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Music

Clara Engel – Dead Tree March

If there is an artist bio more hopelessly, beautifully melancholic than “I’m not writing the same song over and over so much as writing one long continuous song that will end when I die”, I am yet to read it. Taken from their new LP Their Invisible Hands which lands today, Dead Tree March fully embodies the threads of sorrow and despair which run through the album, with Engel’s mournful strings brought to the fore against a backbone of funereal percussion.

Photo credit: Ilyse Krivel

https://claraengel.bandcamp.com

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Music

The Weather Station – Endless Time

Fairly fresh from releasing one of 2021’s best albums Ignorance, The Weather Station have just announced a new album, the enigmatically titled How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars alongside lead single Endless Time. Comprising songs written at the same time as Ignorance, it’s safe to expect more heartfelt, contemplative brilliance, “songs that [are] simple, pure; almost naive… that spoke to many of the same questions and realities as Ignorance, but in a more internal, thoughtful way” according to The Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman. Sign me up.

https://theweatherstation.lnk.to/EndlessTimeID

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Music

Me Lost Me – Gaudete

Do you like traditional 16th century carols? Are you an Alan Partridge aficionado? If so, listen to this – it’ll blow your socks off. Me Lost Me has made a real treat for your ears with her take on Gaudete which is available to download for the duration of December and will then sink back into the dark depths from whence it came forever.

The song is pay what you feel – all proceeds will go to Rainbow Home North East, a small locally based charity whose fundamental aim is to reduce the significant difficulties and hardship experienced by LGBT+ asylum seekers in the North East of England.

Lean into its reverb-heavy horror-folk vibes and rejoice.

https://melostme.bandcamp.com/track/gaudete-trad-16th-century

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Music

Big Thief – Little Things

Little Things is one of two new tracks released by US indie rock darlings Big Thief this week, the first new music since 2019’s Two Hands – one of two albums they put out that year. Driven forward by a propulsive rhythm, it’s a big emotional wallop round the head that it’s impossible not to get caught up in, thanks to shifting drum patterns, meandering, increasingly intense guitars and singer Adrianne Lenker’s urgent, confessional vocal.

https://bigthief.net

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Music

Me Lost Me – Acrobat On The Roof

Electronic folk innovator, recent Paul Hamlyn Foundation award winner and TPW favourite, Me Lost Me’s latest single is taken from her forthcoming EP The Circle Dance and comes accompanied by a kaleidoscopic music video filmed on location at Sunderland’s Penshaw Monument. Gently haunting and instantly compelling, like much of her work Acrobat On The Roof seamlessly blends the old with the new, creating something unique, timeless and understatedly beautiful.

https://www.melostme.com

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Music

Shirley Collins – At Break of Day

At 86 years of age, Shirley Collins is still creating music brimming with life, vibrancy and hope. Her new EP Crowlink includes spoken-word poetry, ambient, glistening new-age synths and deep, earthy folk, dragging seemingly ancient tales into the present and creating something deeply personal and intimate yet entirely relatable and accessible. Crowlink is a thing of timeless, transportive beauty, and deserves your immediate attention.

https://shirleycollins.com

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Music

Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine – Olympus

Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine. Credit: Daniel Anum Jasper

I’m pretty convinced at this stage that Sufjan barely sleeps. Following two albums in 2020 and Convocations from earlier this year, announced today was A Beginner’s Mind, a collaborative album alongside Angelo De Augustine and written during a month-long sabbatical in upstate New York staying in a friend’s cabin. A 14 track album “(loosely) based on (mostly) popular films”, single Olympus explores the mythical deities and monsters created by Ray Harryhausen for films such as Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, and is an evocative, folky delight.

https://abeginnersmind.net

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Music

Kat Kikta – Magic

Magic is the new single from producer, singer and songwriter Kat Kitka, an utterly engrossing, haunting beautiful piece of music that pretty much completely defies description (but here goes). Folk, spoken word, ambient and ethereal pop are are dissected and reassembled alongside hugely evocative field recordings, resulting in a five minute track unlike anything else I’ve heard this year. The Kate Bush vibes are strong with this, which isn’t something I say lightly. Highly recommended.

https://katkikta.bandcamp.com

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Music

Nina Kinert – Wild, Wild Geese

In her poem Wild Geese, Mary Oliver explores what one must do in order to lead a good life. In it the speaker talks directly to her reader, imploring them to not worry so much about being good; rather, the reader should be true to nature and the beauty found in it. As someone who holds the natural world in similarly high regard, it’s fertile inspirational ground for Nina Kinert, who describes her own feeling while reading the poem as “a sort of wanderlust, travelling of the mind in a time when we all need to stay put to stay safe.” The result is a brief but beautiful ballad which not only has the heartbreakingly poignant piano you’d expect, but a pan flute, which adds further a further atmospheric layer to a hauntingly lovely piece of music.

https://www.instagram.com/ninakinert

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Music

Becky and the Birds – The Wolves (Act I and Act II)

I’m probably biased as I’m a big fan of one of these artists and not really that interested in the other, but I would say that Becky and the Birds’ cover of Bon Iver’s The Wolves (Act I and Act II) is far superior to the original. Not that we’re supposed to judge music in such a binary fashion (it’s not better just… different), but whatever: I think in this instance – given they’re both treading a similar musical path – standing each version toe to toe with one another and seeing who comes out on top is fair enough. And in my humble opinion, this is richer, more engaging, more spine-tinglingly wonderful. You know, just… well, better.

https://www.beckyandthebirds.com