Track Of The Day: Tan Cologne – ‘Topaz Wave’

A captivating, soothing reflection on a memory of “surfing in a red tide algea bloom”, New Mexico based duo Tan Cologne have shared their latest single ‘Topaz Wave’. Taken from their upcoming new album which is set for release later this year via Labrador Records, the track is a peaceful, hazy musing on the natural phenomenon of phosphorescent algae, explored through atmospheric guitar twangs, gentle percussion and lullaby-esque vocals.

Formed of interdisciplinary artists Lauren Green and Marissa Macias, Tan Cologne are deeply influenced by the “sonic modalities…of earthly and otherworldly landscapes.” They create sounds that are inspired by their natural surroundings in New Mexico, and in 2020, the duo released their debut album Cave Vaults on the Moon in New Mexico, a collection of beguiling, experimental soundscapes that focused on the theme of growth.

With their latest single ‘Topaz Wave’, the band continue to reflect on the power of nature, with a sound that shimmers and meanders like the natural phenomena it’s based on. “The song carries a memory of surfing in a red tide algea bloom with the waves flickering and illuminating the ocean energy,” Tan Cologne explain. “We wrote the song beside an arroyo, a dry river bed, in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. The sides of the arroyo walls are shaped like curved waves – reflecting the experience of tidal and earth transformation, and how the desert land was once ocean.” The arroyo can be seen in the track’s accompanying video, directed by Carly Short.

Watch the video for ‘Topaz Wave’ below.

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Photo credit: Marissa Macias

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: VERO – ‘Cupid’

An intoxicating blur of urgent vocals and buzzing riffs, Stockholm-based trio VERO have shared their latest single ‘Cupid’. Taken from the band’s upcoming debut album Unsoothing Interior, which is set for release on 6th May via PNK SLM, the track is a raw exploration of lust and control, punctuated by discordant guitar noises and brooding lyrics.

Formed of teenage friends Julia Boman & Amanda Eddestål and Clara Gyökeres who they befriended whilst DJ’ing on the Stockholm nightclub circuit, VERO create music inspired by an eclectic range of influences. Their main purpose, aside from creating anthems with shades of 90s alternative icons Sonic Youth, is to challenge the idea of what a modern guitar band is supposed to be. That challenge started with previous singles ‘Beg!’ and a cover of Shame’s ‘Concrete’, but now the trio have further proved their ability to antagonise and intrigue listeners with their new single ‘Cupid’.

“‘Cupid’ was the first song we wrote that made the album” the band explain. “We had made a couple of demos before, but we weren’t loving them. They all sounded a bit too pretty and safe, so when the drums for Cupid were done, we took a guitar and started making these wheeling, chaotic noises, and that was it. That was the sound that set the tone for our album. The lyrics are a bit dream-like, it’s about lust and control.”

With their refreshingly candid approach to making music, VERO’s debut album is set to be a cathartic listen. “We don’t want to be super musicians,” bassist & vocalist Julia Boman explains further. “We want to write the best fucking songs and just have the best energy and show people that we’re having fun.” With ‘Cupid’, the band have certainly achieved that.

Listen to ‘Cupid’ below.

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Pre-order VERO’s debut album Unsoothing Interior here

Photo Credit: Dan Kendall

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

ALBUM: Cate Le Bon – ‘Pompeii’

You awake, eyes wild, dreams of Pompeii still flashing through your mind. It’s dark outside, what time is it? A rhythm shuffles over the horizon, an unidentified pulse of percussion and a shambling couple of wind instruments. Pompeii, Cate Le Bon’s sixth album, has begun, with ‘Dirt on the Bed’.

Yet again, she has created a remarkable, singular work. Pompeii is continuously rewarding, an album to return to again and again until it swallows you into its world. Like its artwork, a version of the Tim Presley painting that served as the central inspiration for the entire project, it possesses an aged, grainy feel in spite of its fresh originality. The sound is science fiction. As if from a parallel 80s, it is drenched in synths while evading the worn conventions of synth pop, instead assimilating those sounds into the Cate Le Bon style.

The brilliant ‘French Boys’ is punctuated by a beautiful steel pan hook that is mechanical and melancholy, creaking with the sad nostalgia of an abandoned oil rig in some post-apocalyptic landscape. Later tunes like the momentous ‘Cry Me Old Trouble’ develop walls of synths that provide epic and strange backdrops to the lyrics, complementing their tone perfectly.

Le Bon’s writing builds on the vocabulary of the ancient and the spiritual which she introduced to her work on her previous album, Reward. It constitutes perhaps the best example to date of her ability to create affecting lyrics out of abstract emotive language. Lines like “cry me old trouble”, “my heart broke a century”, “raise a glass in a season of ash and pour it over me”, they have that Symbolist combination of familiarity and mystery. Like a dream, her writing makes some unconscious sense even when individual elements evade comprehension.

Recent Cate Le Bon albums have felt terrestrial in their experimentation, each album conveying a kind of landscape. Crab Day was shingly, coastal, Reward was mountainous and sublime. By comparison, this album feels like it takes place on a swampy exoplanet, with thicker air and a slightly stronger gravitational force. In other words, Cate Le Bon has broken loose from Earth and is operating from a world of her own, free from any obvious external reference point and working according only to her original logic.

The closer, ‘Wheel’, provides a cyclical end to the album, an approximate reprise of ‘Dirt on the Bed’ with a palette expanded on the basis of all that we’ve gained through the 9-song track list. Only Le Bon can bound this sound-world, can make sense of it and condense it into an ordered and beautiful album. She is yet to make a bad record, and this might well be her finest work yet.

Order your copy of Cate Le Bon’s new album Pompeii here (released 4th February)

Follow Cate Le Bon on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Cate Le Bon

Lloyd Bolton
@franklloydwleft
@lloyd_bolton

ALBUM: Brimheim – ‘can’t hate myself into a different shape’

“I am going to be completely honest with you,” sings Danish musician Helena Heinesen Rebensdorff aka Brimheim on her exquisitely tender track ‘favorite day of the week’. It’s a simple enough statement, but she delivers it with startling conviction through her crystalline vocals and considered instrumentation. It’s this candid, yet tentative approach that makes listening to her debut album, can’t hate myself into a different shape, such a cathartic, rewarding experience. The follow up to her 2020 EP, Myself Misspelled, her new record is a poignant reflection on love in all its forms; romantic, platonic and the hardest type to articulate and master: self love.

Brimheim – a name chosen as a homage to her roots in the Faroe Islands, translating as “home of the breaking waves” – worked alongside producer Søren Buhl Lassen to create the sublime sounds on her new record, which she mined from a “deep depression hole” during a global pandemic. Despite the raw and confessional nature of her music, the record is peppered with self-effacing humour and a strong sense of self-awareness, proving that even in the darkest moments of isolation, there’s still room for light and laughter, even if it is occasionally through gritted teeth.

Moving between the boundaries of alt-pop, grunge, shoegaze and electronic music, can’t hate myself into a different shape is an intense, brooding listen. “I have noticed that I am see through” Brimheim observes on the opening track ‘heaven help me i’ve gone crazy’, a frank but gentle expression of what it feels like to “pick at the edges” of yourself when your emotions have been muted by depression. What follows is a beautifully bruising unravelling of vulnerability, with title track ‘can’t hate myself into a different shape’ setting the emotionally resilient tone that permeates the record.

Whether it’s her soft plea for reassurance that she’s not “a burden” on ‘baleen feeder’ (a nod to the filter-feeding system inside the mouths of baleen whales) or her disarming reflection on unconditional love for her wife on the atmospheric ‘lonely is beauty’ – “She is all I could need / Everyone else / Makes me feel lonely” – or a nostalgic ode to teenage friendship on ‘hey amanda’, Brimheim is a master at capturing a moment in its purest form. The exquisite, shadowy majesty of ‘poison fizzing on a tongue’ is a superb example of this, and further proof of her skill for transforming self-flagellation – “When I am finished resisting myself / I will be beaten senseless” – into poetic, exhilarating music.

The rawness of her lyrics on ‘straight into traffic’ are punctuated by fluctuating keys, as she resists the urge to give into thoughts of self harm, ending on a note of genuine hope: “Don’t give in, love / You’re more than enough.” On ‘this weeks laundry’ she extrapolates on the painful, yet absurdly relatable need to keep up appearances by “putting on foundation” for a “trip across the street” to disguise the fact you’re barely able to function. Brimheim pulls herself back from the brink each time, and even on the masochistically titled closing track ‘hurting me for fun’ – where she is pulling herself up “by my hair” – her self-effacing tendencies blossom into acute and astoundingly accurate observations of the effects these emotions can have on the human condition.

I felt like I’d been in this black muddy place, not able to see anything and kind of drowning,” Brimheim revealed to us in an interview about creating the songs that formed can’t hate myself into a different shape. Carving her own path out of a deeply vulnerable state, she has managed to craft a stirring, intricately observed collection of life-affirming songs that chime with relatable melancholy, and that will undoubtedly provide comfort for listeners who may be living through a similar experience.

Brimheim’s debut album can’t hate myself into a different shape is released via W.A.S. Entertainment on 28th January. Pre-order your copy here

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Photo Credit: Hey Jack

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut