Track Of The Day: Gold Baby – ‘Versailles’

In these challenging and chaotic times, Gold Baby’s latest single, ‘Versailles’, is soothing listening. The lush guitars and swooning melodies wash over you, like someone reassuringly stroking your hair or whispering in your ear, as front-person Siân Alex reflects on the emotional distance growing between two people. 

Mourning the loss of a deep connection, ‘Versailles’ feels particularly relevant at a time where many of us are missing our loved ones. Siân Alex’s soft, almost ethereal voice has a real sadness; a sense of longing and loneliness as she sings “What are we but strangers now, forcing conversation?”

Following the postponement of recording their debut EP, the band say that the song gave them “a creative thread connecting us from our separate bunkers during those weird, long and shitty lockdown months”. And, despite the various elements of this being recorded separately, it all comes together beautifully to create a rich, lush slice of melancholy dream pop. It’s something really special.

 

‘Versailles’ is out now.  It’s taken from Gold Baby’s debut EP, set for release in early 2021.

Vic Conway

Photo Credit: Keira-Anee Photography

LISTEN: Coral – ‘i just want you cause you’re gone’

A buoyant slice of indie-pop that gently acknowledges the mixed feelings that blur your thought processes post-relationship, Swedish newcomer Coral has shared her new single ‘i just want you cause you’re gone’. Taken from her upcoming debut album which she recently recorded with Joakim Lindberg at Studio Sickan, the track showcases Coral’s talent for writing catchy yet confessional music.

At the age of 16, Coral (aka Miranda Coral Engholm) moved from Österlen to Malmö and began studying music. After she graduated from high school, she experienced a flood of creativity and began writing songs and with the support of her friends, she began performing live on the Swedish underground scene, with one of her first lives shows playing as support to American songwriter Lucy Dacus.

Now, Coral is preparing to release her debut record, and ‘i just want you cause you’re gone’ is the first taste of what to expect from the album. Clinging to fragile hopes like “You like brown eyes I like blue / You’re quite weird but I’m weird too,” Coral explores her mixed emotions through her endearing lyrics, but ultimately she’s aware her feelings are going to waste. Listen to ‘i just want you cause you’re gone’ below and follow Coral on Instagram & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Ebba G. Ågren

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Emma Kupa – ‘Nawlins’

Having recently announced her upcoming debut solo album, and following last single ‘Nothing At All’, Emma Kupa has now shared ‘Nawlins’. Already a big fan of her band Mammoth Penguins, I’m no less in love with Kupa’s solo material, and this latest offering showcases why. 

Inspired by a period of travel and meeting new people, ‘Nawlins’ flows with lilting, folk-strewn melodies and Kupa’s distinctive raw vocals. Filled with a reflective, heartfelt lyrical storytelling and effervescent uptempo musicality, it builds with glistening whirring hooks to a stirring slice of perfect indie-pop. Of the track, Emma explains: 

“‘Nawlins’ is a song about a period when I was travelling around a fair bit visiting family for various reasons – a wedding, a elderly relative with cancer (see my song Katie NYC) and I’d end up hanging out with fun people I was put in touch with through friends and family here in the UK. It’s always good to know someone in a new place who can show you round, especially if you’re on your own.”

I just can’t get enough of the sunny yet reflective chiming offerings of Emma Kupa, and truly find everything she creates to be blissfully soothing and subtly uplifting.

‘Nawlins’ also features on Jeanie Finlay’s documentary about Indietracks – aka the loveliest festival in the world. And listening to this song just leaves me longing to sit in the damp grass in Derbyshire, local beer in hand; the sound of owls, steam trains and dreamy indie-pop wafting through the air. Bring on 2021…

Made with the help of Emma’s neighbour Sara (and her dance students), and edited by Darren Hayman, watch the beautifully choreographed new video for ‘Nawlins’ here: 


Listen to ‘Nawlins’ on Spotify now. It Will Come Easier, the debut solo album from Emma Kupa, is out 18th September via Fika Recordings. 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Debbie at Wolf James Photography

ALBUM: The Crystal Furs – ‘Beautiful And True’

Growing up, changing and moving on always involves a certain degree of tension. And for cuddlecore trio The Crystal Furs, a move from the more conservative surroundings of Forth Worth, Texas, to the Pacific Northwest’s alt. capital, Portland, has seen a shift in more than just surroundings. The move led to a change in bassist – Rowan, who has also produced their latest album Beautiful and True. But, for keyboardist Kara and her spouse Steph, it meant the discovery of a new identity, mentally, emotionally and sonically. That’s not to say that the band, whose previous releases included their self-titled Texas debut in 2016, and last year’s sophomore Psuedosweet, have entirely left their old stomping ground behind. Indeed, Fort Worth – known colloquially as the ‘Panther City’ – stalks many of the songs herein.

In many respects, the tracks on Beautiful And True fit largely into the two halves of its title, with roughly half sitting in the observational (and therefore ‘true’ category) and the others odes to the beauty of others, and life itself. That the former are often melancholy, whilst the latter are brimming with optimism, probably tells you where band’s emotions are at. Throughout, the album shimmers with its jangly guitar and sweeping organ, as well as Steph Buchanan’s consummate indie-pop vocal delivery (along with occasional harmonies).  While ‘Comeback Girls’ opens things with a twinkling ballad, ‘Expo ’67’ is arguably the LP’s standout in this respect, with Green-era REM meeting The Breeders at the Montreal World Fair of the title, as its narrator finds that their retro-future dreams have faded from fantasy to grey concrete reality.

‘Pretty Mind’ picks up the ’60s style emotional pop, as an ode to the musical escapes of the small-town outsider. ‘Panther City Pariah’, meanwhile, is, thematically, the grown-up sister song to ‘Pretty Mind’ – finding its outcast narrator finding pride in “finish[ing] last” and “fail[ing] in public” out on the street. Musically, its tight guitar chords and organ melodies give it a pleasingly deconstructed blend of upbeat chamber pop and twee indie-disco. This gradual sonic opening up is continued by ‘Too Kind to be Cruel’, which features the album’s first guitar solo and lyrically inverts the old cliche’s message in an attempt to appeal to a friend’s good side, despite negative pressure from others and the wider world.

Appropriately, the album’s middle point encapsulates the themes at its core. ‘Like You’ has vintage doo-wop rhythms and guitars, mirroring the melancholy subjects of the girl groups from the era, with its lyrical take on the envy of the outsider, observing those considered both “beautiful and true”. ‘Burn Us Down’, meanwhile, is thematically and musically the LP’s true outlier: a bass-heavy garage rocker with stabs of organ. With this in mind, it’s hard to avoid the obvious interpretation that the sound is driven by the anger redolent in its lyrics: “your pocketbook against my personhood” presumably relating to the difficulty of accessing healthcare in the USA, while “you wanna cure me / you wanna fix me…our colours bleed across the land” sounds like a strong reference to the battleground of LGBTQ+ rights in the country.

‘Hey Maxine’ is a handclap-backed plea to someone unfairly treated; ‘Artoria’ is an upbeat lilt with a big chorus, an ode to the famous ‘tattooed lady’ carnival attraction Artoria Gibbons – whose ink now makes her seem less of a ‘freak’ and more of a forerunner; ‘Drag You Away’ is a C86-hued reflection on the horror nightmare of ‘podunk’ towns, replete with a doomy bass breakdown, although whether the zombies of its lyrics are literal or metaphorical is up to the listener to decide.

Penultimate track ‘The Robber Barons of Lombard Street’ is a tale of revenge against gentrification and the co-opting of the rainbow flag by capitalism, with arguably the album’s darkest imagery of “pistol loads” and a “building swallowed by flames” as “two femmes” take revenge.  However, it’s a contrast when it comes to album closer ‘Second Time Around’ – a celebratory hymn to second chances – and the album’s other standout, with its simple instruction to those listening: “Join a band and play guitar”, and make the most of being young, all over again.

To craft one album of three minute pop gems is impressive. To release two in a little over a year borders on compulsive creativity. And to suffer no let up in quality across the course of that time demonstrates that, as my grandmother was found of saying: a change is as good as a rest. It’s something of a well-worn expression, that adult life is about ‘finding oneself’, but it certainly seems for the Buchanans, and their band, that all of the changes in their life have enabled them to do just that. And what they’ve found are winning alt. indie-pop purveyors in the mould of Helen Love. Beautiful And True is an album whose title could not be clearer: it is what it says it is.

Listen to Beautiful And True on Bandcamp now:

 

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego