singer, bassist and a drummer to start a project with shoegaze influences.
How would you describe your sound?
In our sound there are different influences; we easily pass from shoegaze to post punk, until we reach pop. We have combined the musical genres to which everyone is most attached and this album is the result. We do not feel we belong to a specific music scene and we want to continue in this direction, because it is precisely what characterises us most.
What’s the creative process behind a song?
It all starts with Federico (guitar) who writes the complete musical part or simple riffs, which are then elaborated in our rehearsal room together with Giulia (bass) and Nicola (drum). Lastly come the lyrics written by Gioia, the singer.
What does the album’s title mean or represent to you?
We like that each person can give their own personal meaning to these two words. In reality, the title of the album was a fairly casual juxtaposition of the two words, over time we have given it a deeper meaning, understood as a dualism between our more ethereal side and the more pounded and pounding part. Even the album cover depicts this concept through two girls (Alina and Ania, sisters in real life) in a mirrored position, with two similar but different energies.
What were some of the main themes you were trying to explore on this album?
The recurring themes in the songs on the album are loneliness, the search for oneself and the desire to escape. Perhaps the fact that most of the songs were written during the first lockdown in Italy helped, especially with regard to loneliness and the desire to escape.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
The bands that most influence our sound are Slowdive, Beach House, My Bloody Valentine, DIIV and Joy Division.
Favourite concert you’ve been to?
Gioia : The XX in Milan (2017) and also Be Forest in Verona (2019) Federico: Sigur Ros, Jesolo (IT) 2013 Nicola: The Deftones in Bolzano (IT)
Favourite show you’ve played?
We as a band have only had the chance to perform live twice so far, including one without viewers, on Twitch. So we can say that our favorite live was in October, when we presented our album live for the first time, at Colorificio Kroen which is one of the most important live clubs in our city, but also in Italy. People were sitting and spaced out, but it was still a great experience.
What will it be like playing that first show once shows are allowedagain?
The first show after all this bad period, we imagine it outdoors, maybe at a nice festival with various bands, lots of people and no restrictions. It would be great, and we hope this wish will come true as soon as possible.
Where would you like to be in a years time musically?
In a year we would like to release a second album, and be able to promote and play it live all over the world, without restrictions, with people standing and crowded at concerts. Playing in Italy remains important for us, but the biggest dream of all four is to travel the world thanks to our music. Opening the concert to some bands we adore would also be a dream.
What’s a cool fact about you that people might not know?
A cool fact about us that we noticed, is that a lot of people, blogs and webzines, are describing us as a very young band, but we must tell you the truth: we are almost in our 30s and over. We admit that we still feel like teenagers.
Good Morning TV have shared new single “Entertainment”, the latest single to come from their upcoming debut album “Small Talk”, set to be released on June 18th via Géographie Recs. This follows on from the mystical “Insomniac” released at the end of last year.
Amid of a fluttering of sparkly guitar lines and warm beats, lead singer Bérénice Deloire’s vocals twist and twirl with a sense of undying wonder. Building through grinding guitar solos and distorted blow outs, the track becomes glorious in its soundscape before falling precisely back on its mark.
BSÍ or ‘brussel sprouts international’, the Icelandic pop-duo of Silla Thorarensen and Julius Pollux Rothlaender have returned with their debut album, a collection of two EP’s, Sometimes Depressed… and …but always antifascist. Following on from their debut self-titled EP released in 2018 the band have sought to refine their sound into two distinctive stories and collections. With the title of the album coming from a slogan the band saw at a punk festival, they have crafted an album that showcases the melancholia and abrasiveness that defines them.
On Sometimes Depressed… the band blend together elements of dream-pop, 80’s synth pop and indie rock to make a collection of songs that are ultimately infatuating. From the moment the ethereal synthesisers of “My Lovely” kick in you’re transported away from whatever situation may encompass you and sailed along on a cloud of melancholia, carried by Thoransen’s swaying and soothing vocals. It’s these tender moments that truly allow the band to evoke the true emotional depth of their sound. “25Lue” recreates that feeling of travelling back on the last train of the evening, staring at the lights from the houses as they pass you by, wondering if your story would ever end up somewhere like that. “I guess we were looking for signs, in all the wrong songs” contemplates Thoransen over the dotted synthesisers and sweeping pads. Looking for the answers of the great unknowns in the widest of spaces.
There does become moments when the bands sound is slightly too washed out in momentary sadness that it can be hard to distinguish the tracks from each other, spilling over the sides without too much distinction. On “Old Moon” the band teeter on the fine line of minimalism and vague ambience that never really comes to a conclusion on where it wants to go. Just as they’re about to reach an emotional breakthrough, they decide to float along the river of gentle melodies that extend out for just that bit too long. They ask you to ride along with them, but end up pushing you out too far, waving you by at the shore.
For all the melancholia found on the first EP, …but always antifascist has an equal amount of unbridled joy; the band are simply having fun. Springing into life with “Vesterbæjar Beach” the band fuse elements of surf rock and indie pop whilst playing slight homage to Phillip Oakley’s timeless love tale “Together In Electric Dreams”. Still encompassing elements of subtle sadness, the band flip the script on their sound with “My knee against kyriarchy”, crafting a sound that makes you wanna jump around a small packed basement, then later on the train reading into the lyrics and crying over that long lost love you had 10 years ago.
If the first half of this album was the band sitting in the shower, contemplating the trials and tribulations of life, then the second half is all about throwing the towel away and swinging your hair about, like, to put it simply, you just don’t care. “Dónakallalagið” is the band embracing this attitude in every sense. It’s fast, punchy and ultimately scrappy at its core. The level of juxtaposition that this brings to this album alone shows just how much dexterity the band are giving themselves. Not to be defined by a genre or sound, but by whatever appropriate outfit may suit them at the time.
If anything this album is a springboard for the band to become whatever they want to be. It lives within a space of its own, spawned from two individuals that are able to craft emotion into whatever sound or style they choose, with almost unchallenged success. This is music best served late at night when you are switched off from the world and can enter the one BSÍ have crafted.
Girl Ray have returned with new single “Give Me Your Love”, the first single since their debut album Girl released in 2019. The new single was produced by Joe Goddard and Al Doyle from Hot Chip, at Relax and Enjoy, London. The single also comes along with an accompanying music video inspired by “a queer Midsommar Night’s Dream” directed by Alex Cantouris.
Invoking those summery feel-good sounds, the and create a sound that is both optimistic and joyous. Over its near 8 minute run-time the song evolves through glittery piano chords, funky beats and washed out vocals until it transforms into its festival worthy club-like finish.
Speaking on the new single Poppy Hankin said:
“We worked on this song with Al Doyle and Joe Goddard from Hot Chip in their studio off Brick Lane in London. We had one day left with them, so thought we’d unearth an old demo of a slightly house-leaning song I’d been working on a few months before. It had a really loose structure but the feel of the chords was good so we decided to try fleshing it out. It was a really long day filled with a lot of playing around with the mountains of synths that fill their studio. Sections became longer… steel drums were added (along with some wonky backing vocals) and eventually it started taking shape. With all the awfulness of 2020 in our heads – it was important to us that it sounded optimistic and hopeful; a song for future summers where people can dance and enjoy music together once again.”
Maple Glider aka Tori Zietsch has today shared new single “Baby Tiger” from her upcoming album To Enjoy Is The Only Thing, set to be released on June 25th via Partisan Records. This follows on from “Good Thing“, “Swimming” and “As Tradition”, released earlier in the year.
Encapsulated by lo-fi guitars the new single is even more stripped back the Zietch’s previous offerings. Her hauntingly beautiful vocal flows and falls with an undying intimacy.
Speaking on the new single Zietsch said:
“‘Baby Tiger” was written soon after I’d returned home from Brighton. I was really struggling with my mental health, but I was going out and kind of using dating as a distraction from dealing with it. It never really worked. I’d just end up feeling worse when I was alone. Coriander hates closed doors. She’ll always want to know what you’re doing on the other side. It kind of became comforting to hear her scratch at my door. It was something that felt constant and unwavering and regular at a time when I was a bit vacant. Her energy made me feel lighter. I’m very detached from the ‘man’ I address in the song, but I beg for him to comfort me. Though I am feeling unwell, I am pretty certain that it is temporary. I know that ‘I’ll come back to me soon.’ My housemate says she sees this as a kind of happy song because it features Coriander, and I really love that perspective, because even though I was in a bad place when I wrote it, there is an element of hopefulness.”
On their debut album Schlagenheim, black midi sought to create a world of their own, distorted and horrifying, but with pieces of the real world cultivated and glued together like Frankenstein’s monster. On Cavalcade the band draw together tales of fiction and fantasy that are presented with a smothering of bravado and a helping of whimsical irreverence. As the title suggests the album plays as a procession of creatures great and small, plucked from distorted worlds and amalgamated fantasies.
The band stated that coming into this album they “Wanted to make the music as exciting as possible” and they certainly deliver on this feat in bounds. Opener “John L” tells the story of a cult leader whose eventual demise comes as his followers turn on him after failing to fulfil his ruling promises. “A man is his country, your country is you, All bad is forewarned, all good will come true” ‘quotes’ Geordie Greep through distorted and hellish vocal effects. The amount of untamed energy and forward flying motion that this song is encapsulated with sucks you in like a vacuum, seeking to find the most exciting hidden detail every time. With its stop-start motions it propels you down into an unforgiving inferno of guitar feedback and screeching violins that creates one of the most eerie and mind-boggling rides that black midi have ventured on so far. As the closing curtains fall on this play of black comedy, the band moves the album to an even grander, yet unexpected side of their sound.
For black midi, the visual side of their work has always been as wild and exaggeratedly fantastical as the music. It may then seem appropriate to determine that many influences from this album will have come from cinema. Whether it’s being inspired by German actress Marlene Dietrich on the song of the same name. Through soft plucked guitars, searing soundscapes and a majestical stride in Greep’s vocal delivery the band tell a tale of love and longing in which Dietrich prominently “takes a piss on the stage”. Or during the opening of “Dethroned” that pays homage to detective movies of the 50’s with its swaggering saxophone intro.
Like an independent film festival this album showcases all the obscure ingenuity and alternative directions that the band have delved into. They are outlining and redefining what black midi can and could be. If they wanted to move into more ambient territories and expressions, then look no further than “Diamond Stuff”. Spending the first half of its run time slowly building through meticulously plucked harps and slow rising wind instruments. Gradually the cinematic camaraderie builds in to create a soundscape that feels like you’re ascending to the divine promise lands; clouds sweeping you by.
For all the tenderness and crooning on this album, there’s an equal balance of explosive and cathartic moments. “Hogwash and Balderdash” tells the tale of two adventurers or “Chickens from the pen” at sea “Picking out fish bones, On unstable rafts” to find settlement and the source of an incredibly foul stench. For the absurdity of the lyrics there also comes an equivalent amount of absurdity in the backing garrison. Each instrument that enters the arena is battling it out to see which can become the most farcical and untamed, backed by a beat that drives like you’re having an anxiety attack. The culminating screech and rise at the end of the track could even lead to one for those of a nervous disposition.
On the subject of anxiety, the heavy drops and overblown distorted explosions of “bmbmbm” makes a re-appearance on “Chondromalacia Patella”, this time with a larger expansion on the apprehension of the sound. Fluttering through jazzy beats, rolling piano and lines and strained vocals the band encapsulate the true emotion of a panic attack within a song; gasping for breath after every hit. But this doesn’t mean to say that it’s not without its flaws. For all the camaraderie this track carries, it can sometimes become overwhelming the amount of layers and textures they try to squeeze in; spiralling together into a Deep Dream-esque canvas.
On closer “Ascending Forth” the band takes their tongue-in-cheek attitude to its extreme. Over its near 10 minute runtime you feel as if Greep is singing of how “Everyone loves Ascending Forths” with a subtle grin and air of whimsy around him. It’s the grand finale, the big bow out, the curtain falling after the heartbreaking final act. But doesn’t end up offering too much in the way of new ideas that haven’t already been heard on this album. Which at its core, is an album that bounds and leaps thanks to its undying stride to shift and change throughout.
The second album is always an important moment in any bands career. Will it still bring the same level of excitement as their groundbreaking debut? Will they hone in their sound to become more succinct? Will they lose the spark of magic that brought attention to them in the first place? The result for black midi is a resounding success that both captures the intensity and explosive capabilities of their debut. Whilst also simultaneously expanding and stripping back their sound to act as a procession of avenues and directions for them to delve into next.