Mall Girl - Neska Rose - Dot Allison - Owen FitzGerald
Superstar, the debut record from Norwegian art-pop outfit Mall Girl, represents an exciting new chapter for the buzzed-about band. The release follows a string of successful singles, including album tracks ‘Bachtap’ & ‘Bubbly Cool Drink’, which introduced them as an act to watch in the alt-pop arena. Their debut album is scheduled for release on April 29th via independent label Jansen Records.
Recorded at Studio Paradiso in Oslo with long-time collaborator Marcus Forsgren, Superstar runs the gamut of emotions and moments of reflection on our fleeting experiences. On their new single, 'For Hannah', the band say:
"All the feelings and thoughts you hide from the other person in a relationship, where do they end up and what will they lead to? As life keeps on moving forward towards an uncertain future, you sit and wonder what your desires are in the midst of all the uncertainty. These questions are the story told in this song: “Who will catch me if I fall? Will you run if things get too tough? What are your true, inner desires?” And until you get your answers you’ll sit down, observe the world around you and try to find as much comfort in the future unfolding before your eyes."
Members Iver Armand Tandsether, Hannah Veslemøy Narvesen, Eskild Myrvoll and Bethany Forseth-Reichberg were forced to get creative when the pandemic hit, sidelining best-laid plans to flesh out some songs before heading into the studio together.
"Because of COVID regulations and the four of us living in two different cities, we changed the way we worked with the songs quite radically in the months leading up to the studio recording,” Narvesen says. "We’ve always been very oriented towards the live performance of the songs, including when we compose them together in our rehearsal space. That way of working has led to some challenges when recording, as you end up listening to the songs in a different manner and might figure out you should have done everything differently."
While others put their creative endeavours on hold, Mall Girl opted to try something different. Many of the songs on Superstar were tracks that the band regularly performed, but they wanted to seize the opportunity to evolve their sound even more.
==========================================================================Neska Rose - Pick Me.
Singer, songwriter, and actress Neska Rose has released a brand new single called “Pick Me”, an upbeat, guitar-driven pop song that shows off both her natural charisma as a performer and her knack for catchy and relatable songwriting. The song is accompanied by a music video starring Neska and her twin sister Libi Rose, who frequently collaborates with her sister on music and whose voice can be heard harmonizing with Neska on the song.
This new song follows her debut single “Done” from 2020 and an EP in 2021 titled The Repel Of A Young Girl, both of which Neska wrote and produced herself. In addition to her music, Neska is making waves as a comedic actress, featured as the recurring character Gertie on the Nickelodeon high school mockumentary Drama Club and will soon be appearing in a climate change anthology series “Extrapolations” from Apple TV alongside a star studded series cast that includes Meryl Streep, Matthew Rhys, Marion Cotillard, Eiza Gonzalez, Tobey Maguire, and more.
The song and music video are both centered around, as Neska puts it, the “need to feel like you’re being heard, that you want to be picked”, with the video literally taking place at a theatre audition as Libi plays three different characters who are all trying out for a part. As each one of these distinct characters played by Libi dances across the stage with Neska, you get a real sense of not only the strong performing chops these young women have already developed, but also the natural chemistry they have with each other as siblings.
==========================================================================Dot Allison - Love Died in Our Arms (Lee Scratch Perry Remix).
Dot Allison follows the critically acclaimed Heart-Shaped Scars - her first solo album in a decade -with a remix of "Love Died in Our Arms" by the late Lee 'Scratch' Perry, the final project of the legendary producer's career. Perry’s remix serves as the first single for the upcoming Entangled Remix EP, a collection of reworkings of favorite tracks from the critically acclaimed album.
Along with Lee "Scratch" Perry's mix the EP features contributions from Saint Etienne, Anton Newcombe, Lomond Campbell and The Anchoress. Saint Etienne have always had close ties to Dot, thanks to their mutual ties to Heavenly and Andrew Weatherall. Anton Newcombe is a fellow singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist and has collaborated with her recently on their work for the soundtrack to the TV series “Annika.” Lomond Campbell, a BAFTA-winning songwriter and shortlister for the Scottish Album of the Year Award, combines his ambitious creative spirit with Dot’s poignant lyricism. And The Anchoress, who has performed and collaborated in the past with renowned acts such as Simple Minds and Manic Street Preachers, brings her wide range of experiences to reimagining a never-before-released song from Dot.
Dot says, “I titled this ‘Entangled Remix EP’ to tie with “Heart-Shaped Scars” but also in a way the slightly disparate influences on the EP spanning decades from when I was first influenced by dub music & did a remix for St. Etienne to Anton in Berlin & the Anchoress now.
Of all the tracks on the Entangled Remix EP, none hold a greater importance than Lee “Scratch” Perry’s remix of “Love Died In Our Arms,” the final work of his long and storied career. Perry works brilliantly as he always has within the framework of Dot’s original song, weaving his signature dub beats into the music without distracting from Dot’s moving singing and songwriting.
Themes of dissociation are some of the major conduits running through Owen FitzGerald’s work. Somewhere in the narratives and world-building vignettes the characters that inhabit the universe of A deep clean you can count on! start with or wander deliriously into a state of bewilderment with the relationship to their own bodies, the utterly de-centering experience of being head-over-heels in love, the secret language of animals and plants and the atomization that the grist-mill of modern life inflicts.
Blundering through existential crisis after crisis, FitzGerald’s gives us a few anchors that tie us back to the physical space: feeding the dog, the biomechanical synchronization of a lover’s breath, the office politics of forest animals and core memories of singing out loud with friends. Musically, FitzGerald invites us to follow the breadcrumbs in the labyrinth of his knotty, surrealistic and, often, very funny and very dismal brand of Country music.
Based out of Durham, North Carolina FitzGerald’s shift away from his moniker Jokes&Jokes&Jokes towards his Government name in 2020 feels more like a person getting to know themselves rather than a magician revealing the false bottom or other pair of legs. Musically FitzGerald shares a similar bent trajectory of expressing the existential and the ineffable through the hard-scrabble and unlucky characters that populate these nine songs. Glenn Campbell, Bill Callahan and the spectre of John Prine figure heavily. The trinity here seem to guide the album’s neat strummers into the Chamber-Folk and further into Free-Jazz inflected. Meanwhile FitzGerald’s incredibly strong songwriting cuts a broad swath of rich purple velvet connecting him to contemporary outsider-Country artists like Cass McCombs and Simon Joyner in their surrealistic poetry and punch-in-the-gut one-liners.
Of these songs, FitzGerald writes, “These nine songs are like school pictures. They are wallet-sized portraits taken between 2006 and 2016. The songs on “A deep clean you can count on!” are frightened, sad, confused, bewildered, dislocated, hopeful, and hopeless. They’re emotional snapshots. Sometimes I can’t recognize myself in the songs. Other times I’m so swept up that I’m carried back in time by strong, old feelings. I’m hungover and doomed. I’m an unfixable thing that hurts other people. Whenever you find an old picture of yourself in a yearbook or a sock drawer I hope you feel happy to be where you are. More than anything else, that’s how this record makes me feel.”
What was it about the past not being done with us or time being a flat circle? By opening up every drawer and dawning the elbow length rubber gloves and grabbing the Ajax, FitzGerald leaves no stone unturned in his psyche and no dark corner unexplored. Yet, everyday our dog tracks mud on our freshly cleaned floors and our dead skin cells sluff off on our sheets when we sleep. FitzGerald seems to be saying that maintenance, routine and the courage to stare yourself deep into the eyes and cry and laugh at all the dumb shit we did, is the deep clean we can count on.