Charli Adams - West Wind - Sea Wolf - Walter Martin - Margot - Fassine - The Hempolics - Aqua Seca

Charli Adams may be a newcomer (I'm quoting below) however 'Backseat' is a confident and imaginative alt rocker of sorts that exudes class. === West Wind share 'River' the band only formed last year however this is a smooth and tight musical excursion that takes dance music close to the border with sophisticated rock. === Four years on and Sea Wolf returns with 'Fear Of Failure' an indie rock song with a good helping of folk sensibilities. === Songwriter and a creative one at that Walter Martin shares the delightful and extremely catchy 'That's All I Need' an exotic song that conjures up so many fine mental images. === From South London we have the five piece band Margot with 'In Your Palm' a dreamy, laid back and lush song oozing class. === Known for their cinematic pop Fassine have just released the rather gorgeous song entitled 'Limbs' - expect a whole load of beautiful musical hooks. === With a stylish video The Hempolics introduce 'Full Of Surprises' a song with some beautifully deep dub and reggae moments, alongside a fresh and more modern feel. === We finish today's selection of new and good tunes with a music video from Aqua Seca and the track 'Slowdrive' a song where decades of rock music come together in a fusion of old meets new.

Charli Adams - Backseat.

Drifting seamlessly into the alt-rock landscape, newcomer Charli Adams excels with stirring lead single Backseat, the first track lifted from debut EP Good At Being Young, out 31st January via Color Study (Haux, Henry Jamison, Rosie Carney).

Growing up around rural Alabama through broken homes and a conservative Christian family, Adams left her life there as a cheerleader at 17 and moved to Nashville to pursue music, setting about creating a wealth of material somewhat unbecoming of her adopted hometown. Evoking comparisons to contemporaries Phoebe Bridgers, Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten with her fiercely anthemic tendencies, the alt-rocker’s songwriting tackles her formative years, and the ensuing friendships and hardships, coupled with romance and heartbreak.

Discussing Backseat, an ode to the tail-end of adolescence, Adams explained: “The night before I was heading into the studio to finish the EP, I was on a drive with two of my friends on some back roads outside Nashville. It was the first time our conversation had ever felt robotic to me, like small talk among close friends. So I turned up the music and put my head out the window and tuned out for the rest of the drive. I went home that night to write Backseat and I immediately felt like it was the missing piece of the EP”.

Live Date: 31 Jan – The High Watt, Nashville (EP launch).


West Wind - River.

Upon the release of lead single River, Ulladulla outfit West Wind set their sights on a golden horizon of their warmly understated and deeply irresistible selection of soulful dance tracks on their EP Sundown. West Wind are a four-piece band who distill elements of funk and downtempo dance genres into a style of dance music that tastefully balances the acoustic and electronic. Producer Marc Andrews and singer Mitch Fa’oa's songwriting dynamic elicits the sensual juxtaposition of deep house escapism and indie- dance approachability. Their EP, Sundown, will be released January 24th, 2020 and supported by an east coast tour. ‘When the wind blows west, where we live the ocean is clean, the weather is crisp and everyone’s having a good time. That’s the vibe we want at our gigs.’ - Marc Andrews.

The single and the other three songs on the EP were produced and recorded independently in Marc’s home studio. River is a crystalline exploration into dance genres as agile guitars and effervescent synths get people moving. The lyrical theme follows the excitement of seduction, contrasted with the downfalls of single life, an emotional flow held only by a focused groove.

West Wind began in 2018, with Marc Andrews producing and Mitch Fa’oa on vocals. After the release of their debut album Vision of Her, the band expanded to include Mark Beasley on bass and Zach Lucas on keys, allowing them to build a live show that gained strong support locally. This larger dynamic allows greater interplay between the Marc’s electronic techniques and the vitality of a supporting band.

Across the four tracks, Perfume with a confident air and raspy melodies, Hollywood’s easy ability to sass a late night workload through to Stay Calm’s chillingly reflective state, Sundown sets a refreshing tone for house sensibilities and soulful desires. The band plan to share this sophisticated sensation on a tour of NSW’s east coast, with plans for Wollongong, Sydney and the Gold Coast to come. The ‘Sundown’ EP by West Wind is out January 24th, 2020.


Sea Wolf - Fear Of Failure.

Los Angeles-based artist Sea Wolf has released a moving new track titled “Fear of Failure”, his first new music in four years. Showcasing lush, indie/folk melodies and carefully crafted lyrics, “Fear of Failure” is a raw, contemplative song that highlights the power in vulnerability and bravery in the face of fear.

“For me, this song is both incredibly personal and very much about the world we live in,” explains Sea Wolf leader Alex Brown Church. “It took a long time for me to get to a place where this song could come out, so it feels really good to finally be sharing it.”

Sea Wolf first captured attention with the breakout track “You’re A Wolf” off the debut full-length Leaves In A River. He has since released two more studio albums and one stripped-down LP, establishing a reputation for his poignant delivery and dexterity as a songwriter and garnering positive coverage from NPR Music, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The New York Times and more. After experiencing several significant life changes, Church returns with his most personal and intimate material to date. The heartbreakingly honest “Fear of Failure” is a breakthrough moment that showcases his ability to gracefully illustrate deep, complicated human emotions, while also offering a sense of hope by the song’s end.


Walter Martin - That's All I Need.

Renowned songwriter and Walkmen co-founder Walter Martin will release his new album The World At Night on January 31st via Ile Flottante Music. Produced by multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman (The National, Hiss Golden Messenger, The War On Drugs), the album is Martin's most richly orchestrated and grandly cinematic collection to date, as well as his most poignant. Today he shared two new songs from The World At Night: "The Soldier," a vivid character portrait sung from the perspective of his 96-year-old grandfather-in-law, and "That's All I Need," a burst of humor and celebration about familial love.

He remarks about "That's All I Need," stating "I guess I just wanted a moment of pure joy on the album. I think it adds depth to the whole album. In my mind it's more about familial love and not really romantic love - more like about a longing to be loved and to be with the people you love."

With sweeping strings and lavish horns fleshing out his spare, understated vocal delivery, The World At Night calls to mind everything from Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits to Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson. Dedicated to his dear friend and late Jonathan Fire*Eater bandmate Stewart Lupton, it balances soul-baring intimacy with sophisticated arrangements as they walk a delicate tightrope between despair and hope, faith and doubt, security and uncertainty. In addition to Kaufman, the album features an all-star cast of musicians including Sam Kassirer and Zach Hickman (Josh Ritter), Stuart Bogie (Arcade Fire, The Hold Steady), Rob Moose (Bon Iver, The National), and pianist Thomas Bartlett (Glen Hansard, Norah Jones).

Lupton's memory looms large on this record and his spirit informs the music in ways both explicit and implicit. Album opener "October" sets the tone from the outset, pairing exuberant music and ominous lyrics about fate and mortality as Martin sings, "The trees have gone bald / Guess the world is getting older / October is here." It's followed by the title track "The World At Night (For Stew)" which grapples with the confusion of loss and draws much of its imagery from a collage that Stewart made that now hangs above Walter's writing desk. In a recent interview with Billboard, he stated, "I'm not really a religious person, but I do believe in ghosts and in magic and in plenty of beautiful stuff that I can't see. Writing this album - and especially this song - was an effort to get closer to that stuff. And to Stew."


Margot - In Your Palm.

South London 5-piece Margot share new single In Your Palm alongside an animated video directed by Jenny Wright, and announce the release of their debut Margotzeko EP which follows on 7th February 2020.

Margot are drawn to what they describe as “melancholy’s softer side”, and of all the tracks on the forthcoming Margotzeko EP, In Your Palm is most indicative of this. A dreamy waltz of a song where the band’s usual fusion of hazy neo-psych, dream-pop and jangle guitar - which pulls influence from Real Estate through to The Smiths -  is replaced with late-night smoky romanticism.

In Your Palm could be a break-up song, with the soft hues of frontman and lyricist Alex Hannaway’s vocal taking on an emotive troubadour tint. However, as with all Margot’s songs which are often bittersweet character studies with an eye on the minutiae of modern human existence, there’s a much deeper social-political undercurrent. In Your Palm is an ode, of sorts, to disillusioned teachers. As Alex expands “It’s about a teacher feeling that their job to teach is becoming untenable due to the outsourcing of schools to corporations driven solely by profit.”

Taking a literal cue from the song’s title, Jenny Wright’s animated In Your Palm is set inside a hand, with the palm a springboard into different locations inspired by the meanings of the lines within palm reading. In Your Palm and the Margotzeko EP from which it is taken was recorded and mixed by Ben Andrewes of Margot at the band’s home studio in Peckham, London and out of hours at a studio in Kings Cross where Andrewes’ works. It was mastered by Kevin Tuffy at Alchemy Mastering.

In Your Palm is released now as a stand-alone digital single with Margot’s debut Margotzeko EP following on 7th February 2020.


Fassine - Limbs.

Cinematic pop creators Fassine return with ‘Limbs’, a typically dramatic and chaotic single that sees the London trio chart heavier, more aggressive waters. With previous acclaim and support from the likes of The Guardian, The Independent, Giles Peterson, Clash and more, Fassine bring back their genre-bending take on alternative electronic music, and it’s even bolder than before.

‘Limbs’ is replete with punishing, reverberating guitars, war cry howls and thunderous drums. Of the track, Fassine say: “Limbs is the warfare waged over someone else’s well-being. The silence of the middle while all around are screaming.’’

While ‘Limbs’ does possess glimpses of the filmic and vivid qualities Fassine became famed for on ‘Gourami’ (2017) and Dialectik (2016), for the most part it shatters any preconceptions you had of the trio. “One limb / give him two limbs / give him something / just wrap your heart around him’’ Sarah Palmer sings on the chorus, her macabre words perfectly complementing the apocalyptic backdrop.

“We try to create small vignettes of people’s lives, their flaws, their strengths, their beauty, their ugliness. We put ourselves in their world, look from their perspective and the songs are our own little plays. Every song we create is a different story tied together by people's consistent inconsistencies", the band added. ‘Limbs’ reveals just how comfortable the band are in this new skin.

Since their last release, Fassine have been busy on our screens, their XTC cover of ‘That Wave’ appeared on the Sky Arts documentary on the seminal band, This Is Pop. Their track ‘Whatever It Takes To Help You Sleep’ played as the backdrop to Netflix’s first feature film Velvet Buzzsaw, and their track ‘Leaves’ was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Queen Sugar.


The Hempolics - Full Of Surprises.

The Hempolics return with ‘Full of Surprises’, the first single from their forthcoming second album ‘Kiss, Cuddle & Torture: Volume 2’, planned for release in April 2020 on their own record label Zee Zee Records via Kartel Music Group. The single has already gained support at radio from BBC 1Xtra’s David Rodigan, 6Music’s Steve Lamacq, Don Letts and 6Music Recommends.

“Musically I wanted to make something completely different to ‘Boss Clock Me Style’, which was one of the singles of our debut album to make it onto the BBC 6Music Playlist,” recalls Grippa Laybourne about what he defines as a “dark, winter Portishead trip-hop meets dub track but with Nubiya’s pop vocals.” Expanding on the production of the song, the renowned mixing engineer and record producer explains, “we used synth bass instead of live bass to create an even darker, dirty sound. Bass leads the way on the track,” he strongly declares.

Filmed in the dark, lost corners of London and directed by Blue Laybourne - known for directing videos for the likes of Maison Margiela X Highsnobiety, Puma and Novelist - the visuals complete the song’s lyrics and its story - perfectly depicting the band’s lead vocalist Nubiya Brandon’s past experience.

“It’s a window into my 17-year-old self,” reveals Nubiya talking about the lyrics she wrote for “probably the darkest and introspective song I’ve written”. Recalling her favourite moment after a party “when all that was left was me and a few close mates,” a time she could stop being “the overly flamboyant person at the party” that wasn’t really her. The title ‘Full of Surprises’ is about people not always seeing the real side of her personality in social situations. “I don’t really party so crazily anymore due to London’s dying venues and house parties being not what they used to be,” she adds, reflecting on a version of herself she’s largely left behind.

The Hempolics’ blend of Reggae, Hip-Hop, Dancehall and Pop has already been heavily supported across UK national radio by BBC Radio1, BBC 1Xtra, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6Music, where the band had three playlisted singles. They went on to have 6Music ‘Album of The Day’ and were subsequently chosen by Liz Kershaw's pick for 'Album Of The Year', after an impressive live session for Lauren Laverne. The Hempolics are Grippa Laybourne (Dub FX, Keys), Nubiya Brandon (Vocals), Dandelion (Vocals), Harry Collier (Vocals, Guitar), Leon King (Guitar), Lorenzo (Bass) and Craig Boorman (Drums).


Aqua Seca - Slowdrive.

Aqua Seca releases their music video for their single, “Slowdrive.” Trent Hankinson and Derek Stewart decided to take on the music scene following the attention they received for the music video for their previous single, “Whipped Cream,” which garnered over 12k views on YouTube not long after its release. The original idea for “Slowdrive” came to Trent a little over two years ago and now the music video brings their vision of a thoughtful night alone to life.

"As the name entails, the song really came to stand for the kind of place of you get to on a long, lonely drive. Alone with your thoughts, just you and the road. Nobody else around, just you thinking things through, really getting deep into your head." - Trent Hankinson

In “Slowdrive”, the audience is introduced to Trent as he walks to his car that is parked on an empty dirt road. The sun is starting to fade into the horizon while Trent puts his truck in drive. He rides slowly into the night, stopping to watch the nighttime take over the sky a few times. Alone with his thoughts, Trent appreciates the time he has to himself with his car, music, and an open road.

The guys have known each other since they were freshmen in high school and have always enjoyed jamming out together in their spare time. At the time that Trent began writing the songs for the upcoming LP, focusing on music was the last thing he should have been doing. He was a full-time student in college with an overloaded class schedule and an internship, with his songs just voice memos he had on his phone. When Trent decided to stop holding himself back from his dream, he reached out to Derek and Jacob to be permanent fixtures of Aqua Seca. Like Trent, Derek and Jacob had other commitments such as a full-time apprenticeship and school. However, the pull towards their music was not something any of them could ignore and now the songs are more than just melodies in Trent’s head and memos on his phone. “Slowdrive” is dominated by the force of Trent’s guitar playing, Jacob's bass, combined with the driving beat of the drums and high-hat played by Derek. “Slowdrive” is perfect for fans of early Tame Impala and Led Zeppelin.

Trent Hankinson (main vocalist and guitarist) is in charge of the entire writing, recording, and production process; and with Derek Stewart (on drums), and Jacob Horne (bass, guitar, and keys) they are ready to take on the music world.