Good Luck, Kid: Joseph Interview

Portland-bred sister trio Joseph are getting ready to release their latest album, ‘Good Luck, Kid’ which comes out on the 13th September. I had a chat Natalie from the group about it, touring in the UK and more. Their lead single for the album was ‘Fighter’ – I started off by asking why they chose that as their first taste from the album, and then their inspiration behind the track.
“Fighter takes us from hushed intimate moments to explosive sonic heights.”
“Meegan’s voice soars. It’s an exciting song to us in that regard and it also is really special because it came from a personal story. When I just want to check out from the world and its problems this song asks me to stay in the fight. We wanted to lead the album out with that invitation. “
“Fighter came from a moment between the three of us where we had to decide to keep going. “
“In any relationship you can slowly slip away – not bring your real feelings and self to the table – or you can say the hard thing and work through it to stay connected. That is what happened to us. “
I asked Natalie if the group had any favourite songs on the album, and if the album has a specific sound; if the singles they had released so far were similar to the rest of the project.
“My absolute favourite song on the album is Room For You because it encapsulates everything I wish for the audience and for everyone on this planet.”
“Right this second though, I’ll say Presence because I’ve been practising the guitar riff and it’s going to feel SO good to play it through a loud PA. Half Truths is a standout to me because I have watched Allie do amazing work overcoming anxiety and this song captures that so well. “
“And also Revolving Door is a heart-wrencher. A very brave song for Meegan to write. I love this album, wow. “
“Every song on this album is totally different and has different tones and textures but what this song does say about the rest of the album is that the dynamics are vast.”
“The album is about getting into the driver’s seat of your life and each song is part of that journey. We’re so excited for it to come out!”

The band are touring in the UK later this year, I asked Natalie what their experience has been like over here in the past.

 “We adore the UK. Adore it! Everyone there has been very good to us.”
“We’ve made so many good British friends over the years from touring with James Bay and Michael Kiwanuka, and from playing festivals like Barn on the Farm and British Summer time that the UK is very dear to us.”
“Maybe part of that is because the Pacific Northwest shares a very similar climate so it feels a lot like home, but more exciting because everyone has an accent! Also, every time we go to London someone recommends Dishoom and this upcoming tour is our chance to finally try it!”

 

Joseph’s album ‘Good Luck, Kid’ is out on the 13th September via ATO records. Check them out on Twitter here.

Advertisements

Metronomy – Metronomy Forever Album Review

‘Metronomy Forever’ is the group’s 6th album. Most groups would have run out of ideas by then, but this album proves that Metronomy are still one of the most inventive, consistent bands in the world, with the project bearing several of their best songs to date.

The album kicks off with a short, dreamy instrumental piece called ‘Wedding’, with distorted church bells and synths being foreshadowing for the themes of this album, and one of it’s strongest tracks. ‘Whitsand Bay’ opens the album proper, and it’s a perfect blend of Metronomy old and new, with a low key, spoken chorus over an ever-shifting instrumental.

‘Insecurity’ is one of the highlights on the album, Joe gets straight to the point about said insecurity and the feeling that it could be one of the only constants in his life. A bursting guitar riff and catchy synth lines throughout the track make it really difficult to shift from your head. ‘Salted Caramel Ice Cream’ is almost annoyingly good. It sounds like a mixture of Crazy Frog and Mika, but it’s one of the best tracks Metronomy have ever put out; it’s a perfect pop song.

‘Lately’ is another of Metronomy’s best ever songs in my opinion. The layers of instruments build up throughout the track to an amazing shower of synths, and the off-kilter melody in the chorus is nothing short of magical. Another great track comes in the form of ‘Sex Emoji’, a bittersweet tale of an online relationship told through a groovy synth-pop tune.

There are a handful of instrumental tracks on ‘Metronomy Forever’, and the standout for me is ‘Miracle Rooftop’, which is perfect to completely zone out to and look out the window, and I mean that as a great compliment. ‘Wedding Bells’ sounds almost like Metronomy doing a Bruce Springsteen song, and it works amazingly, and is another absolute earworm.

It’s so refreshing to see a band at this level in their career improve with every release. This is the best Metronomy album to date. Metronomy Forever indeed.

96%

Mermaidens Interview

New Zealand trio Mermaidens have just released their third album ‘Look Me In The Eye’. I had a chat to Lily from the band them about it! Kicking things off, I asked her why they picked that album title.

“The overarching themes of the album are confrontation and human relationships. The title comes from a song off the 7” we released earlier in the year – ‘You Maintain the Stain’. “

“The song was written at the same time as the album songs and lyrically has the same themes. The title has a double meaning, it speaks to both confrontation and intimacy between people.”

One of my fave tracks from ‘Look Me In The Eye’ is ‘Millenia’. I asked Lily what the inspiration behind the tune was.

“Millennia is a deadpan dig at the masks we wear.”

“As a band trying to connect with people, using social media is such a necessity. So, I wanted us to explore this mess of feelings around that twisted meeting of media and identity as a group. There’s an implication that we can’t be successful without this system, despite it not being that much good for anyone’s well-being.”

“The song is a big faker too – it’s all pep and pop hooks, but it’s a sad story. The title is a personal joke about feeling old at 25, it was always meant to be the temporary title as it’s not exactly subtle. But after recording, when the song turned out to be so melodramatic, it stuck.”

This is Mermaidens’ third album, and I asked Lily if the band had approached building the project any differently.

“We approached this album wanting to experiment and push ourselves. James Goldsmith had recorded our previous albums, we have a great friendship and during recording we were really comfortable to try wild ideas. “

“Another difference was that the songs were far less refined going into the studio and really came together with production rather than our usual months of jamming.”

Above is the striking album art for ‘Look Me In The Eye’, I asked Lily about the meaning behind it.

“I wanted to create a hazy person, like they are still forming and have been caught in-between wearing masks. “

“The image was made with the faces of a few friends layered over one another. The rest of the art around the album are stream of consciousness drawings inspired by the way our dreams and thoughts meander and connect. I wanted the record packaging to feel intimate; it’s red and pink and scrawled all over like a diary.”

‘Look Me In The Eye’ is out now on Flying Nun Records. You can buy it here, or listen to it on Spotify here.

Mxmtoon – The Masquerade Album Review

‘The Masquerade’ is the debut album from 19 year old Maia, known professionally as Mxmtoon. She released her debut EP ‘plum blossom’ last year, and has quickly gathered a large audience of fans, with her single ‘prom dress’ gaining over 17 million streams on Spotify, probably partly helped by the fact that the song was a big meme for a while on the viral video app TikTok. However, I always thought the song was genuinely good, and  album shows that Maia has more than one up the sleeve of her prom dress.

Opening Track ‘unspoken words’ highlights how impressive Maia’s songwriting is, and is a perfect opener for the album. Starting off really lo-fi with a drum beat that sounds right off a kid’s keyboard, the track bursts into a lushly produced, twinkly sad banger with a great melody that really shows off Maia’s charming vocals, which for me sit somewhere between Emma Stone and Corrine Bailey Rae.

‘prom dress’ follows, and it’s still as catchy and original as when I first heard it; it;s a simple concept for a song, and the lyrics are very straight to the point and direct, but it’s so difficult to execute songs like that well, and ‘prom dress’ is pretty much a perfect acoustic pop song.

‘high & dry’ is a cute, upbeat and breezy mid-album track that has some of Maia’s best lyrics; “There’s little reward in stinging me like a bee”, and on ‘my ted talk’ she manages to really opens up without seeming she is trying to sell her emotions too hard, and the track has some genuinely charming and funny spoken ad-libs that bring her personality even further to the front. ‘seasonal depression’ is an album highlight for me; another sad banger that shows that Maia isn’t afraid of shying away from any topic, and won’t hide her feelings behind endless metaphors.

‘The Masquerade’ is a great debut album, and it proves that Mxmtoon is one of the most promising young songwriters in the world right now.

90%

Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding Album Review

Post Malone has become one of the biggest names in music in an extremely short length of time. He released his debut album in 2016, and as of September 2019, he is the 6th most streamed artist in the world on Spotify, with his latest single ‘Circles’ gaining over 50 million streams in around a week. He just headlined Reading & Leeds festivals in the UK to great reception. It’s an understatement to say there was a lot of anticipation and hype for his latest album, and unexpectedly, he exceeded those expectations.

The title track kicks off the album, and immediately sets the gloomy, sad tone of ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’. Sadness and loneliness have been consistent themes in Posty’s previous releases, but this project is his most cohesive, and consistent to date. Most of the tracks on ‘Hollywood’s Bleeding’ sound like they could easily be singles, and Post seems the most focused he has ever been.

‘Enemies’ is the first track of the album that sounds positive; a really upbeat, peppy and extremely catchy melody runs throughout the track but the lyrics maintain that solemn attitude. ‘Used to have friends now I got enemies, it’s so sad’ hits things right on the head.

‘Allergic’ is an album highlight for me, and shows off what Post Malone does best. Blending elements of several genres together to make a straight up catchy banger. An almost doo-wop beat and melody mixes in effortlessly with rock and trap, and the harmonised acapella vocals that close off the track are genuinely lovely.

Many of the tracks on the album deal with the theme of fame, and how it has affected his life. Some lines like “You see me on TV, you know I’m a star, You say you don’t know me, but I know that’s false” from ‘A Thousand Bad Times’ leave no room for speculation, but tracks like ‘Circles’ make you read between the lines, and show a deeper side to Post Malone. ‘Circles’ is one of my favourite tracks Post has ever done, with it’s jangly guitar and plodding bassline making it almost sound like a single that a Blossoms could come out with mixed with a bit of Tame Impala. It’s extremely catchy and hasn’t left my head since I first heard it.

There are a wide range of features on the album, from the likes of Halsey, Future and Sza, but perhaps the most surprising combination is Ozzy Osbourne and Travis Scott, both of whom feature on the track ‘Take What You Want’. Perhaps even more surprising is that it works, with Ozzy’s vocals providing a really dramatic atmosphere, and Travis puts in a decent verse before the song explodes into an over-the-top guitar solo.

‘Staring At The Sun’ with Sza is a really pleasant track, and whether this is due to the pair’s history or not, it really does sound like the song that would play at the end credits of a superhero movie. The fact that it is followed by ‘Sunflower’ taken from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, only furthers this in my mind. It’s good though, and Sza and Post work really well together.

‘Internet’ is a weird one. Written by Kanye West, it’s almost interlude length at just over 2 minutes, and is a string heavy, short and sweet ballad about how he doesn’t use the internet much anymore. It’s nice enough though, but the extremely lush instrumentation does seem a little out of place.

When I first listened to ‘Myself’ I thought that it sounded a bit like Father John Misty in the melody and lyrics; “Oh, I’m sick of believing, All of this American dreaming, Oh, let’s not give a fuck ’til Giving a fuck has no meaning”. The track was in fact co-written by Post and Josh Tillman (FJM’s Real Name), and is another of the album’s best points.

Closing off with ‘Wow.’, which is by far the most braggy of all the tracks on the album perfectly sums up Post Malone. He’s made it, and he’s going to keep pushing forward and surprising people with his success for as long as he can.

85%

 

 

 

Tessa Violet Interview

Tessa Violet is set to release her debut album later this year, and I spoke to her about the album, the visuals that go along with it, and starting out as an online creator.

 


I started off by asking how she felt about the reception to her latest EP, and why decide to release the project as separate EPs initially.


“I’m feeling good! it’s a repackaging of the first three singles plus three remixes.”


“We’ve actually decided to release the whole album this fall!! stoked on that. “


“I wrote the album as an album, you take something different and more complete when you listen to it all together. Initially we’d considered the idea of three EPs just because i am still a relatively new artist and there wasn’t much demand, but things have taken off a bit this year! I cried happy tears when we made the call.”


Tessa’s single ‘I Like (The Idea Of) You’ is my favourite track from her to date, and features on her latest EP. I asked her what the inspiration behind the track was.


“Just as the song says, there was a guy who i knew i wasn’t a fit for but loved the idea of him, and not just that but i enjoyed the whole experience of falling for the idea of someone.”


“I felt powerful.”


The visuals for the Bad Ideas campaign have all been really striking and memorable, especially the Crush video. I asked Tessa what was the process behind working on that video was like, & how important are visual aspects like videos and album/single art to her.



“It was my director Isaac White’s idea to film in a supermarket, mine to use the boomerang technique, and the execution of the brilliant editor Shawna Howson who brought it together.”


“That video was incredibly DIY, a group of passionate people coming together to make something because we all cared about it. I think with everything I do, visuals or otherwise. it’s important to me that it all be “right”.”


” I don’t think of myself as a perfectionist, but I do have a strong sense of what works or doesn’t for me and I do everything I can to follow my gut there.”


Tessa started out by uploading videos to Youtube, and building her audience organically that way. I asked her why she thinks so many people still don’t take musicians who started their careers online seriously.


“I think it’s a variety of factors. There’s definitely a stigma around people who built something online.”


“Maybe because when you go through a label, there’s so much money going in to it from so many different places you know it’s going to reach some level of par or good, but online anyone can upload anything.”


“for years i’d have people saying to me “yeah i don’t mean this in a bad way but it surprised me, your songs are actually really good!” whatever it is, i try not to put too much energy in to getting distracted by it.”


“I think if if the music is great then people who like it will like. that’s something to be grateful for.”

Say Hello To: Before Breakfast

Before Breakfast are Gina, Lucy, Debra, Annie from Sheffield. I asked them a few questions about their band, favourite venue & more.

Where did your band name come from?
“Depends what mood we’re in as we’ve got a variety of stories, but the truth is it’s a race horse name. Let’s hope it was a successful horse.”

Is there a favourite venue of yours in your hometown and why do you like it?
“Sheffield isn’t as easy to gig in as people may think, well for us, anyway.  If you’re a white male indie guitar band it seems pretty easy. ”

“But a venue that’s doing great work in folk, country, Americana, jazz and more is The Greystones, their books are so busy for months in advance and it’s easy to see why touring artists try to get into this venue.”

“It seems to have a dedicated audience, regardless of what the music is. But my actual fave venue is what The Walkabout building never was. Sad.”

What is your favourite gig you have played so far?
“A massive question! Recently we were very luck to support C Duncan on his Spring headline tour and the show at Edinburgh Summerhall was so lovely. ”

“The majority of his audience came down early to see us perform, they laughed at our jokes and bought our merch, the staff were so welcoming and the building itself is brimming with history and character.”

If you had to describe your own sound, how would you put it?
“There’s a sweetness in the vocal harmonies and sweeping melodies but combined with the occasional discomfort in the lyrics and visual performance, we’re hoping it will leave you nicely tense. ”

“Though I nicked that from a mate, it’s not a bad summary. It’s how I’d like people to feel during a gig”

Which act would you love to support
“Villagers. That man’s music has pierced my very soul and he now owes me for the damage incurred.”

Check Before Breakfast out on Twitter here, and find them on Spotify below.