I was sent this in my inbox this morning with the description of “hungover dream pop.” Not an entirely easy phrase to ignore, with my experience of being hungover somewhat prolific, I decided to take a dive into a band I’ve had absolutely no exposure to.
The Desert, a collaborative duo featuring singer-songwriter Gina Leonard and guitarist & producer Tom Fryer, are purveyors of understated, headphone based dream folk. Their latest single Just Get High is their debut release ahead of their inaugural EP Playing Dead. Just Get High, is a morose, pleading track that evokes the moments of regret we all have in the too-hot sun of a hungover Sunday. As you sit over a coffee and an eternally extinguishing cigarette, The Desert soundtrack the regret, desire and innate sadness in overdrawing oneself.
Due to the nature of having a semi-casual work schedule, I can sometimes end up with accidental four day weekends. I’m sure for many, this sounds like a dream come true. Alas, I am not someone who easily transitions into a life of relaxation and leisure. Blame my highly strung nature and an inability to sleep, I end up existing in a bizarre liminal dream space.
So, TUSKS latest release Dissolve perfectly subsidises this bizarre existant state. Ahead of her debut album Dissolve, out October 13th, the title track simmers as a post-midnight track along the rails of the post night out moment of clarity. Whilst I’ve been struggling now for a considerable amount of time to stay on top of the musical curve, due to a general sense of ennui, Dissolve channels it into a post-rock inspired transcendent pop dream.
So I get sent a lot of tosh. I mean, it’s inevitable really. Everyone wants a platform and everyone wants to be heard. With any kind of cultural product, the best may not always be the ones that are seen. Predictably, the genre that seems to be most overflowing is that of the “singer-songwriter.” All it takes is one person with a few ideas and an instrument to start a body of work and it’s been successful. Dylan, Oberst, Simon, the pantheon of music is littered with the names of songwriting singers. Unfortunately, just cause you’ve had an idea doesn’t always make it good, but sometimes an artist will sneak through the door to remind you why we still gravitate to singular voices.
Henry Jamison’s new track The Wilds, taken off the upcoming debut album of the same name, is part of the same great tradition whilst borrowing the emotional honesty of Frightened Rabbit and the vocal delivery of Iron & Wine. Simple, acoustic-based, music is often maligned but Jamieson implements intelligent string compositions and mature song structure to avoid the prospect of being another special snowflake with a problem.
It’s always a little unnerving when you haven’t heard of an act and then they hit with a new track and everyone loses their mind about it. You suddenly think “do I even know what’s going on?” Fortunately, such an experience is usually mitigated by the delivery of something new, exciting and well polished into your continued library.
The Last Dinosaur, obviously, fits this description. Grow, the latest single from the upcoming album The Nothing is a melodic Americana inspired ballad to oneself. I legitimately hate the term “indie-folk.” Used to describe any popular acoustic act from Elliot Smith, to Mumford & Sons via Johnny Flynn, it is a cop out. Having said that, here it is perfectly utilised. Mixing shoegaze elements with the auto-biographical narrative that genuine folk brings Grow’s musical delivery is meant for headphones, not for car stereos, and meanders itself through intelligent vocal delivery, harmonies and measured orchestral elements to create a cinematic track. Grow is a walk beneath the boughs during a warm Sunday.
Grow will be coming out tomorrow on the latest full length The Nothing. So now couldn’t be a better time to discover The Last Dinosaur in much the same way I have this afternoon.
Last year I lived with a man who fancied himself as a 90s supermodel. All long hair flips, wife-beater vests with leather jackets and an obsession with Brett Anderson. Despite this, he had a consummate knowledge of 80s New Romantic music. He was something of a Spandeau Ballet James Dean. This has somehow rubbed off on my own listening habits. Whenever I need to tap into that period of my life, I hit up an 80s playlist on Spotify and remember the man with a killer fringe dancing alone with a towel wrapped around his head holding a telescope in one hand and talking to a stuffed badger called Lucy.
So, it is a shame that I don’t get to share this new track with him. As the 80s revival continues towards 2020, Wyldest drop one of the best tracks within this current trend. Hitchhiker, their latest single, taps into the darkness that pervaded a lot of pop music in the 1980s. A lot of the time, we cast our eyes back through the glittered nostalgia lens to think that music all hit a hedonistic line of enjoyment, but Wyldest rearrange the sound of synths, alongside misanthropic guitar lines, to create a moody narrative that surrounds the tracks eponymous hitchhiker.
The track will be dropped on their new EP, coming out September 29th via Hand in Hive.
So, something I always intended to do when starting this was to put together end of month mixes ala FWBA when that was still up and running. Not everyone has the time or the wherewithal to go hunting down the Hype Machine etc all day every day trying to find something to replace the endless Toto that is on everyone’s playlist. Yes, it is always total. So, voila!
Now, not everything in this playlist has been featured on Beer For The Ear this month. It’s purely a sense of choice. There is far too much music out there to continuously share everything I think worthwhile and, inevitably, I feel it is just as important to showcase acts that you may not find otherwise as opposed to the latest releases by bigger names. Don’t get me wrong, if I think something is worth sharing from a massive name I will 100% put it in, but I think most of my readers will already be aware of some of the larger presences. So this mix is a combination of my favourite featured posts and some of the other stuff I’ve had on repeat this month for you all to peruse at your leisure.
I always really liked The Lucksmiths. They were this Belle & Sebastian-esque Australian indie pop band that soundtracked my low-key angsty adolescence. Breakups? Check. Adult uselessness? Check. Overt self-indulgent misery? Check check check. I so often felt that my future would include some kind of romantic struggle. That I would be some artist, musician or writer living in an inner city never quite making it but staying true to some kind of idealistic indie ideology of poetic bleakness. The Lucksmiths were my allies in this future projection. Whether it was “The Chapter In Your Life Entitled San Francisco” showcasing the pathetic longing for a missing love or “A Hiccup In Your Happiness” attesting to my fear of breaking up with someone wholly unsuitable for me, The Lucksmiths spoke my language of self-indulgent misery. I was a little bit emo sometimes.
So, to my great enjoyment, 3 of the 4 have returned with their new band Last Leaves. This new iteration retains much of the wit and delivery of The Lucksmiths but attaches it with a crunchier, more rustic musicianship, eschewing the breezy indie pop that preceded this iteration whilst retaining a vocal delivery both dreamy and vulnerable. The new single The World We Had, released yesterday on the label Lost and Lonesome, introduces us into the narrative of a new lover and the experiences that we relate to via proxy along with the band. We all build worlds with the people we love and the feeling when they change or are removed is exactly that. World ending. It’s a process of grieving for the familiar, the safe and the wanted whilst adjusting to that which is alien. Last Leaves, in keeping with their Lucksmiths legacy, showcase this perfectly.