If I have a new review or two, it must be Friday, the day that new music drops regularly. So much music and so little time, a delightful conundrum.
First up is Slow Down Molasses, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Only a six-hour drive away from me, in Canada, that makes them practically next-door neighbours.
The press handout for Slow Down Molasses called them post-punk, which nailed it as far as genre names go. They have an exciting blend of grinding crunching guitar soundbites that jump out of intelligent lyrics and pleasant layered synth, driving bass and perfect percussion.
I would drive the six hours to hear them play live. However, in the Covid-19 times that we find ourselves in, I will content myself with listening to them over and over on Apple Music. The single “Street Haunting” was released today, April 9th, via Divine Schism.
Paintroller doesn’t show up as a song title very often; https://genius.com/ only had three songs with paintroller in the title. There will be four as of Friday, April 9, 2021, the music group Hands Down, fronted by Filip Sjögren, will be dropping their new single with the title “Paintroller” on that day.
Sjögren took 2020 off from his vocation as a sound technician and producer to focus on creating music with his band Hands Down, a good call considering how that year unfolded.
The song “Paintroller” builds on the firm foundation of their first single “, Too Late”. “Paintroller” opens with Deep raucous percussive hits that segue into smooth as silk keys and synths, which lead us to the lyrical content. Filip Sjögren tells us, “The song about being coloured by everyone else”, says Sjögren, “and having your own ideas crushed by outside forces. Not feeling very welcome to the party, both in terms of music and society, feeling peer pressure. That’s what inspired the song. I had the whole song done at one point, and then I scrapped the vocal and wrote and recorded a whole new melody and vocal. That demo was called ‘paintroller’, and so that inspired me to write the new lyrics. I have no idea why that demo was called paintroller. But it is a very visual word”.
There are jazz elements woven into the fabric of the song and strings that would not be out of place in a movie soundtrack. “Paintroller” certainly showcases Filip Sjögren’s familiarity with music construction and how to bring all the diverse parts together to create a beautiful song. Well done, Mr Sjögren, well done.
‘Paintroller’will be available to stream from April 9 via Hands Down’s label Youth Recordings. While you wait for that, you can check this out:
Our brains are marvellous repositories of life experiences, including music and every time we listen to a piece of music bits and pieces of it get stored in our long term memory. When I hear some new music, my brain wants to associate this new music with something concrete, a piece of music that I have listened to previously and stored in my medial prefrontal cortex. The more I listen to an album, the stronger the neural connection and the easier it is to retrieve that memory.
I have spent the last week listening to “Chewing Gum”, the soon to be released EP from Promise And The Monster, aka Billie Lindahl. My brain has been trying to make associations between this new music and bits and pieces of older music strewn throughout my prefrontal cortex. I feel that there are bits of Enya swooping and swirling about, listen for it on the song “Vykort från förr” and the title track “Chewing Gum”. Her use of bass lines that build the music up to create tension shows a connection to Orinoco Flow in my brain cells.
There are also healthy doses of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, most evident in the use of cello on the track “One Summer”. Listen for it on Nick Cave’s album and the title track ” And No More Shall We Part”.
Billie Lindahl learned the cello at school playing Swedish folk music. My remarkable brain neurons through some feat of molecular engineering that I do not understand made a connection between Swedish folk music and Australian alt-rock, go figure.
I keep thinking of Maryanne Faithful as I listened to this new music from Promise And The Monster. I don’t know where that comes from, but I can’t seem to shake it. Let me know if you can hear it, and where if you do.
I heard echoes of Enya, Nick Cave, and Maryanne Faithful, on the other hand, Billie Lindahl tells us that she took her inspiration from Nick Drake, Kaki King and Elliot Smith. I only know for sure that Billie Lindahl sounds a lot like Promise And The Monster and that is a good thing. I also know that after umpteen listens, Chewing Gum is permanently stuck in my brain.
After she debuted her EP Antaktis in 2007 at the age of 18, Billie Lindahl kept very busy over the ensuing years releasing her solo music, as well as under her alias Promise And The Monster. She also collaborated with like-minded musicians such as Alcest and This Gift is a Curse.
“Feed The Fire”; her third full-length album came out in 2016, produced by Love Martinsen. In 2020, Martinsen joined Billie to co-write her upcoming material. The new songs explore a less introspective side of her psyche, with an emphasis on the tongue-in-cheek nature lurking beneath a veneer of earnestness.
On the signing news, Billie tells us, “I’m so pleased, together we can take this in a great new direction. I used to like writing quite cryptic stuff, but I tried hard this time to get out of that safe haven and be more direct. The new songs often express the feeling of being that last person at the party, dancing slowly in the background, waiting for something to happen. Like a sad moonlight disco.”
While the label Icons Creating Evil Art added, “We are thrilled to welcome one of the most iconic voices in dark pop to our evil art family. Promise and the Monster has been working right beneath the surface and in the shadows creating the most beautiful world of her own. It’s time we invite you all to share it with us!”
I invite anyone reading this to listen to the EP “Chewing Gum” when it is released. The single “Closed My Eyes”, is available wherever fine listening is offered.
In the press handout that came with this song and video, there is one fragment of a sentence that jumped at me as I reread it for the umpteenth time searching or a muse.
“Emi Wes has spent the last couple of years … experimenting with different genres to perfect her musical craft. She eventually found the core of her musical foundation; a sound that is completely hers. Entering a new collaboration with renowned producer Robin Hannibal, Emi is ready to kickstart her career with the release of her new single ‘Issues’.”
My ruminating was nothing more than highjacking the above quote, copying and pasting it into this review.
I do come away with my own opinion, of course, and I would be remiss not to inform you, the kindly reader of this review of what that assessment is.
It is haunting. It floats, it rises above the mundane. It moves me and makes me want to dance with it. This song leaves me yearning to hear more by Emi Wes.
She sings; ‘Sensitive as a flower, watch me bloom so eager to learn, I watch it grow.’ The song is a self-love affirmation, as she explains: “Over the years, these have been the lines of my life. It’s really about not being frightened of appearing vulnerable.”
Discussing the song, she tells us: “The instrumental, the strings and Robins chords just gave me the words to a feeling I had in me. I guess it was also important for me to address that I have issues too because we all do. Sometimes saying it loud makes it more okay. For me, it’s a sign of strength being able to say the less pretty out loud.”
The single of ‘Issues’ single is available to stream via No Rules No Limits. No word on an album yet.
Still Corners are taking The Last Exit, but it will not be my last listen to their ethereal haunting music. The Last Exit has taken me on a musical journey with their often hypnotic music. Still Corners travels between bright, sparkling acoustic guitar, the crooning of Tessa, the lead vocalist for Still Corners, and a steady rhythm that keeps the song moving forward. There is a definite feeling of motion in the music that shows up visually in the accompanying video of The Last Exit.
Tessa describes the idea behind the video -“In a world where everyone thinks all the corners of the map are filled in we like to suggest there’s something beyond that, something eternal in the landscape and in our psyche. Maybe you don’t see it every day, but it’s there, and that’s what we are trying to connect to.”
The Last Exit, the fifth studio album for Still corners, will be released on 22nd January 2021 on Wrecking Light Records.
Once In A Million Years, the new single from Norway’s Misty Coast is energetic, listenable music. It is…I don’t think I can put this in a box for a specific genre. It moves about shift shaping as it goes, and touches on many styles and sounds. The vocals are smooth as well as edgy. The guitars are distorted but not in the heavy metal style that Norway is so famous for having. There are shining acoustic guitar notes and a bass that keeps chugging along. The drums have bright cymbal shots juxtaposed against the beat that holds all the instruments in sync.
Do I like the song? Bottom line, what kind of a review do I give it. I give it five stars, this is a lovely little song, and I hope I get to hear it in a full-length album soon, I don’t want to wait a million years.
“Whatever was written in a stream of consciousness, the words just poured out of me. When finished, the brutal honesty struck me. I created a mirror, forcing myself to look into my own eyes.”
Quoth a Raven, Raven Artson. This Raven can quote more than ‘Nevermore’; in fact, this Raven is very quotable. Raven Artson is a Los Angeles based multidisciplined artist who actively directs his music videos and produces for artists including Sevdaliza, Pip Blom and Ray Fuego. More recently he started curating his interdisciplinary shows, which has led fashion designers like Hardeman and Hanger Inc. to collaborate with artist like himself, True Blue, Beskhen and Cosima.
With a new EP in the pipeline, Raven is ready to take the next step in his career: “As a person, I try to be as honest as possible in my relationships. It’s exciting to share music that’s just as genuine.”
‘Whatever’ is available to stream via Rosed Out Records.
Some sounds get so stuck in our heads that we never forget them. The first time our baby said a word, it happened to be Dada in my case. It is stuck in there like superglue.
The sound of a flock of geese flying over our heads at midnight with no moonlight it was pitch black. It is locked in my neurones forever.
The song “Breakfast Again” by Owen Meany’s Batting Stance, stuck in my brain tighter than a high e string getting bent for a solo.
The first time my ears heard Breakfast Again, I was hooked, and I still am. Owen Meany’s Batting Stance is the pseudonym of singer-songwriter Daniel Walker, a fellow Canadian and a veteran of the folk music circuits pre-pandemic.
Daniel Walker projects hints of The Mountain Goats, Jenny Lewis, and Conor Oberst to inspire his sound. Daniel tells us that “Their deliberate approach to lyricism coupled with the fact that they emoted a similar high-pitched, nasal vocal delivery proved to me I didn’t need to have a raspy baritone or angelic falsetto to be a singer, let alone songwriter.” His voice immediately brought to my mind the vocalization and delivery of Roy Forbes, especially during his Bim years, and another Canuck.
Daniel tells us that “Breakfast Again” lyrically explores the implications of lost love. Discussing the inspiration behind the track, he says: ‘Breakfast Again is about the emotions: the worries and resolution that come with no longer sharing a life with someone important to you’.
Owen Meany’s Batting Stance released the ‘Breakfast Again’ single on September 4th via LHM Records along with a video release of the song. ‘Feather Weights’, Owen Meany’s Batting Stance’s album will be released October 2nd 2020 via LHM Records.
Accompanying the track is a hazy visual, featuring the frontman himself. The new minimalistic music video blends cloudy and clear shots of the lonesome artis laying in a river; a metaphorical representation of drowning in his emotions.