Julian Taylor - Mamalarky - Queasy Pieces

Julian Taylor - Wide Awake.

How do you follow-up a career high point? If you're Julian Taylor — the Toronto-based singer/songwriter who garnered widespread acclaim for his intimate June 2020 solo album The Ridge you double down on upping your game by striving to exceed the creative fruits that have already bloomed from the artistic spark that got you there in the first place.

A lot was going on in Taylor's mind at the time of writing his new song, "Wide Awake." We were all stuck in another lockdown and he was dealing with writer's block, feeling a bit self conscious about himself, his music and about his own life and existence.

There was some turmoil going on in my family and that was troubling me too. Mostly because I felt like it could have easily been avoided and at the same time a few people close to me and some that I used to be close with were going through some huge losses in their lives. I could feel their pain but wasn't able to be there in person. So that was weighing heavily on my mind. I was going through a lot of changes and losses too and they couldn't be there for me either.

There is a universal message of hope and redemption that flows through this song. The line leading up to the chorus says it all really: "There is an abundance of hope that lies within the oceans of time / There's nothing singular about it yet it can clearly be defined."

The universe speaks to us all and it is unfolding exactly how it should be. It's rather insidious of us to believe that we can control it. Rather than try to control, we are all so fortunate to be given the opportunity to follow the path that has been chosen for us by us.


Mamalarky - It Hurts.

Last month, Mamalarky announced their sophomore full-length, Pocket Fantasy, which is due out September 30 via Fire Talk. The album is the follow up to the band's critically-acclaimed 2020 self-titled debut LP, which earned praise from many music sites.

To mark the announce the band shared a single called "Mythical Bonds" that created an immediate stir, earning praise from the New York Times, landing on multiple best of the week lists, and even appearing on a new music playlist from Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. Now, Mamalarky are back with a second single from their forthcoming LP, a track called "It Hurts".

Where "Mythical Bonds" saw Mamalarky in an anarchic and exploratory mode, "It Hurts" shows that the band are equally adept at creating quieter moments, building a mesmerizing whirl of keyboards around a Livvy Bennett's plaintive vocal performance.

"Writing about this song in this context feels extremely meta because the song itself picks at what it's like as a musician to essentially be careerizing your own experiences and emotions," Mamalarky's Bennett explains. "It's pretty bizarre to put out shit that is so personal–like, when someone loves a sad song you wrote it's like...I'm sorry we've been down in the same way? Or, I'm glad you enjoy listening to something that was essentially an intervention that I needed to have, haha.

"'It Hurts' is also a bit about the one-sided narrative of songwriters writing about their lives and relationships, for that to exist out there forever and to be consumed by people who only know the song. I'm always left wondering about the other side of the story when I hear those epic heartbreak songs, we'll just never know.

"There's one line about being 'a poorly drawn caricature,' which is what it can feel like having any of your music deciphered by anyone. The goal is to draw a really moving, poignant portrait though and I feel closer to doing that with every song we put out."


Queasy Pieces - Been So Good To Me.

Queasy Pieces is a new project from one-man-music-making-machine Andrew Anderson; dance music done wrong / perplexing punk / and art rock for the absurd. Imagine if you mixed all your favourite foods together, from ice cream to baked beans, and somehow it still tasted good. Today, Anderson is announcing his debut self-titled album via the sharing of new single 'Been So Good To Me' and as well as new short film, Instruction Manual For The End Of The World. Queasy Pieces is due out on November 18th via FatCat.

A veteran of punk groups like Freak Genes, Hipshakes and Proto Idiot, Queasy Pieces sees Anderson use his DIY aesthetic on music that makes you move. Instead of power chords and fist pumping, this new project leans more on 808 bass hits and dance synths. “When I was 12 I wanted to be Fatboy Slim,” recalls Anderson. “Now, some 25 years later, the dream has finally come true – except I can’t afford to live in Brighton.”

Queasy Pieces self-titled first release came together over the last year, with the songs slowly assembled from fragments of ideas.“ For each song I’d try to write it around a single idea and keep things as simple as possible,” notes Anderson. “I’d come up with a song that only has one lyric, or that uses just one chord. Then I’d do whatever I could to make it sound like dance music. I didn’t know what I was doing, but luckily that didn’t matter.”

It’s been a long road to this point for Anderson, who has played in punk bands since he was 15. His first group Hipshakes were signed to legendary US label Goner Records, and after a US tour he ended up staying in the US and working as a news reader for a local radio station. After returning to the UK he worked as a wedding photographer, aircraft engineer and classical music journalist while still playing DIY music on the side.