OK, we know these are notes written by other people, but we go out and research this stuff
Now for our music for this week
Katherine Priddy – Wolf
album – The Eternal Rocks Beneath
from The Guardian, really one of the best sources I know of for new music
The folk prodigy delivers an elegant debut, infused with soaring vocals and nimble guitar-picking
Feted as a folk prodigy as a teenager, Katherine Priddy has wisely taken several years to reach this debut, an accomplished set of original songs delivered in a breathtaking voice and launched on a reputation as a great live act. Her nimble guitar-picking helps. Not that this is a strictly solo album; producer Simon Weaver has supplied a rhythm section and a parade of accordion, fiddle and string quartet, but in judicious measure. The star turn remains Priddy’s voice and its soaring, lark-like turns, meaning a song such as Wolf, the title track of her 2018 EP, can suddenly take unexpected flight.
That several numbers were written when she was young perhaps accounts for their unevenness; the banjo-backed Letters from a Travelling Man doesn’t pass muster with a poetic piece such as Icarus – a fond farewell to a lover seen as “a radiant stain falling like rain” – or with her funny homage to a boozy night on the Hebridean isle of Eigg. The rocks of the title is a verb, not a noun, testament to a belief that life’s fundamentals don’t change, a notion resolved elegantly in opener Indigo and closer The Summer Has Flown. A classy arrival.
Binki – Clay Pigeon
American indie artist Binki is back with his first single since 2019 from the EP Motor Function. Apparently, it is inspired by “ the wisdom of Confucius and the failings of David Bowie” Here’s the video which is directed by his brother.
Griff – One Foot in Front of the Other
another great pick from The Guardian’s July picks for albums. Really like this artist
The Brits’ show-stealing 20-year-old has earworms and wise words to burn on this tantalising mini-album
The rise of Griff feels like a silver lining around the thundercloud that was 2020. While all around the 20-year-old pop powerhouse careers stalled, tours evaporated and sound engineers peed in bottles while driving delivery vans, this singer went from buzzy obscurity in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, locked down with her family and foster siblings, to a Top 20 hit and a Brits rising star award.
One Foot in Front of the Other is, though, an odd release. A debut album in all but name, this mixtape comes with the caveat that it was written and recorded during lockdown. Griff and her label feel that her debut album proper is still ahead of her.
Pom Pom Squad – Head Cheerleader
Pom Pom squad is a band Inspired by Billie Holiday, riot grrrl bands, and films Death of a Cheerleader/ But I’m a Cheerleader
Here’s the trailer for the 1999 cult classic
Pom Pom squad was originally just Mia Berrin but now it it is a full fledged band. For a better idea of what Pop Pom squad are all about, here is Pitchfork magazines review of the album.
Equally indebted to pioneering girl groups and her punk heroes, the New York singer-songwriter’s debut is a fiery exploration of love, anger, and coming-of-age.
In 1999, a satirical comedy film called But I’m a Cheerleader proposed an astonishing lead character: a cheerleader who isn’t quite like the other girls on her team. She gets whisked away to a hilariously straight-laced conversion-therapy camp on the suspicion that she might be—gasp—gay. “I’m a cheerleader!” she whines in hesitation, as if this makes it impossible to fall outside societal norms. The movie marked a memorable early instance of the divergent cheerleader, an increasingly popular trope that drives the creative mind of 23-year-old singer-songwriter Mia Berrin, who makes bratty grunge-punk as Pom Pom Squad. On her debut, Death of a Cheerleader, the New York musician stakes her claim to pleated miniskirt canon, joining the ranks of those who’ve weaponized cheer imagery to disrupt convention.Pitchfork June 30 2021
I concur with one commenter … “this is my new favourite song”
Melissa Laveaux – Angeli-ko
Album – Radyo Siwèl
Really need to watch this series of videos on Youtube – Mélissa Laveaux – Radyo Siwèl Series
One in the series
In 2018, Laveaux’s album Radyo Siwel was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize.
In April 2016, Mélissa Laveaux headed to Haiti in search of her roots and on a mission to honour her ancestors. Born in Canada to Haitian parents, she did not know what would emerge musically from her pilgrimage although she had a particular interest in the period of American occupation of the island between 1915-1934. Two decades had gone by since she had last set foot in Haiti when she was 12 years old. She felt like a stranger and yet, at the same time, she experienced the thrill of an exile returning home, for Haiti is an intrinsic part of her identity.
From these she built Radyo Siwèl, a unique album steeped in Haitian history and culture and yet which is also highly personal and intimate.
Blinker the Star – It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back)
Bob’s selection of a new Blinker the star track was a result of this article in the Montreal Gazette.
Excitingly, his burbling, pitch-perfect cover of Eurythmics’ It’s Alright (Baby’s Coming Back) was chosen last month as one of the 20 “best songs of 2021 (so far)” by Esquire — ranking alongside such luminaries as Lorde (Solar Power), Doja Cat and SZA (Kiss Me More), BTS (Butter), Justin Bieber (Peaches) and FKA Twigs (Don’t Judge Me). Heady — and moneyed — company.Montreal Gazette
Welcome back Blinker the Star!This is a cover version of an old Eurythmics song that was unfamiliar to both of us. Compare the 2 versions here
If you would like more Blinker the Star, you can listen to a full show dedicated to his music put together by David Widmann on Mixcloud.
Rare Americans – Baggage
I heard this one on CBC Radio 3 – a great find I think!
Rare Americans – Baggage (Official Music Video)
They also have a great website
Rare Americans – Crooked & Catchy. The band started on a whim two years ago when brothers James and Jared Priestner took an impromptu trip to the Caribbean. James joked they should try and write a song together, Jared said “A song? Fuck that, lets write an album!” Sure enough 10 days later the first Rare Americans record was born. Spring forward to 2020, the band has gained a reputation for story telling and genre bending fresh music, amassing over 50M YouTube views in the process. The bands roster includes two Slovak guitar virtuoso’s in Lubo Ivan & Jan Cajka, and Duran Ritz on drums.
“Lubo and I were in another band before called the Lunas that toured Canada a few times and was going along really well and had recorded an EP,” said James Priester. “Then I took a trip to the Caribbean with my brother Jared and joked I would bring along my guitar so we could drink a few beers and write a song or two together. He’d never written a song before and we’d never written together, but we sat down and wrote an entire album.”
Rare Americans also put its main emphasis on producing videos. James runs a production company in Vancouver so he was up on how to concept a video. The band steadily built its online profile with high-quality clips for songs such as Balmoral Hotel and the Barry Tielman (Run the Jewels, others) animated piece for Cats, Dogs & Rats.
Rare Americans – Cats, Dogs, & Rats (Official Video)
Angel Olsen – Eyes Without a Face
Bob’s final choice is also a cover of an 80’s chestnut. Angel Olsen has the distinction of being the first three-peat artist on our venerable podcast. She has just released an Ep covering Laura Branigan, Men Without Hats, OMD, Madonna and Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face”
The NME has an excellent evaluation of Olson’s latest offering.
Angel Olsen – ‘Aisles’ EP review: ’80s classics through a warped lens
The North Carolina musician cuts right to the core of each song, before rebuilding her own mirror images with this five-track EP
“I’m really into doing shit that’s unexpected,” Angel Olsen told NME as she prepared to release the album ‘Whole New Mess’ last year. Taking the staggering orchestral ambition of her fourth album ‘All Mirrors’ and stripping it back to its rawest foundations, it marked something of a reset from an artist whose sound had grown grander and more intricate with each release. Though it was actually recorded first (and these demos later grew into ‘All Mirrors) the two records feel like subtly distorted reflections of each other when they’re placed side by side – almost as if Olsen is covering her own work.New Music Review
Treephones – Matches
Also a CBC Radio 3 catch
Album Pink Objects
The ten song titles on Treephones’ — the musical moniker of Stephen Trothen — new album Pink Objects read like an inventory of things found stashed away in a closet or neglected drawer. With every song named after an object, the concept album takes the approach of a short story collection and focuses on the interactions and relationships of characters centred around these items. The album was written and recorded at home by Trothen who also handled all but a few of the performing duties. The result is a set of songs that weave beautifully evolving textures into a carefully arranged sound that matches the directness and understated complexity of its lyrics.
I love this video of Treephones playing in Waterloo, Ontario. A terrific song with the addition of the saxophone. How many videos have we shown that shows the band playing in their bedroom?
Live version of “Matches” from the album “Pink Objects” (out now on digital, vinyl, streaming).
Recorded July 2021 in Waterloo, Ontario.
Stephen Trothen – Vocals, Guitar
Michael Borkovic – Saxophones, Sampler
Ahmad Hachem – Drums
Chris Hull – Vibraphone, Synths