TeenCanteen - The Armoires - Shadwick Wilde - Century Egg - Deva St. John - Caoilfhionn Rose - Saccades - Ryan Downey
To mark the five year anniversary of their lauded debut album, Say It All With A Kiss, Glasgow four-piece TeenCanteen have decided to unleash This Is How It Starts, the collection of recordings that should have been their debut album four years prior. ‘How We Met (Cherry Pie)’ is the lead single from the upcoming album, and it’s the shimmering ray of sunshine that heralded a warranted buzz around TeenCanteen when they formed in 2012; that sugar coated indie pop jangle, the addictive melody and those irrepressible three-part harmonies wrapped up in a sticky sweet tale of new love.
A reimagined version of the track would later go on to feature on their debut album, but this original bright sparky version of the track feels just as fresh as when people fell in love with it on the soundtrack of Karen Gillan led RomCom Not Another Happy Ending. TeenCanteen are Glasgow formed four-piece known for their sticky soda pop harmonies, stomping beats and classic pop sensibilities, they were championed by BBC 6Music’s Marc Riley and went on to release SAY Award long listed album Say It All With A Kiss (2016) and acclaimed EP Sirens (2017).
Lead singer and songwriter Carla Easton said: “‘Cherry Pie’ was that song that just fell out of thin air, I didn’t have to think about it too much, I was just at the beginning of a new romance and was all excited, it’s a total happy, fallen for someone song.
“I think of it as the first TeenCanteen song, it was the first one writing it where I was like “wait a minute I’m onto something here”, it was just exciting, it was the first track that we went “that’s us”.
“It’s a total slushy DIY innocent indie pop love song, it’s not trying to be anything more than that, but I think that’s why so many people connected with it; it’s fun, it’s fresh, it’s raw, it’s exciting, it’s DIY, it’s indie pop and it’s long overdue release.” This Is How It Starts is due August 2021, with a vinyl release from Last Night From Glasgow/HIVE.
===================================================The Armoires - Incognito (Album).
The unique harmonies of Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome combine with jangling guitars, sparkling keyboards, soaring viola, and a singular sense of songcraft to create the essence of THE ARMOIRES. It's sunshine pop with a kick, tapping the rich Southern California pop rock heritage from The Byrds to X and back to hits-era Fleetwood Mac, and melding it with a twist of English psychedelia and postpunk drive. The sweet and sour vocal sound gives life to Broome and Bulbenko's sophisticated lyrics – sometimes funny, sometimes heart-wrenching, always a bit mysterious. It's a dreamlike combination of the warm and the unsettling that's captured ears and hearts wherever The Armoires travel, and is as instantly recognizable as the pair's visual profile: matching paisley attire, spectacles and platinum blonde hair.
The band is widely known as the founders and leading lights of the Big Stir collective, a global concert series and record label dedicated to the musical community based around power pop and similarly styled melodic guitar rock. But The Armoires are an artistic force of their own, constantly reinventing themselves. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the approach taken to their new album INCONGNITO: The record's tracks were released throughout 2020 and 2021 as a series of singles attributed to fictitious band of their own invention. The result is a surprising record of joyful experimentalism and playfulness that loses none of the band's signature sound, but pushes in exciting new directions. It's the band playing dress-up in order to rediscover themselves.
INCOGNITO, like its breakthrough predecessor ZIBALDONE, is a sly exploration of what the pop-rock form can be, but its reach is wider and its vibe looser. The band, completed by violist LARYSA BULBENKO, bassist CLIFFORD ULRICH, and JOHN BORACK in his debut as the band's drummer, is again aided and abetted by an impressive array of co-conspirators from across the global pop-rock scene. It's a testament to the work Bulbenko and Broome have put into nurturing that community, but it's also the sound of a band stretching out and seeing what it can become when all bets are off, and it's only the next step in their strangely compelling journey. What comes next as the typically hard-gigging band looks forward to returning to the stage in the coming months, we can only wait see. For now, as THE ARMOIRES unmask themselves after their undercover experiment with identity, the music testifies to the fact that they're ready for anything.
===================================================Shadwick Wilde - When All of This is Over.
“Everywhere, people were saying, ‘well, when all of this is over…’” says Wilde. “I heard it so many times, it began to feel like a joke, or perhaps a mantra, both hopeful and meaningless.”
“I’ve never been mistaken for an optimist,” Shadwick jokes, “but we have to hold onto some kind of hope if we’re going to make it through the dark days… even if the end of one nightmare is only the beginning of another.”
Wilde recorded the song live in one take, at his home studio on a farm outside Louisville, KY. Longtime friend Diederik van Wassenaer overdubbed the strings from his home studio in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. Rejecting the conventions of genre, Shadwick Wilde’s songs touch each other’s edges, but each brings its own distinct vision, strung together by the common thread of Wilde’s muscular poetry, emotive vocals, and unique style of upside-down, left-handed guitar playing.
Shadwick grew up in San Francisco, Havana, and Amsterdam, astride his mother, activist, poet, and filmmaker Sonja de Vries. At 18, Wilde left high school for an invitation to go on tour as a guitarist for D.C. hardcore band Iron Cross, of Dischord notoriety. At age 23, Wilde entered an addiction recovery program, where he would write Unforgivable Things (2010), his first effort as a solo artist. The self-released demo would go out of print and disappear, but by this time Wilde had gone on to form Quiet Hollers as an outlet for his songwriting. Since 2013, the shape-shifting indie rock collective have released three LPs, toured Europe twice, and criss-crossed North America ad nauseam, all while flying under the mainstream radar.
In 2020, Wilde wrote three albums of new material, recording one of them with Nashville producer and former Wilco drummer Ken Coomer, along with a cast of session players. Another LP he recorded alone, on the Kentucky farm where he lives with his partner, psychologist and visual artist Sarah French-Wilde, and their young daughter. The third is a collaboration with current and former Quiet Hollers members. All are intended for release in 2021.
===================================================Century Egg - Do You Want to Dance?
Century Egg is a band of escape artists. On their debut EP for Forward Music Group, the Halifax four-piece blaze through basement pop jams carefully crafted with the desires of the listener at the front of their minds. The desire to move, to dance and be free of our walls and our traumas. Century Egg creates music to make us free.
Coming hot on the heels of their We Can Play EP, Little Piece of Hair is the band’s loudest, clearest mission statement to date. Boasting a new rhythm section of Matty Grace on Bass and Meg Yoshida on drums, Century Egg is a band reborn. Still present is the dance punk bliss of previous Egg outings, only bolder and brighter. Robert Drisdelle’s guitar swirls and soars like never before, at times channeling Thin Lizzy or the heyday of Rush before landing back at Stooges-esque punk roots.
Vocalist Shane Keyu Song lives front and center at every turn, delivering clear incendiary vocals in both chinese and english. Matty Grace, stalwart hero of Halifax bands, keeps a steady hand on bass duties, keeping the beat driving ever forward, no looking back. Meg Yoshida behind the kit is a powerhouse addition, loud but never too fast, always on time and ever present.
These are songs about finding yourself, understanding your value in the present and celebrating the changes life delivers. This is a collection of songs about dancing and being free and rediscovering the joy in music and our lives, despite the shells around us. Century Egg makes music to remind you to be free.
===================================================Deva St. John - Preacher.
Born in London to American parents and raised in Berkshire, Deva St. John’s sound harbours a true sense of trans-Atlanticism. Bridging the gap between the sleaze and swagger of ‘70s British rock and its much more contemporary American counterpart. Deva succeeds in breathing new life into the blackened lungs of a genre that was struggling for breath.
Both a peerless vocalist and an honest lyricist, there’s a sense of authenticity at play that stems from the lo-fi alt rock production of her recordings. It’s something that in turn bolsters Deva’s lyricism, allowing her to channel her sensitivities into her own brand of contemporary and idiosyncratic alt rock while crafting song that peer under the veneer of modern life to express something fundamentally timeless, a yearning dissatisfaction; rock n’ roll in its purest form.
Her latest single ‘Preacher’ is just that. Three minutes of blistering rock ‘n’ roll that takes aim at those in power and described by Deva as “a fast paced, high energy commentary on the people who run the 'free world’ - and how their methods may mirror the politics of religion” it’s the perfect introduction to Deva St. John for those unfamiliar, and for those that are, it’s a welcome return.
“We don’t live in the land of the free,” she continues, “we live in the land of the rich.”
Manchester singer-songwriter Caoilfhionn Rose (pronounced Keelin) has today shared a new song from her luscious, soulful new album Truly. 'To Me' is about feeling a connection with nature and life.
"I love going on long walks and the healing power of nature is a recurring theme in a lot of my lyrics. I have a very optimistic outlook and I find solace in the small things like being outdoors. I worked on this song a lot when I was away in the Suffolk countryside. A lot of the lyrics came about through improvising over a guitar part by band member Rich Williams. I tried not to over think or complicate the words. It’s a peaceful tune about noticing everything that is happening around you."
Truly moves through a tapestry of curious musical inflections; nods towards folk, jazz, ambient, electronica and even a subtle influence of psychedelia, it never stands still to take a breath, despite its ethereal and delicate core. Out April 9th on Gondwana Records (Mammal Hands, Portico Quartet, Matthew Halsall, Hania Rani), in Truly, the young singer-songwriter has accomplished a body of work that is both sonically and lyrically wise beyond her years.
Co-produced by Keir Stewart of The Durutti Column following Rose’s collaborative endeavours with them on their album Chronicle LX:XL, the musician’s song writing draws from a diverse palette of influences, including Building Instrument, Rachel Sermanni, Alabaster dePlume and Broadcast. Rose also professes to a love for beautiful, stripped back, piano based music, such as Dustin O’Halloran and label mate Hania Rani.
===================================================Saccades - Older Than Tomorrow.
Saccades, the solo project of The KVB’s Nicholas Wood, is today sharing ‘Older Than Tomorrow’, the latest single to be lifted from the forthcoming ‘Flowing Fades’ album due out April 9th on Fuzz Club. Where Wood’s work as half one of The KVB trades in minimalist post-punk/coldwave, his solo material as Saccades marks a journey into escapist psychedelic pop. Following the recent singles ‘Heat’ and ‘Islands Past’, the sublime, 80s-indebted dream pop of ‘Older Than Tomorrow’ features Wood’s KVB bandmate and wife Kat Day on vocals. You can stream the song and its accompanying video here: fuzzclub.lnk.to/tomorrow
On ‘Older Than Tomorrow’, Wood says: “I wrote this song shortly after moving back to the UK from Berlin and it’s about the bittersweet feeling of leaving something behind and starting something new in life and how change can sometimes be good. It’s also about learning to accept the beauty and the flaws in the world around you. Written initially as an acoustic ballad, it ended up in a more dream-pop style with Kat’s added backing vocals. The song title is also a nod to my favourite Byrds album, ‘Younger Than Yesterday’”.
Talking about ‘Flowing Fades’, Wood continues: “I began to properly work on this album after returning from The KVB’s North American Tour in late 2019, my head filled with new inspiration for this project and a clear idea on how this album should sound. I wanted to create something soothing and immersive. Music for escapism, which can be listened to at sunrise or sunset. Even though it’s lighter and mellower than my usual output, I feel like there are strong hints of melancholia in there too, reflecting the world in which it was created.” Whilst songs like ‘Older Than Tomorrow’ and ‘Islands Past’ deal with themes like memory, nostalgia and change, ‘Like Everyday’ and ‘Heat’ are songs about lockdown paranoia and missing live music and life on the road, respectively.
===================================================Ryan Downey - Contact.
Melbourne art-rock artist Ryan Downey shares ‘Contact’ a languorous and atmospheric single with an accompanying cinematic video inspired by films such as Solaris, High Life and Blade Runner 2049, with a subtext exploring the isolation of lockdown.
It’s the second single to be taken from Ryan Downey’s Burke Reid (Courtney Barnett, Julia Jacklin) produced album ‘A TON OF COLOURS’ (14 May on Dot Dash Recordings) following the first single ‘Heart Is An Onion’ which was described as “the Cars fronted by Bryan Ferry” (Sunday Times Culture).
‘Contact’ balances the stylistic grandeur and deep humanness in Downey's raw sophisticated sound, with both these elements mirrored in the single’s accompanying video which was co-directed by Downey and filmmaker Alex Badham. The video sees a space crew - featuring Downey, his band and manager - hibernating in isolation pods, journeying towards an unknown mission but longing only for the touch of loved ones and the reality of the outside world. The poignant visual gives further weight to Downey’s emotional lyrics such as “Hold me like you want to be held when it's almost over" and "If I can't be touched right now, then I need your love."
Touching on our universal experiences of wanting to escape the cabin-fever fatigue of lockdown, the ‘Contact’ video sees the crew find respite from their tedium and heartache in the therapeutic form of futuristic vapour trips that transport their senses to another time and place. As Downey explains "Sci-fi allows us to see our world through a heightened lens, Alex (Badham) and I had a chance with the video to capture the sentiments that a lot of us went through, and are still going through, in lockdowns.” The result is a cinematic video that takes the viewers mind out of this world whilst carrying an emotional punch.