Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

Following the 2018 release of their self-title debut album, Black Honey return with this special zoetrope picture disc edition of their sophomore album ‘Written & Directed’.

The Brighton four-piece have been one of the rising stars of the UK indie-scene and this album feels like a return to their Tarrentino-inspired roots. The Brighton four-piece have travelled the world following the release of their Top 40 debut; graced the cover of the NME, become the faces and soundtrack of Roberto Cavalli’s Milan Fashion Week show; smashed Glastonbury and supported Queens of the Stone Age, all without compromising a shred of the wild, wicked vision they first set out with. ‘Written & Directed’ is Black Honey’s second album. It follows their outstanding self-titled debut released back in 2018 when the world that surrounded the Brighton fourpiece looked and felt like a very different place. Black Honey however are still the bad-ass, truly original band they have always been, they’ve just graduated from the intriguingly anomalous newcomers to becoming one of UK indie’s most singular outfits.  It’s now time for the next instalment of their story – ‘Written & Directed” – which see’s Black Honey deliver one, very singular, message – a 10 track mission statement that aims to unashamedly plant a flag in the ground for strong, world-conquering women. For fierce frontwoman and album protagonist Izzy B. Phillips – it’s the most important message she could send to inspire her cult-like fanbase and fill the female-shaped gap that she felt so acutely when she was growing up and discovering rock music for the first time.

Written throughout 2019 and recorded in fits and spurts between touring, ‘Written & Directed’ is drenched with a hedonistic, anything-goes attitude. It’s also the most full-throttle collection of music that Black Honey have ever-written – egged-on by their run of shows supporting long-term friends and collaborators Royal Blood. Exploring everything from womanhood, to identity and power, it’s an album that revels in the rich history of pop culture, throws a wink to its rock-and-roll heroes, but ultimately (and in true Black Honey fashion) it stands on its own two feet. With a typically hyper-visual world referencing grindhouse cinema, kitschy pulp films and a flip-reverse of female cinematic representation all primed to unfurl and explode around them, ‘Written & Directed’ is the sound of Black Honey strapping in and saddling up, of harnessing their quirks, and, as the Phillips has always hoped, riding them joyously into the sunset.

With animated zoetrope artwork from Drew Tetz, this record comes signed and hand-numbered on a first-come-first-served basis.

  • Exclusive Zoetrope Picture Disc Edition
  • Limited to 1000 copies
  • Signed by the band and hand-numbered

Blood Records is a pre-ordering platform, the expected release date of this record is 29/01/2021

Listen to Neal Casal’s Final Two Solo Songs, “Everything is Moving” and “Green Moon”

The final solo recordings of Neal Casal, the prolific solo artist and in-demand guitarist who died in August 2019, have been made available. “Everything Is Moving” and “Green Moon” were released Thursday to both pay tribute to Casal and raise funds for the Neal Casal Music Foundation, a non-profit that aims to put musical instruments into the hands of kids and provide mental-health support for artists.

“I am just a shadow on your wall/ One day you won’t think of me at all,” Neal Casal sings on “Everything is Moving” one of his final songs before taking his own life in August 2019.

“Everything is Moving” – and its poignant video – arrive alongside “Green Moon” another new song, which dates back to 2013 but was only recently finished by Casal’s colleagues who took on the mantle of his final recordings after his death. “Working on these songs has been truly cathartic for me as I continue to process the loss of my dear friend,” producer Jeff Hill said via press release. “Neal writes in ‘Everything Is Moving,’ ‘I am just a shadow on the wall, you won’t even think of me at all.’ As much as Neal’s lyrics can be eerily prophetic of the tragedy to come, he was wrong. So many of us will be thinking of Neal for decades to come.” an accompanying music video directed by Ray Foley that compiles archival footage of Casal from various stages of his life. He’s walking city streets, meeting fans, and communing with nature in his favourite location: the surf and sand. 

Listen to “Green Moon” and watch the video for “Everything is Moving”

According to a press release, “In addition to being released on streaming platforms, the two songs will comprise a limited edition 7-inch on February. 26th by the Neal Casal Music Foundation in collaboration with Royal Potato Family who released Casal’s final solo album, “Sweeten the Distance.”

“Green Moon” is a bucolic ballad recorded at Casal’s California studio in 2016. Like “Everything Is Moving,” it too was finished by friends in 2020. “There’s a place for you in time, to be a witness to something so divine,” Casal sings.

In fact, Casal was that witness. Along with being an avid surfer, he documented everyday life as a photographer. Casal, who played with artists from Ryan Adams and Chris Robinson to his own solo band Circles Around the Sun,

The Band: Neal Casal – Vocals & Acoustic Guitar Jon Graboff – Acoustic, Electric & Pedal Steel Guitar Jeff Hill – Bass John Ginty – Piano & Hammond B3 Organ Joe Russo – Drums Jena Kraus – Background Vocals

To learn about the Neal Casal photography book, as seen in the “Everything is Moving” video, click here.

When Claud Mintz’s mother finally heard the 13 songs on her kid’s magnetic first album, Super Monster, she asked a concerned question: Just how many people had her 21-year-old dated? From beginning to end, these sparkling pop tunes capture the assorted stages of a relationship’s delight and dejection—the giddy sensation of a first kiss during the beaming “Overnight,” the heartsick longing of a pending rejection during the yearning “Jordan,” the reluctant call for a requisite breakup during the smouldering “Ana.” Claud, though, replied that these songs detailed the phases of only two or three relationships, simply written during them or at various points after they were over.

The debut release on Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory Records, “Super Monster” is a vertiginous but joyous coming-of-age reckoning with such young love. Claud sees relationships as games of endless wonder, intrigue, and second-guesses, a roller-coaster thrilling you even when it’s terrifying. If “Gold” turns the tension and indecision of a bad match into an undeniable bit of lithe disco, “That’s Mr. Bitch To You” uses a spurt of righteous indignation to fuse a little soul and emo into one breathless hook. Super Monster is like a compulsive compilation that Claud culled from a lifetime of musical enthusiasms—the arcing alt-rock of ’90s airwaves, the rapturous pop of ’00s chart-toppers, the diligent genre-hopping of modern online life. Claud emerges as the chameleonic mastermind of this mélange, channelling all of love’s emotions into songs so sharp they make even the hardest times feel fun.

Perhaps you are in the throes of one of these romantic moments yourself right now, resentful of a frustrating paramour like Claud during “Pepsi” or indulging in lust like “In or In Between.” Or maybe these songs recall those wild days and tough situations. Incisive, instant, and addictive Super Monster works on either level—to remind us of love’s wild ups and downs or to help us deal with them in real time. In that way, Mom, these songs are about dating, well, everyone.

Claud from the album ‘Super Monster’, out February 12th 2021 on Saddest Factory Records.

NILE MARR – ” Are You Happy Now “

Posted: December 3, 2020 in MUSIC

Manchester born guitarist and songwriter and son of Manchester music legend Johnny Marr, Nile Marr returned to his hometown to work on his new debut solo album. Having been brought up on the likes of Modest Mouse, Talking Heads and Broken Social Scene, Nile’s influences were there for all to see on his critically acclaimed album ‘TV Broke My Brain’. Released under the name Man Made in April 2016, Nile and his band spent years on tour transforming themselves into an accomplished live force. Building a cult like grassroots following in his hometown. Now under his own name, after a slew of successful E.P releases Nile has firmly established himself as one to watch out for as a rising star in Manchester. ‘Are You Happy Now?’ was written underneath a club on Oldham Street with the energy of the city above him prior to lockdown, this album is an energetic and emotional dedication to the people of Manchester and all fellow indie heads.

 Bold, clear guitar lines and good natured, thoughtful lyrics make this a striking debut by Nile Marr. Ten really strong songs and not one duffer. It’s a wonderful record.

PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey has announced the latest installment of her ongoing reissues series. Next up is her 1998 album “Is This Desire?”, which will be re-released on vinyl on January 29th, 2021 via UMe/Island, alongside a separate demo compilation of tracks from the album, the latter of which will also be released on streaming services.

Listen to the demo of her song “Angelene” below. In August, Harvey reissued 1996’s Dance Hall at Louse Point. Her documentary film “A Dog Called Money”, which followed the creation of her 2016 album The Hope Six Demolition Project, is having online screenings next week ahead of its wider North American digital release.

Harvey commented, I’m very happy to be releasing the Is This Desire? demos for the first time. When I am writing an album the demos of the songs capture the atmosphere of the moment in a way that can never be replicated. I made this collage for Nick during the time I was writing this album, and in some ways the words of the collage went on to inform the song, Is This Desire?, and indeed the whole album. The collage is currently on display in the Nick Cave , ‘Stranger Than Kindness’ exhibition at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen.

Producer, Associated Performer, Vocals, Guitar: PJ Harvey Composer Lyricist: Polly Jean Harvey

Image may contain: 2 people, text that says 'Itis Iti_ow" It not far now "We are almost there, she said. He saw stars and stars and stars in the sky. They hadnever seemed so bright. Far away he seemed to hear happy voices singing. "Even the skies seem to be happy tonight, And outside, the bright stars sho' and the happy voices sang'

Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers has shared a new music video for her song “Savior Complex” directed by Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge and starring Normal People actor Paul Mescal. The video came about after the two Phoebes connected over email while quarantined; you can watch it at Facebook.

“Savior Complex” appears on Bridgers’ latest studio album “Punisher”. The singer-songwriter recently issued a companion release, the Copycat Killer EP, as well as a cover of Goo Goo Dolls“Iris” with Maggie Rogers. Last year, Phoebe Waller-Bridge connected with actor Olivia Colman to record a cover of Portishead’s classic “Glory Box.” She comments on the Things That Influenced Her New Album, “Punisher,” in which the singer discussed her admiration of Waller-Bridge. “Dirtbag dudes have Larry David and I have Phoebe Waller-Bridge,” she said. “She strikes a fucking chord in me.”

Phoebe Bridgers remotely appeared on The Tonight Show for a live rendition of her “Punisher” track.

Phoebe Bridgers appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon yesterday (December 2nd) to perform her Punisher and Copycat Killer song “Savior Complex.” Bridgers was accompanied by a self-playing piano. At one point, she shook hands with an adorable dog.

Bridgers sang in a room filled with Christmas decorations . Earlier this week, Phoebe Bridgers had shared a music video for “Savior Complex.” It was directed by Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge and starred Paul Mescal of Normal People fame.

Future Islands’ romantic synth sound scales new heights with “On the Water”, the Baltimore trio’s most ambitious and fully realized statement yet. Built around a song cycle exploring love, loss, and memory, their latest album finds the band continuing to deliver pounding rhythms, swelling melodies, and undeniable hooks – but finding new ways to probe inner space and tug at hearts.

Convening in March 2011 in Elizabeth City, NC’s historic, waterfront Andrew S. Sanders House, vocalist Samuel T. Herring, bassist William Cashion, and keyboardist Gerrit Welmers lived together in a space that served as both studio and sleeping quarters. The band used this tranquil retreat to refine their most reflective and mature batch of songs to date, adding new material in the process.

What emerged is a lush yet visceral album about two parallel journeys–one physical and one psychological. On the Water’s narrator offers enough detail that their story feels personal, yet open enough that any listener can inhabit each twist and emotional pang as their own.

Travelling on foot, we seek something – an exorcism, an epiphany, an ending. Memories wash across us as in life: non-linear, linked by emotional resonance rather than conventional chronology. And so, the pain of letting go channeled by “The Great Fire” collides with a moment’s fleeting serenity in the Eno-esque “Open”; the triumphant rallying cry “Give Us the Wind” despite its confident declaration of individual strength, remains a mile away from final chapter “Tybee Island” It is there the song cycle ends, and what is discovered in “Tybee Island” will be as different as the lives lived by each person who finds their way to this album.

On the Water may unearth aural memories as well. The mind may flash upon our first encounters with New Order’s “Ceremony,” David Bowie’s “Heroes,” or The Cure’s Disintegration, memories which, are continually reborn and re-imagined in the context of the here and now. And as the song-cycle’s narrator comes to terms with his own memories, his singular journey collapses into the collective experience of album-closer “Grease.” It is here that the “I” of the nine previous songs collapses into the “we” of Future Islands, now singing the literal journey of the people who came together by the ocean to deliver these songs into our ears. Far from just a narrative trope, the ocean played an integral role in On the Water’s creation. The bulk of the album was recorded with waves pounding sand mere feet away. The album opens and closes with field recordings made by the band on a nearby dock, and one pivotal track, “Tybee Island” began with vocals recorded on the beach (subsequently fleshed out in the studio with additional instrumentation).

The ocean inhabits every note of these songs. On the Water is an addictive ride that demands repeat listens, eagerly awaiting the test of time. To produce these results, Future Islands fleshed out its sound with the additions of cello, violin, marimba, and field recordings. As with their 2010 breakthrough album In Evening Air, On the Water was produced by frequent collaborator Chester Endersby Gwazda, perhaps best known as producer of Dan Deacon’s Bromst. Noted guests include Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, who provides vocals on “The Great Fire,” and Double Dagger’s Denny Bowen on live drums and additional percussion.

For all its undeniable weight, On the Water is not a sullen concept album. Every track on the record works both as a contribution to the whole and as a stand-alone pleasure, evident in the insistent throbs, addictive melodies, and stirring vocals of tracks like “Close to None” “Balance” and first single “Before the Bridge”


Make no mistake, On the Water is a record that aims to both break your heart and heal your wounds. 

Released August 12th, 2020

Nilufer Yanya

The playing card that sits on the sleeve of Nilüfer Yanya’s Feeling Lucky? EP has seen some things. Dog-eared and creased, it’s sealed as many desperate fates as it has sparked moments of wild, disbelieving excitement. From feeling like your luck is out to last-minute reprieves, this dynamic is hard-coded into the record with songs that ask whether we’re looking at the idea of good or bad fortune the wrong way.

“It’s these two energies, and we don’t really have any control over them,” Yanya says. “But they can control a lot of what we do – the luck element. A lot of the time we’re not thinking of it. We think it’s all down to us, or down to other people. Sometimes things just don’t turn out the way you expect them to, and sometimes they turn out better. Some people tend to be very appreciative of it, but some people do the opposite: ‘Well, you know, I was just really lucky.’ I think it’s about balance.”

Feeling Lucky? is a short, sharp shock of a release that finds Yanya refining her work further following the arrival of Miss Universe, a debut album that anointed her as one of the most exciting new voices in British music through its blend of fuzz-pop brilliance and heavy-lidded R&B-adjacent jams. Its three tracks are picture-perfect examples of her writing, melding clever, immensely hooky guitar lines together with complementary synth flourishes and electronic percussion.

But where Miss Universe was a quasi-concept album that luxuriated in skits and set dressing across an 18-song running order, its follow up is far more interested in the here and now. It is a snapshot of Yanya’s current creative preoccupations that takes cues from the rapid-fire series of EPs she released between 2016 and 2018. It’s a format that feels comfortable. “I prefer it, I think,” she says. “I’ve done a lot more EPs. I’m more used to it.”

The elephant in the room is the same elephant that’s in every room right now: COVID-19. Work on Feeling Lucky? couldn’t proceed in exactly the same manner as work on Miss Universe, but the lessons Yanya learned from crafting that record as a studio beast were carried over. In a sense it’s about being adaptable and refusing to cling on to a single way of getting the job done. “I’d written some of the songs in the studio for Miss Universe, which was new to me,” she says.

“Normally I write by myself or at home and I’ve lived with a song, at least played it with the band in rehearsal, if not at a show, before taking it to the studio. By doing that album in reverse, when you take things on tour you find that some of them just don’t work the way you’d think they would work. Maybe you haven’t got the right arrangement for them. “It was interesting to see that, and with this EP they’re all studio-based songs as well. I have a feeling they’ll work quite well [live]. On the album I was also trying to push myself, trying new ideas all the time, trying to change it up and keep it interesting. With the EP I don’t need to worry about that as much – it’s a collection of the best things I’ve written this year.”

Day 7.5093, the third song on Feeling Lucky?, made its debut in the most 2020 manner possible: as part of a live stream. Back in July Yanya performed for NPR’s Tiny Desk Home series, pausing after playing Heat Rises to acknowledge the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. “One of the things that’s been on my mind a lot is the racism and violence and injustice going on towards Black people and people of colour, not only in America but here in the UK and all over the world,” she said. Yanya also noted how strange it was to be promoting her music while the world was in turmoil, and that’s not an observation she’s moved away from in the intervening months. Sitting in front of a camera, being greeted by piercing silence, is no way to road-test unheard material. But there is a silver lining to be found with the way it ties into the EP’s of-the-moment focus.

“I found the livestreams a bit hard to connect with,” she admits. “There’s nothing to bounce off. It doesn’t really feel like anything happens. But it’s quite refreshing just to put new music out and not have to build up towards it. Just do it. The next day you’re free to think about other things. You don’t have to do the whole press thing, a show around the EP. It’s like, ‘Okay, what do I actually want to do now?’”

Yanya was raised in a creative home in West London by artist parents of Turkish, Irish and Bajan heritage, and her family is a key feature of her story. Her uncle, Joe Dworniak, is a noted session musician and producer, and it was at his Cornish studio that Yanya’s earliest work came into focus. So too much of Miss Universe. Continuing a long tradition, the video for Feeling Lucky? single Crash was helmed by her sister, Molly Daniel. The forthcoming promo for Same Damn Luck was even more of a close-knit affair.

“With Crash we just did it in a studio in London in one day,” she says. “I was just thinking about ways to embody the song, and we took it literally, making it on an aeroplane. We just went with that. With Same Damn Luck, we went to Greece. It was so nice. My cousin, who’s a DOP, came, my younger sister came, my mum was doing set design. It was kinda like a road trip. It was more about different textures, sort of like a constant mood board. It was mad to be able to do a video like that instead of thinking about storyline all the time.”

Musically, Yanya’s collaborators on Feeling Lucky? ticked boxes marked ‘old’ and ‘new’. Having worked on Miss Universe, songwriter Will Archer returned to help bring Same Damn Luck to life, while another old acquaintance in electronica producer Bullion was drafted in on Day 7.5093. Yanya was drawn to the aesthetic of Brooklyn songwriter Nick Hakim, whose work fuses gloopy psychedelia with decaying tape hiss, to add a chunky, distorted edge to Crash.

“With Will this one was a bit different because he had a guitar loop for the verse and we basically wrote the song over that. It’s more like a pure collaboration,” Yanya observes. “With Nick and Bullion, it was more like bringing a song to them, which was kind of there but not really, and working on structure, instrumentation, arranging it. You can get so much out of just doing that with another person. Everyone has different ideas.

“With Crash, it’s really simple chords. You could play that a million different ways but it was really fun in the studio just to do one or two takes. They were really messy, but they had the right energy and vibe. We just went with that, and with loads of distortion and gain you can’t really make out what’s going on. I’ve always wanted to play around with that idea as well, of going into more defined tonal work. It was really nice to do that with Nick and Bullion, and the part lends itself to that anyway.” Having spent much of her early career playing Stratocasters, Yanya has traded them in for a Jazzmaster of late. It’s all over Feeling Lucky?. Something that hasn’t changed, though, is the almost alchemical relationship between her voice and guitar. Yanya’s music is defined by the manner in which she finds pockets of space between undulating lead lines, and rarely in the past has she achieved such a perfect balance as she does on Day 7.5093.

Its setup is weird, like holding a circus mirror up to a garage-rock riff, but it makes complete sense in her world. Existing fans will eat it up, while newcomers should look no further for a way in. “If I write by myself, that [guitar and voice] will be the first part of the song,” she says. “It’s like a binding element.” When Yanya first began making waves there was the usual bout of music critic hand-wringing about what genre she best fit into. Increasingly, the fact that she’s both a Pixies fan and a purveyor of atmospheric, groove-driven alt-pop is irrelevant. It just feels like her, and it’s exciting to wonder what styles she might bend to her will in future. “With these songs, although they’re different in terms of being records, I like them because of the song writing,” she adds. “It’s not because I think I’m being clever, it’s just about the song. I’d like to keep moving forward in that direction, just putting out your best work and not having to fill in the gaps or make it sound more like this or that.”

Nilüfer Yanya’s “Feeling Lucky” EP is out on December 11th through ATO Records.

Merge Records is an independent record label based in Durham, North Carolina. It was founded in 1989 by Laura Ballance and Mac McCaughan. It began as a way to release music from their band Superchunk and music created by friends, and has expanded to include artists from around the world and records reaching the top of the Billboard music charts.

We live in North Carolina, where a racist Republican legislature has worked for a generation to undermine democracy through unprecedented voter suppression. Our neighbours in Georgia have successfully fought back, through the efforts of Fair Fight and other organizations. The voters who turned Georgia blue in November can now elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, take back power in the Senate, and make true progress possible in this country.


The Merge artists on this comp came together quickly, recording in various quarantine situations, to pay tribute to their favourite artists from Georgia, or maybe just record their favourite songs with “Georgia” in the title, and to support those working hard in Georgia to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

CREAM – Rock Poster

Posted: December 3, 2020 in MUSIC