Who? Yu Su
What? ‘Watermelon Woman’
What they say?
“The whole idea of ‘Watermelon Woman’ comes from the beginning of Herbie Hancock’s ‘Watermelon Man’,” she explains. “I wanted to develop it into this endless fun and very Silk Road sounding thing for everyone to enjoy.” As with all her productions, ‘Watermelon Woman’ has a characteristically organic feel to it: “Most of the dance music I’m into and would play out is heavily shaped by sounds of acoustic music, organic instruments and drumming by humans. Since I started producing four years ago I have been trying to figure out how to make music like this, but never knew my shit well enough to be able to do it until now.”
Why we love it? Bright, inventive and skittering through delightful synth parts, a pot pori of samples and playful loops. Watermelon woman is a statement of confidence, a floor filler of intricate quality.(BC)
FFO: Terry Riley, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Yasuaki Shimizu, Laurie Anderson
Where? York, England
What? ‘I’m Always Lost’
What they say? ‘I’m Always Lost’ buckles up Guided by Voices-esque riffing, the melodic essence of The Byrds throttled by the snarl of early seventies Crazy Horse. Three minutes of perfectly crafted rock and roll executed with the precision of Being There-era Wilco, a hook-laden razor sharp slice of power-pop ; the summer soundtrack for the disaffected.
Why we love it? The Cowgirl production line just keeps on rolling on. ‘I’m Always Lost’ is the first single off what was recorded as their second album. Even if their first long player is still to see the light of day, it proves that their creative work rate shows absolutely no sign of abating as they seam yet another glorious rock’n’roll nugget dripping with sunshine and ennui. (SG)
FFO: Guided by Voices, The Byrds, Crazy Horse, Wilco
Who? Billie Gale
Where? Oakland (US)
What? ‘The Rules’
What they say? The band’s debut album, Imprint, documents the mourning and healing processes Beth underwent after her mother’s sudden death in 2013—even the title is packed with elegiac overtones. Here, Beth is referencing the phenomenon in nature when baby birds imprint the site of their mother, and that visual penetration begins the nature of their connection. “Even though my mother has passed away, her characteristics are imprinted on me, and come up even though she’s not there. It goes back to that cliché that we all become like our parents. But, for me, this is a great gift because I can connect with her even after she’s passed on,” Beth shares.
The album’s first single, The Rules, opens with gorgeous swells of ambient texture supported by a spare bass and drum groove. Here, Beth’s voice is spectral and soulful, like she’s singing from another spiritual realm. The song is immersive and whisks the listener with its imaginative, subtly dramatic arrangement which boasts climaxes of raucous musicality and chaotic atmospherics. The feeling after the tune concludes is pure emotional catharsis.
Why we love it? Floating, dream pop goodness. On ‘The Rules’ Billie Gale’s voice soothes the soul and surges towards the ether.
FFO: Daughter, Wye Oak, Beach House
Who? The Vegan Leather
What? ‘The Hit’
What they say? “I started to write the song from the point of view of myself as a woman of feeling passive and commodified, and only there for other people’s pleasure,” says vocalist Marie Collins of the new track. “I then started to think about how this is also true for artists. Art/music that has real integrity or intrinsic value is often turned into something commercial through the pressure of capitalism. Although there can be no comparison between an artist’s plight to the daily oppression, violence and discrimination of women, I thought it was an interesting way to explore commodification.”
“The name is fashioned from the use of a double entendre by alluding to violence against women, whilst making a reference to the increasing pressures of creating a ‘hit’ song,” Marie explains.
“We thought it was interesting to compare themes of violence and threat with increased societal pressures. It also alludes to just being a ‘hit’ in your everyday life – in your job, relationships and the pressure to be perfect.”
Why we love it? Grooving on a new wave rhythm, and boy/girl vocals. This infectious sparkly synth dappled floor filler houses more weighty themes, like violence against women and the pressure to be a winner in everyday life. (BC)
FFO: LCD Soundsystem, Franz Ferdinand, Talking Heads
Who? Ducks Unlimited
What? ‘Get Bleak’
What they say? Speaking about the track, frontman Tom Mcgreevy says: “There can be plenty of good reasons to leave the place that you’re from or somewhere you’ve made your home for a long time, but I think there’s this “grass is always greener” thing that in my experience, and anecdotally from people I know just isn’t true. It’s hard to move to a new place and you’re still going to be you when you get there with the same issues and hang-ups, plus you’re going to miss the people who care about you and they’re going to miss you.”
Why we love it? Echoing the solid indie rock retroisms of bands like Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, ‘Get Bleak’ is anything but grey and gloomy – instead its a wonderfully simplistic jangle pop tune with added orchestral arrangements.
FFO: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Smith Westerns, Real Estate
Who? Alexander Tucker
What? ‘Energy Alphas’
What they say? The track’s lyrics reference H.P. Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle; a series of short stories and novellas about a vast alternate dimension that could only be entered in dreams, as well as Alan Moore’s graphic novel Providence, drawing on his love of science fiction to create new worlds.
Why we love it? Adeventerous and brave, Tucker takes pop melodies and an array of loops and stretches them to breaking point. A central vocal anchors this voyage into the stars, it burrows its way into your head with abrasive guitar loops and blinking keys. A deliciously experimental earworm that boldly goes where others fear to tread.(BC)
FFO: Pink Floyd, Fuck Buttons, Depeche Mode
What? ‘The Queue At The Chemists’
What they say? Fresh from a secret support slot with New York hardcore punks Show Me The Body last week, London duo CASSELS have revealed the video their new single ‘The Queue At The Chemists’.
Commenting on the single, front man Jim Beck says: “While the last two singles were broadly about animals and plants, this one is about humans. Specifically, about how many of us are now fully aware of the irreparable damage we’re doing to the planet, but are still not taking any meaningful action to prevent it. In reality, climate change is too huge an issue to carry around in our heads every day, and so inevitably pales into insignificance when faced with the microscopic inconveniences and trivialities of modern life.”
Why we love it? Fast , abrasive and all to aware of their deteriorating natural surroundings, Cassels aren’t happy with the current state of things and everyone will know about it.
FFO: False Advertising, BRUTUS, Show Me The Body
Who? Anna Wiebe
What they say? Canadian songwriter, Anna Wiebe just released hr new full-length record, All I Do Is Move. ‘All I Do Is Move’ focuses on cycles, and the mental growth and movement that comes with life’s lessons.”
Why we love it? This exquisitely drawn track from her new album, cycles on growth and transience, Wiebe’s longing refrain ‘take me somewhere new’ reflects the thirst for new experiences and escape. Elegantly drawn percussion, chopping guitar, Wiebe’s homespun melodies and liltingly gorgeous vocals, have a moreish quality, that makes you want to dive into their pools again as soon as the song is over.(BC)
FFO: Big Thief, Angel Olsen