Lowly Announce “Keep Up The Good Work”

Today at Bella Union we are pleased to announce the new album Keep Up The Good Work by Lowly due for release 17th February 2023. The internationally acclaimed quintet from Denmark continue to develop their creative process, embracing other peoples’ affection and letting it blend into their songwriting. The result of this journey: Keep Up The Good Work, the band’s most heartfelt work to date. To mark the announcement, they share the albums title track which you can listen to below.

Sometimes the support we need doesn’t lie in complex answers. Sometimes it can be found in the most simple encouragement. This reflection is embodied throughout their third album, Keep Up The Good Work.

This music has been forged within a maelstrom of lockdown restrictions and critical life events; often working together virtually, and eventually being together physically and writing as a group.

“We know each other really well after 8 years as friends, colleagues and collective creators. We know what we’re each going through in life, and we can hear it in the music we make together; it’s always a personal reflection of us in the given moment. You can hear that we’ve become older, that we have more to tell. During the pandemic we experienced both the joys of having children and the sorrow of losing people we cared for. Life and death struck us, you could say, which maybe seems rather banal or cliché to be writing about. But for that reason, we think this record speaks universally, and has the potential of resonating with many people.”

Lowly have been once again recording in Aarhus with producer and engineer Anders Boll, who also produced their two previous albums Hifalutin (2019) and Heba (2017). Anders has almost become the sixth member of the band, navigating five strong-willed musicians towards a kaleidoscopic and uniquely interwoven sound. It was in the studio that the band dreamt up the idea to ask their followers on social media to become a part of the album:

“We asked people to send us recordings of what they would say to the people they cared for to give encouragement or support. Our DMs were flooded with positive affirmations and personal stories about what people tell their kids, friends and loved ones. Many of them are quite simple, but also effective thoughts to meditate upon, instead of focusing on something destructive you’d otherwise bang your head against”– says singer Soffie Viemose

Many of the affirmations are audible on their first single Keep Up The Good Work. It has a warm and gentle production aesthetic, making space for the empathic theme about parenting, and its effect on the body. The chanted message of the chorus becomes the mantra we all (not just parents) need when we doubt ourselves the most; said out loud, clear and repeated, until the body and mind believes and survives from it:

Keep Up The Good Work

Keep Up The Good Work

Keep Up The Good Work

Keep Up The Good Work will be released 17th February 2023 via Bella Union.

Bella Union Announce Reissue Of Simon Raymonde’s “Solo Works 96 – 98”

Simon Raymonde today announces the release of Solo Works 96-98 out 9th December via Bella Union and available to preorder here. To accompany the announcement Raymonde has shared “It’s A Family Thing”, the album’s beguiling opening track.

Simon Raymonde recorded his debut solo album Blame Someone Else whilst still in Cocteau Twins. Fellow Twins Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie both appeared on the album, as did late-period member Mitsuo Tate.

But Cocteau Twins were no more by the time the album was released. Originally issued in October 1997 it became the first release on Bella Union, the new label run by Simon and Robin. And soon after by Simon alone. Circumstances change, and the album unexpectedly arrived in a world where Cocteau Twins were in the past.

Twenty-five years later, Blame Someone Else is being released on vinyl for the first time as Solo Works 96-98 with the addition of three bonus tracks recorded in the same time period. “It was begun in 1996 at a time of turmoil with Cocteau Twins,” says Simon of the album now. “At the time, I was unsure if I should make the album but my band-mates were extremely supportive, and their encouragement helped me get the record finished. It took me 25 years to feel comfortable with these songs being available again. We all have hurdles to get over before we can feel ready to let go of certain things. Today, I feel that the first-ever release on Bella Union should once again be an active part of the label’s history, if only to bookmark these first 25 years.”

Time changes context. Perspectives too. But the impact, scope and sensitivity of Solo Works 96-98 remain unaffected. During the opening track “It’s A Family Thing” Simon sings of yearning for stability, acknowledging the hesitation inherent to stepping out on his own. “In My Place” is more explicit – if he’s losing face, it’s his face. This one is on him. Versions of touchstone songs by Television and Scott Walker further state that this his own endeavour.

Any intimations of uncertainty evaporate as the album ends with the sonic whirlpool “Tired Twilight,” a seamless union of the impressionistic and rhythmic. Ultimately, knowing the dates and circumstances is unnecessary, Solo Works 96-98 occupies its own space.

Solo Works 96-98 artwork below…

Helen Ganya Debuts “young girls never die”

“young girls never die … we just ROT inside”

With the release of her new album polish the machine out 18th November via Bella Union, and having previously shared a video to first single “afterparty”, today Helen Ganya shares a visualiser for propulsive new single “young girls never die”. Commenting on the track Ganya says: “Someone made a graph of a male celebrity which showed that as he continued to age his girlfriends stayed the same age. This vision kept sticking with me and I saw it everywhere – of the individual girl not allowed to grow, replaceable when she does. All the while our collective insides rot from a lack of full autonomy.” Additionally, Ganya has announced news of two upcoming live performances, in London and Brighton. Dates and info below:

Tuesday 25th October – London – Paper Dress Vintage

Wednesday 7th December – Brighton – Folklore Rooms

Approaching a new decade in age can bring with it a sort of existential search for meaning. As we grasp at reflections and try to draw a line into a new phase, expectations can be amplified, leaving us reeling in the wake of some unobtainable self. For Helen Ganya, entering her thirties made her question and pull away from the heteronormative social constructs that surround us. On her new album polish the machine, the Brighton-based songwriter stretches away from the suburban nightmare, seeking a cathartic reprieve that looks beyond the ordinary. “I was looking to the truth of removing any expectations that we’ve acquired along the way,” she says.

Previously performing under the moniker Dog in the Snow, Ganya’s 2017 album Consume Me (Battle Worldwide) introduced a meticulous and elegant voice, while 2019 album Vanishing Lands (Bella Union) – inspired by the striking imagery in a period of vivid dreams – utilised swirling dream-pop and haunting post-punk to present an eerie, unflinching look at the often nightmarish reality of the present world. polish the machine leans further into Ganya’s interiority, but refuses to succumb to despondency, instead pursuing a platform for community and tentative optimism. Here, the constraints of societal roles are loosened to encourage a different route: a wandering, ever-evolving path. “I’ve always slightly feared the ordinary,” Ganya explains. “It never really represented how I feel and how many people feel.”

This sentiment introduces the album, as Ganya utters “I had a fear of the ordinary” on the glistening electro-pop opener “I will hold that hand for you.” Inspired by sculptor Harriet Hosmer and her piece Clasped Hands of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Ganya strives for community in an ever-isolated existence. “What we aspire to is to have human connection,” she explains. “I was drawn to this idea of setting the truth of something before it collapses. Setting this connection in stone.” Through staccato percussion and fluttering electronica, “I will hold that hand for you” pierces through the veil of societal stagnation. Elsewhere, “afterparty” further advocates vulnerability, while brooding horns and a climactic sonic crescendo imitate the overwhelming feelings that often overtake us during those moments of in-between, of unknowing. “I envisioned this actual space of disappointment,” she adds. “But I’m here, still hoping for something better.”

On the propulsive “young girls never die” hammering synths and haunting electronic strums create a canvas for an aggrieved Ganya who delivers a biting declaration towards the patriarchal norms of today: “Young girls never die, we just rot inside.” “The individual girl is often not allowed to grow,” she explains. “Instead there’s this sort of festering.” Later, the album’s title track delves deeper into the idea of lost autonomy, as all-encompassing, repetitive melodies mimic the hands of a puppeteer. The track features a looping bass line, fed through a Roland MC-202, that was created after the bass became stuck. Rather than trying to fix it, Ganya and her co-producer Rob Flynn decided to lean into the mistake. “It’s this idea of not being precious and counteracting the puppetry of what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives” she says. 

This open-minded approach offers much of the foundation for polish the machine. By loosening the grip of perfection, Helen Ganya makes room for the unexpected, where our different selves can be explored. Here, she surrenders to all there is to feel, crafting a window into a world where the universal existential pull is acknowledged but not permitted to overwhelm. polish the machine creates connection by offering an evocative, electronically-charged deliverance, where we can aim to liberate ourselves from the fear, anger and anxiety that so often isolates us through a kind of cathartic communion.

polish the machine will be released 18th November via Bella Union.

Happy Release Day Tim Burgess

The wait is finally over… Today Tim Burgess releases his acclaimed new album Typical Music into the world! To celebrate the release Tim has shared a charming animated video for the track “Flamingo” created by BAFTA-award winning director Greg Mcleod aka myinkyhead. Commenting on the video Mcleod says: “Having worked with Daniel O’Sullivan before, animating a film to accompany his track ‘Honour Wave’, he’d made me aware of his collaboration with Tim Burgess. Being a long standing fan I asked if he’d like a film for one of his songs from his forthcoming album, he said yes and so I pointed my brain at his track ‘Flamingo’ and out popped a brightly coloured strange world inhabited by dancing flamingo chicks, and a singing drum. Enjoy!”

Acclaim for Typical Music:

“A 22 track epic… Typical Music features Sparks-ish electronic pop, sumptuous arrangements and modern psychedelia, and hurtles forth with all the lust for life and seemingly boundless joie de vivre of its creator.” The Guardian – 4 stars ****

“With Here Come The Warm Jets, Sparks and ELO among the reference points here, Burgess’s bushy-tailed optimism and quality control never dips.” MOJO – 4 stars ****

“His sweet, loveable personality shines through in all its eclectic and quirky wonder… At 22 tracks it’s a labour of love and an absolute joy.” The Sun – 4 stars ****

“Solo Burgess may be compared to the sort of off-kilter pop made by XTC, Sparks or post-Beatles McCartney. In other words, very good pop indeed.” The Observer

“With support from Spiritualized’s thighpaulsandra and Grumbling Fur’s Dan O’Sullivan, wiggly electronics abound, from the urgent gallop of the title track and the woozy psych-pop of ‘Kinetic Connection’ to the cinematic orchestrations of ‘Slacker’. Think The Flaming Lips’ sci-fi sonics given a very English twist.” Uncut

“Tim Burgess remains self-assured and adventurous… Typical Music is by far his most ambitious project to date: a smorgasbord of everything from classic pop to squelchy funk and sci-fi surf rock… A thrillingly eclectic journey.” Shindig – 4 stars ****

“Nothing typical to hear here, just an artist being passionately prolific.” The Arts Desk – 5 stars *****

“Tim Burgess hits psychedelic bliss on the wonderfully overstuffed ‘Typical Music’.” Far Out Magazine – 4 stars ****

“One of Burgess’ most fully realized concepts, and features a bright sense of love and adoration that reverberates in each song.” Consequence of Sound

“Anything but Typical Music… the eclectic 22 songs encompassing sparkling psych-pop, electro-speckled rock and more straightforward Britpop.” SPIN

Sophie Jamieson Shares “Downpour”

Last month Sophie Jamieson announced her debut LP Choosing due for release 2nd December via Bella Union. Today, Jamieson shares the albums second single titled “Downpour” which also comes with a video directed by herself and Ros Bullard.

Commenting on the track Jamieson says: “This song came from a desperate need to fill a void I could not seem to fill myself. I wanted to fix, and be fixed by somebody who was in no position to do so. I was blinded by this idea that they were the way out of my pain, and when they said no, the walls came tumbling in every time and I didn’t know how to hold them up.”

Building desperation ripples through Sophie’s voice, hovering above a gentle piano before things escalate, the track conjuring the energy of an approaching storm, one that constantly threatens but never seems to burst. The cold hard reality of love-not-welcome hits like hard rain, throwing the protagonist into the stormy abyss of non-belonging. “It’s a desperate song, full of need that doesn’t know what to feed on, and love that doesn’t have a place to go,” Sophie says.

“The video was filmed at my local riverside in South East London. I was fascinated by the movement of water and everything that changes its direction and its force. The way it both moves around, and pushes against everything it touches… even pushing against itself and eventually calming down. The way it has the ability to create space, and also to overwhelm, to drown.”

Released via her new home at Bella Union, Choosing is a strikingly personal document of a journey from a painful rock bottom of self-destruction, to a safer place imbued with the faint light of hope. It’s an album that sings openly of longing and searching, of trying, failing, and trying again – and always and throughout, the strength of love in so many varying forms.

“The title of this album is so important,” Sophie explains. “Without it, this might sound like another record about self-destruction and pain, but at heart, it’s about hope, and finding strength. It’s about finding the light at the end of the tunnel, and crawling towards it.”

 Choosing asks the listener to look deep within their own selves, to show them that they can take whatever pain they’re experiencing, and choose, to some extent, how they let it affect them; whether they let it burn them down or whether they choose to look it straight in the face.

Father John Misty Announces 2023 Tour

Father John Misty has announced news of additional UK and European live dates for February and March 2023. In late February Father John Misty has added shows in Oslo and Gothenburg while in March he’s added new UK shows in Brighton, Portsmouth and Leeds. Upcoming UK and European live info below…

Last week Father John Misty released Live At Electric Lady, a Spotify exclusive EP that features alternate versions of Chloë and The Next 20th Century highlights “Goodbye Mr. Blue,” “The Next 20th Century,” “Buddy’s Rendezvous,” “We Could Be Strangers,” “(Everything But) Her Love,” and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever).” The session was recorded in May 2022 at the famed Electric Lady studios in New York.