Eleni Drake - Oslo Twins - Parliamo - Michael J. Benjamin
|Photo - Georgia Walters.|
Eleni Drake - Surf The Sun (Album).
British singer-songwriter Eleni Drake releases her phenomenal new album Surf the Sun via her own Vanilla Sky Recordings. Eleni Drake will celebrate the release of her new album with a headline show at Amazing Grace in London on 18th July.
Throughout the self-produced Surf the Sun, Drake deals in distinctly summery melancholy - hazy, shimmering, golden; reverb guitar murmurs and glints, tightly wound amidst lovely, enticing harmonies - eloquently tracking notions of freedom, healing, painful goodbyes and a future of possibilities. At the core of Surf the Sun is the ultimate discovery of freedom and empowerment. Balancing the curiosity and creativity of Adrianne Lenker, Faye Webster and Julien Baker, with the emotion and grandeur of Lana Del Rey - Drake's songwriting is dream-like and bluesy, precise and propellant.
Originally from London, in 2022 Eleni Drake decided to leave her life in the UK behind and move to Melbourne almost on a whim. She knew only a handful of people on that side of the world, but she was longing for a fresh start in an environment where she could feel more like herself; where she could break bad habits and explore life outside of her comfort zone. But first, there were emotional loose ends to tie up back home. This is the driving force of Surf the Sun; the carousel of emotions as Drake prepared for this giant leap.
Over the past 18 months Eleni Drake has cultivated a dedicated legion of fans, for her velvety, striking voice and her understated yet atmospheric orchestration. Surf the Sun is the sound of the sun’s glow on your face, feeling your spirit reach back for it, breaking through the dirt and sprouting into something better. It’s the sound of riding a wave, euphoric, terrified, spat out somewhere new with a sense of purpose. It’s about needing to be somewhere warmer. “I’m a Leo, the sun rules me, and I’ve always had a deep connection with it,” explains Drake, who references the sun on almost all of the album’s 11 tracks. “[The album] is an ode to the sun.”
“What I hope people understand is that an element of liberation and feeling free runs through the album. Despite some sombre undertones, it was made to inspire,” says Drake. What she’s created is a glorious wave to ride; a sun-drenched reminder that the gloom gives way to summer.
Bristol born dream-pop outfit Oslo Twins have announced their debut EP 'Back To Nothing' will be released 28th July via Fascination Street Records - a new label founded by producer Ali Chant (Yard Act, Perfume Genius, Aldous Harding, Katy J Pearson) in partnership with Bristol's Factory Studios.
The new EP announcement coincides with the release of its second single, the anthemic "Miss Yesterday", following previous EP taster "Breath" which caught the attention of the likes of So Young Magazine, The Independent, DIY Magazine, Rough Trade and The Line Of Best Fit, and was played on Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour on BBC 6 Music.
A summery ode to optimism after difficult times, "Miss Yesterday" evokes anticipation and warmth with its bright, rich instrumentals, trance-like beat and laid-back, vernacular vocal and lyrical tone. “It’s a song of joyful nostalgia, filled with hope and affection,” says vocalist Claudia Vulliamy, “and perhaps a darker hint of ‘Let’s just run away from everything, there’s nothing but us.”
The single is accompanied by a joyfully surreal animated music video by artist Noriko Okaku, in which Claudia, Eric Davies and drummer Luke Brown take us through Okaku’s fantasy world made up of natural images that move in a Monty-Python-esque flip-book style.
======================================================================Parliamo - Matters Like.
Arriving as the band’s grittiest, stickiest offering to-date, it sees Parliamo’s usual bright rhythms and funky basslines, traded-in for howling Suede-esque electric guitars, low-slung hooks and unconventional choruses.
Like a migraine growing under the noon-day sun, “Matters Like” has a burbling, off-kilter intensity quite at odds with the brilliant sunshine that baked the Summer of 2022 in which it was written. Finding nuanced inspiration during those mind-melting times in the Fontaines D.C. track “Roman Holiday” and the spring reverb bass of The Last Shadow Puppets’ second record, the band’s Jack Dailly and Finn Freeburn Morrison began assimilating both into a new track that would mark a moody left-turn for the band.
A song about finding confidence in a new relationship and the overcast feelings that can come hand-in-hand with it, vocalist Jack Dailly explains: “”Matters Like” has a moodier sound than most of our previous output, with its screaming guitars and echoing hi-hats. This mood fits well with the lyrics, as the song touches on feelings of uncertainty and internal conflict. It’s a song about insecurity in a fledgling relationship and the plethora of emotions which come with getting to know more about someone than you might have bargained for.”
Weaving their straight-up songwriting and babbling instrumentals niftily through a heatwave-warped collision of influences, “Matters Like” finds a band pushing the Parliamo sound and enjoying getting a little experimental.
======================================================================Michael J. Benjamin - The Same Again.
Rising Dutch singer-songwriter Michael J. Benjamin has unveiled his latest offering “The Same Again”, taken from a debut EP due this Autumn. A radiant, reflective ballad that sees the young musician pair distinctive Cash-meets-Cohen vocals with his knack for heart-rending storytelling, the new track was produced by Jon McMullen (Wet Leg, Michael Kiwanuka) in London. A song that finds the singer-songwriter rewinding sepia-tinted memories of his past, and pausing for thought on what could have been, Michael J. Benjamin explains of “The Same Again”:
“A girl and I used to walk along these farms on the edge of town, then I left for London and when I came back we broke up. After that I used to come back to these seemingly holy farms to find inspiration and tranquillity; to catch a glimpse of light of the moon and relive old memories. Looking back now, it’s the act of not letting go of the past that drove me to write this song. The farms were like a sanctuary, or a relic of better times. Even today it remains a magical place to me.”
With its trickling acoustic guitars and a pared-back approach to instrumentation, “The Same Again” makes for a wistful country-blues record that feels simultaneously nostalgic and refreshing; true to a style that Benjamin is quickly making his own. Staking his place as an auspicious new artist to watch, Michael J. Benjamin’s soul searching songs express a hard-won sense of authority: embracing the world with an engrossing, truth-seeking style of writing which belies his still-tender years.
Like most other millennials, he grew up with the entire history of music readily available at the click of a mouse. Growing up Michael embraced the heroes of old, immersing himself in the works of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell, Johnny Cash and Paul McCartney, before finding more modern realms of influence in the songbooks of Lana Del Rey, Weyes Blood and Jack Antonoff.