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There’s something different about The Rails on their brilliant third album. It’s not just the sound of the record, which is harder, tougher and rockier than ever before. Cancel The Sun is melodic and immediate, a record that brings together the musical pasts of Kami Thompson and James Walbourne – her family heritage, as the daughter of Linda and Richard Thompson, and sister of Teddy; his as guitarist for Son Volt, The Pogues and The Pretenders – in a record that sounds like a pure version of themselves. You could spend hours casting around for a term to describe it, but maybe the best one would be pinched from an Eliza Carthy album title: Anglicana – music that might originate in America, but is clearly and resolutely English.

Their debut, “Fair Warning” was among my favorite record of the year for two years in a row. That’s how much I loved that record. “Cancel The Sun” is their third, and Kami Thompson  and husband, Pretenders guitarist James Walbourne have expanded their musical horizons a bit further from the British folk of their debut. The sublime harmonies are still there. While some of the harder rocking tunes don’t quite work for me, “Cancel The Sun” has one of the most perfect Side Twos in recent memory, including my favorite song of the year, by anyone, “Something Is Slipping My Mind.”

In 2015, when Avi Zahner-Isenberg announced the end of Avi Buffalo, he said that although the band life was not for him, he would continue making music and maybe even release some, joking that “I will probably honestly be 40 or 50 when that happens and extremely fat.”

Well, the songwriter-composer-producer-guitar whiz is still only 29, and he’s looking mighty trim in recent photos on social media. And this week brought a new Avi Buffalo song, “Skeleton Painting,” a epic 6 1/2-minute journey through the hallowed halls of orchestral and prog rock. The scope is Floydian.

To rewind: Avi Buffalo burst out of Long Beach (reluctantly, as it turned out) as a teenager, hailed as a prodigy. In 2010, he released a self-titled album for Sub Pop, followed by “At Best Cuckold” in 2014. Both earned deserved acclaim. Since he checked out of the band life, he has dabbled in ambient and improvisational music, collaborated with artists such as Litronix and Ari Prado, toured Europe and pursued painting. He’s also playing in the new band Sink Drinkers.

“Skeleton Painting” was some two years in the works. It was recorded in living rooms and various studios, including the Lab Studio in Highland Park (with Frankie Siragusa engineering) and Woodshed Music in Long Beach. Production comes courtesy of DeRock Tucker (who also played bass) and Dave Andersen, and the lavish arrangements feature strings by Meg Webb and woodwinds by Dave Dillon.

Dense lyrically and complex yet warm sonically, “Skeleton Painting” feels like some sort of thesis, a song that begs to be read as well as heard.

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Fortitude Valley is a brand new project for the songwriting talents of Durham based Brisbanite Laura Kovic. Having spent the majority of her musical career playing keyboards in other people’s bands, bringing their songs to life with a melodic flourish, it was about time for Laura K to find an outlet for her songs: awkward power-pop that’s bound to appeal to fans of The Beths, Weezer or The Pixies. She’s assembled quite the band too: Martha’s Daniel Ellis on lead guitar and Nathan Stephens Griffin on drums, and Night Flowers’ Greg Ullyart on bass.

Laura explains a little more: “Over the last couple of years I’ve started to feel musically restless and I wanted to try my hand at being the songwriter in a band, but had been going through writer’s block for a couple of years, so I bought a guitar in February 2018 to see if doing something different would help me…and it did! I sent some tracks to Nathan and he told me I should start my own band. I asked him if he’d be in it and he was like “obvs”. I already knew that I liked playing in a band with Greg, so that was easy and I wanted someone on guitar who could shred, so Daniel was an obvious choice. We managed to have a few practices before recording (but only one with all 4 of us, because we live in different cities), but everyone is very good at what they do and it worked out surprisingly well.”

Fortitude Valley – or just The Valley if you’re from Brisbane – is the heart of the city’s music scene; at least it was during Laura’s time playing in bands in Australia 13 years ago, before moving to the UK. It was a place that objectively felt mythical, a suburb with a special meaning, looking back from the other side of the world and many years later. Completing the circle, Fortitude Valley is also named checked in the Martha song Brutalism by the River (Arrhythmia). Wreck was recorded with Tigercats’ Giles Barrett at Soup Studios in London and mixed and co-produced by Allo Darlin’s Mikey Collins at Big Jelly in Ramsgate. Fortitude Valley will be playing their first show in January 2020 at The Winter Sprinter at The Lexington.

They’re finishing their first full length record to be released in the summer of 2020. Fortitude Valley are Laura Kovic (Tigercats, Mikey Collins, Ski Saigon), Daniel Ellis (Martha, Onsind), Greg Ullyart (Night Flowers, Mikey Collins) and Nathan Stephens Griffin (Martha, Onsind).

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Image  —  Posted: December 5, 2019 in FESTIVALS, MUSIC
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PILLOW QUEENS – ” Brothers “

Posted: December 5, 2019 in MUSIC

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Irish punks Pillow Queens drop the feedback for an unashamedly sentimental ode to the men in their lives. “Brothers” isn’t subtle, but it’s a moving tribute that cuts straight to the heart. right now, on a global stage, Irish music is having a serious moment. Pillow Queens are a Dublin-based queer indie-punk band, know how to pull at your heartstrings. “Brothers” their new single premiering above, is an unabashed tribute to the men in their lives. Written after a family loss close to the band, “Brothers” is open-hearted and unafraid to say it as it is: “There goes the man I want to be, I love my brother and my brother loves me.”

Pillow Queens are right at the forefront of that wave are a band described, rather delicately as a mix between Sonic Youth and Dolores O’Riordan. Enjoying airtime with songs like Favourite, Gay Girls and Rats, their insanely catchy hooks, sang in genuine accents give them a real standout sound on both the radio and festival circuits. They are loud. Authentic. Gimmick-free. And completely refreshing. The songs are good, catchy with real emotional depth and played with such vigour onstage that you can’t help yourself – it’s music you remember for all the right reasons. They formed in 2016 and after the release of their demo EP Calm Girls, they soon ventured on a string of successful UK and Irish tour dates. This year, the band took on mainland Europe with an appearance at this year’s Eurosonic Festival.

Pillow Queens are: Rachel Lyons (drums, vocals, from Kill, Co Kildare), Cathy McGuinness (guitar, vocals, from Arklow, Co Wicklow), Pamela Connolly (bass, guitar, lead vocals, from Donaghmede in Dublin) and Sarah Corcoran (guitar, bass, lead vocals, from Finglas in Dublin).

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Massive news: Porridge Radio have signed to Secretly Canadian, The first single is out today: Lilac You may recognise it from their live sets. There is a beautiful video directed by El Hardwick:

I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked by people where they can find this song since we started playing it at shows, and I hope this recording lives up to the live version and is as special to you as it is to us.

I’m so proud of us for getting to this place and I’m so excited for everything that’s gonna come next. Love to the heads love to the newbies xxx

Official video for Lilac by Porridge Radio

Porridge Radio played Green Man back in August and the wonderful team filmed their performance of cult classic ‘Eugh’.

 

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A Beautiful Thing: IDLES Live at Le Bataclan is the brand new live album from IDLES, recorded at the famous venue Le Bataclan in Paris on 3rd December 2018, at the close of a 90 date world tour. The album celebrates the band’s success over the last two years, featuring songs from Brutalism and Joy as an Act of Resistance, and highlights their overall message of unity, and of healing through community.

“Our show at Bataclan was the end of a very long journey for us. On that tour we learnt so much about ourselves, each other and the audiences we have grown with over the past 10 years. That show was nothing short of catharsis and nothing more than love. We love what we do and the people who have carried us here, there was no hiding that at Bataclan and we are so very grateful that the moment was captured in all its glory, love and fatigue. Long live the open minded and long live the moment.”

out this Friday. IDLES ‘A Beautiful Thing: Live At Le Bataclan’. Available with 3 different sleeves and coloured vinyl combinations.

Television (Live at Le Bataclan) from the album ‘A Beautiful Thing: IDLES Live at Le Bataclan’ released on Partisan Records on 6th December 2019.

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Freshly signed to Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner’s 37d03d label, Eve Owen introduces herself with a beautiful piano ballad offering a hopeful outlook from a position of abject loneliness. Directed by Hannah Owen for 37d03d Eve Owen is a singer-songwriter based in London. Eve’s debut single, the piano ballad “She Says” is an intimate portrait of loneliness and longing, nearly devastating in effect but infinitely softened by the warmth of Owen’s vocals, the unbreakable hope in her delivery. Eve is also known for having lent vocals to The National song “Where Is Her Head” from the band’s most recent album, I Am Easy To Find.

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Alice Boman is back with new single “Don’t Forget About Me”, lifted from her forthcoming debut album “Dream On”. Expanding on her new offering, Bomansays, “This song is about holding on to a fantasy about something or someone. It has happened to me a few times when I’ve been into someone, or the idea of someone, but known that it’s not gonna last or happen for various reasons. You know how it’s gonna go, but you still want hold on to some kind of illusion, just a little bit longer. You’re in some kind of dreamlike state, just to prolong the feeling. Dancing is a way for me to do that. To be in your body, in the feeling, in the moment.”

“Don’t Forget About Me” is the fourth single to be shared from Dream On, after last month’s “The More I Cry”, “Wish We Had More Time” and “This Is Where It Ends”.

The new track features drums from John Eriksson of Peter Bjorn & John. Boman’s soft-focus indie pop is delicate to the touch, but delivers a hefty emotional punch capable of delivering an unlikely K.O.

Squirrel Flower

Squirrel Flower – the moniker of Ella O’Connor Williams – recently announced her debut album, “I Was Born Swimming” out January 31st on Full Time Hobby. Along with the announcement she shared the video for lead single ‘Red Shoulder’; today she has followed up with new single ‘Headlights’. Showcasing a gentler side to her songwriting, ‘Headlights’ comes with a stunning video by Bao Ngo.

The track is tender and beautiful, exemplifying the way her lyrics stick firmly in the mind of the listener, lingering long after the track is over.

Speaking of the track Squirrel Flower says: “Headlights takes place in a moment of solitary reflection; a glance back and a glance forward. I wrote it on tour driving through the pioneer valley in Massachusetts in some heavy fog. Suddenly I was aware of the space the car was plummeting through, both physical and temporal.”

Bao Ngo says of the video: The video for ‘Headlights’ was inspired by cheesy, classic imagery of actors riding in cars through LA— evoking glamour and sunshine. Here, we ran with the concept and placed it in a Massachusetts suburb on a cold winter day, driving around in circles in a convertible, shooting from morning til night, playing with a slightly warped sense of time so that the video would feel a little cold and a little lonely, and perhaps at times a little jarring, while still aiming to subtly reference the beauty of older Hollywood films.”

Throughout the 12 songs that make up I Was Born Swimming, landscapes change and relationships shift. The lyrics feel like effortless expressions of exactly the way it feels to change — abstract, determined and hopeful.

Squirrel Flower’s music is ethereal and warm, brimming over with emotional depth but with a steely eyed bite and confidence in it’s destination. The band on I Was Born Swimming plays with delicate intention, keeping the arrangements natural and light while Williams‘ lead guitar is often fiercely untethered. The album was tracked live, with few overdubs, at The Rare Book Room Studio in New York City with producer Gabe Wax (Adrienne Lenker, Palehound, Cass McCombs). The musicians were selected by Wax and folded themselves into the songs effortlessly. At the heart of the album lives Williams’ haunting voice and melancholic, soulful guitar.

“Headlights” is taken from Squirrel Flower’s debut full length album, I Was Born Swimming, out January 31st, 2020.


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