Rogue Jones - Someone - Beans On Toast - Mary Anne's Polar Rig - Helene Cronin
These two tracks are possibly the most crystalline and pure expression of the album’s main theme – Bethan and Ynyr’s experiences of parenthood. They’re also good pop songs – so they felt like an appropriate AA-side.
1,2,3 - Like much of the album, this song was initially composed by Bethan on the piano. It features Ynyr and Bethan on trumpets but also features Ioan Hefin, the man responsible for performing Welsh music’s greatest and most iconic trumpet solo in Eryr Wen’s Gloria Tyrd Adre. It’s a song about love and the feeling of trying to comprehend the magnitude of the love that you can feel for someone. It can relate to any form of love but in this instance it was written when their daughter turned 3 years old, with Bethan trying to articulate and comprehend the outpouring of love felt for a child and the hugeness of childbirth; the challenge, escalation, triumph, glory and the raw vulnerability of it all.
Fflachlwch Bach - An ode to their first-born child. The inspiration came as Bethan was trying to compose something on the piano with their daughter in her lap scribbling over the notes. There’s beauty in normality and the everyday, joy in an average day with small children. The star of the song also makes appearance with a keyboard solo and her self-penned line;
‘What are you waiting for? A song or what?
I’m going to begin one now so open your ears!’
Between the writing and release of the song, the arrival of their second child has brought fresh distractions, beats and chaos to the piano, thus writing himself a part in the song. Llyr Parri on drums, Elen Ifan on cello, Mari Morgan on Violin join Ynyr and Bethan for this one.
Someone - Guess I'm Changing.
Dutch/British artist Someone (aka composer, producer, and visual artist Tessa Rose Jackson) shares the final single Guess I’m Changing from her second album Owls, both released today on Tiny Tiger Records. A lush, enveloping psych-pop track recalling the stirring emotional heights of contemporaries such as Feist or Sharon Van Etten and accompanied by a sci-fi visual telling the tale of an android’s awakening, created alongside up-and-coming Hollywood director David Spearing.
“This song and video are about rediscovering yourself”, explains Someone “Daring to break a pattern, to accept a chance in yourself and feel free in the journey.” Heavily inspired by the work of Stanley Kubrick as well as Netflix’s ‘Maniac’ and Apple TV’s ‘Severance’ series, the visual follows an android working in a postal factory. “She lives the same loop every day,” explains Someone, “until she a postcard with a picture of a beautiful beach and she starts to realize there may be a bigger, wider world out there. Bit by bit, she starts to break the rules of her rigidly structured life, until finally she manages to break free.”
“We wanted to say something about being caught in the mundane routine, whatever that is, and how to break free of that” adds director and long-term collaborator David Spearing. “How the smallest, most seemingly insignificant thing could pull your whole world apart (in a positive way). A nice melancholy idea… set to the most beautiful song.”
Someone draws from her love of cinema in both her visuals and sound, with new album Owls starting life as a screenplay inspired by America’s forgotten towns and David Lynch’s strange, surrealist shadow worlds. Musically it has the beautiful songcraft and otherworldly psych-pop of her acclaimed debut Shapeshifter (2020) but with a rich, layered electronic sound inspired by the expansive soundscapes of French duo Air with elements of 90s and 00s trip hop.
Back to the business he loves best - Beans on Toast - will be ‘Back Out On The Road’ throughout February and March 2023. Heralding the whopping 30-date UK tour ahead with its own anthem, the cult folk hero is releasing a new song custom-made for the journey ahead, simply titled: “Back Out On The Road” - out today.
A celebration of everything that makes the touring life and live shows the joyous experience they are, Beans’ new single is a universal heart-warmer destined to be belted out in venues nationwide this Spring. Speaking about the inspiration for the new track, Beans on Toast says:
“'Back out on the Road' is a love letter to live music, independent venues and the wonderful people who frequent them. It's a celebration of England and the joys of travelling this beautiful land. I've been touring non-stop for well over a decade and have thousands of gigs under my belt, but it never gets old. Hopefully, this song will act as a thank you to all the people who come out to see me play, meaning I can continue on my journey. I think it's important for them to know how much I love doing this.”
An uplifting folk song with gospel flourishes to nourish the soul, it emerges as the first of three brand new singles from Beans set to be unveiled over the coming weeks. The songs are also confirmed to appear on Beans’ next album, which is already slated for 1st December 2023. Hinting how the new album is shaping up, he says: “Granted, it’s a long way off, but I wanted to draw a line after my last album and my quick turn at being a kids' entertainer. These songs are back to a more 'classic Beans' singing songs about the current state of the world around me and trying to make my opinions rhyme.”
======================================================================Mary Anne's Polar Rig - It Goes.
Rama Lama Records proudly presents 'Makes You Wonder', the new album from Malmö's art-rock-fuzz-pop duo Mary Anne's Polar Rig. Their sophomore effort is shape-shifting art rock that’s alternatively brooding and euphoric, the record is packed with irresistible melodies, needle-sharp guitars, scuffed-knees scrappiness and Hofvander’s snarling, growling and yelping vocals, but compared to their debut it vastly expands the scope of what they can do with it. The album will be out March 24th on all platforms, CD and a limited gatefold double vinyl.
New single 'It Goes' is out today and arrives ahead of the bands debut UK shows that will be held in London at the Cavendish Arms on February 17 and at the Shacklewell Arms on February 18.
About It Goes: Building a song slowly, starting off simple, sculpting it the way you want and gradually drawing in the detail until you’re left with something raw and real is a skill that very few bands master. But it's one that Swedish duo Mary Anne’s Polar Rig showcase on their new single, the sprawling, grandiose and pretty art-rock of “It Goes”.
“It Goes” has a curious shapeshifting quality to it, like sunlight shining through a rainstorm, casting glittering patterns on the water. The musical dexterity they display here doesn't take away from the fact that it’s a song that’s full of heart and soul, with an emotional intensity that almost bursts out of it. MAPR throw everything they have at this one, like cooks tossing it all into the pot, and turn it into a hazy dreamworld, one that’s heavy and strange, but also deeply affecting and moving.
“‘It Goes’ just happened to be written right after I’d learned that really cool American Football riff”, says singer and guitarist Malin Hofvander, “and listened a lot to Lucy Dacus”. Guitarist Harald Ingvarsson says: “The song is built around the rhythm of a very unstable analog square wave modulation circuit. Add a veteran symphonic percussionist, a double bass player and some harsh tape noise. It’s that really cool MAPR riff”.
======================================================================Helene Cronin - Landmarks (Album).
Landmarks, as a record is a work of art in a world that no longer values "album projects" but wants quick and easy to digest song snippets and singles. Helene Cronin and Matt King spent a year and a half crafting it and the hard work shows.
Landmarks is the follow-up to Helene's 2019 critically acclaimed debut Old Ghosts & Lost Causes. While it has a similar vulnerability, it's heavier in terms of feel, topics and production. It includes her signature "life wisdom" songs. It asks questions, but gives few straightforward answers. Helene doesn't like to spoon-feed listeners. If the album feels more grown-up in content, it's because she's grown as an artist, stepping confidently into a role that requires her to be fearless about what she writes and sings about.
Matt and Helene began recording in June 2021. Listening to the tracks in the days following the studio sessions, it was obvious that these songs had weight and muscle. A few are tender, intimate ballads. But overall, the layers of instrumentation, the effects, the powerful drums, Byron House's bass, Kenny Vaughan's guitar work and Bobby Terry's atmospheric steel, acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo riffs stepped these recordings up a few notches in terms of depth and energy. One song on the album "Just a Woman" even got a complete re-do a year after the first tracking session. In June 2022, the crew went back in the studio and re-recorded the song, with a new ending re-written by Helene and her co-writer Lisa Carver. Then a powerhouse quartet of women, including Wendy Moten from "The Voice" came in to sing the gospel-tinged BGVs that make the song soar in triumph.
Some might notice a stronger more powerful tone to Helene's singing on this outing. She's always thought of herself as a quiet singer, but with Matt King's encouragement, she seems to sing from a more authoritative place. It's likely that this batch of songs demanded it. In addition to a bigger voice, there are fatter, more complex, background vocals, layers of harmonies on songs that hint at the influence of ELO, Queen, Blue Oyster Cult and Sgt Pepper. The guitars rock with a retro-70s feel in places, jangling like something you might hear from the Byrds. No two songs on this record are at all alike! Working on this, their second project, it's obvious that Helene and Matt are finding a strength together. There is mutual respect between them and they bring out the best in each other, starting with careful song selection to balance the project and extending to the hard work, and fun, in the studio creatively crafting these 12 songs.