One of the best/worst things about the whole blogging game is the abundance of great music. Unfortunately there are (still!) only twenty-four hours in a day, most of which are consumed with non-WTD things, so even if we get sent ten great albums then chances are we will only be able to cover three or four. While trying to avoid falling into the listicle trap, we thought the best way to remedy this problem would be a semi-regular round-up, ‘Best of the Rest’, where we include all the songs we think you should hear but don’t quite have the time to tell you why. Inclusion here is no comment on quality – this isn’t a runner-up prize!
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson – f(l)ight
Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is an artist, poet, writer and musician from Canada who this September released her new album, f(l)ight. Produced by Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns, the album combines lush instrumentation with Simpson’s mutlilayered poetry, sounding at once intensely physical and spiritual, charting not only personal experience but also that of her ancestry and the land on which they live. As such, style and perspective is fluid, every word and note and small space of silence part of some larger whole, where past violence, future hope and enduring spirit coalesce as one. You can get the album from RPM Records.
Will Johnson – Nervousness Fangs
Centro-matic frontman (plus Molina collaborator and Monster of Folk alumni) Will Johnson recently released a new solo single, ‘Nervousness Fangs’. The track is a beautifully sad lo-fi folk song, recorded (as Johnson tells American Songwriter) at home on a Tascam 424. The lyrics read like summer evening back-porch wisdom, as Johnson sings “Jesus what a mess / what they’re all selling / and what’s being sold”. Check it out on Soundcloud below:
In other news, Johnson has been nominated for a Grammy (!) for his Record Store Day split single with Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster of Water Liars. You can still get the 7″ via Misra Records.
Givan Lötz – MAW
Described as a “an aural savant whose sound projects operate exterior to expectations”, Johannesburg’s Givan Lötz recently released a new album, MAW. The record, which intends to “shed waning light onto and into this post-scientific realm where meaning is unhinged”, consists of ten dense, dark songs which shift and shimmer with unsettling unfamiliarity, all floated on a sea of melancholy. However, as ‘Speak’ highlights, a sense of positivity seeps through the cracks, though it’s impossible to tell whether this is true hope or just a peculiar euphoria gained from submitting to confusion. MAW is available now from Other Electricities.
Dama Scout – All In Too
Blending dream pop and kraut-rock sensibilities with added noise pop bounce, Dama Scout’s second single ‘All In Too’ feels like a stylistic mutant in the most complimentary sense. Calm and quiet one minute and seized by mayhem the next, the track feels like a surreal ride through a many-eyed storm, excitement and fear and abrupt tranquility passing without rhyme or reason. In other words, you should grab it right now from Bandcamp.
Vagabon – Fear & Force
We loved Vagabon’s last EP, Persian Gardens, so it’s great to hear that Laetitia Tamko is putting out a full-length album next February. The first single, ‘Fear & Force’, is a re-imagining of ‘Vermont II’ from the aforementioned EP, and gives a great insight into the development and evolution of Vagabon’s sound. Here Tamko reveals her multi-instrumentalist skills to flesh out the track and create a deep lush sound without losing any of the organic intimacy which made the original so great. Infinite Worlds is set for release next year on Father/Daughter Records and you can pre-order it now.
Her Harbour – Hewing Crowns
‘Hewing Crowns’ is the first single from Gabrielle Giguere’s Her Harbour’s sophomore full-length Go Gently Into the Night, out on E-Tron Records this coming February. The record was written at a time when “death felt omnipresent,” and the single is intended to serve as a “preface to the demons [Giguere] attempted to quell in making the album,” and is therefore ripe with haunting sounds and symbolical imagery. The video for the track, edited by Mike Dubue, consists of found footage from Conrad Aiken’s 1966 short film “Silent Snow, Secret Snow,” forming a collection of oblique frames which match the ghostly ambience of the song. You can grab ‘Hewing Crowns’ from the Her Harbour Bandcamp page.
Pip Hall – Devil You Don’t
Pip Hall must be in the running for the youngest artist we’ve ever featured here at WTD. At just 16, the Preston-based songwriter is making music beyond her years. Her new single, ‘Devil You Don’t ‘ opens with some Stranger Things-style synths before blossoming into a rich pop song that teams Hall’s smooth vocals with the steady pulse of synths and some guitar for added crunch. If you like what you hear, keep an eye out for Hall’s sophomore EP, James, out next March on My Little Empire. You can pre-order via Bandcamp.
Courtney Marie Andrews – Put The Fire Out
Continuing with precocious youngsters, Courtney Marie Andrews apparently left home at 16, travelling the US as a musician before getting a gig as Damien Jurado‘s lead guitarist. She’s done a lot of touring with various acts since then, and earlier this year released an album of her own, Honest Life. The good news for us in the UK is that Loose Records are releasing the album here in January (pre-order now). To whet your appetite, here’s a single, ‘Put the Fire Out’, a warm and reflective country track that is a must for fans of bands like Mount Moriah.
Camp Cope – Keep Growing
Following their excellent self-titled debut album, Melbourne’s Camp Cope recently put up a new single which appears to be from an as-yet unannounced release. ‘Keep Growing’ sticks to the successful formula of the previous album, playing like an internal monologue that flicks through sadness and confusion and doubt but keeps cycling back to a joyous resolve, the recognisable pilot light of Camp Cope’s music. As Georgia Maq explained on Facebook, the song is about “new beginnings, it’s about rejecting what society tells you is beautiful,” ending the post with the simple but perfect advice. “Do you.” Grab the track now via Bandcamp and keep your eyes peeled for news of a physical release.
We’ve covered San Francisco’s Field Medic several times at WTD, so its cool to learn he’s got a new song. ‘uuu’ is essentially a classic folk song, gentle instrumentation and yearning vocals directed to a love (the titular you you you). The lyrics are as heart-on-sleeve as we’ve come to expect from Field Medic, with lines such as “all i ever needed was your matchstick mama / to take my wrongs & make them right / to take my darkness & make it bright “. Get the song now on a name-your-price basis via the Field Medic Bandcamp page.