Clémentine Blue has been trying to understand the true meaning of home for a long time now; having moved to the UK from France a few years ago, she’s since found herself living in Brighton, Manchester and more recently London. As a result, her musical palette is disarmingly colourful, glistening vividly with all manner of ideas and inspirations – but her real ability lies in being able to bring together these influences to form a bewilderingly beautiful patchwork quilt of sound, fashioned by the memories of people she’s met, loved and lost along the way.
‘The Sea’ is the first song to be taken from her stunning debut EP ‘Outremer’, a collection of bedroom recordings produced and mixed by Clémentine herself, exploring themes of loneliness and abandonment with a tender sensuality. Like Annie Clark’s St Vincent, Tiger Lion is a project that defiantly embraces change, experimenting with different cultures by taking traditional instruments away from their context. However, it’s her moments of intimate expression that really draw you in deeper, exposing a vulnerability with a depth far beyond your initial expectations. The accompanying video, directed in collaboration with Angèle Béraud, is soaked in shades of blue; each subtle tone and texture forming an emotional connection with the music.
‘Outremer’ is released via Woodland Recordings on the 29/11. Limited edition physical copies of the EP will be available with hand-stamped CDs inside a 7″ sleeve, a numbered print of one of Clementine Blue’s analog photographs + lyrics booklet and hand painted credits.
Tiger Lion plays Pitchblack at Birthdays in London on the 18/12.
A few weeks ago, I was in the midst of enjoying my morning cycle to work, when I suddenly found myself flailing towards the cold concrete floor, hitting the deck with an almighty thud. The car driver, clearly at fault for the collision, heartlessly left me lying there like I didn’t exist. As a result, my arm is now cushioned in a sling, nursing a dislocated shoulder. This is the first time I’ve felt like writing since the accident, and although typing is a slow painful process, Manchester’s Church Party are certainly worth every word.
I’ve kept a close eye on this band now for the best part of a year, secretly hoping that they would become more than just a couple of promising demos, and it seems like my faith might be rewarded. Dancing confidently on the graveyard of WU LYF’s heavy pop, debut single ‘Isosceles‘ glistens in melodic guitar lines but remains defiantly raw, urgent… Tom Stewart’s yearning vocals disappearing into a state of wasted euphoria and pounding drums. I can already hear the climactic “take me home” echoing in my mind, never to be forgotten.
Swallow Me Whole then takes us into Nick Cave territory, beginning life as a shadowy baritone lullaby, which sways eerily in atmosphere, patiently marching towards something far bigger… it’s underlying menace growing more prominent, before finally unleashing it’s visceral conclusion; an explosion of scuzzy noise and the strained howls of regret and despair.
I’ve spent the past month in a peaceful winter hibernation, and it seems like so many of you have been doing the same. I’m not entirely sure where this year is going to take me yet… but I can, at last, see enough sunlight breaking through the folds in my curtain to feel positive and re-energised.
The first artist to really engage me in 2015 is Supermoon, the new project from Edinburgh’s Neil Pennycook. Standout track Death To Meursault makes (murderous) reference to his previous band, although don’t be fooled by this wry gesture… Supermoon is not so much of a creative departure, more a quiet evolution.
Meursault were a big favourite of mine, releasing three albums of material together, each one a work of understated magnificence. Often compared to Scottish peers Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad… Meursault’s revolving cast of musicians received plenty of critical acclaim, but never quite found the wider audience they truly deserved.
Pennycook was always the beating heart of Meursault; his intimate and warm nature often at odds with the intensity and sadness found in his work. It is this compelling dichotomy that will no doubt propel Supermoon to be a beautiful success… one that hopefully shines bigger and brighter than ever before.
Reykjavík’s Gangly have burst mysteriously into existence with their debut track Fuck With Someone Else, a bewilderingly beautiful and fully formed vision. Of course, the internet is getting VERY excited… but one listen is all it took for me to understand why. Gangly have created an immersive electronic landscape, one that glistens in both darkness and light. It feels like the female/male vocals are dancing with each other, a heart-breaking tension found in the space between them.
There is no greater pleasure for someone like me, than to see a Mancunian act like Bernard & Edith find themselves in the position of beginning 2015 signed to Bella Union, deservedly about to find bigger audience. I distinctly remember the first time I met vocalist Greta ‘Edith’ Carroll down at the SWAYS Bunker, her warm personality left a real impression, shining brightly in a room full of chattering people… and together with her talented partner, a/v artist Nick ‘Bernard’ Delap, they have created a musical project unlike any other.
This is pop music with a uniquely northern imprint, defined by Greta’s jazz influenced vocal, unconventional and darkly delicious. Nick’s beautifully experimental soundscapes, produced with field recordings and basic instrumentation, add texture and mystery. It’s an artistic marriage made in well… Whalley Range. I’ve done my little bit in supporting Bernard & Edith along the way, having promoted them back in 2013, and written about them here on numerous occasions… so it feels fitting today to support and celebrate the official launch of WURDS at The Eagle Inn, Salford tonight. 8pm
It was always my intention to give Tru Luv a distinctly more independent voice… with a clear focus on self-discovery, rather than acting as a mouthpiece for PR companies. In trying to document our personal relationships with music, and by having no commercial agenda; we’re hopefully becoming a trusted destination for new artists.
Elin Rossiter aka Elle Mary was one of my first Tru ‘loves’, and it’s been a pleasure to watch her musical progression these past few months. Elle was never going to find herself surrounded by hype, instead her music would slowly seep into into people’s consciousness… forming a real and lasting connection with her fans. Having previously released the undeniably beautiful Angels, follow-up single Ocean only reinforces my belief that Elle Mary is one of Manchester’s most talented individuals. With repeated listens, the subtle nuances of Elle’s voice become apparent, each word carrying an emotional strength that belies her age. The echoing percussion and shimmering chords provided by The Bad Men, add a slow burning tension, swirling in conflict. In letting us hear her unguarded thoughts, Elle Mary offers hope when there is none… and for that I am very grateful.
Elle Mary & The Bad Men play The Eagle Inn tonight. Tickets here.
Limited Edition CD/Poster copies of Ocean/Angels will be available to purchase.
Earlier this year, London’s Real Lies dropped the house influenced North Circular – a song which beautifully captured the contradictory mood of late night city life, with it’s clear sense of possibility… but also a deep unwavering loneliness. There is a rich, almost romantic lyricism to be found here, delivered in such evocative fashion that you can’t help feeling you are there with them, looking back but always moving forwards. Interestingly Local Hero produced the original version of North Circular, so this remix unveiled today, is actually a self-remix.
It’s fair to say Mancunian outfit Doves played a huge role in moving my musical tastes away from the mainstream and into the alternative. I still love early albums Lost Souls and The Last Broadcast as much as I did when I was younger, and later albums Some Cities and Kingdom of Rust solidified Doves status as one of the best bands around, containing songs of great maturity and beauty. Having all been on official hibernation for the past few years, it was a pleasure to once again hear the warm tones of Jimi Goodwin’s voice on his debut solo album Odludek, a touching and deeply personal record with complex arrangements and a panoramic landscape. Twin brothers Jez and Andy Williams have also returned with new project Black Rivers… and if the carefree euphoria of Voyager 1 is any indication of what’s to come, then I am very much excited. The song is a glistening and ambitious effort, displaying a wonderful sense of freedom and escapism… but wrapped up in that familiar and melancholy Doves DNA. Artist Alden Volney has created an animated treasure to accompany the track.
Jake Shields raps with venom. Hailing from Kodiak in the U.S. state of Alaska and recording under the moniker of Lucid, Jake’s aggressive rapping style, stacked vocals, rapid-fire phrasing and clear enunciation suggest the influence of MCs like Eminem. His lyrics are personal and clever. There’s an edginess and a sense of self-belief in his performance, like Hip-Hop is a release for him – something he creates because he’s compelled to.
Made For Me sounds like catharsis – an educated Hip-Hop acid trip. Beats grind out awash with stark samples on a hypnotic loop. Jake’s metaphysical and occasionally violent lyrical imagery is delivered with a dark sense of humour and a healthy dose of attitude. As comfortable waxing lyrical about revenge and paralysing self-doubt as he is aliens, spaceships and Greek philosophers – Jake throws it all at the wall on Made For Me and asks, “Are you feeling it?”
I’ve admittedly been feeling fairly uninspired lately, and in turn my writing… and love of music has suffered. It often takes a special kind of band to bring me out of this spell, and I’m happy to say Faenimal Arm were able to do it. Based in Helsinki, this electronica duo consisting of Mia Ojapalo and Emil Järnefelt remind me a little of Manchester’s Bernard & Edith; experimental electronica but retaining a pop sensibility within their sound. Début track Industrial Sex (released via Vild Recordings) has this hypnotic and sensual rhythm that playfully dances around Emil’s shoegazer vocals. The video, created by artist Nick Tulinen, mirrors the feeling the song creates beautifully…