WATCH: Marlody – ‘Runaway’

Marlody is a singer-songwriter from Kent signed to Skep Wax Records. Her acclaimed debut album I’m Not Sure At All came out last month, and ‘Runaway’ is the third single off the record; a delicate and enchanting song that will leave you wanting more. 

‘Runaway’ opens with warm organ keys flowing; the soothing allure drew me in immediately. Marlody’s clear and present vocals come in next, taking centre stage and demonstrating this is a no-frills, lyric and vocal-driven song. Marlody’s voice is beautifully soulful, you can hear the feelings ejected into the lyrics, poignantly reflecting on “being on the brink of oblivion: contemplating the beauty of nothingness but stepping back just in time”. The stirring words convey a sense of regret and longing, giving the song a melancholic feel tinged with a glimmer of hope. 

Although ‘Runaway’ remains pretty stripped-back in instrumentation and production, the vocal production captures every detail which makes you feel more connected to the words, immersed in its raw emotion. Some very subtle drums enter later on and satisfying vocal overlaps and harmonies give the track another moment of satisfying interest. It’s refreshing to hear a track that isn’t overloaded with sounds and noises, and allows the vocal to take precedence. 

Accompanying the song is a music video which shows a blurred figure from behind, walking through different pastoral scenes; a stunningly atmospheric visual which perfectly conveys the overall feel of the lyrics. Watch it now:

To hear this captivating voice is person, Marlody has upcoming gigs over summer in London and Kent including a date at London’s prestigious Bush Hall on the 20th May. Grab a ticket and check out the rest of her album, I know I will.

I’m Not Sure At All, the new album from Marlody, is out now via Skep Wax Records.

Ella Patenall

New Track: Hand Habits – ‘Something Wrong’

Something Wrong’ is the new single by Hand Habits, taken from their upcoming mini-album Sugar The Bruise, set for release in June. Hand Habits is the project of Meg Duffy, an American musician and guitarist who has played as a studio musician on records by the likes of The War on Drugs, Weyes Blood and Perfume Genius.

It’s not often a song captivates me as much as ‘Something Wrong’ did on first listen, taking me on a journey with its charming sounds and interesting textured soundscape. The track starts with a huge drum sound with an ’80s style reverb and acapella vocals. As a huge fan of acapella, this was the perfect way to instantly immerse the listener, complementing the dark and edgy melody.

The track soon erupts into a warm folky chorus complete with acoustic guitar, dreamy harmonies and gentle vocals, juxtaposed with the very different feel of the verse. In the second verse, a robotic vocal harmony enters, giving it a once more different feel – something slightly unsettling, yet deeply satisfying. 

Building into a more dramatic third, the buzzing synth gives it an enchanting sense of urgency. The repetition of “is there something wrong with that” is an earworm of a melody that gets in your head. Despite the lyrical sparseness, it has an intimacy that draws you in, making you contemplate life. 

The songs on the album were all inspired by a songwriting class that Duffy taught in summer 2021 and were semi-improvised – surrendering to and trusting in whatever sounds and words emerged in the session. On the track, which was co-produced by Luke Temple with additional production, engineering and arranging from Jeremy Harris, Duffy created something which, in their own words, “turned out nothing like I’d imagined it would.”

‘Something Wrong’ is a carefully crafted track, oozing an exquisite stirring depth; setting the bar high for the rest of the album, and I can’t wait to hear it. 

Sugar The Bruise, the upcoming mini album from Hand Habits, is set for release on 16th June via Fat Possum.

Ella Patenall

Photo Credit:  Ivanna Baranova 

New Track: lobby – ‘in the wall’

in the wall’ is the debut track from new London supergroup lobby – a collaboration made up of Lottie Pendlebury (Goat Girl) and Toby Evans-Jesra (leather.head), with trusted friend Josh Gormley on drums. As a fan of their two other bands, I was intrigued to hear this new project. 

‘in the wall’ opens with a clean ’90s midwest emo styled-guitar riff followed by a satisfyingly driving drum beat on the toms. It’s like a warm embrace and I’m instantly captivated. Pendlebury and Evans-Jesra’s soft honey-like vocal harmonies enter before she drops out and Evans-Jesra continues with a low vocal drawl, reminiscent of The National’s Matt Berninger, with a hint of Elliot Smith.

A beautifully atmospheric track, it blends folk and alternative rock – creating warm summer vibes with a hint of nostalgic melancholy, bringing to mind artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Big Thief. There are ethereal synth lines intertwining between the vocals and a fiddle-like violin part, giving it a folky flavour until – half way through the track – a sax and synth are introduced, offering the listener a pleasant surprise and adding to the already textured soundscape. The song becomes more chaotic, lifting it to an enchanting new dimension. 

The track was recorded and mixed by Jamie Neville Neville (Pumarosa, PVA) at Teeth Studios in South East London. On recording the songs Evans-Jesra explains:

We recorded this song in 2021 with Jamie at Teeth Studios, a place we were really drawn to after hearing our friends in Gentle Stranger’s record. It had a really unique live improvised and kind of erratic sound that felt fitting for Lobby. It’s an old song of mine that Lottie and Josh brought a really fresh and creative energy to.” 

‘in the wall’ is a strong debut from lobby, who have already played gigs at iconic London venues like The Shacklewell Arms and Ivy House. Their music blends genres and times, and I will be keeping a close ear to the ground for their next release and future gigs. 

Ella Patenall

Photo Credit: Josh Evans-Jesra

Five Favourites: SRSQ

‘Saved for Summer’ is the latest single from American ethereal-pop artist Kennedy Ashlyn – aka SRSQ (pronounced seer-skew), taken from her latest album Ever Crashing. Although Summer may be over, this is the powerful pop anthem we need to get us through the upcoming gloomy winter. Opening with a fun ’80s synth-pop beat followed by a thick lush synth pad and a fuzzy catchy guitar riff, it’s clear from the start that this track is going to have an impact. Full of atmospheric layers and ethereal sounds, a frenzied cacophony builds, but in a way that immerses you completely. Ashlyn’s voice is theatrical and powerful and her eclectic genre-bending style brings to mind artists like Kate Bush and St Vincent. The recurring vocal “oohs” lodge themselves in the ears and stay there all day long. Of the lyrics, Ashlyn explains: “Saved for Summer’ echoes the yearning to escape a depressive miasma, the desperate desire to stop watching life through a window”.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the recent release of Ever Crashing, we caught up with SRSQ to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. See below for their choices of their five favourite albums, and be sure to watch the trippy new video for the ‘Saved For Summer’ at the end of this feature.

The Horrors – Primary Colours
This album has consistently been in my top three favourite albums since it came out over a decade ago, which I think might make it my favourite record. I was 15 when it came out, and what really drew me to it was the sound design and guitar tones, which I still think are very unique, but at the time I hadn’t heard anything even close to similar. I remember hearing in an interview that the guitarist actually made a lot of his own pedals, which I had never even heard of at the time. The sound is simultaneously ambient and harsh, and you can definitely hear that influence in my music. I also think the album starts in such an intriguing way and has such a captivating arc, it’s really an enchanting listen. 

Slowdive – Souvlaki
My TAUT bandmate Cash introduced me to this album when I was 19, and it was love at first listen. This album is one of the best examples of how sound itself can be vastly emotional, outside of the songwriting, beyond the lyrics – how the textures and timbres can pull at your heartstrings and reach you in a deep visceral way. I saw them live the following year at the Fox Theater in Oakland, and in between songs they would sometimes break out into this ambient harsh noise, and these were the most beautiful and impactful parts of the performance. They have an uncanny ability to create a synesthesia of sound and feeling, and I don’t think anyone does it better.

Cocteau Twins – Garlands
Though it’s hard to choose, I’m pretty sure this is my favourite Cocteau Twins record. It’s just so driving, and the guitar tones are so perfect – it’s moody and beautiful, and solid from start to finish. Cocteau Twins were (are) my mom’s favourite band, so I listened to them growing up and kind of wrote them off as a teen, assuming it was “mom music.” When I started writing what would become the songs on Remain, my mom heard them and told me I needed to get back into Cocteau Twins, and burned me a few CDs. I obviously fell back in love immediately, and it was an interesting experience being subconsciously familiar with all of the material while still feeling like I was hearing it for the first time. I think it’s super interesting how everyone points out an “obvious Cocteau Twins influence” in Them Are Us Too, but I didn’t actually get back into them until after writing most of the songs on the first record, so that influence was largely subconscious, at least in the songwriting stage. 

Beach House – Bloom 
I honestly think this is a perfect album, I’m not even really sure what else I can say about it. The songwriting, the tones, the production, the mix- all of it is just phenomenal. Every element just shows true mastery of the craft. Cash considered Beach House one of her greatest inspirations for guitar work. I was lucky enough to see them three times while they were touring for this record, and I still remember those shows vividly. One time was at a festival (I don’t remember which) and they performed in front of a sunset over the water. A breathtaking moment. 

The Knife – Deep Cuts
I think a lot of records could have gone into this fifth and final slot, (Loveless and Disintegration come to mind), but I think this one is a little less obvious of an influence, which is why I wanted to touch on it. The Knife have truly some of the most unique and genre-defying sound palettes – what they create is truly their own in every way. The sounds and the songs are strange, but they just work. I also love that they put ‘Heartbeats’ in a commercial, totally blew up, turned the band into an anti-capitalist collective, put out one more record, and then dissolved the project. And when they toured on Shaking the Habitual, they had a bunch of performers onstage, which obscured who “The Knife” actually were, as like a statement about art and celebrity and consumption of artists, and they didn’t play ‘Heartbeats’ – both of which pissed off the audience who only knew them from their commercial success. It’s like the most punk shit I’ve ever heard of. 

Huge thanks to SRSQ for sharing her Five Favourites with us! Watch the self-directed, wonderfully psychedelic new video for ‘Saved For Summer’ here:

‘Saved For Summer’ is produced by Chris Coady (Beach House, Slowdive). Ever Crashing, the second album from SRSQ, is out now via Dais Records.

Ella Patenall

Photo Credit: Nedda Asfari