For fans of – Grimes, Kero Kero Bonito, Coucou Chloe, Bjork, SOPHIE, and Perfume Genius. “After solidifying her sound through a collection of releases, yeule has become an idea and experience. Her music feels like entering an echoing, uncharted territory driven by veins of noise and a nomadic upbringing. By further developing and drifting into yeule’s identity, Ćmiel carves out her own lane of electronic music.” MILK Magazine // Yeule is the manifested reflection of Nat Cmiel. An ongoing project since 2012, yeule’s music is as ethereal as it dynamic, reflective of her nomadic upbringing. Though she grew up and attended school in Singapore for most of her life, her family travelled often, developing emotional connections with places far from home that left her searching, unmoored. Obsessed with tinkering and discovery, she began building her own synths. There is a complex, intuitive, and deeply personal nature to her music making. With a launchpad, keyboard and microphone she morphs her original cinematic classical compositions into electronica. More clues to her process can be found in her other mediums. As a practicing visual artist, her paintings emanate her deep connection to the process of mark making, both visually and sonically. Her first full length, Serotonin II, is the fully realized result of this process, resonating with her ‘mutable self expression.’ She describes this as “the stifling psychological haze turned into perfume.”
Comes in Black/Clear(Indie Exclusive) & Skin Coloured Vinyl! As the year 2020 fast approaches, there still exists a peculiar shortage of music spiritually attuned to these treacherous times. Fortunately Petbrick – the duo comprising Wayne Adams (Big Lad/Death Pedals/Johnny Broke) and Iggor Cavalera Sepultura / Soulwax/ Mixhell) – are exploring fresh lunacy anew whereby electronic experimentation, hardcore attitude, dystopian dread and in-the-red dementia collide and collude to form a uniquely invigorating assault, custom fit for an accelerated age. This debut employs both members’ past experience – Wayne in a variety of musical guises ranging from punk to breakcore and gabba, and Iggor in a planet-straddling metal colossus whose questing spirit played a crucial role in the music’s evolution – yet also cheerfully renders them obsolete in a resolutely genre-free onslaught, damaged by the endtime intensity of Ministry and the synapse-shredding mischief of Aphex Twin yet lodged firmly in the here and now. Moreover, guest vocalists are also on hand to traverse anywhere from full-throttle intensity (as with Full Of Hell’s Dylan Walker on the blistering ‘Radiation Facial’ or Integrity’s legendary vocal exorcist Dwid Hellion on ‘Some Semblance Of A Story’) to exhilarating melodic counterpoint (Laima Leyton (Mixhell) on ‘Coming’) and stream-of-consciousness lunacy from Warmduscher’s Mutado Pintado, whose splenetic tirades on ‘Gringolicker’. Paint-stripping and deliriously potent, ‘I’ is more than merely an exercise in the life-affirming flame of oppositional punk spirit scorching all or any musical boundaries in its path – it’s an uncompromising soundtrack to a short-circuiting new era. Yet rarely has the sound of global malfunction also been so much fun.
Comes in Black & Blue(Indie Exclusive) Vinyl! Recorded live with a crew of close friends and engineer Jason Quever at Palmetto Studios in Los Angeles, Seeker finds Cronin pushing his often devastating power pop into darker territory from the isolation of “Show Me” to the desperation of “Fire” to the unadorned heartache of “Sold.” It comes with a backstory that feels like fate. Cronin writes: I was stuck. I’d had a rough few years. Relationships end, begin, and end again. I had to stay active, tour with other bands, make music through various other avenues writer’s block is real and it can crush you, scratching at an itch you can’t quite get. I needed to clean up, to stop leaning on external crutches to get through the anxiety. I needed to grow the fuck up. I went to the woods, to Idyllwild, a small town in the mountains of southern California. I spent a month in a cabin there, alone with my cat, Ernie. It was so quiet and peaceful. I got weird looks at the store. I got bug bites that didn’t heal for months. I walked around a small lake a few times. I wrote. I took literally something that’s usually a hypothetical, something every artist thinks about doing. It worked: A large majority of Seeker was written and demoed there. But then I had to go, immediately. An arsonist had sparked a series of fires and the woods exploded. I saw the flames coming up the hill as I packed up all my instruments and recording equipment. Ernie hid under the bed and was the last to go. I got him in the car just as the police came up the street to help with evacuations. I ended up home in LA a few days early; a small blessing because I was losing my mind a bit. Once I was back, I was ready to make something. I needed help. I found Jason [Quever] and his studio. I collected as many friends as I could and brought them in to record live with me. I needed the energy of a group of people in a room playing together—a simple concept but one that I had never tried with my own songs. Most of the record is backed by Ty Segall’s Freedom Band. I play bass in this band. I aimed for nature. I wanted organic sounds. I wanted to bring you into the room. Jason and I talked about The Beatles’ White Album a lot when placing mics. I brought a charred pine cone from the woods to the studio, just in case it would help. Fire, specifically its cycle of purging and reseeding the landscape, is a central theme to the record. Death and rebirth. I was looking for something: answers, direction, peace. I am the seeker.
On her third album, Little Scream offers a reflection on class and poverty in America. Speed Queen began as bits of prose written while touring her last album across North America—observing the slow entropy of the US, ruminating on her own low-income upbringing in a flyover state, and, as she says, “taking it all in from the privileged position of being a new Canadian.” In “Privileged Child,” she reminds wealthy people who like to adopt the style of the poor and working class that “poverty’s a feeling money just can’t buy.” On “Dear Leader,” she reminds those opposing migration that “when the waters rise, it’s gonna be you, Miami,” warning them that when they’re needing help, “…you will ask your God, but he’ll be busy getting risen, and the rich will be too busy buying stock in private prisons— that’s where they’ll send you for talking about socialism.” The biting commentary served with a sense of humour softens its presentation but doesn’t detract from its power. This is a theme throughout Speed Queen, where humour and warm heartedness prevail despite some of the darker subjects touched upon. Montreal-based Laurel Sprengelmeyer has been playing music under the moniker Little Scream since 2008. In 2011, she released The Golden Record, which Pitchfork dubbed “a stellar debut” and NPR called “an absolutely captivating record.” It was included in NPR’s Best Albums of 2011 list, and the New York Times evoked its “hints of the divine.” Her second album and Merge debut Cult Following featured guests including Sufjan Stevens, Mary Margaret O’Hara, and Sharon Van Etten. Little Scream is using the release of first single “Dear Leader” to raise awareness about the 1000 Cities initiative. “If 1000 cities adopt Paris climate accord standards, the world can still meet its global emissions targets,” Little Scream explains. “Most of us feel disenfranchised from international agreements. But all of us can get our heads around local involvement.” That kind of optimism in the face of harsh reality is a theme that has always run through Little Scream’s work, whether personal or political. Speed Queen is a powerful reflection of that hard-won hope.
For fans of Insides, Stereolab, Low, Bark Psychosis, Yo La Tengo, Seefeel, Julia Holter. The record is an ambitious and expansive update of their warm, hypnotic drone-pop encompassing gently pulsing electronics, chiming guitars, minimalist piano, acoustic and synthesised drones, noise, improv and intricate brass and string arrangements, all in the service of the band’s most assured and experimental songwriting yet. Two years in the making it features guest contributions from (amongst others) celebrated singer Ed Dowie, noise group Far Rainbow, fellow space-pop travellers Firestations and the string quartet Iskra Strings. It draws on all aspects of the band’s work so far, from indie guitar pop to ambient atmospherics, via surging rhythms and layered, melancholic vocals. This is the band’s second album (seventh if you count the various remix, side-project and short run CDR and tape releases they have put out over the last few years), and is the official follow up to 2015’s debut Daylight Versions (5* The Guardian). It begins with ‘In Doors And Out Through Windows’, a minimal piano and vibraphone incantation in 7/4, with shades of Dot and Loops-era Stereolab, their summery strum replaced here with twilit, unsettling repetition and melancholy brass swells. First single ‘Hissing Waves’ is the most pop the band have ever sounded, its skipping Insides-esque electronics and looping verses pulling the listener back to daylight and the disorienting “transparent spaces” of the city. ‘Patience’ (featuring guest vocals by Ed Dowie) is the closest the band come to the sound of ‘Daylight Versions’, cresting on waves of guitars and an insistent synth arpeggio. Elsewhere we find the title track’s pointillist strings (arranged by the band’s saxophonist Daniel Fordham), hypnotic vocal rituals on noise/improv detour ‘Bodies Carried Off By Bees’ (featuring Far Rainbow) and the Yo La Tengo-meet-Section 25 repetitions of ‘An Endless’, its bright guitar arpeggios and billowing synths unfurling across ten minutes of glorious repetition. Titled after a Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote (“The world is a bell that is cracked, it clatters but does not ring out clearly”) the album turns its attention away from the coastal obsessions of ‘Daylight Versions’ to more surreal and atmospheric contemplations. The album reaches its end with the fittingly grandiose ‘Paper Boats On Black Ink Lake’. The radio unfriendly (at nearly 20 minutes long) track drifts in on sleepwalk-slow guitars, recalling Earth at their most serene, while Kate Gibson and Melinda Bronstein’s vocals float over a bed of strings that could be Robert Kirby scoring Low’s Secret Name. The World Is A Bell is an album of dense and unhurried songs, rich in sonic detail and ambitious in scope, its music simultaneously intimate and epic. Guitarist and lyricist Matt says, “We wanted to create something that was completely its own thing, that was in no hurry to get anywhere and that contained large expanses for listeners to get lost in.
Following the success of their first single ‘Helen Is A Reptile’, three-piece power trio Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something will release their debut album ‘ Oh Really, What’s That Then? As debut album titles go, Jemma Freeman and The Cosmic Something ’s ‘Oh Really, What’s That Then?’ invites you to ask just that question. An introspective journey through psychedelic glam-rock nightmares, woozy flows of self-discovery and beguiling lyrics delivered with subtlety and intensity. Jemma is your guide in this strange country, illuminating a path for you. In reality, they’re as lost as the listener. In this hinterland, thoughts tumble on top of each other and the shadows cast by their images overwhelm. Hear a track in isolation and you might expose roots of its origins – from the exuberant T. Rex -Esque strings of ‘Black Rain’, to the snarling Hole like guitars of ‘Tasteless’ – but the archaeology of their sound is not so easily uncovered. ‘Oh Really, What’s That Then?’ paints a turbulent history and a doomed future. When an album opens with a distant primal scream, you know it’s not going to be an easy ride. As the album’s last-gasp, ‘Tasteless’, slowly dissipates from cacophony to complete stillness – like the universe ending, all energy exhausted – you’ll feel the same. The journey is intense. Not that it’s all a trudging grind, there are moments of pure exhilarating pop joy along the way. Songs like ‘Keytar (I Was Busy)’ hiding the darkest lyrical themes in the brightest of melodies (just like all the best pop music does). Jemma says of the record: “I was trying to photograph the space between emotions and actions, feeling like an outsider, some of the songs are indirectly meant to demonstrate solidarity with others that identify with that.” Recorded over a year at South London’s Marketstall Recording studio (owned and run by band bass player Mark Estall), the album is the sound of a band growing out of one person’s imagination into something more. Initially, every part was written and performed by Jemma, but over time the sessions became collaborative. Hamilton Lee was brought in to play the drums and having worked together in several other bands with Jemma, they had pre-existing musical telepathy. Jemma and Mark became finely attuned to each others’ production ideas and the relationship between the three became symbiotic, intrinsic to the sound of the record. The Cosmic Something as a band was born in these early studio sessions, and their debut album “Oh Really, What’s That Then?” is this sonic psychedelic baby’s first steps. Praise for J emma Freeman and The Cosmic Something “Jemma’s solo material adds a fizzing energy and almost glam-stomp to proceedings, creating a sound that flips rapidly between lush guitar work and rapid fire energy, all topped by Jemma’s sonorous vocal, part Kate Jackson part PJ Harvey.” For The Rabbits // “ ‘Heaven On A Plate’ is a soaring slice of glitzy psych-rock. As Jemma’s sweeping vocals flow with an hypnotic majesty, eerie hooks underpin catchy melodies, taking your ears on a spacey sonic journey .” Get In Her Ears // “ Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something bring an artful mix of glam rock theatrics, spacious psych explorations and crunchy earl-PJ Harvey style alt rock .”
Comes in Black & Honey Gold Coloured Vinyl! Amy Oelsner’s homemade pop songs sparkle with these eternal truths: that story-telling is part of being alive, and excavating the past is part of growth. Oelsner, who records as Amy O, is a lifer of the indie-pop underground for whom songwriting is a way of processing the passing of time. Her latest, Shell, brims with poetic granular details of everyday life; its her third studio album, and tenth including her many years of home recordings. Its title track is a beautiful, bouncing power-pop ode to grappling with the people you used to be, with twisty interlocking wordplay and bright hooks and harmonies. Written after reading through a bunch of old emails and letters, “Shell” bops along with subtle heaviness as Oelsner revisits the minutiae of past lives, collaging a decade’s worth of snapshots and people and places: “In the song, I’m looking back fondly on a younger version of myself, celebrating the ways I’ve grown since then and also seeing how I can reincorporate some of those traits I’ve lost over the years into myself now.” Following 2017’s Elastic, Oelsner continues living up to that album’s namesake: Shell similarly stretches with melodies upon melodies. But here there is greater use of space and pace and patience. Perfectly minimal riffs slowly build, ebb, erupt and recoil; guitars and keys layer and swell; there are moments of steady piano-pop, intricate drums and pristine criss-crossing vocal melodies. On Shell, Oelsner deals in the outer and inner boundaries of self. She grapples with mortality, physical transiency and vulnerability, the concept of home. There are homages to the formative relationships that shape our lives, imperfect as they may be. There are meditations on the mundane daily routines that support mental and physical health; in her description of it, Oelsner wanted to honor invisible processing, the inward emotional labor that often goes unseen, the type of internal work that is “not encouraged by society and can make you feel like you’re disappearing.” The first song written for Shell was “Planet Blue,” a song about the difficulty of grieving, but also about how lightness and silliness can sometimes coexist with depression. “Crushed” is a perfect noisy pop miniature, a vignette of suburban teen life, sneaking out of windows to meet in parking lots. “Good Routines” recalls Takeoffs and Landings era Rilo Kiley, as Oelsner sings that such routines are “only what you make them,” while “Zero” builds on a crunchy drum machine into one of the album’s stickiest refrains. The subtle twang of “Rest Stop” captures a moment in time during an end-of-summer road trip. It was written after Oelsner got married, moved to a new home, and quit a job of five years: More recently, she’s been teaching songwriting at a local community college and launching Girls Rock Bloomington, a music camp for girls, trans and non-binary youth. For Oelsner, music is a way of connecting with herself, her personal history and context. Going into the process of writing Shell, she says: “I was noticing a gap forming between my ‘adult’ self who was moving forward with her life and parts of my younger self that were stuck behind and hadn’t yet caught up. The process of writing and recording Shell played a big role in helping to get some of those stuck parts of myself caught up and able to join me in the present so that I can move forward in a more fully embodied way.”