Welcome to our new monthly feature where we run you through the fifteen songs released this month that we’ve hit the repeat button on most. It’s up to you how you consume this, you can play the songs and read the accompanying descriptions or skip down to the bottom and open the playlist on your streaming platform of choice – Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube. I reckon March has been the strongest month yet for new music in 2019, so I hope you’ll find a place in your lives for some of the excellent songs below. Enjoy!
Ancient Pools – Forget
You can hardly believe that Portland-based duo Ancient Pools are only releasing their debut album this year. ‘Forget’ is the sound of an act that has finally hit the jackpot after honing their craft for years. ‘Forget’ is a gorgeous reverie that sees blissed-out synths, subtle drums and hushed vocals combine to wonderful effect. Dream a little dream with this one.
Babehoven – Ice Lake
I could literally have picked any song off Babehoven’s Solemnis EP – the best EP of the year so far – but decided to opt for ‘Ice Lake’, my first introduction to the band led by Maya Bon. Bon’s voice comes in with less than two seconds gone and her rich, timbral tones have you instantly hooked. Other than a foot-tapping chorus ‘Ice Lake’ is barely more than drums and an understated guitar which act as a vehicle for Bon’s voice to glide over. While the volume might increase towards the end, ‘Ice Lake’ is a lesson in restraint.
Cate Le Bon – Daylight Matters
Cate Le Bon, one of our most original songwriters, set out on a piano tour this year. This was quite the departure considering Le Bon had previously tied rings around audiences with her unique guitar playing until we fell at her feet. “Daylight Matters”, the first single from forthcoming album Reward, hints at a new quieter sound for Le Bon and potentially provides the reason behind the piano tour. It’s Le Bon’s most subtle song and the first signal of a new unchartered territory that she has landed upon. I can’t wait to explore with her.
Faye Webster – Room Temperature
And sway. ‘Room Temperature’ is the most sultry sounding song of 2019, you can just imagine it wafting in the air of a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Atlanta singer-songwriter Faye Webster sounds in the best way possible like an artist who couldn’t care less, “I just don’t change that much ’cause who’s to impress?’, she muses over a breezy steel guitar. The core of the song is just Webster repeating the words ‘I need to get out more’ and trust me, this is the coolest, most effortless song about isolation you’re going to hear for a while. Wonderful.
Field Medic – Used 2 be a romantic
If you’ve spent at least some of your life holed up in small gig venues you’ll have had a little insight into what touring life is like for artists. Nobody has ever put this experience so eloquently into words as Field Medic has done with ‘Used to be a romantic.’ The first of many relatable lines comes within seconds, “those fuckers talked over my whole set” reminding you of every head shake you’ve sent the way of the ignorant fuckers in the corner – yeah I’m passionate about this okay? It’s a poignant reminder to make sure you let gigging artists know how much you love them because they’re probably ‘sick of transit’ and tryna ‘sell shirts to make the rent’ – life on tour ain’t no easy road.
Hand Habits – yr heart (reprise)
For anyone who’s followed the Indie underground scene closely it was an absolutely pleasure to see one of our most consistent acts Hand Habits release their first major label album earlier this month. Placeholder is a collection of alt-folk songs that seep into your brain with repeated listens. ‘Yr heart’ (reprise) is the finest example of a track that exceeds in that role. At it’s core is a beautiful melody that weaves over instrumentation that does so much with so little, knowing when you’ve done enough is a skill few artists are blessed with but it comes naturally to Hand Habits. Meg Duffy is the artist behind Hand Habits and yeah they’re going to be around for one hell of a long time.
Helado Negro – Two Lucky
Helado Negro’s album ‘This is How You Smile’ is a missive about how time with family and friends is time best spent. ‘Two Lucky’ is the embodiment of that message, ‘take care of people today, hold their hand, call them up if you wanna say ‘hey I miss the way we used to hug, we used to dance a tiny bit.’ So after you’ve spent nearly four minutes in the enchanting world of Roberto Carlos Lange, the alias of Helado Negro, practice what he preaches, pick up the phone and share a laugh about old times with that friend you’ve left it too long with. You won’t regret it.
Illuminati hotties – I Wanna Keep Yr Dog
After releasing the most playful and fun album of 2018, illuminati hotties show they have much more where that came from in new single ‘I wanna keep yr dog.” In this complete power-pop wonder, Sarah Tudzin hilariously recounts how ‘Iggy’, a dog, is the only redeeming quality about a former lover. It’s a song to dance out of your office to on a Friday at 5pm with two fingers raised aloft to the building behind you.
Laura Stevenson – Living Room, NY
The world’s most underrated artist Laura Stevenson returned with one of the greatest songs from her rather impressive backlog this month. If this is your first time listening to Stevenson you my friend are one lucky piece of shit. The verse on this song is wonderfully tense and fraught with her voice bouncing over a loaded acoustic guitar before the world falls out from under her when she sings ‘I’d give an arm just to hear you in the dark saying living room, New York’ over complete nothingness. From there the song explodes into an angellic volcano of emotion before unravelling into nothingness again. By the end we’re changed.
Muldue – I Tried
Max Ramsden from Stratford-Upon-Avon makes dreamy, featherweight songs under the guise of Muldue. Max found a kindred spirit in cinematic, electronic label Hush Hush Records and together they released his stunning EP ‘A Place both Foreign and Familiar’ this month. ‘I Tried’ may flicker in the distance on the first listen but it burns brighter with repeat listens as its flame gets closer and closer.
Nilüfer Yanya – Baby Blu
After hearing her debut EP ‘Small Crimes’ way back in 2016 I quickly identified Yanya as one of the UK’s most exciting artists. It felt like an age for her debut album ‘Miss Universe’ to come out but when it did earlier this month, bloody hell was it worth the wait?! Yanya’s brand of music takes inspiration from R&B, Indie and Funk to make something that’s unmistakably her own. ‘Baby Blu’ is the album’s most straight-out banger. It builds up wonderfully before you’re sent tumbling into a disco vortex, losing control more and more as Yanya adds layer after layer. It’s my favourite off the album for now but each song has so much quality that it probably won’t be next week.
Potty Mouth – Starry Eyes
It’s hard to pick a highlight from ‘Snafu’, the nigh-on perfect pop punk album from Los Angeles trio Potty Mouth but ‘Starry Eyes’ just about edges it for me, I mean any song that opens with the line ‘looks like I fucked up’ is going to be hard to beat. ‘Starry Eyes’ is quite simply a glorious pop song about doomed love, they know the ending is going to be a shitstorm but they’re determine to enjoy every single moment until it all gets awry. You should too.
Rosie Tucker – Shadow of a Doubt
Just how did New Professor records keep their star signing, Rosie Tucker a secret up until 2019? Oh my days, Tucker can’t half write an incredible pop punk song or eleven as she proves on her album ‘Never Not Never Not Never Not’, an early contender for the guitar record of the year. ‘Shadow of a Doubt’ is the sound of Tucker silencing her inner doubts in what is a truly amazing chorus she sings “find me an axe and I will bring the motherfucker down, find me an axe and I will fell the shadow.” Celebrate this moment of defiance with her and have this song set up and ready to play any time that inner voice needs taking down a notch or two.
Stella Donnelly – Die
Witty Aussie singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly fulfilled all her early promise on debut album ‘Beware of the Dogs.’ ‘Die’ is just one of many highlights. It sounds like it’s going to be one hell of a grim song but actually it’s an incredibly funny song about a bad driver she once shared a ride with. In Donnelly’s classic anecdotal style the song finds her repeating the words ‘I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die’ while shielding her eyes so she doesn’t have to look at the chaos ensuing ahead. It’s a dangerous journey but when it reaches the end you’ll wanna go round all over again.
Weyes Blood – Movies
People have used so many words to describe the music of Weyes Blood, acopalyptic, dreamy, mythical, future-folk, that I’m not even going to bother, I’m simply just going to say she makes incredible music that sounds absolutely like NOBODY else – and no that’s not a Mitski reference. ‘Movies’ is the centrepiece of her stargazing new album ‘Titanic Rising’ which will be out to into the galaxy on April 5 – oh god it seems I cant resist cosmic references either. Over synths that sound like they’re submerged under water Natalie Merring, the name of the artist behind Weyes Blood, regrets how easily movies have brainwashed her in the past, ‘why did it get a rise out of me?’, she muses. Huge, cinematic drums make an entrance towards the end as Merring repeats ‘I want to be in my own movie’ over and over. An absolute blockbuster of a tune.
Apple Music playlist: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/playlist/march-2019-15-songs/pl.u-76oNpeeCkZ5L4v