E.B. The Younger shares two new songs

With his debut solo album To Each His Own due for release8th March, and about to head off on a UK tour with John Grant, E.B. The Younger (aka Eric Pulido from Midake) has shared two new tracks from the LP: “When The Times Comes” and “Down & Out”.

Of ‘When The Times Comes’ Pulido says: “This was one of the first tunes we recorded on the album before we knew exactly how the sound and vibe would round out. I had the reference of a Desperado-era Eagles vibe and I was really pleased with how it came out. A little bit country, a little bit (folk) rock n roll, and the lyrics took on some fun personal digs at myself… my favourite pastime.” About the track ‘Down And Out’ he adds: “My Midlake bandmate Joey McClellan was recording with Elle King here in town at a great studio called The Echo Lab and she asked him if anyone had a spare acoustic guitar to try. I of course offered mine up to use. When returned I pulled out the guitar to work on some writing, gave it a strum, and found it was in an open G tuning. I’d never written in that tuning but decided to give it a whirl. I wrote the bones of the tune right there and finished out the lyrics the day we tracked with producers Jonathan Tyler and Matt Pence. I wanted it to have a little dose of the country western music I grew up on.”

E.B. The Younger will be heading off on tour with Bella Union label mate John Grant for the next two weeks before returning for 3 headline shows in April. Upcoming live info can be found here

Happy Release Day Pavo Pavo

Pavo Pavo is the recording project of Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg. On their acclaimed 2016 debut, Young Narrator in the Breakers, Eliza’s effervescent soprano was compared to “a lovelorn alien reaching out from the farthest reaches of the galaxy” (Pitchfork), and the elegant, symphonic arrangements were described as “weightless pop that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” (Stereogum).

Mystery Hour, the band’s second album,released today via Bella Union, is a focused, widescreen development. Channelling the narrative drama of Oliver and Eliza’s changing relationship, it is an uncategorizable record that’s both maximal and compact, a fever dream filled with cinematic imagery and rooted in acute emotion, written as the two were separating after a six-year relationship.

The album began as a means to process the breakup and became a feedback loop, influencing the alchemy of their separation process and informing their new roles in each other’s lives. Recurring sounds and instruments act out the shifting storylines of these characters across the album: Oliver’s pitch-shifted vocals and high melodic synths are a distorted, imperfect replacement for Eliza’s floating soprano voice, and cascading strings are an intentional soundtrack for romantic melodrama.

The tone is set by the album’s title track and lead single, a tightly built pop song driven by orchestra and choir into a celestial fadeout: I realize love is to see every side of you / but mon cheri I’m designed to be unsatisfied. 

At the heart of the music is the openness with which the duo continues to sing together, revealing their unshakeable friendship. The record is a meditation on relationships from different angles: “Goldenrod” ends the album with a duet about loss, the expressiveness of the two voices garbled to make them sound uncanny, almost inhuman. “Close to Your Ego,” (Hold me close to your ego / and I’ll hold you close to mine) is more oblique, about the difficulty of reconciling intimacy with sense of self.

Their journey began at Yale University, where the duo both studied music – they met playing in the same string quartet. Since that time, Eliza and Oliver have become prolific and vital collaborators at the intersection of classical, experimental and pop music. As a soprano, Eliza has worked closely on new music with Meredith Monk, Julianna Barwick, John Zorn, Caroline Shaw, and Ben Frost. Oliver has arranged strings for tracks by the Dirty Projectors, Helado Negro and Wet, and is a member of Kevin Morby and Vagabon’s touring bands.

The album draws thematic inspiration from a wide range of media: Ingmar Bergman’s Persona to choreographer Pina Bausch, painter David Hockney, and multi-media artist Alex da Corte. Photographer Natalie O’Moore’s album cover depicts Eliza and Oliver in turbulent conversation at the beach, resembling a film still to mirror the album’s narrative drama.

“The beach is an image that keeps coming back to us – the edge of the world, with the possibility of exiting it,” Oliver says. “The idea for this cover is that it builds on the Young Narrator cover, with two figures casting long shadows on the beach. That cover was a collage and this is a photograph, the hi-res, come-to-life version.” 

Mystery Hour is out now on Bella Union.

Mercury Rev + Susanne Sundfør share “Tobacco Road”

Mercury Rev have shared their interpretation of Bobbie Gentry’s “Tobacco Road”, with featured vocalist and label mate Susanne Sundfør. The track is taken from the upcoming album The Delta Sweete Revisited – their track-by-track resurrection of Bobbie Gentry’s 1968 overlooked masterwork ‘The Delta Sweete.’ Speaking of the collaboration, Sundfør expressed the following… “The song and album are dark, mysterious, different, a sound I haven’t heard before. The Southern Gothic speaks to me and my Scandinavian dark heart, and I think Mercury Rev have done a fantastic job at sticking to the vibe of the original, but adding new life and beauty to their take on it. I’m really happy to be a part of the album.” Premiered today on Clash, you can now listen below…

The Delta Sweete Revisited is out 8th February via Bella Union (Partisan Records in the US). In addition to Susanne Sundfør, Mercury Rev are backed on vocals by an unmatched roster of women across a range of genres: Norah Jones, Margo Price, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucinda Williams, Vashti Bunyan, Rachel Goswell (Slowdive), Susanne Sundfør, Lætitia Sadier (Stereolab), Marissa Nadler, Kaela Sinclair (M83) and more.

Originally released at the height of Gentry’s superstardom following her #1 smash “Ode To Billie Joe,” ‘The Delta Sweete’ is an unrestrained statement of empowerment that dips into everything from swamp-rock, R&B-style horns, and orchestral arrangements.The Delta Sweete Revisited’is Mercury Rev’s committed and affectionate resurrection of an album that anticipated by three decades their own pivotal expedition through transcendental America, 1998’s ‘Deserter’s Songs.’ Not unlike ‘The Delta Sweete,’ that record merged jazz, folk, and rock with Disney soundtrack fantasia, and heralded Mercury Rev’s rebirth as purveyors of a unique brand of the popular American songbook.

Pavo Pavo share “Check The Weather”

With their sophomore album Mystery Hour due for release this coming Friday, Pavo Pavo have today shared an oddly moving video for their new single “Check The Weather”.  Speaking of the visual, Eliza and Oliver have commented that… “the video was directed by Charlotte/Charles Ercoli – we fell in love with her video for Ariel Pink & Weyes Blood’s “Tears of Fire” and wanted something for this track that similarly treads that line of touching and bizarre. She found this internet phenomenon of prosthetic dolphin masks, and had the idea to tell a classic plot-driven love story between two dolphins. Ideally we want it to look like some crap we found in a corner of the internet and sync’ed up with our song, but then when we make a cameo at the end it becomes clear that we made it – hoping the response is, “huh, that’s weird that they made this.” 

Pavo Pavo is the recording project of Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg. On their acclaimed 2016 debut, Young Narrator in the Breakers, Eliza’s effervescent soprano was compared to “a lovelorn alien reaching out from the farthest reaches of the galaxy” (Pitchfork), and the elegant, symphonic arrangements were described as “weightless pop that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” (Stereogum).

Mystery Hourthe band’s second album,released 25th January 2019 via Bella Union, is a focused, widescreen development. Channelling the narrative drama of Oliver and Eliza’s changing relationship, it is an uncategorizable record that’s both maximal and compact, a fever dream filled with cinematic imagery and rooted in acute emotion, written as the two were separating after a six-year relationship.

The album began as a means to process the breakup and became a feedback loop, influencing the alchemy of their separation process and informing their new roles in each other’s lives. Recurring sounds and instruments act out the shifting storylines of these characters across the album: Oliver’s pitch-shifted vocals and high melodic synths are a distorted, imperfect replacement for Eliza’s floating soprano voice, and cascading strings are an intentional soundtrack for romantic melodrama.

The tone is set by the album’s title track and lead single, a tightly built pop song driven by orchestra and choir into a celestial fadeout: I realize love is to see every side of you / but mon cheri I’m designed to be unsatisfied. 

At the heart of the music is the openness with which the duo continues to sing together, revealing their unshakeable friendship. The record is a meditation on relationships from different angles: “Goldenrod” ends the album with a duet about loss, the expressiveness of the two voices garbled to make them sound uncanny, almost inhuman. “Close to Your Ego,” (Hold me close to your ego / and I’ll hold you close to mine) is more oblique, about the difficulty of reconciling intimacy with sense of self.

Their journey began at Yale University, where the duo both studied music – they met playing in the same string quartet. Since that time, Eliza and Oliver have become prolific and vital collaborators at the intersection of classical, experimental and pop music. As a soprano, Eliza has worked closely on new music with Meredith Monk, Julianna Barwick, John Zorn, Caroline Shaw, and Ben Frost. Oliver has arranged strings for tracks by the Dirty Projectors, Helado Negro and Wet, and is a member of Kevin Morby and Vagabon’s touring bands.

The album draws thematic inspiration from a wide range of media: Ingmar Bergman’s Persona to choreographer Pina Bausch, painter David Hockney, and multi-media artist Alex da Corte. Photographer Natalie O’Moore’s album cover depicts Eliza and Oliver in turbulent conversation at the beach, resembling a film still to mirror the album’s narrative drama.

“The beach is an image that keeps coming back to us – the edge of the world, with the possibility of exiting it,” Oliver says. “The idea for this cover is that it builds on the Young Narrator cover, with two figures casting long shadows on the beach. That cover was a collage and this is a photograph, the hi-res, come-to-life version.” 

Introducing Penelope Isles

Bella Union are thrilled to introduce new signings Penelope Isles. Currently putting the finishing touches to their debut album, the band have shared a video of them performing a new track entitled ‘Chlorine’ which can be viewed below…

“It’s a song we often open our shows with, so it felt right to have it as the first single off the record,” say Penelope Isles. Bright and brisk, wide-eyed and wistful, ‘Chlorine’ is a dreamy introduction to the instinctive charms and alt-rock chops of the Isle of Man-via-Brighton quartet, forged around siblings Jack and Lily Wolter. After a buoyant guitar-pop opening, ‘Chlorine’ harbours a tale of what the band call “a heart-breaking family divide”. Its potency heightened by the juxtaposition between the band’s fiery lead-guitar sorcery and sailing three-part harmonies, it’s a song of tremendous melodic calm and emotional rip tides, inviting and immersive.

Self-produced by Jack and recorded in Brighton’s Bella Studios, ‘Chlorine’ is a hypnotic teaser for Penelope Isles’ debut LP, due for release this summer. Between its chiming dream-pop, fuzz-noise waves, indie-psych currents and lustrous melodies, the album is a transporting show of expansive DIY vision, its elemental metaphors a fertile backdrop for the band’s innate inner chemistry and acute grasp of contrast. 

Crisp and woozy, blissful and biting, it’s also an album powerful enough to sweep you away live. Penelope Isles have already garnered support from The Line of Best Fit and DIY for their excellent live shows. With upcoming performances at both Eurosonic and SXSW, the band will also be playing these listed shows over the next few months.

Pom Poko share “Crazy Energy Night” video

Pom Poko have unveiled the video for their brand new single ‘Crazy Energy Night’. The track is a stand out moment on the Norwegian quartet’s raucous debut album ‘Birthday’ (released 22nd February via Bella Union) and epitomises Pom Poko’s drive to create music that’s noisy,fun, and more than just a little bizarre.

The accompanying video centres on a collection of papier mâché characters crafted by the Norwegian art collective Narves1Biblioteke. Equal parts comical, odd, and repulsive, the video is just as stimulating for the eyes as the tonal lurches of the song are for the ears. Speaking about the project in more detail, Narves1Biblioteke say:

“We got hung-up on the line“slowly turning madman into saviour”. We wanted to do something about transformationand since a baby in the first place is a perfect thing, we decided to startthere and we made all kinds of babies we could possibly think of! The music isvery fun and we try to have fun, for example the where some tiny worms areplaying Martin’s guitar solo on the baby’s teeth. And then the lettuce headcharacter too.”

Today’s release of ‘Crazy Energy Night’ follows the successful release of two other tracks from the‘Birthday’ album – ‘Follow The Lights’ and ‘My Blood’ – which have both picked up extensive radio play around the world (notably from triple j in Australia and BBC 6 Music in the UK) and have firmly set expectations for this album to fully live up to the balls-out individuality that we’ve come to expect from Pom Poko as their creativity courses through this exhilarating debut. Pom Poko have already announced a handful of album launch shows to take place in the UK and Germany and today they have announced an extensive run of European dates to take place throughout April. Full European listings are here, with tickets for all dates on sale now.