We Used to Make Things - The Luxembourg Signal - Frida Sundemo - Trupa Trupa - Sophia Marshall - Pale Honey - KLARA

We Used to Make Things - Yes Man (no no no).

Background - We Used To Make Things are an East London based band, the product of a fusion of influences as diverse as ELO and The Beatles, taking in Indie Rock, Punk and Horns along the way to create an explosion of sound, perfectly exemplified by new single 'Yes Man'.

The song is a about embracing the powerlessness inherent in our modern lives before a chaotic and angry eruption of sound rallies us with a battle cry against apathy, a catchy earworm of dissatisfaction.

The band chose a name to hint at their disillusionment with post-industrial Britain but also more personally about a danger that accompanies adulthood, that of losing the ability to play, make mistakes, be creative and ultimately, make things.

The songs on their album are shaped by warm, witty lyrics about dissatisfaction, personal politics, open plan offices and the kind of characters Mike Leigh and Pinter would be proud of. It is in turn funny, poignant and angry, but also very good to dance to. Website here, Facebook here.

'Yes Man (no no no)' is a song with a message & a point to be made. It's also fabulously catchy with determined vocals and a rich musical arrangement, and the video adds just a little more focus on the message at hand.


The Luxembourg Signal - Blue Field.

Background - Luxembourg Signal debut new single and title track from their new album. Shelflife presents the new album Blue Field from The Luxembourg Signal available October 13th on limited edition LP vinyl, CD and digital formats on Shelflife and Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten (for Europe).

With the release of their first single and debut album on Shelflife in 2014, The Luxembourg Signal quickly found a loyal following among fans of dream pop/indie pop music, and received enthusiastic reviews for their pop sensibilities, angelic vocals and lush soundscapes. Since the debut release, the band's lineup of Beth Arzy & Betsy Moyer (vocals), Johnny Joyner (guitars), Brian Espinosa (drums) and Ginny Pitchford (keyboards) has been expanded with the addition of Kelly Davis (guitars) and Daniel Kumiega (bass).

The seven-piece played a handful of shows in the UK and Europe in the summer of 2015 to promote their debut album, including a Sunday evening performance at Indietracks that many cited as one of the highlights of the weekend. 2015 also saw the release of a split 7" single with Soft Science (Test Pattern Records), which featured a remix of Dying Star by Robert Hampson (Loop/Main).

For their follow-up LP, Blue Field, The Luxembourg Signal returned to the studio with engineer Mark Rains and produced an album that reveals a bolder, more developed sound with a darker undertone. The album's first single "Laura Palmer," released on 7" in June, earned immediate admiration from fans across the globe. The new LP also features special guest vocals from Bobby Wratten (Field Mice, Trembling Blue Stars) on the reflective track "Fall Feeling."Website here, Facebook here.

We featured Luxembourg Signal back in May & are pleased to be able to share the new single (& album title track) 'Blue Field'. Smooth, melodic and pretty dreamy, this is a fabulous indie song, leaving me eager to hear the album.


Frida Sundemo - Gold.

Background - Swedish songstress Frida Sundemo has released her brand new single ‘Gold’ ahead of her highly anticipated international debut album Flashbacks & Futures, due on October 6th through leading Scandinavian record label Cosmos Music. 

‘Gold’ features glorious dewy production and evocative orchestration delivering a stunning soundscape surrounding Frida’s enchanting vocals.

Regarding the single Frida says, ‘”Gold’ is about being brave and embracing the beauty of life. It’s about having the courage to risk something that’s ”alright” for the chances of getting something you really dream about.”

‘Gold’ follows the release of previous highly acclaimed singles ‘We Are Dreamers’, ‘It’s OK’ and ‘Keep An Eye On Me’, all taken from Flashbacks & Futures. Frida Sundemo has created a debut of otherworldly beauty and one that is set to meet the expectations for one of the most highly anticipated albums to be coming out of Scandinavia this year. Website here, Facebook here.

The soundtrack is beautiful enough to be released on it's own, however without doubt it is Frida Sundemo's vocals that make this such a wonderful track. Indeed this is one beguiling song!


Trupa Trupa - To Me.

Background - Gdansk, Poland post-punk-psych band Trupa Trupa announce their third LP Jolly New Songs. Today, they release the first single "To Me" via The Quietus, who writes, "Entitled Jolly New Songs, the album sees the band gunning for an overtly more triumphant tone than previous offerings. "To Me" was inspired by the poetry and legacy of poet Walt Whitman. BBC Radio is currently spinning the track as well. "To Me" gives a good taste of what to expect off the full record.

Nothing hurts harder than a surprise ending, and the title track of this album has a real face-slap of one. One minute you’re in bliss, carried away in a crescendo of spine-tingling post-rock guitars and soft, wordless oohs, the next you’re through - the song’s out the door, down the street, pulling away from the curb and into a new life. The overall tone of Jolly New Song is so anthemic and - for this band - uncharacteristically triumphant, only makes having the rug pulled out from under you like this seem so much more cruel, so much more funny. Perhaps the harder the fall is, the more you have to laugh.

Trupa Trupa are sodden in a particularly cryptic kind of gallows humour. This isn’t just down to some glitch in translation - it could be in part due to the band’s art-rock origins and because their singer and guitarist, Grzegorz Kwiatkowski is an award-winning poet in Poland (incidentally, Trupa Trupa themselves have been shortlisted for the Polish equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize). The band’s name in English roughly translates to Corpse Corpse, which sounds like the punchline to some inscrutable gothic joke. You can dance to this album - check out the to-die-for funk groove that propels the Can-like "Falling." You can trip out to it - check out the psychedelic meltdown that mutates the Wurlitzer fairground music of "Only Good Weather" into something dark and psyche-scarring.

Jolly New Songs comes heavily anticipated after their 2015 full length Headache that was released to raves from The Quietus, KEXP, and LA Times. The record will be released via Ici d'ailleurs (Yann Tiersen, Matt Elliott/The Third Eye Foundation, Stefan Wesołowski), and Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records (Jute Gyte, Tashi Dorji, Mats Gustafsson, Katie Gately) with american distribution via Forced Exposure. Jolly New Songs was recorded at Dickie Dreams studio in Gdansk, Poland, and produced by Michał Kupicz (recording, mixing and mastering). It is scheduled to release October 27, 2017. Bandcamp here, Facebook here.

Described as a post punk psych band, Trupa Trupa are certainly living up to that description with 'To Me' perhaps with the psych element most notable around the vocals. Powerful & engaging this is my introduction to the band & it's an impressive one.


Sophia Marshall - Bye Bye.

Background - Sophia Marshall announces debut album 'Bye Bye' out October 6th. Sophia Marshall burst onto the UK Americana scene as one-half of highly acclaimed band The HaveNots (Cooking Vinyl Records), earning praise alongside as an accomplished singer-songwriter within the alt-country music scene.

Having played hundreds of gigs across three continents from the tiniest dives to the grandest theatres, she’s delighted audiences at prestigious festivals like Summer Sundae in the UK and South by South West (SXSW) in the USA with her spellbinding voice and songs.

Highlights include performing Emmylou’s parts at a Gram Parson’s tribute alongside Evan Dando, (and earning the praise of Gram’s daughter Polly) and touring the land sharing stages with some of Americana finest, such as the Be Good Tanya’s, The Sadies and Tift Merrit.  More recently, Sophia joined Frazey Ford on her UK tour, as both the opening act and providing backing vocals for Frazey.

She conjures a sultry sound on her debut album ‘Bye Bye’ that keeps its roots in Americana yet harks back to elements of 90s trip hop. The album closes with an acapella sea shanty that draws a line of influence around the world from British folk to African choirs to the spirituals of the Deep South.

The clever and subtle arrangements, make full use of her intuitive harmony but also incorporate fractured electronics and loops. Her songs take unexpected twists and turns, throwing up unusual chords and timings and marking her out with an originality and quirkiness often missing in UK Americana. With 'Bye Bye' Sophia Marshall sets out her stall as a British songwriter to be reckoned with. Website here, Facebook here.

Distinctly pleasing vocals that are just naturally disposed to Americana are surrounded by a vibrant modern country musical arrangement on 'Bye Bye'. Full of hooks, top notch musicianship and plenty of passion Sophie Marshall will be pleasing a whole lot of people with her October album release.


Pale Honey - Get These Things Out Of My Head.

Background - Two years have passed since Gothenburg-based band Pale Honey (Tuva Lodmark and Nelly Daltrey) released their critically acclaimed, self titled debut album. This year the band will release their second full length album Devotion, a record of real honest and maturity. 

It is no doubt that Devotion was named thematically. Written and recorded together with producer Anders Lagerfors at the legendary Nacksving Studios in Gothenburg, the album offers a snapshot into the changing shape of Pale Honey. Though their sound may be maturing and growing more ambitious, for this album they returned to the process that served them so well as songwriters while they penned their debut. They say the number one motivation was to stay curious about music and try new things; “We didn’t record our debut album knowing what we were doing - we were new to our instruments at that time, and so writing for Devotion was a bit like that. We’ve recorded ideas on instruments we don’t usually play.”

The band have also sought to make Devotion more of a curated experience to its predecessor; “Our debut album included songs that we wrote as teenagers and settled for anything that sounded good. For Devotion, we became extremely picky and left out a lot of songs that are good, but just didn’t fit in together or didn’t feel good enough. It has taken it’s time, two years of touring and writing but we’ve also had some time apart to be able to let ideas come in more environments than in the rehearsal room or studio. As we have pushed ourselves, we have become more confident in what we’re doing and what we like and don’t regarding our music.”

What shines through about Devotion, thematically, is its dealing with relationships on their many different levels, all the way down to the relationship with one’s self. In this way they’ve said the album has been quite therapeutic, and nowhere else on the album is this clearer than on the single track Get These Things Out of My Head. Amongst a swath of distorted guitars and menacing synths are lyrics that deal with singer / guitarist Tuva Lodmark’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, something she has suffered with since her teenage years; “For me, this is very personal to talk about. I even wanted to change the lyrics for the song to be about something else before we recorded the vocals, I was so afraid of what other people would know about me. But after I gave it some thought, why would I censor myself that way? We make music because it’s true. We write to deal with ourselves and things that happen around us. This condition I’ve been in is a big part of me and I want to be true to myself and shed some light on the disease. It’s more common than people think.” Over ten tracks, Devotion proves itself to be a deeply personal album to really get lost in. Facebook here.

'Get These Things Out Of My Head' is one of those songs that skips around rock genres with ease. Hints of punk meet alt rock, or is it new wave, by the time Iv'e tried to place the genre they have moved on again. It's a lot easier just to say the track is full of hooks, natural passion & vibrant energy.


KLARA 'These Woods (Human Made).

Background - London-based Swedish singer-songwriter KLARA has announced the release of her new single These Woods. KLARA self-released her debut Playgroundhouse EP earlier this year, garnering support from the likes of Nordic Playlist, Apple Music 'Best Of The Week' and Spotify 'Fresh Finds:Hiptronix' playlists amongst others. 

Since meeting Justin Vernon of Bon Iver at Glastonbury and being invited over to spend time with him and his musical cohorts at Eaux Claires Festival in Wisconsin in 2015 and 2016, KLARA returned inspired and with a clear vision for her own music. With Bon Iver providing a creative influence, KLARA’s own love for the church-like reverb of bands such as Daughter, the powerful female folk harmonies of First Aid Kit and the bold yet sparse power of the likes of London Grammar have shaped her sound.

In June, KLARA entered Peter Gabriel’s legendary Real World Studios to record These Woods, also produced by KLARA. The beautiful and tranquil setting of Real World provided the perfect ambience for creating a track that is an epic soundscape of luscious strings, heart-wrenching French horns and pounding rhythms, underpinning the emotive piano and beautiful vocals. The recording features an impressive set of musicians including the QStrings and session musicians who regularly perform with the likes of George Ezra, Lianne La Havas and Ella Eyre. The track will also feature on the new Volvo advert which will run throughout September and October. KLARA says; “I wanted to write about my love of being amidst nature – some of my best childhood memories are from being surrounded by forests and lakes in Sweden and I think these early memories shape us as people. Recording at Real World Studios so close to nature was fantastic – I could feel myself connecting more with my lyrics when I was looking out on the water from the vocal booth.”

KLARA has shared stages with the likes of Lucy Rose, Fenne Lily and Clare Maguire across the UK and in September, she will undertake a special live performance of These Woods at the iconic Festival No. 6 in Portmeirion. KLARA has been hand-picked by the festival’s composer-in-residence, Joe Duddell, to perform a unique set with his No. 6 Ensemble, playing new musical arrangements of her songs, including These Woods, especially written for this performance. KLARA is currently working on her debut album which will be announced soon. Facebook here.

A gentle & understated piano opens 'These Woods (Human Made)' followed quickly by some beautiful vocals & harmonies. As the soundtrack adds additional layers, the power gently rises, adding to the emotional feel of an enchanting song.