Posts Tagged ‘Bella Union Records’

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I hope that you all are safe right now, and have found some moments of joy in amongst all the upheaval and worry and sorrow of the last three months. My lockdown has been up and down, with moments of despair, moments of gratitude, and lots of tiny gifts in the form of love and humanity. I cannot wait until we are all through it and can be together in one room again!

I’m also really sorry I didn’t write at the beginning of the pandemic. I felt a twinge of deep deep shame when a friend told me she’d been even been contacted by a former drug dealer with a ‘supporting our customers during this difficult time’ message. In my defence, I’d like to blame my baby! I hope you know that this community has provided a lot of solace for me, and I composed about 20 newsletters in my head while tending to my small human.

But here we are, somewhere in the middle, and I have some news. My fourth album, will be released on Bella Union on October 9th, and the first single comes out today. It’s called “Dandelions/Liminal”, and it was written in New York the summer after the 2016 election, after I’d dabbled with some Buddhist philosophy on a music residency in China. It’s a happy song about co-existing with sorrow in the summer, and that’s pretty much still where I am right now.

The rest of the album was mostly written in Hong Kong in late 2017, during a precious, peaceful time that began with the Mid-Autumn moon. That story will gradually be revealed as the songs and videos and texts come out, but we all know already that a lot has changed in Hong Kong since that time. I am immensely proud to have written this album for that city, and to know a piece of my heart is there. Now I get to share a piece of my heart with you.

I should stop before I paraphrase any more 90’s lyrics, but here is the single and album pre-order. Be in touch and let me know your news.

Emmy the Great new song “Dandelions/Liminal” released on Bella Union 2020-07-07 Emma-Lee Moss

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The sounds of Himalayan winds, sacred mantras and water rippling in the holy river Ganges, invite us to “Peradam”, the transcendent new album by Soundwalk Collective with Patti Smith. The album, which features guests including Anoushka ShankarTenzin Choegal and Charlotte Gainsbourg, will be released 4th September via Bella Union Records.

Peradam takes as its entry point René Daumal’s early 1940s novel Mount Analogue: a Novel of Symbolically Authentic Non-Euclidean Adventures in Mountain Climbing, in which the French writer, critic and poet mapped a metaphysical journey to “the ultimate symbolic mountain” in search of meaning. In it, Daumal introduced the idea of the “peradam”, a rare, crystalline stone – harbouring profound truths – that is only visible to seekers on a true spiritual path. The band have shared a hypnotic video to the title track, directed by Stephan Crasneanscki and with editing and visual collage by Jenn Ruff.

Peradam arrives as “the final stone”, says Soundwalk Collective’s Stephan Crasneanscki, in The Perfect Vision, a triptych of albums that evoke and explore the sainted spaces of thought and creativity opened by the three French writers and poets. After albums devoted to Antonin Artaud (The Peyote Dance) and Arthur Rimbaud (Mummer Love), Peradam expands on “the living space”, says Smith, that Daumal left for future seekers to enter and create out of.

Daumal’s spiritual quests ranged wide and deep. Part-influenced by Rimbaud, he also identified with the Pataphysicians, followers of the avant-garde absurdist Alfred Jarry. Daumal experimented with hallucinogens to the detriment of his health, though he would later transfer his passions to the purity of work as he nurtured a fascination with Hindu philosophies and taught himself Sanskrit; Peradam features some of his translations.

While Daumal embraced the idea of self-abnegation as the key to internal awakening, he was also drawn to the syntheses of Eastern/Western thought in Greek-Armenian philosopher GI Gurdjieff’s teachings. Daumal’s greatest works include the novels A Night of Serious Drinking and Mount Analogue, which – though unfinished at the time of his death from TB at 36 in 1944 – inspired psychedelic magus Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1973 film The Holy Mountain as well as the creative journeys undertaken by Soundwalk Collective and Patti Smith.

Peradam will be released 4th September via Bella Union

Psychic Markers

Psychic​ ​Markers​ ​–​ ​consisting​ ​of​ ​Alannah​ ​Ashworth,​ ​Lewis​ ​Baker,​ ​Steven Dove,​ ​Leon​ ​Dufficy​ ​and​ ​Luke​ ​Jarvis​ ​-​ ​are​​ ​a​ ​hodgepodge​ ​bunch​ ​made​ ​up​ ​of members​ ​of​ ​various​ ​other​ ​bands​ ​and​ ​with​ ​a​ ​geographical​ ​backdrop​ ​that stretches​ ​countries​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​counties.​ ​So​ ​it​ ​makes​ ​sense​ ​that​ ​their​ ​music would​ ​be​ ​eclectically​ ​emblematic​ ​of​ ​such​ ​sprawling​ ​backgrounds.

Their sophomore album Hardly​ ​Strangers​ ​-​ ​much​ ​like​ ​the​ ​band​ ​themselves​ ​-​ ​is​ ​an assorted​ ​affair.​ ​50’s-tinged​ ​doo-wop​ ​nestles​ ​up​ ​alongside​ ​lush cinema-influenced​ soundscapes;​ ​whilst​ ​flashes​ ​of​ ​neo-psychedelia​ ​take​ ​pop hooks​ ​and​ ​stretch​ ​them​ ​out​ ​into​ ​hypnotic​ ​and​ ​elongated​ ​jams​ ​befitting​ ​of 1970’s​ ​Germany​ ​before​ ​pushing​ ​them​ ​into​ ​further​ ​cosmic​ ​realms.

Psychic​ ​Markers​ ​are​ ​not​ ​a​ ​genre​ ​band​ ​but​ ​instead​ ​one​ ​that​ ​is​ ​driven​ ​by​ ​a collective​ ​psyche,​ ​where​ ​the​ ​rule​ ​of​ ​friendship​ ​and​ ​instinctive​ ​democracy trumps​​ ​any​ ​forced​ ​idea​ ​of​ ​aesthetic.​ ​“It’s​ ​more​ ​of​ ​an​ ​unwritten​ ​understanding between​​ ​ourselves,”​ ​Dove​ ​says,​ ​expanding​ ​on​ ​the​ ​song writing​ ​process.​ ​“If something​​ ​doesn’t​ ​feel​ ​right​ ​for​ ​the​ ​band,​ ​we​ ​lose​ ​it.”​ ​Dufficy,​ ​the​ ​primary songwriter​ ​along​ ​with​ ​Dove,​ ​echoes​ ​this,​ ​hitting​ ​home​ ​the​​ ​intuitive​ ​nature​ ​of the​ ​group.​ ​“I​ ​think​ ​we’re​ ​more​ ​of​ ​gang​ ​now,​ ​our​ ​inner​ ​psychic​​ ​link​ ​has increased.​ ​We​ ​can​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​see​ ​which​ ​road​ ​one​ ​of​ ​us​ ​is​ ​heading​ ​down​ ​and sort​ ​of​ ​meet​ ​them​ ​there.”​ ​Jarvis​ ​(bass)​ ​further​ ​emphases​ ​this​ ​too. “I’ve​ ​never​ ​really​ ​considered​ ​this​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​band​ ​in​ ​a​ ​typical​ ​sense,​ ​i.e.​ ​a​ ​group with​​ ​preconceived​ ​notions​ ​of​ ​how​ ​we​ ​should​ ​exist​ ​or​ ​project,​ ​but​ ​more​ ​like​ ​five kindred​ ​spirits,​ ​cosmic​ ​cowboys​ ​-​ ​and​ ​girl.​ ​The​ ​music​ ​and everything​ ​that​ ​surrounds​ ​it​ ​seems​ ​to​ ​come​ ​quite​ ​naturally​ ​as​ ​a​ ​result​ ​so​ ​it​ ​just becomes​ ​about​ ​pals​ ​making​ ​music,​ ​being​ ​creative​ ​and​ ​enjoying​​ ​ourselves while​ ​doing​ ​so.”

And​ ​that​ ​road​ ​that​ ​a​ ​group​ ​of​ ​cosmonauts ​ ​have​ ​embarked​ ​on​ ​has​ ​led them​ ​to​ ​this​​ ​juncture:​ ​a​ ​second​ ​album​ ​that​ ​owes​ ​as​ ​much​ ​to​ ​Joe​ ​Meek​ ​as​ ​it does​ ​Conny​ ​Plank​​ ​or​ ​to​ ​David​ ​Lynch​ ​as​ ​it​ ​does​ ​Mark​ ​Rothko​ ​or​ ​Steve​ ​Reich; an​ ​album​​ ​overflowing​ ​with​ ​ideas​ ​and​ ​ambition​ ​or,​ ​as​ ​the​ ​band​ ​say,​ ​something that​ ​is​​ ​“cohesive​ ​yet​ ​diverse.”

Yet​ ​despite​ ​the​ ​collectiveness​ ​of​ ​this​ ​record​ ​and​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​mutual​ ​expression​ ​of​ ​a desire​ ​to​ ​simply​ ​make​ ​radiating​ ​cosmic​ ​pop​ ​music,​ ​it​ ​still​ ​retains​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of individual​ ​personality​ ​that​ ​comes​ ​through​ ​Dove’s​ ​lyrics​ ​that​ ​waver​ ​between the​​ ​personal​ ​and​ ​the​ ​metaphorical.​ ​The​ ​sweeping,​ ​sliding​ ​and​ ​euphoric​ ​‘Fields of​​ ​Abstraction’​ ​for​ ​example,​ ​being​ ​about​ ​Dove’s​ ​personal​ ​relationship​ ​to​ ​his own​​ ​brain.​ ​“It’s​ ​about​ ​memory​ ​and​ ​how​ ​sometimes​ ​it​ ​can​ ​let​ ​us​ ​down​ ​or​ ​distort the​​ ​view​ ​of​ ​something​ ​you​ ​once​ ​saw​ ​so​ ​clearly.​ ​I​ ​find​ ​both​ ​great​ ​joy​ ​and sadness​ ​in​​ ​focussing​ ​on​ ​old​ ​memories,​ ​I’m​ ​a​ ​very​ ​nostalgic​ ​person​ ​and​ ​a fading​ ​memory​ ​is​ ​a​ ​bereavement​ ​we​ ​all​ ​have​ ​to​ ​deal​ ​with.”

It’s​ ​this​ ​realisation​ ​and​ ​lyrical​ ​expression​ ​that​ ​is​ ​arguably​ ​a​ ​blueprint​ ​for​ ​this album​ ​and​ ​a​ ​representation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​band​ ​as​ ​a​ ​whole:​ ​a​ ​group​ ​in​ ​love​ ​with​ ​the sounds​ ​and​ ​accomplishments​ ​of​ ​the​ ​past​ ​but​ ​not​ ​being​ ​so​ ​unimaginative​ ​as​ ​to trust​ ​and​ ​rely​ ​on​ ​those​ ​memories​ ​and​ ​thoughts​ ​of​ ​past​ ​glories​ ​and​ ​so​ ​instead have​ ​created​ ​a​ ​sonic​ ​hybrid​ ​that​​ ​touches​ ​upon​ ​history’s​ ​great​ ​musical achievements​ ​whilst​ ​looking​ ​firmly​ ​to​​ ​future​ ​ones.

The new single from the self titled Psychic Markers album out 29th May 2020 via Bella Union.

Modern Nature share ‘Harvest’

Having last month announced their new 7-track mini-album “Annual”, To be released 5th June via Bella Union, and shared a video for lead track ‘Flourish’, today Modern Nature now share a video for new single “Harvest” which features Kayla Cohen of Itasca on lead vocals. Of the track bandleader Jack Cooper says: “Harvest represents Autumn on the record and centres around rituals and superstitions. A lot of the words and ideas that became the bones of the song were written the days after a vivid experience in Lewes for Bonfire Night.” Of the video he adds: “Lockdown Britain forced us (my wife Tsouni and I) into making our directorial debut and this is the outcome. A moving snapshot of the year through the medium of everyday objects. The record moves from winter through the seasons and back to winter… We end up back where we began… It’s familiar, many of the objects are the same but everything has morphed.”

Released in August 2019, Modern Nature’s debut album – How to Live crossed the urban and rural into each other. Plaintive cello strains melted into motorik beats. Pastoral field recordings drifted through looping guitar figures. Rising melodies shone with reflective saxophone accents, placing the record somewhere between the subtle mediations of Talk Talk, the stirring folk of Anne Briggs and the atmospheric waves of Harmonia.

The album was met with universal acclaim and featured in a number of publication’s ‘Best Of 2019’ lists. As the group took the album out on the road, Modern Nature became something even more expansive. “It feels like there’s scope and room to grow. I want the group to feel fluid and that whoever’s playing with us can express themselves and interpret what they think this music is” says Jack Cooper.

Their new mini-album Annual, recorded in December 2019 at Gizzard Studio in London, is another step towards something more liberated and a world away from the  sound of Jack Cooper’s previous bands. Will Young sits this one out, concentrating on his work with Beak, but How To Live collaborator Jeff Tobias takes a more central role, alongside percussionist Jim Wallis.

Mountain Man

Eight years since the release of their debut, the acclaimed trio Mountain Man return with a cover The trio Amelia Meath, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Molly Sarlé have been doing a series of covers, and their latest is this beautiful, harmony-laden take on Kacey Musgrave’s “Slow Burn.” “We are all huge fans of Kacey Musgraves,” the trio says. “‘Slow Burn’ embodies the magic of the unfolding of life, the power of being present and patient and knowing that sometimes things just take time. Like following a thread—it requires attention and curiosity.”

Mountain Man – “Sings Kacey Musgraves”, Bella Union Records Released on: 2020-05-05

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When piano playing songwriter BC Camplight (AKA Brian Christinzio) drops a new record, the world takes notice. Blending indie rock with lo fi pop sensibilities, his cult following has swollen to breakthrough into the mainstream and both fans and critics alike have been eagerly awaiting the release of his new album ‘Shortly After Takeoff’.

Hopes were raised high with previous LPs ‘How To Die In The North’ and ‘Deportation Blues’, and fortunately the third and final part of what Christinzio is calling his Manchester Trilogy, All three albums were created after the native Philadelphian had moved to Manchester England. Like Deportation Blues, Shortly After Takeoff spans singer-songwriter classicism, gnarly synth-pop and ‘50s rock’n’roll, with Christinzio’s similarly distinctive, flexible vocal carrying a fearless approach to lyrical introspection, but the new album is a major leap forward in songwriting sophistication and lyrical communication.

It certainly does not disappoint. Continuing his aliens account of a Philadelphian’s experience of living in the north west, his idiosyncratic outlook is matched by an equally unique genre defying sound that blurs the lines between synth-pop, folk, country and space rock.

Seamlessly sophisticated, it’s a clever record loaded with witty insights and packed full of ideas without ever becoming too demanding of your attention to prove a point or explore a genre. See BC Camplight when he tours ‘Shortly After Takeoff’ from September onwards.

Taken from the album ‘Shortly After Takeoff’ by BC Camplight, released 24th April 2020 via Bella Union Records.

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UK group Mr Ben & The Bens will release new album “Life Drawing” on July 12th via Bella Union Records. Bandleader Ben Hall says of new this widescreen folk-rock track (which might appeal to fans of Beirut or Pete & The Pirates) it reminded me of the Kinks or the Leisure Society, “‘Watering Can’ is a gently-swaying brassy ode to small town life. I took up gardening recently as our band obtained an allotment and I loved the image of a watering can becoming a metaphor for good intentions. Lyrically the track deals with the themes of lost love, claustrophobia and aspirational dreams that somehow never seem to be realised. The song is the finale of the new album and I wanted it to be that very specific combination of uplifting melancholy.”

‘Life Drawing” will be for Mr Ben & The Bens the occasion for a real change of scale, We will study with all the more interest the rest of the journey of this engaging project, which seems poised to succeed in an unexpected and promising synthesis between the indie classicism of Belle & Sebastian, the eccentricity of the Welsh school (Cate Le Bon, Euros Childs)

‘As woodwind, brass, and twilight-hued acoustic guitars shuffle along, its apparent that Mr Ben & The Bens have a knack for making anything and everything sound delightful… even wistful swathes of melancholy.’

The track is now available online.

Tim Burgess unveils fresh cut “The Mall”

Tim Burgess is back with a further new single “The Mall”, a second taster of his forthcoming album I Love The New Sky.

“The Mall” arrives after last month’s lead single and album opener “Empathy For The Devil”Burgess says of his new single, “The mall is like a state of mind – everything and nothing is there. It induces a kind of torpor. Even the process of going between floors is assisted by moving staircases. Shop windows are hypnotic but you don’t have to take part in anything. Malls are a great leveller – class and status disappear. They are like a waking dream, an altered state. A kind of limbo. Plus they are handy if you need new shoes or a doughnut.”

I Love The New Sky marks a different chapter for Burgess, who wrote all 12 tracks on the album himself. He says, “In the past, I’ve written collaboratively. (2012’s) Oh No I Love You was written with Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner in Nashville, and then Same Language, Different Worlds was a collaboration with Peter Gordon who had worked extensively with Arthur Russell.”

Burgess adds that he wrote the tracks “in Norfolk, in the middle of the countryside, with the nearest shop eight miles away. There are no distractions, and I guess that way things happen. I wrote everything on acoustic guitar, and the chords were really considered. The guitar lines would lead the melody, and the melody would inform the lyrics – just dreaming away with music.”

Tim Burgess’ I Love The New Sky album lands via Bella Union Records on 22nd May,

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As frontman of The Charlatans (or The Charlatans UK in the states) for decades, Tim Burgess has become an alternative rock statesman. Arising in the early ’90s during the thriving Madchester and Britpop crazes, The Charlatans have dipped their toes in a lot of styles over the years, but Burgess has remained an interesting figure and compelling songwriter all these years later. Burgess is also an author of several books and an adept solo musician, and his fourth solo album, I Love The New Sky, which was announced with playful lead single “Empathy for the Devil,” is due out May 22nd on Bella Union Records.

Tim Burgess has brought us a lot of joy this past month or two. He’s spoiling us because his brilliant debut for Bella Union Records, “I Love The New Sky” featuring label fave Peter Broderick no less, is imminent.
There’s a very limited edition of the SPLATTER vinyl with signed postcards

While in The Charlatans, Tim’s indefatigable energy has been a consistent fuel for the band across thirteen high-charting albums, his solo adventure has been no less extraordinary, scaling new heights in 2020 with his fifth solo release to date: it features wonderfully connective songs of everyday minutiae and universal experience, of love and anger, of loss and belonging, all united by elaborate yet natural arrangements and an effortless but deceptively expert way with melody.

I Love The New Sky’ differs from its predecessors in that all twelve tracks were self-penned. “In the past, I’ve written collaboratively,” says a characteristically, but rightfully excited Burgess. “(2012’s) ‘Oh No I Love You’ was written with Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner in Nashville, and then ‘Same Language, Different Worlds’ was a collaboration with Peter Gordon who had worked extensively with Arthur Russell.”

The twelve tunes of ‘I Love The New Sky’ were authored, he says, “in Norfolk, in the middle of the countryside, with the nearest shop eight miles away. There are no distractions, and I guess that way things happen. I wrote everything on acoustic guitar, and the chords were really considered. The guitar lines would lead the melody, and the melody would inform the lyrics – just dreaming away with music.”

So far, so Laurel Canyon, though ‘I Love The New Sky’ would end up sounding anything but hippie/folkie, thanks to a connection Tim made while living in a warehouse space in gritty Seven Sisters in North London, before heading to Norfolk.

“The Quietus had their office there,” he recalls. “I used to know pretty much all the stuff they were writing about, but then their album of the year for 2013 was ‘Glynnaestra’ by Grumbling Fur, and I really fell in love with it. I started talking to the band about working together. To cut a long story short I recorded a song with Grumbling Fur,

Lyrically, this might almost be a defining collection from Burgess after thirty years honing his craft. There’s plenty of typical lightness of touch of ‘Only Took A Year’s joking reference to the album’s twelve-month gestation period,

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I Break Horses is the musical project led by Maria Lindén. From her Stockholm base, the Swedish artist delivered an extraordinary debut album in the shape of ‘Hearts’, released by Bella Union in August 2011. Having last week announced their return via the track ‘Death Engine’, today I Break Horses have unveiled a visually striking video for new single ‘I’ll Be The Death Of You’ from their upcoming third LP Warnings, released 8th May via Bella Union Records

There’s a certain thrill in putting a playlist of your favorite songs on shuffle and eagerly anticipating what comes up next. But as I grow older and less exciting, I’m finding that there’s also a certain thrill in listening to the same song repeatedly—a practice made particularly easy when the song is approximately five minutes long, generally hypnotic, and never really progresses at any point. “I’ll Be the Death of You” is this idyllic type of song in its purest form, comprised of lullaby vocals and flatlined synth beats upbeat enough to never get stale. The softcore homicidal lyrics are pretty cool, too.


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