WATCH: Meggie Brown – ‘Dusty Smells’

Having already been championed by the likes of Alex Kapranos, and The Guardian – who named them as ‘One To Watch’ at the beginning of 2020 -, North London-based artist Meggie Brown has now shared the first song taken from their upcoming new EP.

Dusty Smells’ is an anthem for anyone wrangling with their identity or trying to find their place in the world. Brown’s delivery is pure poetry, almost like spoken word, as they share a nostalgic take on identity. The lyrics transport us to a trashy old working men’s club, somewhere in suburbia, which allows us to reflect on who we are. It’s proper storytelling, amplified by super-sleazy guitars, primal drums and a trippy, art-rock outro that celebrates little nuggets of our collective memories – like skin on custard and getting all dolled up to show that you’re a fully functioning adult.

There’s such originality here; Brown’s vocals and lyrics sparkle, and the music feels fresh and exciting. When Brown sings “Why do I bother?” it feels like a revelation – something to liberate and inspire anyone who’s ever struggled to fit in.

Of the track, Brown – who recently came out as transgender – explains:

Coming to terms with one’s gender identity has been both beautiful and challenging during this lockdown. When I wrote and recorded ‘Dusty Smells’ and the EP I wanted them to match through sound how non-binary those emotions and realisations were… True to the circumstance, Dusty smells is very nostalgic trying to connect the old ways with the new, the feeling of home, the smells and associations whilst trying to understand our place as young adults, why do we bother?

‘Dusty Smells’ is accompanied by an immersive, artfully created, video, directed by Myfi Mountfordand produced by Creature Fleur. Watch it here:

HOME, the upcoming EP from Meggie Brown, is set for release later this year.

Vic Conway
@thepicsofvic

WATCH: Tropical Fuck Storm – ‘New Romeo Agent’

Following recent single ‘G.A.F.F’, Australian band Tropical Fuck Storm have now announced their upcoming new album, Deep States, set for release next month. And, ahead of the album’s release, they have now shared another characteristically kooky new single.

A reflection on human-alien relationships, as inspired by Octavia Butler’s short story Amnesty, ‘New Romeo Agent’ oozes a mystical, other-worldly allure as glitchy beats pulse alongside the sweeping, sultry vocals of Erica Dunn. Offering a whirring cacophony fuelled by a quirky, colourful charisma, it flows with a sparkling, ethereal splendour, creating a welcome break from reality. A swirling, spellbinding sonic tonic.

Of the track, the band Dunn expands:

Our love & death tragedy-ballad kicks off in the aftermath of Octavia Butler’s short story Amnesty where a translator for the human race infiltrates an alien community Cold War Romeo agent style. Sent to collect secrets and glean intelligence, against all odds, the undercover spy falls in love. As our human/alien inamorates connect in an intimate new language, they decide to make a run for it. We glimpse an oasis of hope in defiance of the violence and backstabbery of their masters. We imagine a tropical island of romance in an icy sea devoid of solar warmth. We look back on the spinning wheel of progress and feel that all the desperation, despair and heartache of the past could finally be worth it for this moment, a conquest of love! A clock striking for a new age! But, they get murdered. The end.” 

‘New Romeo Agent’ is accompanied by a wonderfully trippy new video directed by Oscar O’Shea which sees the band performing in an alien dive bar. Oozing a perfect fusion of eccentric energy and enticing psychedelic charm, you can watch it here:

Deep States, the upcoming album from Tropical Fuck Storm, is set for release on 20th August via Joyful Noise. Pre-order here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Oscar O’Shea

WATCH: Bnny – ‘Sure’

Following previous singles ‘Ambulance’ and ‘Time Walk, Chicago-based siblings Jess and Alexa Viscius – aka BNNY – have now announced their debut album, set for release next month. Ahead of the album, they’ve just shared dreamy new single ‘Sure’ – a nostalgic blend of Americana, dream-pop and country music.

Ethereal vocals and lilting guitar are both drenched in reverb that builds into a fuzzy soundscape. The sound is both warm and dark. ‘Sure’ is the kind of song you’d expect to find playing at the Roadhouse in Twin Peaks, simultaneously capturing scenes of beer spilling off rowdy customers, a flickering neon light at the bar, a tender moment of young lovers slow-dancing, and maybe even a fight breaking out between crowds of bikers. It’s perfect for your late night, rainy day playlists.

‘Sure’ creates an opportunity for introspection through its repetition and the ethereal space it creates. The waltzing guitar and lilting drums are meditative as they create an effortless dreamy ambiance. Capturing a beautifully understated moment, ‘Sure’ finds Jess Viscius circling around the song’s titular word and testing its meanings and applications: “sure” as an affirmation, “sure” as a guarantee, “sure” as an exhausted acquiescence. This repetition of the word ‘sure’, combined with the repetition of the simple chords, has an hypnotic effect. Viscius’ breathy vocals are haunting, yet, like a lullaby, the gentle whispers also provide a reassuring sense of comfort. Meanwhile, the lyrics contemplate a balance between moments of light and the inevitable contrasting darkness that contrasts it; sunrise versus the night, death versus life. Of the track, Jess explains:

‘Sure’ is about love and its loss… ‘Sure’ is about apathy and denial. It’s about disillusionment in the wake of death. It’s about finding strength and meaning in the steadfastness of nature.”

The accompanying video is a cinematic vignette set in an uncanny world where people seem to move in slow motion, disassociated. Capturing the same darkness and familiarity conveyed in the song, you can see the musical elements of the song played out visually. The protagonist walks in a dream state to a hazy bar filled with cowboys, Americana seeps through the screen whilst you can picture the reverb bounding between the walls of the bar.

Everything, BNNY’s debut album, is set for release on 20th August via Fire Talk. Pre-order here.

Jaz Kelly
@surfjaz

Photo Credit: Alexa Viscius

WATCH: Death Valley Girls – ‘Sanitarium Blues’

Death Valley Girls’ new video for ‘Sanitarium Blues’ is taken from the LA band’s soon-to-be re-issued debut album Street Venom and provides the perfect psychedelic back-drop to the dystopian doom-rockers’ take on honest suffering. The track flew onto paper following vocalist Bonnie Bloomgarden’s stay at a professional institution amidst a serious battle with her mental health. The revival of this track as an uplifting and life-affirming reminder that there will be better days could not be better timed.

The release of a new video for this single serves as the perfect throwback to the LA-based group’s most authentic and direct work. The new video, directed by Wiktor Lekston, captures the band’s intention to depict a mental episode as an out-of-body experience through a mixture of surreal and hallucinogenic inspirations. This is produced through a series of repeated fuzzy holographic images created in analog and intensified by the feedback signals. You can’t quite put your finger on what it is you’re looking at – everything from skeletons and non-lifelike faces, through to what appears to be memories merged with dreams, have been compared by Lektston to the “POST-MTV’s clips from the ’80s.” The band’s aim to visually capture an astral projection, without necessarily directly conveying that to the audience, is a huge success.

Scuzzy guitars from Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel, married with a transcendent use of reverb and delay as the chords ring out throughout the verse, provokes an apocalyptic and lucid-dream state in the mind of the listener. We’re then thrown into a starkly contrasting chorus filled with propelling riffs and a deliberately sinister beat from Patty Schemel on the kit that confines us; it’s claustrophobic, lonely and the perfect sonic portrayal of how isolating a mental illness can truly be. BUT it’s not all gloom from the doom-punk outfit, as there is hope and reassurance in this track’s honesty and also in Bloomgarden’s message ahead of the re-issue:

Life is hard, but you are not meant to suffer… There are lots of places to get help. It just seems hard to find sometimesRealising that you are not meant to suffer (no one is!) and seeking help is so huge. Do it ‘cause you deserve it! A healthy you can change the world! And the world deserves your healthiest you, too.”

Street Venom, the re-issue, is set for release on 30th July and will consist of a deluxe edition of the album available both digitally and on vinyl, courtesy of Suicide Squeeze Records. Pre-order here.

Lauren Roberts
@robauren

Photo Credit: Mara Breene