Happy Release Day Tallies

Today, Tallies release their sophomore album and first for Bella Union, Patina. The album was proceeded by singles “Memento”, “Hearts Underground”, “Wound Up Tight” and “Heaven’s Touch”.

Nostalgia: it’s a fickle beast, isn’t it? Everyone loves music that evokes a strong sense of days gone by, but stare through those rose-tinted glasses too long and you lose the magic of the present. With their brand new sophomore album, Patina, Toronto-based indie pop band Tallies have found a way to expertly walk that razor-thin tightrope, nodding to their favourite bands of the past while transforming their sound into something tight, bright, and undeniably fresh.

Tallies started in earnest when singer Sarah Cogan, guitarist Dylan Frankland, and drummer Cian O’Neill began collaborating in late 2017. All throughout their career, they dove into the bands that would influence their sound–the Sundays, the Smiths, Aztec Camera–all while adding their own signature elements; Sarah’s airy-yet-arresting vocals, Dylan’s stunning gossamer guitar work, Cian’s astronomic drumming.

They got down to business quickly and in 2019 their debut self-titled album was released on Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada and Kanine Records in the United States. Solidifying the band’s status as Canada’s leading dreampop scholars, its mix of upbeat pop hooks and heady, larger-than-life production won the band critical acclaim from the indie underground to the mainstream alike. They began work straight away on a second record, which would prove to be an even more life-affirming endeavour than their debut.

All albums are labours of love by definition of the term, but the recording of Patina was particularly challenging at points. In the throes of the pandemic, the band was torn between the pressures of writing a record in lockdown, and using all the extra time they had to polish and refine what they had already begun. It was during this process that Tallies began a working friendship with one of their musical heroes—Simon Raymonde, ex-Cocteau Twins bassist and founder of Bella Union, caught wind of Tallies and made it his mission to sign the band. Through transatlantic phone calls, Tallies were able to deeply connect with a member of one of their favourite bands; “a light at the end of the tunnel,” explains Sarah.

The juxtaposition of light and dark is a strong theme in the music of Tallies. While many of their tunes are upbeat, with Dylan’s breezy guitar lines drenched in reverb, soaring over Cian’s propulsing drumbeats, Sarah’s lyrics can add a hint of shadow to even their most jangly tunes. Patina’s first single, “No Dreams of Fayres”, speaks of a severe depressive episode during Sarah’s teen years that was mirrored during the making of the album, while elsewhere on the record, “Hearts Underground” describes the slippier side of personal relationships over effervescent indie pop. “I think that’s an interesting part about the music,” says Dylan about these sonic contrasts. “There are these conflicting elements. The music can be upbeat, but you’re talking about the realities of life.”

In addition to its tight songwriting and composition, Patina’s lush soundscapes were produced by Graham Walsh of the art-rock band Holy Fuck. The album also features Grammy-nominated cellist Michael P. Olsen (Arcade Fire, Drake) and percussionist Peter Anderson (The Ocean Blue), who also contribute the levelling-up of Tallies’ sound.

There we are again: that balance of nostalgia and forward-thinking that Tallies do so well. Yes, they are holding the torch high for the dreampop fans, but have put in the work to appeal to alternative music fans of all ages. The title of the album’s closer says it all: “When Your Life Is Not Over” an ode to looking towards the future, not back into the things that defined you, but forwards into what you have the power to create. And for Tallies’ it’s clear that there’s much, much more of that to come.

Fiona Brice Announces “And You Know I Care”

Fiona Brice today announces the release of her new album And You Know I Care, out 21st October via Bella Union and available to preorder here. To celebrate the announcement Brice has shared a beautiful and mesmerising video for the title track created by Rankin.

“I wanted to make a record that was meditative, compassionate, calm and reflective, as a reaction to the increasingly noisy, opinionated, aggressive and polemic tone of our daily environment,” says Fiona Brice.

The British multi-instrumentalist, orchestral arranger and composer has drawn on her abundant talents to forge an exceptional record that fulfils the brief. Brice’s second solo album for Bella Union, And You Know I Care, is a deep listening experience that raises the post-classical bar, eschewing the genre’s default melancholia for wider and richer dimensions of uplifting and exultant bliss.

Brice has drawn on all her experience gained working with the likes of John Grant, Anna Calvi, Jarvis Cocker, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Katherine Jenkins, Elbow, the BBC Concert and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestras, Royal Northern Sinfonia and the London Mozart Players. She toured with Placebo for ten years, and more recently Elbow, so to say Brice is in-demand is an understatement. But she still has time for her own work. Her debut album Postcards From, a more minimalist, filmic set of instrumentals, was released in 2016. After two purer classical projects (String Quartet No.1 in 2018 and the lockdown-inspired Piano Preludes in 2022) And You Know I Care is a more wide-ranging, ruminating work, and showcases Brice’s voice, lyrics and choral arrangements – and what a gorgeous voice she has, strong and supple, able to hit the heights of a soprano.

To help her create this refuge from modern life, Brice (violin, piano) called on Vicky Matthews (cello), Benjamin Till (vocal on ‘Whose God Are You?’) and co-producers Julian Simmons and Dimitri Tikovoï. “Every collaborator on this album is someone I’ve had a long-standing friendship and professional relationship with – including Simon Raymonde and Bella Union,” she says. “This is important to me because it gives the record a personal ‘retrospective’ quality.”

Renowned photographer Rankin is another friend (Brice initially featured in his famous Raw Nudes exhibition) who Brice asked to direct a video for the lead single – and title track after seeing his powerful portrait series Flora, juxtaposing flowers and flame. Says Brice, “I found Rankin’s series resonated with the music, though he’d only done stills: a video was my suggestion.” The visuals’ distilled, flickering beauty combines with the music’s ebb and flow, recalling video artist Bill Viola’s stunning slow-motion work. “I wanted something that could be shown in an art gallery,” says Brice. “It’s an installation as much as a video.”

Brice chose one of Rankin’s Flora images for the album cover. On the rear, she wears a formal black classical concert dress, lying in the (according to Alexander Technique and yoga practice) position known as ‘constructive rest’. “It promotes calming, tension release and relaxing the sympathetic nervous system,” says Brice, who trained as a yoga teacher in 2017 (how did she  find time?). “I hope the imagery shows the seriousness of the statement I’m making on this record.”

The album is bookended by instrumentals, “to link back to Postcards From,” but each tells its own story. In the opening ‘Ascending’, a gentle piano prelude is slowly invaded by electronic sound, as if the world is intruding on Brice’s state of calm. The sombre strings of the closing ‘Retreat’ is, “a retreat back into instrumental music,” she feels, but it’s also a retreat into that state of calm.

That leaves six sets of lyrics. Seeking community and empathy in a world spinning out of control, Brice reaches out to a friend in hospital (the title track), understands another’s perspective (‘Through Her Eyes’) and encourages a troubled friend that life can improve (‘Today Will Be Different’). ‘Nocturnal’ acknowledges emotional pain, “and how long it can take to heal.” ‘We Rise We Fall’ telescopes outward, to lament, “how the world is in perpetual flux. We progress and then regress, and never get to where we could be.” ‘Whose God Are You’ is the album’s darker, cynical chapter, addressing “those people who’ll have you believe they walk on water. It could be politicians, religious leaders, or someone I know being precocious… it’s me saying, I don’t believe you.”

In all cases, the lyrics are written as mantras. As Brice explains, “A lot of songs out there have an enormous number of words – just like people are talking all the time on social media. So, I wanted to break things down to the emotional core. Historically too, mantras in the yogi tradition of repetition soothe the mind and body.”

Music that has inspired Brice along this illuminating journey include Alice Coltrane’s Universal Consciousness (“the sheer ‘otherness’, the way she claims her own soundworld”), Steve Reich’s Different Trains (“repetition, variation and lyrical minimalism creating a strong emotional impact”), Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister’s Planetarium (”the combination of song form and orchestral textures”) and Henry Purcell (“especially Dido And Aeneas and baroque compositional use of ground bass”).

With a similarly questing spirit, rich composition and a commanding vision, Brice has created her own soundworld, and a place for everyone to find a shelter from the storm.

Blue Luminaire shares “Held” featuring Lucky Lo

Blue Luminaire, aka Copenhagen-based, British-born composer, Nick Martin (they / them), has shared the otherworldly video for ‘Held’, the latest track to be released from their debut album, Terroir. The debut is set for release on Bella Union on 12 August 2022 on ltd edition clear vinyl, CD and digitally.

The video, featuring Blue Luminaire and Lucky Lo, was directed by Benjamin Tarp and filmed in Møn (an island in Denmark) using only the magical light around sunrise and sunset. Tarp explains, “Held is a very personal song for Nick, and giving visual life to their words and sounds was an amazing task to be given. Nick wanted the video to be filmed at Møn, which is a very old place with roots back to the dawn of time, and the nature there is truly inspiring to say the least. It was magical to experience and work with the light in these twilight hours during Scandinavian summer.”

Nick Martin expands, ‘Held’ is a song about trying to look after oneself, of being there to carry oneself, particularly through difficult times. It is a song that whilst it addresses the listener, is really written for myself – those caring words of affirmation are gentle reminders… “have self-compassion”.

The landscape personifies that deeper presence inside of us, one that is there to hold us when we fall. And since we are of the earth, not separate from it, as we’d like to believe… “we are held by ourselves”

Blue Luminaire is Nick Martin’s latest project, marking a transition from their previous EPs – where they were composing and directing – to step into the spotlight as a performer, creating a sonic universe stretching across time to create an ever-moving, cyclical experience. Hovering between worlds, Blue Luminaire is the sound of the in-between.

The debut release, Terroir, utilises their classical music training – Martin grew up in Bedford surrounded by classical music before studying in London – to create a unique and otherworldly sonic experience where past selves collide, and the universality of heartbreak, familial patterns and grief permeate.

The album title stems from the word terre (meaning soil) and connects to the idea that we carry the weight of our original, formative environments and relationships. Martin wanted to interrogate how they shape our sense of self, and impact our ability to connect with one another, while navigating a new path in the wake of a difficult break-up, and confronting their complicated relationship with their family.

Nick Martin wrote Terroir while working as a cleaner and assistant at a music venue in Copenhagen. Inspired by the performances they witnessed, on nights when no one was scheduled to appear, they took to one of the hall’s pianos and started sketching out the melodies and lyrics that would soon become the album. The album was recorded two years later, with 14 instrumentalists and sound engineer Pape Arce, at the music venue where it all began.

Terroir’s expansively meditative, mantra-like exploration of the self opens a soothing portal that urges connection in a world that aims to distract and deter. While working on the album, Martin was focused on the beneficial effect of music for mental well-being, and found a certain solace through Terroir’s benevolent and exploratory nature. “Many of us are drawn to music, art and writing because of the need to get something out,” they explain. “That thing you might carry around and feel like is this huge, dark, horrible thing you don’t want anyone to see or hear. And yet when you do it, it feels good.”

Ezra Furman Debuts “Lilac And Black”

Ezra Furman today unveils a new single and video, “Lilac and Black”, from her forthcoming record, All of Us Flames, out 26th August via Bella Union. Produced by John Congleton, All of Us Flames unleashes Furman’s songwriting in an open, vivid sound whose boldness heightens the music’s urgency. “We’ve been alone too long / We belong together with our weapons drawn,” Furman sings on “Lilac and Black,” detailing a revenge plot where she and her “queer girl gang” drive out their oppressors and claim a hostile city for themselves.

Furman elaborates, “I’ve started to think of us trans women as a kind of secret gang, scattered across the world. Or that we could be that. So I wrote this theme song for us, and gave us some gang colours: lilac and black. Unfortunately, being trans usually comes with some kind of threat to one’s well-being or even one’s life. The hostility toward us right now is intense and the stakes are high. This song is an expression of deep solidarity and willingness to defend our lives. Being an inherently peaceful person, I hate to imagine it, but there are times that violent self-defence, or defence of others, is the moral and necessary path. This song is about being ready for that.” Furman continues, “It’s also about how being trans so often feels like a war we never asked for. On top of the seemingly endless social stigma and barriers to our general thriving, various governments have now set in motion a concerted movement to virtually outlaw healthy trans existence. Let it be known: we demand safety, resources and dignity, and we are ready to fight for our lives and the lives of others.”

All of Us Flames is the third instalment in a trilogy of albums, beginning with 2018’s Springsteen-inflected road saga Transangelic Exodus and continuing with the punk rock fury of 2019’s Twelve Nudes. Writing much of Flames during the early months of the pandemic, Furman drove to seek solitude, parked in arbitrary quiet spots around Massachusetts, and began to write. The songs that came flowed toward ideas of communality and networks of care, systems of survival cultivated by necessity among people who have been historically deprived of them. With Furman’s widened focus, All of Us Flames paints transformative connections among people who unsettle the stories power tells to sustain itself.

A singer, songwriter, and author whose incendiary music has soundtracked the Netflix show Sex Education, Furman has for years woven together stories of queer discontent and unlikely, fragile intimacies. All of Us Flames is “a queer album for the stage of life when you start to understand that you are not a lone wolf, but depend on finding your family, your people, how you work as part of a larger whole. I wanted to make songs for use by threatened communities, and particularly the ones I belong to: trans people and Jews.

Drab City share “Pourquoi tu m’fous plus des coups” cover

Having relocated from Berlin to Marseilles, Drab City are currently hard at work on the follow-up LP to their acclaimed 2020 debut, Good Songs for Bad People. The release date is very much TBC, but in the meantime they’ve provided this synthy, bossa nova-tinged cover of an 80s chanson, “Pourquoi tu m’fous plus des coups”, as an offering to the Gods of Summer. They say it was a lot of fun to make and they hope it brings a few minutes of enjoyment to everyone who hears it.

Acclaim for Good Songs For Bad People, the debut album from Drab City:

“The new king and queen of fever-dream-pop.” MOJO – 4 stars ****

“Mixing savage lyrics with a haunting, cinematic sound, this enigmatic duo deliver potent songs for surreal times.” The Observer (One to Watch)

“Disorienting but compelling… Listening to Good Songs for Bad People, you do believe you have visited a new city, but it is anything but drab.” Loud & Quiet – 8/10

“Intoxicating and otherworldly.” DIY

“It’s woozy, dubby, funky and majorly chilled out — think Wu Tang Clan, those weird, cool David Axelrod albums, Portishead — with Islamiq Grrrls’ cooing vocals pulling things into Françoise Hardy / girl group territory.” Brooklyn Vegan

“Experimental, electronic, noir-ish aesthetics… Most crucial is a penchant for 60s chanson’s soft-focus harmonies, evident on the Air-like ‘Working For The Men.’” Uncut – 8/10

Drab City embody a revolutionary ideal of the role art is supposed to play.” Paste Magazine

“Turn down the lights, stick your headphones on, and melt into Drab City’s ethereal debut. Good Songs For Bad People oozes with Portishead-like production,

combining gothic elements with smooth jazz and dark synths to create a truly haunting record that removes you from reality.” The Rodeo – 4 Stars ****

It is the gift of escapism. Like a David Lynch film, or a Kafka novel, you’re transported into a world without a guide, and it is utterly exhilarating.” Secret Meeting – 8.3/10

“Their glitchy songs of violence and paranoia radiate a deranged elegance that’s both succinct and off-kilter… positions them as heirs to the sonic lift-off Broadcast’s laser-guided radiophonics and the spectral breakbeats of Portishead’s torch song future blues.” Pop Matters

Warmduscher Announce Remix EP

Hot on the heels of their recent storming of Later…with Jools Holland, South London scoundrels Warmduscher have announced details of a 4-track remix of EP featuring tracks taken from their recently released much-acclaimed fourth album, At The Hotpot. The EP features remixes from Yard ActJoe GoddardRed Axes and Glok.

Talking about the EP, Warmduscher head-honcho Clams said: “There’s nothing better for the soul than taking whats yours, giving it to your friends and letting them chew it up and spit it back out in your face.  Something different, something weirder, something better, bolder, or even more beautiful! Ladies and gentleman we’ve got friends in high places, and these friends have chewed us up perfectly.  We hope you enjoy more of the same, only much more different, Warmduscher the remixes!!”

Yard Act added; “We’ve been long-time fans of that freakshow called Warmduscher. They’re disgusting, funny, sexy and cool as. When we found out they felt the same things about us, it could only make total sense to stick our fingers in each other’s noises. ‘Greasin’ Up Jesus’ is a perfect come down album ender to a rollercoaster party record, but behind those louche elevator synths and chintzy shuffling drums, we could hear that there was still a party going on underneath, and so we tried our best to dig it up and let it out with our remix. We had so much fun doing this. Long live Warmduscher.”

Additionally, after a sold-out run of UK headline shows this spring and their recent assault on Glastonbury where they played on both the Park and Truth stages, this summer sees them play further festivals across Europe before returning to the UK for another headline tour in November. The full list of current shows is as follows…

15.07.22 – Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival – STIRLING

16.07.22 – The Beat Harder – CLITHEROE

17.07.22 – Dour Festival – DOUR, BE.

22.07.22 – Bicnic Festival – BICNIC, FR.

24.07.22 – Bluedot Festival – MACCLESFIELD

27.07.22 – Llangollen Fringe Festival – LLANGOLLEN

31.08.22 – Stylus – LEEDS

01.09.22 – Newcastle University – NEWCASTLE

03.09.22 – Manchester Psych Fest – MANCHESTER

24.09.22 – Float Along – SHEFFIELD

01.11.22 – The Mill – BIRMINGHAM

02.11.22 – Roadmender – NORTHAMPTON

03.11.22 – Rock City – NOTTINGHAM

05.11.22 – The 1865 – SOUTHAMPTON

8.11.22 – Sub89 – READING

10.11.22 – Waterfront – NORWICH

11.11.22 – Electric Brixton – LONDON

Tickets for the November headline shows go on sale at 10am on Wednesday 13th July and are available HERE.