Our Girl – Our Girl
Our Girl revealed their brand new single ‘Our Girl’ this week, a live theme for the three-piece; it’s a big-hearted gaze laced cracker, that see-saws between yearning, questioning refrains and stamping frazzled fuzz, it’s fantastic. The first single since they released their self-titled debut EP in November 2016. Soph Nathan explains, “Our Girl was the first song I ever wrote, the first song we played together, and the first demo we ever recorded and shared with people. We ended up naming the band after it! So this song feels like the perfect re-introduction to everything we’ve got coming.” The trio, who formed in Brighton but are now London-based, began the recording of their debut album in September 2017 with Bill Ryder-Jones (The Wytches, Hooton Tennis Club). ‘Our Girl’ is the first taste of those album sessions. (BC)
Frøkedal – Believe
“The coolest woman in Norway” (at least according to the Norwegian Ambassador to the UK), Anne Lise Frøkedal returns with a new single, ‘Believe’ in advance of her second album, which is scheduled for release in autumn 2018. It is the third since her 2016 debut album Hold on Dreamer, which was Norwegian Grammy-nominated. The writer witnessed a show on the supporting tour for that album in a Manchester pub during which she was treated to a spontaneous Flamenco dance by participants at a hen party during a performance of her most serious song. Her reputation for “cool” was fully justified on the night.
Frøkedal rarely challenges you with her songs but has developed a semi-psychedelic folk style of her own, a trademark gold-coloured Fender Telecaster combining perfectly with violin on most of them. She doesn’t disappoint on this one, which concerns “different ages or stages in our lives when our vision gets a little blurred.” (DB)
Sykur – Loving None
Icelandic electro-pop dance act Sykur (‘Sugar’, but not in cubes) last toured the UK getting on for five years ago and blew away just about everyone who saw them at a handful of gigs and a festival – Kendal Calling. They compose in both English and Icelandic, choosing which language best suits the song as they are writing it.
Their latest single, ‘Loving None’ is part of a package of new work (they have so far released only two EPs since 2009), and is a little more sedate than their usual output.
The song again showcases the amazing chops of vocalist Agnes Björt Andradóttir, albeit in a toned down and slightly soul-ish manner – she can sound like a foghorn, in the nicest way – compared to previous efforts such as ‘Curling’, ‘Strange Loop’ ,’Reykjavík’, ‘Messy Hair’, and ‘Battlestar’, and is allied, as ever, to big melodies, memorable synth riffs and interesting beats. (DB)
Mike Granditsky – Speed Street
Mike Granditsky has been a recording artist for 35 years since his first incarnation with The Quiet Men and has more elements to his work than there are in the Periodic Table. If he ever had a focus, it was on punk. Only recently has he recorded under his own name, with his 2012 debut album MG
The follow-up, MG2, was released in his native Sweden a couple of years ago but in the UK and a host of other European countries only on 16th February this year. He is currently working on two further albums, 4 and 5. The absence of 3 is unexplained but that’s symptomatic of Granditsky, a fascinating character who divides his time between music and social work and who could, visually, have stepped right out of a Stanley Kubrick film.
The connection is deliberate as the video here for this track, ‘Speed Street’, was partly filmed on location in the southern underpass between Trinity Road and Swandon Way in Wandsworth, South London, that was the site of the ultraviolent opening scene in Kubrick’s classic movie A Clockwork Orange. The song really comes alive with the overtly Bowie-like bridge from 3:15, an artist with whom Granditsky is increasingly if belatedly being compared. (DB)
The Altered Hours – Over The Void
Irish band The Altered Hours have announced details of a new EP On My Tongue, set for release 09 March 2018 on Art for Blind/Penske Recordings. ‘Over The Void’ is an urgent plunge into the abyss on the back of swirling guitars fast-paced percussion, “What did you say to me?” sings Altered Hours singer with the frustration in the face of a blankness. A conversation started but not continued. The blind faith of the pilgrim who keeps seeking but does not know why convinced nonetheless and set alight by the unknowable.
The accompanying video for ‘Over The Void’ was directed by Helio Leon, cinematography by Izabela Szczutkowska & Helio Leon & edited by Afghaniscan (Robert Watson). (BC)
Omaloma – Bubblegum
Playful and lysergic pop from Omaloma, ‘Bubblegum’ is redolent of the multicoloured lcd inspired trippy psych of the Primals or the Stone Roses with a bright imagination that reminds one of the Super Furry Animals. It’s his second single on North Wales label Cae Gwyn Records and it’s a trippy delight. You can catch him on tour with Gwenno this Spring. (BC)
Chrystal – 2 Real
Bolton born vocalist and producer Chrystal new track ‘2 Real’ out on 37 Adventures is a superb, swaying earworm with an infectious baseline and popping beat while Chrystal’s hypnotic rhyme conjures up memories of the old and new school of hip hop and RnB, at once. Filmed in her hometown of Bolton, the video is close to home for Chrystal in more ways than one. Featuring her sister Carmel and cousin Erika, the ‘2 Real’ video is a glimpse of Chrystal’s life in Bolton, with scenes shot in her house, the Bolton arches, Crommy Lodges, Bridgewater Mill and Chrystal’s favourite spot overlooking the town. “When we filmed the video I wanted to show Bolton in a positive light as I feel sometimes it’s not portrayed that way,” says Chrystal. “We went to some of my favourite spots around the town from growing up to now.”
‘2 Real’ follows her debut track ‘Waves’, a co-production with Nao and Bonzai co-conspirator John Calvert, and ‘New Shoes’, produced in collaboration with 169, her collaboration with John Calvert, and was mastered by Mandy Parnell, the Grammy-nominated sound mixer known for her work with Bjork, Aphex Twin and Jamie xx. (BC)