OUR essential tracks of the week include new offerings from Luke La Volpe, Fourth Daughter, Medicine Men, Foreignfox, Honey Lung, Alison Mosshart and more. Check them out below.
Luke La Volpe ‘Terribly Beautiful’ EP
Known for his deeply soulful brogue and swaggering blues-rock tunes, Luke La Volpe is now one of the most talked-about rising stars in Scotland. When we last spoke to the West Lothian singer-songwriter in January, 2020 was shaping up to be quite the breakthrough year for the star with countless festival appearances and live performances lined up across the summer but with those plans now on the back burner, Luke has recently turned his attention to the Sofathon Singalong, an online event he curated to raise money for Scotland’s grassroots music venues, and the release of his debut EP ‘Terribly Beautiful’.
Officially out today, the three-track EP is a stunning collection of ballads led by one of the most striking vocal performances we’ve heard in some time. Luke La Volpe sings like he has lived a thousand lives, there’s something so timeless and authoritative about his delivery that listening to his voice seems to evoke the same comfort and familiarity as listening to classic singer-songwriters of the past. Deep and soulful one minute and showcasing his soaring range the next, he leaves you hanging on to every word and syllable – his intelligent, seductive lyrics delivered every time with spirit and conviction.
Offering a marked change of pace from the strident blues-rock anthems we’re used to hearing from the frontman, the EP prefers simplicity and candour over a fast-paced and overwrought production style – there’s no need for frills when the vocal is this good. Opening track ‘Dead Man’s Blues’, a song the frontman debuted during his TTV session back in February, is a stunning piano-driven number dripping in atmosphere and cinematic production while the gentle guitar and vocal ballad ‘Familiar Bliss’ offers a dose of some sepia-tinged romance. Written alongside The View’s Kyle Falconer and recorded entirely in lockdown, the EP ends with title track ‘Terribly Beautiful’, a deeply moving anthem for the strange times we live in. One of the singer’s most touching tracks to date with swaying pop melodies and warm harmonies. the frontman has announced that he will donate the first six months of its sales to three charities – Music Venue Trust, Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and NHS Lothian Covid-19 Appeal.
Fourth Daughter ‘Run’
Following the release of ‘Vision Of You’ at the start of this year, a track brimming with feverish beats and inventive electronics, Fourth Daughter continues to explore her dreamy electro-pop sound on new track ‘Run’. More understated and pop-focused than previous releases, Emily Atkinson’s crystalline vocals are delivered against a carefully layered backdrop of airy 80s-indebted synths and rolling, minimalist beats. Oscillating between thoughtful, pared back verses and more upbeat, dancefloor-ready choruses, there’s a kind of emotional catharsis in the singer’s songwriting as she comes out the other side of a relationship stronger.
Foreignfox ‘Exit Frame’
Over a year on from the release of ‘Birthday Flowers’, Dunfermline outfit Foreignfox have made a thunderous return with one of their most thrilling tracks to date ‘Exit Frame’. Opening in dark and unflinching fashion thanks to an onslaught of menacing post-punk synths, industrial beats and thrashing guitars, there’s a sense of unease that permeates the track as frontman Johnny Watt explores themes of isolation, addiction and change, delivering one of his most impassioned vocal performances to date. A track that builds and builds towards its explosive finale, it is brimming with same sense of catharsis and raw honesty that has informed much of their work thus far but this time they leave absolutely nothing behind, both lyrically and sonically. Expanding on their crushing alt-rock sound with darker electronic textures and towering synths, it’s a staggering return from perhaps one the nation’s most underrated outfits.
Medicine Men ‘A Different Port’
We gave you an exclusive first play of Medicine Men’s new album ‘A Different Port’ here on TTV last week but today marks its official release onto all major streaming platforms. Released via Last Night From Glasgow, the album is a tremendous follow-up to 2017’s ‘Into The Light’, taking the band’s sound down new unforeseen paths and reinforcing the core elements that made them such an enticing prospect in the first place. Fuelled by a desire to experiment and driven by the same indomitable spirit that has informed all of their work thus far, ‘A Different Port’ ranges from melodic to anthemic to introspective – glorious and utterly euphoric album opener ‘We First Met’ depicts the early days of a relationship, the reflective and wistful guitar-driven ‘Getaway Driver’ benefits from the addition of a female vocal accompaniment while the shimmering disco-tinged ‘Change My Mind’ expands their sonic palette with flourishes of saxophone. Elsewhere, ‘Ottoman Blues’ is a dark, menacing blues rocker of an instrumental while the pulsating, heady dancefloor vibes of ‘Necropolis’ and ‘Graveyard Lady’ pay heed to Mackinnon’s past dabblings with electro-rock outfit Crash Club. Brimming with creativity and ambition, ‘A Different Port’ may be generous with ideas but it’s an album that shines brighter with each and every listen.
Tamzene ‘Accidentally Told You’
Confirmed to play one of our North Goes South shows in London later this year on 18th November, Tamzene has shared a gorgeous new track ‘Accidentally Told You’. Recorded, produced and mixed by Tamzene in the midst of lockdown at her family home in Cromarty on an old piano, it’s a track that shines a light on the singer-songwriter’s ability to match timeless, elegant vocals with heartfelt lyrics. Crackling with vintage undertones, the old-style recording is a stunning addition to her catalogue – one that recalls the work of classic singer-songwriters of a bygone age.
Man Of Moon ‘Skin’ (Zoe Graham remix)
Man of Moon have proven themselves to be one of the most productive and consistent Scottish bands of the last two years. After releasing their acclaimed ‘Chemicals’ EP at the beginning of 2019, the tracks have been given a new lease of life thanks to a series of outstanding remixes by other Scottish creatives such as Beta Waves, Django Django, The Ninth Wave and Edwin Organ.
As they prepare to release ‘Chemicals: The Remixes’ online as an eight-track album, Man Of Moon have treated us to the fourth and final remix of ‘Skin’. Enlisting the help of Zoe Graham, the singer-songwriter pares the track back to its skeletal bones – Chris Bainbridge’s deep vocals are brought to the forefront while thick guitar lines throb against ice cold ambient synths. What at first appears to minimalist take on the track though gradually develops into a dark, sprawling dancefloor filler – you can almost foresee the smoke machines fill the room as the track builds to an enthralling conclusion. Listen HERE.
All Things Blue ‘CHAD’
Based in Los Angeles, All Things Blue is the vehicle through which singer, songwriter and guitarist India Coombs delves into the deepest, most colourful areas of her creative mind. Self-described as a “Psychedelic Alternative Pop-Rock band”, Coombs explores an eclectic range of styles of influences through her music, transcending genre constraints to come up with a dreamy sound that is entirely of her own devising. After teaming up with the same management team behind Glasgow-based acts The Ninth Wave, Lucia & the Best Boys, Walt Disco and Aaron Smith, the band have unveiled the first track from their upcoming debut album and it’s an enchanting introduction for those not yet acquainted. Built on a base of toe-tapping rhythms and whimsical synths, Coombs charismatic vocal display sits front and centre of the track, frustrated one minute and wistful the next and perfectly juxtaposed to the swirling, mesmerising display of guitars and keyboards in the background. Designed to replicate the emotional see-saw of a one-sided relationship, you can’t help but feel a delicious sense of revenge as she ends the track by telling ‘Chad’ where to go.
Biffy Clyro ‘Tiny Indoor Fireworks’
With their new album ‘A Celebration of Endings’ slated for release on 14th August, Biffy Clyro have given us another teaser with the rip-roaring ‘Tiny Indoor Fireworks’. “I fire it up then blow it out/ I build it up then tear it down” Simon Neil sings over the tune, once again pairing their math-rock leanings with big pop choruses. Rampant with muscular riffs and singalong refrains, it’s like a massive shot of adrenaline that charges through at three minutes.
Sid Stone ‘Better Alone’
Introducing Sid Stone – a London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who this week unveiled his debut mixtape ‘Inside/Outside’. Recorded at Mick Jones’ (The Clash) studio in North Acton with long-time collaborators Joy Anoymous and Fred Again (Stormzy, Ed Sheeran), the mixtape is a document of Stone’s withdrawal into himself to achieve artistic fulfilment, an exploration of the parallels that exist between our inner frustrations and the outside world around us and a heartfelt insight into the process of self-isolation and reflection – themes that feel all too relevant in the current climate. Lead single ‘Better Alone’ displays the artist’s ability to pull from a range of influences – a piano-driven, jazz influenced song led by Stone’s cool, soulful brogue. Crafting a sound that is diverse as it is accessible, it swaggers along nicely with all the effortless cool of a rooftop party at sunrise. “It’s all about making peace with being alone, but also it came out of situations built on friendship and love,” Sid said of the track.
slowthai has made a fiery return with new track ‘ENEMY’. After causing a great deal of controversy with his behaviour at the NME Awards, the explosive track references that very night with a sample of Matty Healy’s speech (“Everyone send your thoughts to Slowthai, fuck knows where he is but God bless the boy… fucking nightmare,”) and a woman in the crowd saying ““Slowthai, you have officially been cancelled.” It’s probably no coincidence that the title of the track also happens to be a homophone for NME. Letting rip over a glitchy, trap instrumental, the rapper admits he makes mistakes but is willing to stand up and own them as he delivers the kind of bold, no-holds-barred offering we’ve come to expect after last year’s Mercury-nominated ‘Nothing Great About Britain’.
Honey Lung ‘Big’
Teasing their forthcoming EP ‘Post Modern Motorcade Music’, out on 29th May via Big Scary Monsters, Honey Lung have shared another scuzzy bop called ‘Big’. Showing off their newly refined melodic sound, the track fizzes with nineties influences and sweet harmonies, partly warm and partly melancholic.
Interestingly, it was also written Scotland’s capital. Lead singer Jamie Batten said: ’Big’ was a song I wrote last year when I was up at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It was meant as an ode to the time I had there, which felt very isolated and gave me a lot of time to think about my choices and relationships I was facing back then. It’s quite a personal song as it was a confusing time and things weren’t straightforward. I’m usually quite unproductive when I’m going through a tough patch, and find it’s only in retrospect I can write a song about it. I think ‘Big’ is the most important song to me on the EP, it still affects me and is a comfort to me today”.
Everything Everything ‘Arch Enemy’
Everything Everything have announced the release of their fifth album Re-Animator, out on 21st August. After throwing a curveball with quiet ballad ‘Birdsong’ last month, the band have shared another preview track called ‘Arch Enemy’. While more recognisable than its predecessor, the track is perhaps one of their angriest to date – jam-packed with spiky electronics and enraged vocals. Beneath the band’s signature jaunty melodies though lies a darker narrative as a protagonist scrabbles for meaning in a meaningless world.
Lazy Day ‘All The Time’
Lazy Day have opened their account for 2020 with an angsty new single called ‘All The Time’. With amped-up, fuzzed out Pavement guitars and jangly chorus chords, it’s an anthemic track born of frustration that turns feelings of resentment and defeat into a a passionate display of defiance. One of their heaviest cuts to date and featuring a brilliantly charismatic vocal performance from Tilly Scantlebury, it’s a vigorous and cathartic return from the four-piece.
Alison Mosshart ‘It Ain’t Water’
After the release of ‘Rise’ earlier this year, Alison Mosshart has unveiled her second solo single. ‘It Ain’t Water’ is a brooding, cinematic number that is alive with country, blues and rock & roll influences, creeping along at a sinister pace thanks to tentative guitar lines and Mosshart’s smoky vocals. Working alongside producer Alain Johannes on the track, she said “Working with Alain on ‘It Ain’t Water’ was a blast. He’s such a talent and such a kind person. His mind is wide open. He understands and sees the beauty in imperfection, magic moments, accidents- the soulful human stuff, and the spirited super-human hard to explain stuff that makes a song great. Working with him was an honor, and also, hot damn he can play any instrument like a champ… like he invented the instrument himself. Alain Johannes IS music.
The 1975 ‘Guys’
It feels like the roll-out for The 1975’s new album ‘Notes On A Conditional Form’ has been never-ending but with just one week to go, the band have treated us to one final preview track ‘Guys’. Debuted on the band’s arena tour earlier this year, the album’s wistful closer is a tribute from Matty Healy to his bandmates – “the moment we started a band was the best thing that ever happened” he sings. It’s a sweet and sentimental track that will probably make you reflect on your own friendships, it’s a track that hits even harder at a time when we find ourselves apart from our nearest and dearest.