Dear Rouge, Homeschool, Nick Leng, Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker, Natalia Clavier, Louise Quinn & Gates of Light, Fontaines D.C. are among these press releases for May.
Dear Rouge – “Small Talk”: A hooky pop song with an explosive chorus, original guitar riffs, and a mix of yearning and slight aggression in the vocals. Vancouver alt-rock duo Dear Rouge have shared their long-awaited third full-length album, “Spirit” (out now via Pheromone Records), and the single “Small Talk” comes with a music video. As the band wrote of the record, “Spirit is the most vulnerable and raw side of Danielle’s inner thoughts, and the line being thrown from these questions and deep reckonings within oneself, urging you to grab hold and hang on for dear life.” The band recorded “Spirit” secluded away from busy cityscapes. Drew and Danielle took up residence in a lakeside cabin shortly after the release of “PHASES,” their sophomore record. The duo found themselves spending their days alone together, and “Spirit” began to take form over the winter months. “I had this epiphany,” Danielle shared, “that we needed to come back to ourselves and the joy and comfort we found in each other when we began writing music together.” Her epiphany meant a return to vulnerability, honesty, the enjoyment of their own art, and authenticity in working with what’s true for you. On “Spirit,” the band enlisted Thomas D’arcy (Neko Case, July Talk, The Sheepdogs), their long-time collaborator Ryan Worsley (GUS, Mathew V), Broken Social Scene founder Brendan Canning, a close friend and drummer Daniel Klenner (Peach Pit, We Are The City), pop-star and former tour-mate Lights, as well as singer-songwriter Jordan Klassen, and producers Derek Hoffman, Frederik Thaae, and Herag Sanbalian.
Homeschool – “The Strangest Thing”: An angsty pop anthem single with an existential problem, whose loud chorus echoes the lush sounds of the late-’00s and early-’10s indie rock. This is a single (with video) of “Homeschool: Book II,” the recently released EP of Homeschool, the solo project of musician Tom D’Agustino, formerly of Active Bird Community. Speaking on “The Strangest Thing,” Tom wrote: “‘The Strangest Thing’ is a song that has taken many shapes over the years. The first version of it was written around my senior year of high school and served as a sort of reflection on the time I had spent growing up in a small town, my relationships, and my regrets. But as I’ve grown the song has followed me around and this version strikes me as more uplifting, looking at the past, not as something you wish you could change, but something you are willing and able to speak about, to let out and engage with. Maybe you can’t let it all go entirely but it certainly doesn’t have to rule your life.” “Book I was a beautiful opportunity to experiment with different concepts, both musically and visually, but it also allowed me to collaborate with so many different artists in the process,” said D’Agustino. This collaborative spirit by no means vanished on “Homeschool: Book II,” as is seen with Homeschool’s touching collaboration with Annie Blackman on the “One That Got Away” cover song. While Book II does not have one central theme or backstory, it does present a series of images and experiences that seem to ask the same question: “why this?”
Nick Leng -“Morning/Midnight”: Smooth electronic textures, a killer tempo, original vocals delivered with swagger for a hypnotic and intriguing result that comes with a video directed by Josh Sondock. The video was inspired by Mountain Goats’ “Woke Up New” video, which was directed by Rian Johnson. “Morning/Midnight” is part of Nick’s brand-new double-single featuring B-Side “My Mind is a Mess in the Morning.” Both tracks are out now via SOTA Records. Speaking on the two new tracks, Nick wrote the following: “I’ve always had trouble writing quotes that summarize songs. It feels like the words can put songs in boxes, and possibly snuff out any personal interpretation a listener might have. In a similar way, when I was finished with ‘My Mind is a Mess in the Morning,’ and was thinking about releasing it as a single, it really excited me to pair it with ‘Morning/Midnight.’ They’re equally important to me, and, one might say, quite different. together, I felt like they painted a better picture of what I’m trying to say. ‘My Mind is a Mess in the Morning’ was written while I was living in Topanga in a trailer park which, subsequently, (and arguably hilariously) became rat-infested prompting a hasty departure. ‘Morning/Midnight’ was started there as well one late night when I was chopping up a classical piano improvisational piece I had recorded, on a sampler. There’s a video on my Instagram of me playing the melodica in the intro in the morning and the sun peeked through that ended up in the final version. I had considered dividing that intro, with the chopped piano and the ‘second part’ when the beat comes in, into two songs, but the journey of the intro, and the duality and sensation of when the bass and kick comes in, had a real story to it that it cemented the conviction that it’s one idea.” Nick Leng is playing a number of live dates this spring, supporting labelmate LP.
Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker – “No Return”: A creepy soundscape with a loud organ, haunting vocals, and the uncomfortable sonic buoyancy of a horror movie. This is part of “Blood Hive,” the original score from the SHOWTIME series YELLOWJACKETS. The release features music by Craig Wedren, best known as the frontman for D.C.-based seminal post-hardcore band Shudder to Think, Anna Waronker of indie-pop darlings that dog., who scored most of the show’s episodes, and composer Theodore Shapiro who composed the music for the show’s pilot. The strikingly sinister score harkens back to the punk, grunge, and garage scenes of the ’90 s and provides a darkly ominous backdrop to the horror series. The album is available digitally today and contains an extended version of the main title song “No Return.” “Making music for the first season of YELLOWJACKETS was a rare gift,” Wedren and Waronker said. “We were able to create something vicious, elegant, and new that not only paired well with the show but really connected with people. This is the music we would be proud to share under any circumstances, and we’re super excited and grateful to unleash it in soundtrack form.” Equal parts survival epic, psychological horror story, and coming-of-age drama, YELLOWJACKETS is the saga of a team of wildly talented high school girls soccer players who become the (un)lucky survivors of a plane crash deep in the remote northern wilderness. The series chronicles their descent from a complicated but thriving team to savage clans, while also tracking the lives they’ve attempted to piece back together nearly 25 years later, proving that the past is never really past and what began out in the wilderness is far from over.
Natalia Clavier – “Underwater”: A haunting track installing a mysterious ambiance, thanks to the emotive strings and the ethereal vocals that sound trapped underwater like the title of the song says. This is a new song by Natalia Clavier (of Thievery Corporation) her brand new solo single coming with an accompanying lyric video. Speaking on the track, Clavier says: “My intention was to infuse fluidity and calm in honoring the element of water and our Mother Earth. For the first time ever, I used the same instruments in the making of ‘Underwater’ that I use in my Sound Journeys or Sound Ceremonies. They are guided meditations with live music including looping, beatboxing, chimes, forest leaf rattles, harp, and vocals. My husband, Michael Raymond Pereira, engineered the song and played cello. I’m excited about this new chapter in my career that finds me finally realizing ways to combine my songwriting with the Healing Arts side of music.” Natalia’s latest music collaboration is a duo with Brazilian/American virtuoso violinist and producer Andrei Matorin called VOXMANA, which blends electronica with Southamerican roots, soul, and jazz.
Louise Quinn & Gates of Light – “Belleville Sun”: A soothing light dance-pop song with alluring and dark vocals that have been compared to a mix of “Nico, Serge Gainsbourg, and a lo-fi Saint Etienne.” This is a song off Gates Of Light’s debut album on the legendary Shimmy-Disc label, coming with a music video. If “Belleville Sun” was inspired by the intensity of lockdown, the 10-track project was originally released last year and was the result of a collaboration between five artists across four cities, three-time zones, and two continents. Singer-songwriter Louise Quinn and producer Bal Cooke teamed up with London-based DJ and producer Scott Fraser, Parisian musician, DJ and producer Kid Loco, and film director and photographer, New York’s Tim Saccenti — who has previously worked with Run The Jewels and Pharell — to create a sublime, electro-pop reflection on the grief, insularity and peculiar highs of lockdown. Immediately after hearing the album, revered post-punk musician and producer Kramer offered to release the vinyl edition on his iconic cult label Shimmy-Disc, which boasts an impressive back catalog of artists including Daniel Johnson, Low, and Galaxie 500. “Don’t say it’s over when the day has just begun. Cast off your ghosts and turn your face towards the sun,” Louise sings in a balmy summer’s day of a track, guiding the listener on a wander through Paris with woozy guitars and soothing vocals. Speaking on the new video, Louise wrote: “So lucky getting to work with Grant McPhee again on another Gates Of Light video and on 16mm again; but as with the last video shoot we have done together our plans of filming outdoors in Glasgow were thwarted by torrential rain! Originally the plan was to send Grant to Paris to film with Kid Loco but unfortunately travel restrictions prevented that from happening so French Director Mathieu Kauffmann very kindly stepped in to shoot the Paris footage in the iconic Père Lachaise Cemetery. Grant and I filmed the outdoor Glasgow footage in the stunning Glasgow Necropolis where they shot the latest Batman movie. I absolutely love the video; it feels like an integral part of the track rather than an afterthought; it has an effortless timelessness whilst being very present. Grant has cut the Paris footage with the Glasgow footage beautifully and the 1963 Eclair footage evokes the sixties musical influences of the track; Nico; Vashti Bunyan; The Beatles etc… It also ties in well with the themes of memory, staying in the moment, and making the most of now.
Fontaines D.C. – “Roman Holiday”: A breezy and textured ballad with atmospheric guitars and morose vocals, the moody song is the fourth single from the band’s new album “Skinty Fia,” just released on Partisan Records. “Roman Holiday,” sees frontman Grian Chatten reflect on his experiences of moving to London and embracing the city as an Irish person in the local diaspora. The single sees the band delving further into the album’s poignant themes surrounding identity and belonging, with the lyrics celebrating the camaraderie found in the community of Irish people and friends that the band has found for themselves. Speaking on the single, Chatten says, “Roman Holiday makes me think of the wide streets of north London in the Summer and the urge to discover them at nighttime. The thrill of being a gang of Irish people in London with a bit of a secret language and my first flat with my girlfriend.” The song comes with a music video. “Skinty Fia” is an Irish phrase that translates to English as “the damnation of the deer” and the album’s cover art features a deer, plucked from its natural habitat and deposited in the hallway of a home, illuminated by an artificial red glow. The Irish giant deer is an extinct species and the band’s thoughts on Irish identity are central to” Skinty Fia.” While Dogrel was littered with snapshots of the Dublin characters – like the cabbie in “Boys In The Better Land” – and A Hero’s Death documented the dislocation and disconnection the band felt as they traveled the globe on tour, on “Skinty Fia,” Fontaines D.C. are addressing their Irishness from afar as they recreate new lives for themselves elsewhere. For a band whose hometown courses through their veins – “D.C.” stands for “Dublin City” – the album finds them trying to resolve the need to broaden their horizons with the affection they still feel for the land and people they’ve left behind.
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