Freyja Elsy - DB Armitage - Wy - Sophie Janna - Sara Bug - Let's Be Giants
The debut single Lungs from Freyja Elsy is an epic, yet introspective look at the end of a relationship.
Freyja Elsy is an independent singer songwriter and composer with a nomadic past and a sound that pushes into the future. Creating songs with a keen ear whilst pursuing music education, she found herself within the vibrant, engaging Cardiff scene. Through both outside musical influence and internal personal conflict she started to establish a clear identity, forging a path forward to create ‘Lungs’, her first single.
Based around very real, very intimate voice recordings, ‘Lungs’ starts small and reserved, fragile in its form and structure. The track slowly unfolds and develops into rising crescendos alongside uncompromising percussion. A mixture of glitchy synthesisers and rising strings interweave around Elsy’s voice, which sits unwavering and steadfast. Her bold lyrics are strong in the face of a contrasting anguish found in the recordings nestled within the music.
With other musical endeavours in the form of collaborations within the band Blue Amber, alongside orchestral compositions performed by members of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and thematic interludes created for commercial use - this single is her first, strikeout release and sets the course for a prolific career ahead.
===================================================DB Armitage - Lovelow.
Lovelow is the forceful dark wave/art pop debut from DB Armitage, the stage name of East London-based multidisciplinary vocalist and video artist Dalma Berger.
Revolving around the bitter end of a love story, Lovelow authentically captures mourning as themes of inevitable hurt, imbalances between lovers, and heartfelt sadness ultimately collide with self-empowerment.
Each song in the brilliantly produced synth-fueled EP tells a different story about power and vulnerability. While “Old Bones” is about an active choice and open rebellion against heartache, “Last Summer” and “Lovelow” find Dalma learning lessons about her own womanhood after a problematic break up.
Accompanied by a dark and dynamic visual co-directed by Berger and Gareth Phillips (whose previous credits include The 1975, Wolf Alice and Pale Waves), the "Lovelow" video captures Dalma dancing and fighting with the dazzling Emma Holty, expressing nuances of love and hate.
“Expressing vulnerability excites me as a songwriter as I’ve never really explored this territory before,” says Berger. “I’ve picked these three songs because they are all coming from the same state, the state where love is low.”
Wy - God's Lamb.
Wy are a band strongest at their most vulnerable. The Malmö indie duo, Ebba and Michel Gustafsson Ågren, have showcased their musical skills across two albums, 2017’s Okay and 2019’s Softie which gained them recognition from KEXP, Line of Best Fit, NBHAP, Tonspion, CLASH and more as well as tours in Germany, Scandinavia and the UK. But what makes them stand out as a band is the raw, brutal emotion they capture in their music.
A Wy song at their best sounds like opening it all up, and letting the feelings flow where they will, letting the pain, anger, fear, hope and love steer the song. Those emotions are spun into the band’s skyscaping, cinematic sound, and turned into music that has a force behind it, a power that hits you, even when it's at its softest. And that power that illuminates the band’s songs is more present than ever on their new album Marriage which is out on May 7th, God's Lamb is the last single and comes alongside a video directed and recorded by the duo themselves.
Marriage is the first record since signing to Rama Lama Records (Melby, Steve Buscemi's Dreamy Eyes, Chez Ali etc.) and the sound of Wy moving forward and backwards at once. Leaving the more produced style of last album Softie behind, it turns to the simpler sound of their earlier work for music that’s rawer and sharper. On both the indie-rock and the pop songs of this album, there’s less between the listener and the heart of the song - this is music that’s very direct, both in theme and sound, with melodies that hit cleanly and leave nothing even trying to hide. It’s the work of a band that have grown into themselves and what they do, and making the strongest songs of their career.
That album, in a way, begins with a wedding. Ebba and Michel have been together since their schooldays, but a couple of years ago they tied the knot. The songs on Marriage have all been made since their wedding, and so in that sense the timing made it a natural title for a record that’s something of a scrapbook from the first two years of that marriage. But there’s also a deeper sense to it. Both in sound and theme, Marriage is more of a conceptual record than their earlier work. Ebba writes the band’s lyrics, and on the previous albums her themes were specific to her. But on this album, their relationship is at the heart of the songs. The lyrics have come from the experiences they’ve shared together, which they’ve then worked together into what they want to say, to each other and to everyone else. “I have always written the lyrics”, says Ebba. “But this time they feel like our lyrics, and not just my diary set to our music. We've talked a lot with each other about what we want to say. About who we are and where we can find our place in the world. The title has been in place since we started, and that was because a lot of the songs revolved around our relationship since we got married. Not so much the relationship between us, but more about the internal conflicts that appear when you’re in a long-term, safe relationship, where you’re really sure about each other, but you’re not sure about yourself”.
The journey to the record has been a difficult one. The band started work on Marriage not intending to make an album. They went into the studio with the idea of making an EP, wrote some songs, but couldn’t quite nail what they were going for - the songs didn’t quite feel right together. So they went into overdrive, wrote a bunch more songs, and suddenly found themselves with over 20, and within those 20 what they realised was an album.
===================================================Sophie Janna - Wide World.
Sophie Janna today releases her new single ‘Wide World’. Sophie describes her song as an hymn for the modern age. Quiet vocals and beautiful sounds make the single very refreshing to listen to.
Sophie says about 'Wide World': “This song is about not daring to tell someone that you love them. I've always been scared to express how I feel and I've spent most of my life so far pretending to be stronger and more independent than I really am. Only in music I dare to show my emotions. With this song I tried to tell someone what I didn't dare to say out loud: that I wanted them to stay with me, preferably forever, and not to go home to their own country. I was feeling all this and picked up my guitar to play a traditional song that I love - I'm a folk musician and I often play songs that are more than a hundred years old. Singing such old love songs gives me comfort, because they remind me that so many people before me have felt the same way. But when I strummed the first few chords of the song I intended to play, other words came up and formed this new song instead. "
The west Frisian Sophie Janna lived in Scotland for a while, discovered traditional folk there, and since then can be found every week at the folk sessions in her favorite cafe in her hometown Amsterdam. You can hear the influences of Scottish and Irish ballads well in her own songs. With a clear, sensitive voice and subdued strumming, she sings comforting songs that make you forget where you are for a moment. After her debut album 'Laurels', with eleven bittersweet traditional songs, Sophie Janna has now released her first EP with her own work, in which she is clearly influenced by artists such as Iron & Wine, The Weather Station, Anaïs Mitchell, and Sandy Denny.
During her solo career, Sophie Janna has performed on various stages worldwide. She was the opening act for Small Houses and she toured through Germany and America. She has also performed at many (international) festivals, such as The Brave, Tandem, Offbeat, Nest Collective Campfire Club and Knockengorroch. These are just a few examples of the highlights of her career.
===================================================Sara Bug - Ride On Sundys.
"It’s a play on words I guess. Sitting inside writing on a sunday afternoon instead of out in the sun driving or riding or at the lake with my friends. Ride on Sundys is about the guilt of being sad and trying to bandage it with isolation."
The ten songs on Sara Bug’s forthcoming self-titled debut album were not meant to be shared. A culmination of seven years of her life, these songs were journal entries that reckoned with defining herself. Growing up in New Orleans, Bug imagined herself to be a successful songwriter. “I was so deep in the music. ‘Oh, I'm going to be a famous musician. When I get out of high school, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go have a career in music,’” she explains. “I think I held on to that for so long, I had finally kind of let go, like that pressure. Now it was just fun.” This eponymous project embodies Bug’s journey away from the expectations of others and her younger self, allowing her creative freedom.
Sara Bug opens with a lush, symphonic ballad about desire. “My whole life through, I want to die with you,” she sings tenderly on “Die With You.” Romantic and a bit morbid, Bug opens with the oldest song on the album and takes us to that time when the urgency of her happiness began pushing against the pressure of others’ approval. It's easy to get lost in the dreamy guitar strums and sturdy bass lines, Bug’s voice sharp and clear against the country-psych rock combination. A close listen reveals that Bug is letting the listener into the most poignant moments of the past years with sincerity and ease. She takes us on reflective motorcycle rides, whether literal or desired, for “Rosebank” and “Ride On Sundys.” She details the loss of a family member and a trip back home from her then-residence in New York on “Lotta Pride.” Inspired by the detailed storytelling of Dolly Parton and Neil Young, Bug leads across state lines and along her timeline of personal growth with unconventional, vivid song structures.
===================================================Let's Be Giants - I Don't Mind.
There’s a ‘beauty in tragedy’ and ‘dreaminess to heartache’ that Canadian multi-instrumentalist Esther Spiegelman — and group Let’s Be Giants — weave into their encapsulating new single, “I Don’t Mind”. Landing ahead of the Montreal-based band’s forthcoming album, Fade In / Fade Out, the song features simple lyrics with a profound message; Spiegelman both implores you to listen, and also hear what she’s feeling, what she’s wishing, and what she's needing.
Drawing on the nostalgia of 90s soundscapes — think Liz Phair asking Dolores O’Riordan to the dance, only to find out that Mazzy Starr was the opening band — “I Don’t Mind” lulls you into memories of heartbreak, but with an air of hope that you’ll survive this, too. Having fronted several outfits over her tenure as a singer/songwriter, it was Spiegelman’s assembly of Let’s Be Giants where she found her niche. After recruiting Jeremie Dallaire on guitar, Matt Wozniak on bass, and Simon Pesant on drums, songs Spiegelman had started penning began to take a life form all their own.
“Esther often writes songs about being in her own head, and in her own world, where she can view things the way she wants to,” says the band. “As an introvert, she writes a lot about what goes on in her mind, and often references not wanting to go out into the real world.
“‘I Don’t Mind’ is the perfect example of that,” they continue. “It’s especially the ‘I don’t mind, change my mind’ lyrics that provide listeners with the possibility of change and hope.”
As a song that delves into the core of ‘human spirit,’ and challenges it to leave it all on the dance floor, the subsequent music video is another brainchild of Spiegelman where she found her creativity not only in song and on screen, but also behind the lens.