On The Stereo: May 2021
Let’s check out some superb new music from Joan Armatrading, Brodka, Shaman’s Harvest, JJ Wilde, Ida Mae, Vaarwell and more
WAVES RISING BY DOROTHEA PAAS
On Waves Rising the floating vibrato of Dorothea Paas’s vocals drift out across the ocean. Stylistically, there’s a full band feel to this folk-rock number as if Joni Mitchell decided to join the already formidable ranks of Fleetwood Mac.
ALREADY THERE BY JOAN ARMATRADING
The epic and modern production on Already There might come as a surprise to some but it really shouldn’t. While always anchored by her rich and familiar voice, Joan Armatrading’s music has never stood still and is all the better for it.
STRANGE WORLD BY TESSA ROSE JACKSON
With a voice exuding fragility, Someone (Tessa Rose Jackson) addresses personal evolution and change on Strange World. The song’s gentle aesthetic means that each well-placed word and added piece of instrumentation carries extra weight.
TUNNEL OF LOVE BY SUFJAN STEVENS
Taking some of Sufjan Stevens’ more experimental sounds and pushing them even further, Tunnel Of Love is a layered and immersive listen packed full of auditory delights and is the opening song off of Adrian Laika’s debut EP, Real Exercise.
LUKEWARM BY KIANA CORLEY
You know things aren’t going so well when you’re comparing your love life to a cup of lukewarm coffee. Thankfully there’s a sprinkling of sunshine added to the brew in this soulful pop track, reminiscent of Corinne Bailey Rae, by Kiana Corley.
HEY MAN BY BRODKA
If the freshest sounds in alt-pop are your bag then Hey Man by Brodka is the song for you. Bringing some of Karen O’s attack, the Polish musician leads the charge over crunching and processed guitars.
LITTLE LIARS BY IDA MAE
Little Liars is the new single from British duo Ida Mae. With its recurring guitar and subtly spooky piano, there’s a bluesy undercurrent that complements Stephanie Jean’s voice as she sings of watching the liars burn.
FADING COLORS IN THE NORTHERN LIGHTS BY THE MANDEVILLES
We’re kicking our day off with some epic music courtesy of Canadian rockers The Mandevilles. On Fading Colors In The Northern Lights, the five-piece from Welland, ON, sway and swagger over impressively bold layers of chiming guitars.
BIRD DOG BY SHAMAN’S HARVEST
Bird Dog is the first new track in four years from Missouri rockers Shaman’s Harvest. Marrying post-apocalyptic lyrics with droning guitar, hard-hitting percussion and the constant chirrup of a mouth harp, it’s a menacing return.
IGNORANCE SONG BY BXB LOVE
The heavy industrial feel to the production on IGNORANCE SONG by BXB LOVE allows the Canadian musician to let rip and embrace her assertive side. Throw in plenty of hooks and you’ve got yourself one fine modern pop tune.
I’LL START A FIRE BY PENFRIEND
Combining grungy guitar riffs with shimmering synths, Penfriend’s I’ll Start A Fire breaks through its own tension to provide a sense of emotional escape. Stick this one on repeat as it improves with each listen.
VIBRANT BY GRETA
Helped along by a particularly funky bassline, Vibrant by GRETA has something of an 80s pop vibe about it. Despite that enjoyable throwback sound, it’s very much a song for the now, dealing as it does with love in lockdown.
MEDIOCRE BY AL MATCOTT
Mediocre is the rootsy and country-inflected debut single from Australian singer-songwriter Al Matcott. Delivering his lyrics in an appealing drawl, fans of Kurt Vile will definitely want to check this one out.
BELIEVE IN LOVE BY CHARLIE WORSHAMAT
Taking stock of where he’s come from in order to know where he’s heading, Believe In Love finds country singer-songwriter Charlie Worshamat the height of his powers. As a guitarist, vocalist and writer of moving music, he’s up there with the very best.
CONSUME BY VAARWELL
On Consume, Vaarwell’s Margarida imparts some sisterly advice to her younger siblings. The dreamlike production lends the song the feel of a modern lullaby, as if newborns are being rocked in their crib as important life lessons are imparted.
NPD BY LAURENCE MURRAY PROJECT
Confirmation bias it may be, but it’s hard not to hear the sense of longing coursing through NPD by Laurence Murray Project and not put it down to the fact that it was created at the UK’s most remote recording studio on the Isle of Lewis. Soulful indie at its finest.
ISENCANE LENGANE BY THE JOY
On Isencane Lengane South Africa’s The Joy imbue traditional Zulu music with their modern a capella sound and it’s a combination that is both joyful and extremely pleasing on the ears. This debut single is surely the start of something very big.
BUSHWEED BY JJ WILDE
By taking some of The Black Keys bluesy stomp and mixing it with her cascading vocal flow, Bushweed finds JJ Wilde coming up with something both classic and completely modern. If you love this as much as us then check out new EP, Wilde.
Words: Duncan Haskell