Video Premiere: Lusa Morena – ‘Where’s The Spark (If Not In You)?’

Following the release of their gritty debut single ‘Six Sessions‘, and having wowed us with the fierce charisma of their live show at The Shacklewell Arms last year, London-based five piece Lusa Morena recently shared latest single ‘Where’s The Spark (If Not In You)‘, and we now have the honour of premiering the track’s beautiful new video.

Propelled by a heartfelt, twinkling energy, ‘Where’s The Spark’ shimmers with a raw emotion and impassioned splendour. Reflecting on society’s frequent dismissal of – and stigma around – feelings of depression or mental health struggles, it’s a truly stirring offering showcasing a softer side to Lusa Morena than we may be used to. Oozing sweeping, glossy riffs alongside front woman Bárbara’s rich, luscious vocals, it’s a beautifully moving ballad, reminiscent of the likes of Michael Kiwanuka’s ‘Cold Little Heart’.

Filmed in the middle of some idyllic Portuguese mountains by creative collective Made By Sea, the accompanying video reflects the feelings of vulnerability and passion within the song perfectly. Inspired by the lyrics “A wish can wish can only grow/ Such as a delicate flower/ Similar to freedom/ Reaped at any given hour”, it provides an immersive visual, exquisitely portraying the poignant grace of the track.

Of the track, Bárbara explains:

I wrote this song during the lockdown period when I felt particularly lonely and the thoughts trapped in my head got increasingly louder and louder, to the point when I couldn’t ignore them anymore. It’s funny when people say “it’s all in your head. Snap out of it.” Well, duh! I know it’s in my head – that’s precisely the problem! There is no immediate escape, like an on-and-off switch, because it’s a mental issue, and when you least expect it, you get a wave of intrusive thoughts rushing through your mind. I got them when I was about to sleep, when I was asleep, or when I would be waking up or even doing mundane things driving me into panic attacks.”

The video for ‘Where’s The Spark (If Not In You)?’ was filmed in Melgaço, Portugal, by Daniela Gonçalves (Filmmaker & Editor), João Anjos (Director of Photography) and José Maria (Filmmaker) – three longtime friends of Bárbara’s. Watch it now:

Mari Lane

Photo Credit: Holly Whitaker

New Track: The Early Mornings – ‘Ultra-Modern Rain’

With the first single from their sophomore EP, London-based Mancunians The Early Mornings show that they are a force to be reckoned with! An instant post-punk anthem, ‘Ultra-Modern Rain’ fizzes with big, frenetic energy and dazzles with promise. 

I love post-punk, but so many bands who play it fail to bring something new to the party. And who needs a nostalgia fest? However, ‘Ultra-Modern Rain’ feels as fresh as its name suggests. The song’s driving, angular guitar is reminiscent of the likes of Gang of Four or The Fall, but the urgency of the drums (and cowbell!) provide a deliciously modern twist.  

The song’s spiky instrumentation is complemented perfectly by front person Annie Leader’s sweet, understated vocals, which bring in a real pop sensibility too. So it’s hardly surprising that, after just a couple of listens to this banger, it becomes a total earworm. I can’t wait to hear more from this exciting, energy-oozing trio!  

Ultra-Modern Rain, the new EP from The Early Mornings, is out now via Practise Music.

Vic Conway

Photo Credit: Luke Keatinge

Five Favourites: Death Valley Girls

Having been big fans of LA’s Death Valley Girls for a few years now, I’m super excited to hear that they will be announcing their new album, Islands In The Sky, at the end of the month. Our second taster from the upcoming release (following 2021’s ‘It’s All Really Kind Of Amazing’) comes in the form of truly dreamy new single, ‘Sunday‘. Oozing a glistening, ethereal splendour, ‘Sunday’ offers a sweeping slice of anthemic, soul-strewn psych-rock. Building with a fizzing energy, it harks back to the psychedelic sounds of the ’70s California scene, whilst showcasing the bands’ ability to create something that is utterly unique. A beautifully immersive trip into the cosmic world of Death Valley Girls.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them. So, to celebrate the release of the upcoming album, we caught up with Death Valley Girls’ front woman Bonnie Bloomgarden to ask about the music that has inspired her the most. So, read about her five favourite ever albums, and check out the wonderfully trippy new video for ‘Sunday’ below!

Alice Coltrane – Journey in Satchidananda
Did you know music is allowed to sound like this? And has the ability to affect your entire existence? To reframe your view of consciousness and reality. To massage your light, and your soul with in. To feed you, the you inside your body!! To take your earth body, gently lie it down, turn it off for the time being, and lead your spirit to a journey in the astral realm?? It is, it can, and with Alice Coltrane it often does! 

Otis Redding – Pain in My Heart
Wow, I could not imagine my world with out this record. I cry every time I listen to ‘These Arms of Mine’ – chills go down my spine and I remember I am alive, and it’s good ‘cause I getta feel things like this. His voice is epic, on the top ten most important voices of all time to me. It’s hard to imagine what a break up would feel like with out this record – I wouldn’t know, cause I’ve never tried!

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Without pause, even for a fraction of an instant, my all time favourite album is Black Sabbath’s first record. Up until the point I miraculously chose Black Sabbath from a stack of nearly 50 rock and roll records my cousin gave to me, I had only heard soft music. I am forever grateful to all the music I’ve heard, but I had primarily listened to what I know now to be goofy in the scope of my current taste. Like for my first ten years, I exclusively heard show tunes, Billy Joel, vocal jazz, and the Indigo Girls. Before that was all piano, orchestral, and acoustic guitar driven music. To hear electric guitar, in all its evil glory, by the God that is Tony Iommi, for the first time!! Can you imagine at ten how deviant that felt! Also, for the first time to truly understand instrumentation. Getting to know each and every single note by those master musicians! I can not imagine where I would be, or what I would think a great bass line, or guitar riff, or vocal melody, or drum part is, if not for that divine record.
Black Sabbath!! Black Sabbath!! Black Sabbath!!

Ronnie SpectorUnfinished Business
First of all, the concept of being the original bad girl of rock and roll could not have been any more exciting to me as a kid! I love Ronnie, and what she stood for, and how she stood for it – way back when, when it was practically impossible to do so. Her voice, her wickedness, her unapologetic nuances and phrasing, mixed with her immaculate harmonies… Oh my goodness. She also was considered one of the boys, and got to tour with the Stones and Beatles, what career highlights! RIP Ronnie!!

Iggy Pop – The Idiot
What an amazing story and collaboration! Only this type of decadence and decay could have been created by Bowie and Iggy trying to get clean from drugs in Berlin. We are so lucky for this type of art. Something that seems as though it could have just as easily never made it to the light of day. And yet, it did. And it is pure, raw, unadulterated fun, mixed with the suffering they must have been feeling between their realities. Very grateful for these two, and their collaborations!! 

Must add as all time greatest influences:

  1. Tina Turner 
  2. Aretha Franklin 
  3. Sister Rosetta Tharpe
  4. Lightning Hopkins

Massive thanks to Bonnie for sharing her Five Favourites (and more!) with us! Watch the new video, directed by Arturo Baston, here:

Islands In The Sky, the upcoming new album from Death Valley Girls, is set for release on 24th February via Suicide Squeeze Records – pre-order here. And catch Death Valley Girls live when they’re over in the UK later month – more info here.

Photo Credit: Neto Velasco

New Track: ARXX – ‘Ride Or Die’

I challenge you to listen to this new one from absolute faves ARXX without hitting repeat at least 10 times… It’s just such a totally infectious anthem. Following acclaim for recent singles ‘The Last Time’ and ‘Couldn’t Help Myself’ from the likes of NME, DIY and BBC 6Music, ‘Ride Or Die‘ premiered on Clara Amfo’s show on BBC Radio 1 last week.

All propelled by thrashing, impeccable time-keeping from Clara, ‘Ride Or Die’ showcases the gritty, emotion strewn vocals of Hanni, alongside sweeping catchy pop hooks and an empowering euphoria of unified voices singing along with the chorus. An utterly uplifting celebration of queer love and platonic friendship, it’s the perfect sing-along anthem live. Being able to share a room full of adoring fans, all joining in joyously with “I would” at The Social a few months back was a blissfully memorable experience that I hope to re-live very soon.

Of the track, the duo explain:

“To us it’s about a lot of things, primarily it speaks about the kind of commitment and dedication to something you love, that means there is no possible or conceivable way that you would give up on it. In one breath it is an unapologetic celebration of queer love, and in the next breath it expresses the unwavering determination that we both hold for our band.

Another truly impressive offering from one of the most exciting – and completely lovely – bands in the universe. ARXX continue to establish themselves as master creators of the freshest, most addictive and most empowering, indefinable euphoric anthems, and I couldn’t be happier that they exist.

Produced by Steve Ansell (Blood Red Shoes) and mastered by Katie Tavini (Arlo Parks), ‘Ride Or Die’ is out now via Submarine Cat Records. It comes ahead of the release of ARXX’s upcoming album of the same name, which is set for release on 31st March. Pre-order here.

Mari Lane

Photo Credit: Rosie Powell