Under Me is the latest single from London-based experimental pop artist Rebecca Phillips, who combines Arca-esque production with striking vocals that swerve between hushed background textures and screaming excess. There’s a fine balance of delicate melodics and punishing violence at play here, and it all works extremely well.
Seemingly not content with releasing one of the very best albums of the year, Keeley Forsyth put out a brand new EP, Photograph, last week. The title track was actually out around a month ago but I somehow missed it, and wanted to feature as it’s absolutely extraordinary. Her voice really is like nothing I’ve ever heard before, and coveys so much: angst, vulnerability and sorrow, but also a fierce defiance and resolution. The production is sparse but incredibly powerful, and the entire record strikes a heartbreaking balance between black, bleak misery and fragile optimism.
It’s not even December yet. Christmas songs of any kind should get in the bin for another few weeks at least, ideally indefinitely.
Tinache just released a Christmas album packed full of stone-cold bangers, so stop being so miserable, crack open the Baileys and embrace the festive ridiculousness.
The US synth-pop bands’s Ian Devaney kicks off our new series by waxing lyrical about The Beach Boys.
Over the past decade or so of interviewing artists, one thing I’ve found is that it’s often difficult for them to talk about their own music. After all, music is the great communicator: if you need to explain the story behind its creation, or the meaning behind its lyrical content, then you’re in danger of missing the point. Conversely – given the chance – they more often that not love being effusive about other people’s work. One Track Mind is an opportunity for them to do just that.
The premise is pretty simple: I ask artists to pick one track that means a lot to them – either something they’ve discovered recently, something that’s been with them for years, or one that reminds them of a specific time in their life or career – and tell me what makes it so special to them. I get to talk to the artists I love, and they get to talk about the artists they love. Love all round!
Kicking off the series is Ian Devaney from Nation of Language, who are arguably my favourite new musical discovery of 2020. Their album Introduction, Presence has brought me an inordinate amount of joy this year, and I’m extremely grateful to Ian for taking the time to speak to me.
For his selection, Ian chose a late-era Beach Boys song that deals in melancholy and nostalgia, themes that are also present in much of Nation of Language’s music.
Babeheaven are vocalist Nancy Andersen and producer-instrumentalist Jamie Travis, a duo responsible for one of my favourite songs of 2019: the monumentally fantastic Fresh Faced from their Circles EP. Honestly, if you haven’t heard it yet, go and listen to it now, it’s fucking incredible. Swimming up River is from their new album Home For Now and is a lot earthier than some of their previous work; a deep, heartfelt, soulful track that really allows Andersen’s vocal to shine.
Mark Pritchard is an extraordinary artist making some of the most visionary electronic music you’re likely to hear, ranging from the deeply unsettling and undefinable to blissful, meditative electronica like in My Heart. This is the final track on MP Productions – EP 1: a six track collection revisiting some of the aliases he has released under, and spanning a range of styles but predominantly focused on club music, which I would highly recommend checking out.
Nathalie Stern is a Swedish artist now based in Newcastle who served her apprenticeship in guitar-based bands such as Candysuck and Lake Me, before looking to traditional Swedish folk roots and more experimental sounds for her debut solo album Firetales in 2010. Nearly a decade later she released the incredible Nerves & Skin, from which Ember Child is taken: a stripped-down, haunting, electronic-folk ballad consisting of little more than single, lengthy notes and a handful of chords on an especially morose synth and her wonderful vocal. It’s about as minimalist a composition as you’re likely to hear, and one of the most impactful.
Columbus-based electronic artists CoastalDives and Henry Blaeser team up on Ghost II, a haunting, at times unsettling, but ultimately extremely warm slice of electronica landing on Chile’s renowned No Problema Tapes imprint. Dense, dark and intricate, it merges Blaeser’s cold, skeletal rhythmic & textural architecture with CoastalDives’ all-encompassing, haunting synth-scapes to tremendous effect.
Nation of Language may well be my favourite musical discovery of 2020. Their album Introduction, Presence is a toweringly brilliant record, and their latest single A Different Kind of Life is equally strong. Like a lot of their music it has a yearning, nostalgic quality to it that gets me right in the feels every time, and reminds me of emotional, synthy 80s bangers like When In Rome’s The Promise. In fact, stick A Different Kind of Life at the end of Napoleon Dynamite when they’re walloping that swingball around, and I’d be a very happy chap indeed.
LOU is a Greek singer, songwriter and producer who’s latest single is a real hidden gem: dark, brooding bedroom pop with a terrifically haunting vocal and a creeping intensity that builds up beautifully as the track progresses. Also, the video includes burning candyfloss which is something I’ve never seen before. Come for the music, stay for the immolation of confectionary.