I still strongly associate Beth Orton with the 90s. She’s released at least half a dozen albums since Trailer Park, but for me she will always be the soundtrack to hanging out in my friend’s kitchen, having dinner with his parents, waiting until we could go out and take drugs and listen to trance. I’ve not listened to a single album of hers since, but her latest Weather Alive was getting such amazing reviews, here we are. And it’s incredible from start to finish, culminating in the exquisitely devastating Unwritten, and arrives just in time to perfectly soundtrack the bleakness of winter ahead.
Tomberlin’s 2018 debut album At Weddings is without doubt one of my favourite of the last few years, and one I go back to on a pretty much weekly basis. It’s stripped down, fairly mournful folk: utterly beautiful and almost unbearably sad in parts. By contrast, her latest single is positively upbeat, at least in its buoyant rhythm and big, open melodies. But lyrically there’s still that same sense of melancholy that makes her work so personal and unique: “I try to write it out / Make sure nothing sounds weird / Make sure it’s not half bad / Do you think this songs sad?” The answer? Yes, a little, and I’m very much looking forward to the new EP Projections which is due out 16 October via Saddle Creek.