Self Esteem – Rollout
‘What I might have achieved/ if I wasn’t trying to please?!’ sings Self Esteem AKA Rebecca Lucy Taylor with emphasis over a popping cyclical beat, it unravels into a fantastic, soul-dipped insidious earworm chorus. It’s a brave statement of liberation from any people pleasing with her music or in her personal life, maybe both. Perhaps influenced by the fact that for a long time Rebecca was dividing her attention, working on painting and prints, and video, as Self Esteem, whilst the day job was writing and performing as one half of Slow Club, but now the music and the day job is Self Esteem too, and Rebecca is revelling in it.
The accompanying video is directed by longtime friend and collaborator Piers Dennis and features Self Esteem front and centre, and indulging her love for choreography and the art of the pop promo.
Self Esteem is currently on a run of UK shows for November and December.
27th November – Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete’s
29th November – London – Courtyard Theatre, The Great Escape’s First Fifty
2nd December – Brighton, The Hope and Ruin
4th December – Leeds, Headrow House (BC)
Skinny Girl Diet – Shed Your Skin
Skinny Girl Diet’s new single ‘Shed Your Skin’ from their upcoming second album Ideal Woman which comes out January 19th on HHBTM Records.
The band won’t even be old enough to drink during their upcoming US tour, and yet Delilah Holiday and Ursula Holiday have been doing this for almost eight years now. Their new album is inspired by Angela Carter and Angela Davis and The Powerpuff Girls their fearsomely visceral single ‘Shed Your Skin’ scratches at the skin with search and destroy, buzzsaw riffs, plundering drums and sneering lyrics, remnants of L7 are trampled through this kick-ass groove that could light up a dirty dive bar jukebox. But it caustically fingers points with a barely concealed rage at being ignored. “Didn’t I tell you where to go?!” they cry; Skinny Girl Diet are kicking the patriarchy in the nuts. They say;
‘We want to make music for girls to feel powerful and liberated…We think the lack of meaningful lyrics and politics in current music is shocking, everyone is too afraid to speak out and would rather sit on the fence. But when little girls feel unequal to boys but can’t process why, a teenage girl sees a diet billboard and feels inadequate or the police stop an innocent black boy because of the colour of his skin; what then? We’re just gonna welcome these forms of oppression with open arms? We think not.’
Remarkably prescient in the week the NME released a very surface and white list of female fronted punks. Skinny Girl spitting the truth. (BC)
Angelic Milk – Celebrate
Angelic Milk, the Saint Petersburg based project from Sarah Persephona, are set to release their debut album DIVINE BIKER LOVER at the beginning of next year on PNK SLM. The delicious ‘Celebrate’ is the second single to be taken from the album. Persephona’s honey-eyed vocals ripple with an incoming wash of heartbreak over deliciously cascading riffs. It’s an exquisite song, a bride recounting her cold feet on the eve of a wedding, catchy, bittersweet and gleaming, it sounds like a more polished brand of C86 as much as it does the work of Alvvays or primetime Cure.
After a few Bandcamp-only releases Angelic Milk signed with PNKSLM Recordings in 2015. The Teenage Movie Soundtrack EP, arrived the following summer before the band retreated to the studio to work on the debut album, which will finally arrive on January 11, 2019.(BC)
The City Gates – Sad Sad Surf
Montreal band The City Gates have released a new video for their song ‘Sad Sad Surf’ that forges widescreen, reverb-drenched atmospheres infused with sighing laments, its the sound of looking at the horizon and pondering on past regrets, the outros final few minutes that echo early My Bloody Valentine, are a thing of crushing majesty. It’s lifted from their second album entitled Forever Orbiter that came out in the Spring and will be finally available on vinyl on November the 28th.(BC)
The Desert – Distract Me
There’s a lot going on in Bristol right now and The Desert is very much part of it. Being positioned as “a cross between Massive Attack and Portishead” helps I suppose. Their previous single ‘Gone’ was identified as the most anthemic on their forthcoming EP (early 2019) while ‘Distract Me’ is more intimate, while still creating plenty of atmosphere.
“’Distract Me’ is about having to face up to a decision you want to avoid. It’s about knowing something isn’t right but not wanting to accept it so instead of trying (and failing) to lose yourself in distraction.”
I like bands that try something different and what distracted me were the three little distractions towards the end of the song after the synths come in. At 3:0, for example, the track stops altogether for half a second and then at 3:18 and again at 3:44 there are two little buzzing sounds that have no discernible relation to the song. They are just distractions. As long as that sort of thing isn’t overdone, it’s clever, and this is. (DB).
The Desert play four shows in December:
5th: The Old Blue Last, London
10th: The Crofters Rights, Bristol
11th: Gwdihw Cafe Bar, Cardiff
12th: The Star Inn, Guildford
Vera Hotsauce – daddy
When I first came across this artist, and song, I thought it was a joke, and especially when I read that Vera’s debut single earlier this year was called ‘Bottoms Up’. American Pie meets Coronation Street.
It isn’t. It’s a lovely song, performed with real passion and an enchanting voice.
Only 18 years old, the Stockholm-based singer-songwriter and Zara Larsson sound-alike has previously been classified as a “cocky pop” artist and ‘Bottoms Up’ with its mildly suggestive video established her as an upcoming starlet in the Trap beat-led R&B arena.
This song is quite different as the centrepiece of a four-track self-penned mixtape, ‘let me show you what love is’ which was released on November 16th. The tape deals with themes of exposure and abandonment and ‘daddy’, reputedly based on a true story, is “a message to the one that was my biggest hero and my biggest love when I was a kid.” (DB).
Alison Sudol – Escape The Blade
Alison Sudol just released her first solo EP under her own name and has shared the second music video from it for the track ‘Escape The Blade‘ a haunting, time-stopping moment of subtle majesty with yearning strings and delicate pianos. Sudol says of the video:
“We filmed this video in stolen moments during the 2016 IUCN World Congress in Hawaii, which I had the honor of MCing, as well as interviewing environmental legends like @janegoodallinst , EO Wilson and Sylvia Earle… it was an unforgettable experience, overwhelming at times, but powerful. Winding our way through the lush island landscape, with the voices of those wise elders in our ears, the need to protect the planet felt visceral, urgent… Hawaii is so fragrant, so surreal under that thick cloud cover, so alive- I could feel the breeze in my bones, the rustle of the thick tropical leaves under my skin…the stars felt so close, almost touchable. I could feel nature breathing into me. I really needed that, at that time in my life – you can probably hear that in the song… I hope you can feel it too, as you watch it.”