I’m a little conflicted about today’s post. On the one had, I love The War On Drugs, have listened to both Lost In The Dream and A Deeper Understanding relentlessly over the last few years, and an incredibly excited about their recently announced new album and European tour. All of that: great. Their new single however, I am not entirely convinced by. I’d even go so far as to say it was (whisper it) a bit boring and forgettable and fairly cliched? Note the question mark: I’m not even sure about my own opinion. What a sorry state of affairs. Anyway, here it is: make your own mind up.
Frankenstein is the first taste of Townsville-born, Berlin-based artist Emerson Snowe’s forthcoming debut EP, which is set to land later this year. There’s something about the lofi, DIY aesthetic of this that strongly reminds me of some of Molly Nilsson’s work, not least the brittle, brisk drums and woozy pads. There’s a lot going on here: loads of fun melodies and weird little instrumental flourishes, but it all comes together brilliantly.
I’ve now started this post in about half a dozen different ways, considering how to approach why BedStudy is so brilliant from various angles, but the main point is: Anna B Savage’s voice is absolutely extraordinary, managing to be both fragile and devastatingly powerful in the same breath. It’s taken from her debut album A Common Turn which came out last week, many of the tracks from which exist in a similar space, between vulnerability and invincibility, and builds from scarcely strummed guitar to an electronic crescendo as all-consuming as anything I’ve heard for quite some time.
Since releasing one of the greatest albums of the last decade with Benji, Sun Kil Moon’s output has been patchy at best. Much of his music has been defined by meandering narratives about topics ranging from the mundane to the controversial, which in recent years seems to have drifted into tiresome self-indulgence or downright fury at whoever the latest person, place or thing he feels slighted by. At his best though, there are few other artists that can conjure such a visceral, immediate sense of time and space, and Snowbound is an example of just how beautiful and evocative his music can be when he gets it right.
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.
This rousingly brilliant slice of indie-rock is taken from Some Time, Alone, the third album from Gothenburg band Pale Honey, and their first as a trio, with Anders Lagerfors permanently joining the duo of Tuva Lodmark and Nelly Daltrey after touring and recording with them for some years. I’m not familiar with their previous work so can’t say how much of an influence Lagerfors’ addition has made, but I’m definitely a big fan of the synth work he’s bringing to the table, which is at times wobbly and distant and at others vast, spacious and all-encompassing.
In 2014 The Antlers released what would become easily one of my favourite albums of all time, the incredible, haunting Palace. Since then they haven’t released a single track and were rumoured to have broken up, with Peter Silberman going on to release a solo album in 2017. Now, following last year’s 10 year anniversary tour of their breakthrough album Hospice they’re back with a new single, Wheels Roll Home. I only hope that this signals more new material from the band, as fuck knows we could all do with it. Welcome back boys – you have been missed.