Fontaines DC – Chequeless Reckless
A tip-off from our old pal Andy Von Pip’s ace Spotify playlist, Irish group Fontaines DC are a new name to me but have made a big impact with just one song. Echoey, visceral post-punk rhythms, urgent guitars and topped by frontman Grian Chatten’s absolutely incendiary sneering diatribe about phoneys and money being the root of evil all delivered in a thick Irish accent that couldn’t care less, couldn’t give an arse whether you agree or not it’s an attitude that recalls Mark E Smith. Intersecting the sound of The Skids and PiL’s ‘Public Image Limited’ taking a detour to Dublin. Bold, bolshy and abrasive and exactly the kind of defiant soundtrack to this era of corrupt capitalism of gentrification, compromised leaders and corporate greed. THIS IS F*CKING GREAT. (BC)
Port Cities – How To Lose You
Port Cities is a Halifax-based (Nova Scotia, not West Yorkshire) trio that makes resplendent dream pop with a Nashville influence, a cross between First Aid Kit and Beach House and with just a hint of a suggestion they could shift easily into anthem territory.
The name arises from the idea that a port city is a place where cultures and histories collide, and the band itself is a coming together of three individually creative musicians from Nova Scotia – Carleton Stone, Dylan Guthro and Breagh MacKinnon who did not set out to be a band but who coalesced through appreciation of each other’s music in the expectation they’d quickly disconnect again but didn’t.
Port Cities release their self-titled debut album on 23rd March, this track, ‘How To Lose You’ is presumably on it, and they are undertaking a short UK tour right now. (DB)
Fenne Lily – On Hold
Bristol-based Fenne Lily made an appearance in Tracks of the Week prior to Christmas and returns with an official video for the title track from her soon to be released debut album, On Hold (April 6th). The self-directed, DIY video project has Fenne roller-skating around London on a mission of random acts of niceness, handing out red roses and taking a tumble. The idea is that it’s “a thank you for the warmth of the world when I was at my lowest.”
Anyone who is familiar with her will know that she sings very softly, sadly, and in an elegant and beguiling manner. Apparently, the sadness, usually a result of heartbreak, disguises anger, the emotion that feeds most of her work. As she can’t sing angrily, she does so sadly instead, but with no “fannying about” as she puts it. The album chronicles the break-up of her first significant relationship and the pain that followed. (DB)
Magic Wands – DNA
LA dream pop duo Magic Wands have revealed their new single ‘DNA’, which is out on Friday. They have also announced their new album Abrakadabra will be released on 15th May and a UK and European tour in June.
Skirting the edges of dream pop and post-punk ‘DNA’ is a thrilling marriage of wistfulness of Beach House and the tugging hooks of Warpaint. Magic Wands are Dexy and Chris Valentine who formed the band in 2009 between LA and Nashville. The band have released two albums, Jupiter and Aloha Moon, with tracks remixed by The XX and Crystal Fighters, and ‘DNA’ follows recent track ‘Loveline’. (BC)
Vive la Void- Red Rider
Sanae Yamada is the keyboardist for Moon Duo and she will release her debut solo album as Vive la Void. The self-titled release is out May 4th on Sacred Bones and today she has shared the first track and accompanying video, ‘Red Rider’.
As Vive la Void, Yamada crafts simmering elusive melody buried amidst a pretty yet weird soundtrack. An undulating kaleidoscope where synth-pop textures are pieced alongside psych flourishes and avant-pop music, simmering with a mystery and alluring affection for a moment. Vive la Void has shared a video for ‘Red Rider’. The video is a collaboration between the experimental playwright and theatre director Tina Satter (of Half-Straddle), filmmaker Nick Zeig-Owens, costume designer Enver Chakartash alongside Sanae Yamada herself. The project was conceived of as an incarnation of inner life as a physical place and plays with the idioms of music videos, dance, fashion, and feminine identity. It’s about getting pulled into an obscure geography of the psyche and wandering among the unexpressed iterations of self that hang around there – the garden of hidden reality and its denizens. (BC)
Snail Mail – Prinistine
Snail Mail, aka 18-year-old Baltimore singer, songwriter Lindsey Jordan released her gleaming bittersweet first track ‘Pristine’ this week lifted from her debut album Lush, out June 8 on Matador. “Don’t you like me for me? Is there any feeling better than coming clean?” sings Jordan over brittle chords, with the pain of someone who wants more, wants it all, wants to be loved. It’s the work of a nascent songwriter with so much potential and talent.
Her lyrics cut through the messiness of growing up with insight and humour: the trends, awkward house parties, sick-to-your-stomach crushes and heart-wrenching breakups. Since the release of her debut EP, Habit, in 2016 at the age of sixteen on local Baltimore punk label Sister Polygon (run by members of the band Priests). In the time that’s elapsed, she’s graduated high school and toured the US, opening for the likes of Girlpool, Priests and Waxahatchee as well as selling out her own headline shows. (BC)
Lily Beau – Treiddia’r Mur (‘Tear Me Down’)
Young Cardiff singer-songwriter Lily Beau released her debut single through Newsoundwales Records a few weeks back.
‘Treiddia’r Mur’ (English title ‘Tear Me Down’) is a piano ballad recorded with a full band and is a song about coping with homesickness and life away from home and friends. A gorgeously elegant piano-led song draped in Lily’s graceful vocals laced with a longing, soul and a meticulous melody that will rush through your body and swell your ribcage. Having an active performer of her own songs since the age of 12, Lily has been making a name for herself on the live music circuit in South Wales, and is now establishing herself in London.
‘Treiddia’r Mur’ will be released in Welsh and available from iTunes and all other platforms. On her debut single, Lily commented:
“Composing ‘Treiddia’r Mur’ helped me cope in a situation I had never before experienced. It celebrates both my love for home and the comfort it evokes within myself; it also gave me a chance to relieve these feelings of loneliness where I felt I had no one to turn to. Wales will forever be my home and I cannot wait to come home.” (BC)
Follow our tracks of the Month on Spotify: