What a truly wonderful time for music with a myriad releases of every style, hue, and rhythm filling the world with good vibes, uplifting beats and colourful textures! In this fourth edition of our totally irregular newsletter we sample some of the best of the latest releases on the sonic block.
RETURN OF THE JEDI
First up, homies U2 and guitar charging The Blackout, a teaser track from Songs of Experience, their upcoming follow-up album to 2014’s Songs of Innocence. Brandishing the same undulating sex and distorted grind of early 90s smash Even Better Than The Real Thing, the new track sees the Irish legends take a stylistic step backwards to the edgier swagger of Achtung Baby.
Although Songs of Experience was largely finished in 2016, U2 decided to revisit it post-Trump’s shock election as US president, so expect some barb amongst the blaze.
The album title is a reference to a collection of poems by Romantic poet, William Blake. Full details are expected to be announced on 6th September together with the release of the first single You’re The Best Thing About Me.
The Richie Smyth directed accompanying live visual was filmed in Amsterdam during the Summer. Unfortunately, there appears to be some copyright issue with it, here’s an embed. Fingers crossed it continues to be viewable!
STUDIO 54 RE-VISITED
One of Team GB’s most idiosyncratic music artists, Paloma Faith makes a welcome return with a sun-kissed charmer in Crybaby.
If music could be defined by a shade from the colour spectrum, Crybaby would scream “colour me golden-haze”. This is a track filled with everything that was glorious about late 70s/early 80s American disco-pop. Tempered with latino beats and illuminated by Studio 54 disco lights, this retro, feel-good hand-clapper features an impressive vocal by the platinum-selling pop star.
In contrast to its upbeat, optimistic vibe, the song has an altogether weightier thematic underlay. Speaking of the song Paloma says, “The lyrics are a conversation between a man and I, and the song questions whether global conflicts would cease to exist if men successfully dealt with their feelings. Would things be resolved without attack and with measured discussion?”
Crybaby, produced by Starsmith, is lifted from Paloma’s upcoming album, The Architect, the singer’s first since 2014, which is due out later this year.
MEANWHILE BACK IN MADCHESTER
Sitting at a crossroads between 60s Prog Rock and 90s Madchester you’ll find Brighton-based five piece White Room.
Recently signed to the Deltasonic label, the band has released Double-A Tomorrow Always Knew / The Blue. This is the second double-helping to be lifted from their upcoming Eight EP due for release later this year.
Unkempt, heady psychedelia is the name of the game, as these two outrageously hallucinogenic tracks could tuck themselves neatly nicely into a Woodstock setlist whilst perfectly complementing the late night vibes of a mid-90s Hacienda club.
Taking their inspo from the social, political and cultural landscapes in which they live, White Room has produced a double-EP centred around the interwoven themes of hope, positivity and escape, with the title Eight, symbolic of inter-connectivity and unity.
“In Eight we are offering a way to lose yourself; find an escape, and to embrace the intrinsic ability music has to take you away from the harsh realities of life”.
A WALK THROUGH PAISLEY PARK
Next up, Sundowners, a five-piece from the Wirral who, with names like Niamh and Aoife, have more than a drop of Irish in them. Their impending single Find Out for Yourself, the latest to be lifted from their 2016 acclaimed album, Cut the Master, is currently bagging high profile airplay including spins by Lauren Laverne and Radcliffe & Maconie.
The Sundowners trade in the same type of wistful, folk rock that Norwegian Anne Lise Frokedal does so splendidly. There are shades of Velvet Underground here with dashes of Steeleye Span, Maggie Reilly and the Mommas & Poppas.
Theirs is the type of music the word ‘charm’ was coined for: weightless vocals tip-toeing through atmospheric landscapes that’s are at once pastoral and psychedelic.
The whole thing is a blissed-out cloud of hazy harmonies and guitar fuzz the essence of which is delightful folkedelia.
Find Out for Yourself goes on release Friday 8th September.
ANOTHER RADIOHEADER GETS FILMIC
Amidst the Autumnal calm post the storm of the MSP/#oknotok tour, Radiohead drummer Philip Selway steps out from the shadows of of his drumkit to offer up his first film soundtrack.
His third album, a departure from previous solos Familial and Weatherhouse, scores Let Me Go, a film based on the memoirs of Austrian Helga Schneider, who as a child was abandoned by the mother who left her to become a guard at Auschwitz. The film which stars Juliet Stevenson in the lead role, centres around the fractious mother/daughter relationship and the impacts of secrets and lies, whilst also dealing with the aftermath of a WWII war-crime.
The title track, which features Selway on vocals, is shot through with stark, pained emotion. It is a haunting re-imagining of that searing pain and torturous confusion children feel when their world implodes, leaving them both exposed and vulnerable.
A traumatic storyline handled with delicate kid gloves, despite its anguished nature, the score is quite spine-tingling in its disturbed beauty, and therein lies Selway’s mastery.
He has taken a memoir filled with personal anguish and ‘generational trauma’ and presented it in all its disturbing rawness against a subtle backdrop of understated intimacy awash with strings, piano, guitar and the subtlest percussion.
Of the film’s storyline itself, Philip Selway had this to say, “Coming from a contemporary perspective, it feels timely… look at Charlottesville, look at the rise in hate crime recently. There are situations in which intolerance is rather more accepted. There’s a lesson to be learned from this story.”
Let Me Go will be available digitally from 15th September with a vinyl edition available from 27th October via Bella Union. You can however, pre-order it here.
Ahead of their 22nd September headliner at Grand Social, up and coming Irish alt-pop four-piece Wild Youth are set to release their second single Lose Control. Arguably one of the brightest ‘rising stars’ on the current Irish scene, Wild Youth have the ripple effect when it comes to making music waves.
The track is a follow up to their debut All or Nothing an RTE 2FM record of the week, a song which secured their place on the lineup at Longitude earlier this year.
Beefy baritone John Grant has just love-bombed his fans with the news that he is hitching a ride on Elbow’s upcoming arena tour. To get the party started himself and Guy Garvey have re-recorded a version of the Elbow track “Kindling (Fickle Flame)” which you can hear on our accompanying playlist which you can find at the bottom of the post below.
Two new albums worthy of a mention and then some have hit the shelves. First up is Music From Before the Storm by Daughter – a veritable jewellery box of striking gems. We’ll bring you a more in-depth review in a separate post, but for now we’ve included a track from the album on the latest VoD playlist.
Second up American Dream sees LCD Soundsystem return to the fray after a gap of seven years. The main touchstone is David Bowie, but there’s more than a passing glance at David Byrne and Talking Heads in tracks like Change yr Mind (which also has the electrically charged guitar storm of Bowie’s Fashion ripping through its canvas).
LES LIAISON DANGEREUSES
Wrapping up this fourth ed of our newsletter we turn our attention northwards to Norway where Toothfairy protegee ARY has released a stunner of a new single.
It’s official, Ariadne Loinsworth aka ARY is all grown up. Her latest single Already There cements her status as a bona fide, fully fledged pop star.
Gone is the mischievous ingenue of Higher, replaced instead by a sultry, smoky-voiced seductress who caresses the lyrics with as much allure as she doubtless holds for the object of her affection.
Already There sees the Norwegian seriously up the production ante as she fuses elements of electronica, hip hop and Afro beats to create a compelling vortex of rhythm and diversity. Trimmed with textures of her Windies heritage, it sees ARY step out of her creative comfort zone as she artfully mixes up divergent melodies and samples that freshen up her sound.
As always, ARY’s idiosyncratic vocal performance is a rollercoaster of flawless adventure that sees her effortlessly cruise all altitudes as she journeys through a gyrating instrumental.
Speaking of the song ARY explained: “Often when I’m writing I feel like things are taking an eternity, but this song somehow wrote itself. I think it’s the first proper pop song I’ve written. It’s also my first love song.”
Already There is out now via Petroleum records. ARY will play gigs in Germany in October/November – keep an eye on her Facebook page!
That’s it for now folks, and in the words of the ubiquitous Dave Gahan, See you next time. DervSwerve x