Surfing the tsunami of therapy often means realising that the simplest answers are the right ones. “Write, write, it’s therapeutic”, say the couch professors. But whilst most people would do it in a small notebook that lives on their bedside table, Adrianne Lenker cures her insomnia, her ghosts of the past and present, the names in her life (Haley, Mary, Paul, Lorraine, Randy)… through songs. For the album covers of Masterpiece (2016) and Capacity (2017) Big Thief steals the most sacred memories, family snaps that show strange moments caught just a second after saying “cheese”, just when they let their guard down. That is what her songs are like too, sung with echoes of both Hope Sadoval and Joni Mitchell: comforting and strange, beautiful even though they thresh out childhood accidents and traumas (Mythological Beauty), and are recognisable as we recognise ourselves in our mothers and fathers, and they in us. Because often, not only are the simplest answers the right ones, but they are usually the same for everyone.
Korean pop (aka K-pop) gets a lot of attention, but Korean indie is something you don’t hear about as often.
At the top of the pack in this genre is a band called Hyukoh. A true tale of industry determination, Hyukoh got their start in 2014 when lead singer Oh Hyuk gathered up some friends to form a band, starting on the underground club circuit in Seoul’s hipster hub, Hongdae. Their career really got going, however, after their appearance on a South Korean reality show called Infinite Challenge. The fan response got them some festival gigs and enough interest for them to record a studio album, and they’ve only climbed higher ever since. Stateside, their song “Citizen Kane” featured in an Apple commercial.
Though “K-pop” is increasingly used as a catchall term for all South Korean music, Hyukoh are, without a doubt, a rock and roll act. Though guitar-based bands seem to be fading in much of the Western world, as R&B and pop take the day once again, Hyukoh’s star is on the rise. Owing to their global popularity, this show’s almost sold out. Tonight in concert at sala Apolo.
Alternative dream-pop band Vaarwell consisting of Margarida Falcão, Ricardo Nagy, and Luís Monteiro. The Lisbon, Portugal trio blend brightly cinematic bursts of sonic color through a familiar base of guitars, vocals and drums – adding in the production studio as a fifth and powerfully manipulative instrument. The band’s 2017 debut album HOMEBOUND 456 is a must-listen, pulsing with touching melodies and intimate lyrics that cut both band and listeners to their core.
Having established themselves as a formidable talent, Vaarwell return triumphantly in 2018 with ‘Stay’ and in 2019 with ‘Money.’
What started four years ago as an acoustic solo project of Dutch Camiel Meiresonne (26), Son Mieux has morphed into a tightly-knit and super stylish synth-pop band. Fire and soul, this six piece band have it all. Camiel is a songwriter, singer, guitarist, keyboard-player and producer. Apart from being a musician he loves the nightlife. But only after he has taken distance from his deepest feelings (and heartaches) does he transmute them into songs. He’s got a big heart and a cool head. Camiel Meiresonne is Son Mieux and vice versa. The debut album’s title, Faire de Son Mieux (out February 8), is French for ‘getting the most out of yourself’ or ‘giving it all you got’. Faire de Son Mieux showcases ten fully rounded pop songs brimming with irresistible hooks and choruses. The stories are personal in the best folk music tradition but all of them have an electronic foundation. This results in finely crafted, extremely danceable music full of emotion.
Pretty much everything SWMRS begins with the same bit of trivia. Yes, this Californian punk rock band features Billie Joe Armstrong’s offspring – even if this wasn’t the case, though, one would imagine comparisons to Green Day would surely still be drawn.
After all, SWMRS, completed by frontman Cole Becker, his brother Max on lead guitar and bassist Seb Mueller, share many sonic traits with the arena-conquering band they’re so often associated with. A punk band at their core, their sound borrows a lot from out-and-out pop – LP ‘Drive North’ offers rousing choruses with frequent nods to The Beach Boys as much as Ramones, The Clash, or Stiff Little Fingers. Ahead of the release of their new album Berkeley’s On Fire next month, SWMRS have unveiled a brand-new single and video, Trashbag Baby.
Great Gable are a Perth based band originally from the South-West of Western Australia, combining a wide range of influences to bring a subtle twist on the alternative-indie sound.
The band have had a stellar year in 2018, selling out two national tours in support of their recent singles Pillars and Golden Slums. They’re kicking off 2019 with a new single Cool Mind Blue, as well as their biggest national tour to date.
If somebody mentions a young post-punk band that has only released a couple of singles, you probably imagine a poignant but still-to-mature sound. Listen to Fontaines D.C., and your paternalistic smile will turn into jaw dropping amazement; everything sounds clear, robust and determined like a melodious storm. There is just the right space between the instruments and it is obvious that Grian Chatten was educated at the University of Mark E. Smith for vocalists-narrators. And on top of all of this, apparently they are explosive live and have earned the support of the respected BBC DJ Steve Lamacq.
Fontaines D.C. have announced their highly-anticipated debut album, Dogrel, which is slated for release on April 12, 2019 via Partisan Records. Alongside the announcement of their new album, the band have also shared a new video (directed by Molly Keane) for the album opener, ‘Big’.