Track Of The Day: Kathleen Frances – ‘Boy’

What a voice! Bristol artist Kathleen Frances and her mesmerising vocals are here with ‘Boy’, the third single from her freshly released debut EP Through The Blue

‘Boy’ is mellow and at times devastating, but strong and cathartic. Frances explores the pain of a break-up whilst offering a sense of comfort and assurance. It’s one of those songs where you feel the need to stop everything you are doing and just listen.

The simplicity of ‘Boy’ is poignant; there is a sense of restraint and balance in the sparse instrumentation. It doesn’t need anything else – it perfectly captures a stunning intimacy. The vocals will pull you into the song, as Frances’ warm baritone voice enchants the ears, creating a whole soundscape in itself and unmistakably driving the song. The track is brimming with emotion, yet somehow it finds a sense of reassuring sense of calm. Pulsing piano chords gently accompany the vocals, adding to this reflective space. Of the track, Frances explains:

This one took me ages to write. I was really hurting from a breakup. I just wasn’t ready to go there. I had a few nice ideas but nothing that felt right. It was all too surface level. I had to find what I really felt about it deep down, underneath the feelings of betrayal and bruised ego. I had to figure out what I really wanted from this person now… Things change, people change. It’s sad but it’s also hopeful, it allows you to take stock and figure out what you really want. With this song, I was attempting to get the balance right between cathartic sadness and self-assuredness.”

Through The Blue, the debut EP from Kathleen Frances, is out now. And you can catch Kathleen Frances live on her tour this March and in May – details here.

Jaz Kelly

Photo Credit: Michaela Frances 

Track Of The Day: Angela Sclafani – ‘Bell Jar’

Angela Sclafani is a New York City singer, songwriter and theatre-maker with an impressive list of collaborations and accolades. With three previous independently released EPs, including Edge of Seventeen, a re-imagining of Stevie Nicks’ classics, she demonstrates song writing at its finest, time and time again. Creative imagery and unforgettable melodies are what make her latest single so deliciously appealing. Inspired by Sylvia Plath’s 1963 novel, ‘Bell Jar’ was created to encourage the breaking free from conventions and patterns that hold you down. It’s uplifting, it’s heartfelt, and it’s slick; a potent bite of pop rock genius.

The anthemic ‘Bell Jar’ is destined to be performed in big venues. The song is so driven that it pulls you right into its energy, and before you know it you are joining in and shouting back the euphoric chorus. It’s a smooth ride – the verses build up to the chorus beautifully and every part of the instrumentation feels so confident. Sclafani’s dynamic vocals command both your attention and enjoyment, and the melodies she sings are energetic and infectious, shining above the tight backing. The production is crisp with just the perfect amount of shimmer to make the track glisten.

‘Bell Jar’, whilst predominantly a pop-rock track, contains rich flourishes of Americana and folk influences, with Sclafani’s musical style sitting alongside songwriters and artists Haim, Fleetwood Mac, Regina Spector and Taylor Swift. An truly eclectic soundscape emanating Sclafani’s unique talent for creating emotionally raw, yet beautifully uplifting, offerings.

Jaz Kelly

Track Of The Day: Companion – ‘How Could I Have Known’

A sweet musical embrace, Colorado twin sister duo Sophia and Jo Babb – aka Companion – have introduced their heavenly sound with their debut track, ‘How Could I Have Known’ – a delicious slice of indie-folk. With arpeggiated guitars, a lilting bass-line, gentle percussion, and the gorgeous harmonies which lie at the heart of the song, it is perfect for warming the cold winter mornings and nights. The duo charmingly illustrate the magic that happens between families when they create music together; the track is charged with a twinkling sense of intimacy as Sophia and Jo share the heartfelt vocal lines. 

The delicate stripped-back textures ground the song so that as you listen you are gently guided along the captivating musical journey. It feels beautifully restrained, rippling with catchy and light-hearted melodies, whilst also revealing a deep emotional core. As well as this raw sentimentality, there is also a flowing pastoral essence to the track, as it reflects on the wonder of nature and our connection to it. 

Sofia explains the meaning behind the song:

“I started writing ‘How Could I Have Known’ at the beginning of my first Autumn in northern Colorado… I quickly learned that fall is a fleeting, beautifully short time in the mountains. It takes just a few blustery days for all the yellow aspen leaves to give way to bare trees, snowfall, and early sunsets. At the time, I was engaged to my now husband. He was dealing with some concerning medical issues, and I developed an over-awareness of how quickly I could never see him again. Having lost family members without warning in the past, I became anxiously aware that just as soon as he came into my life, he could leave it, too. Though this thought, at its core, is a very scary one, when I looked beyond the fear of losing something I held so dearly, I could see the incredible gift it is to have something to hold dear in the first place…”

Directed by Jo Babb and shot by Rahul Chakraborty, a moving video tinged with sparkling nostalgia accompanies ‘How Could I Have Known’. Watch it now:

Jaz Kelly

Photo Credit: Chiara Garland

Track Of The Day: Tall Poppies – ‘Big Shake’

A playful reflection inspired by a walk of shame and the ‘me too’ movement, Tall Poppies are back with new single ‘Big Shake’. The danceable track is filled with jangly guitars, catchy vocal lines and oozes a nostalgia as it captures the fun sounds of ’80s pop music.

Tall Poppies can be grouped along with artists such as Belle and Sebastian and Kate Bush. The London-based band, fronted by twin sisters Susan and Catherine who are originally from Australia, are back with their first new music since 2019 and it’s as dreamy and fresh as we could have wished for. The self-produced and self-mixed alternative surf-pop song glistens with a slick shimmering allure.

The track is filled with the energy and excitement of a revelation followed by a big release; the violin and guitar play in conversation and burst out in a vibrant joyous expression. Shades of Pulp come through in the buoyant string melodies and catchy vocal hooks, which are beautifully airy as both Susan and Catherine sing in unison accompanied by luscious harmonies and bouncy ad-libs, as the lyrics are direct and packed with witty anecdotes – “I woke up on someone else’s floor/I’m not doing this anymore”.

It really sounds as though Tall Poppies were having fun whilst recording this latest offering and this comes through in the music, making it feel refreshingly easy-going. ‘Big Shake’ is accompanied by a colourful art-pop video, made using Catherine’s art supplies and fashion design skills. Watch now:

Jaz Kelly