With all the live music, around now it is easy perhaps to forget just how much great music is being released during the festival season. This month’s column will focus on some of the records released in May.
First up an extraordinary album. Endless Summer from Icelandic musician Sóley due out on 19 May via Morr Music. Endless Summer sees the acclaimed musician from Iceland explore the more optimistic, sun-drenched corners of her song writing. From the heavy organs, synths, and minor keys of her last album Ask the Deep, Endless Summer emerges with a kind of hopeful sweetness. This is her third album and is like the Icelandic summer, a liminal, endless turning and shifting of days, with seemingly endless brightness imbued with just a hint of winter. Her entrancing and unsettling piano playing are counterbalanced by lilting vocals and complimented by arrangements for a small orchestra. Unexpected chord progressions transform into the most decadently inviting pop songs.
Liverpool’s thrilling fuzz-pop quartet Clean Cut Kid have announced details of their much-anticipated debut album. A string of exhilarating singles has given snapshots of their brilliance and now comes a record to match. ‘Felt’, is released on May 5th through Babe Magnet Records/Polydor. It was preceded by a new single, ‘Leaving You Behind’, which has already received a Hottest Record accolade. “Felt “is a contemporary indie-pop record filled with defiant pop hooks and emotionally-charged fragility. The band say that “the concept of ‘Felt’ is the timeline of a break-up from a relationship falling apart as you reach the end of the A side of the record; to flip into the B side where we emerge from the breakup and back into a new relationship.” It’s a record that drags the listener through the rollercoaster of emotions experienced during the end of one relationship and the beginning of another, songs with a voice that is refreshing and honest in a generation of emotional detachment. ‘Felt’ is an album that deals with the hard truths and uplifting highs of modern love.
You may not have heard of Orem, Utah but you will soon be hearing lots about the four-piece pop rock band, The Aces, who come from there. They are releasing their brand-new single ‘Physical’ in May. Mixed by Mike Crossey, the track will appear on the band’s debut EP, I Don’t Like Being Honest, which will be released globally on June 23rd via Red Bull Records. The quartet are made up of sisters Cristal (on lead vocals/guitar), and drummer Alisa Ramirez, completed by guitarist Katie Henderson and bassist McKenna Petty. Thanks to their family, the American-Honduran siblings were exposed to music early on: at home their mum played Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston, meanwhile their older brother introduced them to The Misfits, The Casualties, and Hendrix.
Alisa was banging the drums from eight years old, with Cristal writing original songs from age 10, forming a tight-knit unit with McKenna (who Cristal initially met in kindergarten) around the same time. “They asked me to get a bass for Christmas so I could become the third band member,” McKenna laughs. “So, I did. And then I had to figure out how to play.” Their line-up solidified a year later when McKenna met Katie in Junior High. The newly formed band would now blend McKenna and Katie’s alternative tastes (they grew up on The Cure, The Beatles and Depeche Mode) with those of Alisa and Cristal to truly find their sound.
Finally, a band who has appeared in this column before: The wonderful The Big Moon: Their first album Love In The 4th Dimension is out now. It was recorded in London throughout the Summer, and co-produced by Catherine Marks and Juliette Jackson who told us “We’ve been playing these songs for two years now, and it’s a dream come true to finally immortalise them on record. It’s like having eleven tiny babies all at once, all with their own little faces and voices and personalities, and now we’re ready to throw them out of our nest and into your ears.” The album is arguably the finest example yet of what makes them such an enticing, exciting young British band.