Ahead of his forthcoming Deaf Institute show, Rustie has created a live mini-mix to whet the appetite. Stereogum described it as “[spanning] 22 minutes and veers wildly from glassy ambience to frenetic street-rap to squelchy and jittery dance music to various combinations of those things”. Have a listen here: https://www.youtube.com/
Based in London but tinged with the apathetic pop of west coast US, Beach Baby met in Goldsmiths college through a notice. Starting out with more a folky hue, the four-piece balanced their day-jobs as teaching assistants and movie script readers with crafting a distinctively their own – hazy, dream-like yet grungey and completely their own. Recording across various London bedsits, they put together a collection of tracks that inspired seminal tastemaking label Chess Club to put out the band’s debut single.
Due out on March 30, Ladybird was mixed by Cenzo Townshend (who has previously worked with the likes of Jamie T, Franz Ferdinand and The Maccabees), and touches on ideas of femininity, atypical romances and the bitter-sweet nature of slowly growing out of your teenage years. As well as their fast-developing sound, the band have used their Goldsmiths background to create striking aesthetics to go with the music – something which approaches what John Hughes might’ve created had he spent his formative years in Deptford.
Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Florida, George Lewis Jr. has a long and varied back story that includes starting his singing career in a local church choir, through to recording music for film and theatre – as well as being a DJ in Grand Theft Auto V. However, of all the various lives that Lewis has had, he is still best known under his Twin Shadow name. Releasing his debut album – Forget – in 2010, the record signposted the project’s haunted R&B edged, synth-lead singular style and huge enormous critical acclaim. Pitchfork awarded a score of 8.4/10 (and the much coveted Best New Music award), and labelled it “catchy… [with] thoughtful storytelling… the album’s skillful restraint makes it sound better with every spin.”
Twin Shadow’s follow up, Confess, came in 2012 and came with a sound that was bright, bolder and yet still affected – something likely due to the fact that the LP was heavily influenced by a motorcycle accident Lewis had experienced in the run up to recording. While critics fell over one another to lavish praise upon the record, it was summed the album up perfectly in their 9/10 review: “Confess isn’t just steeped in the sounds of an era, but in its films, feel, stories and sense of aspiration. It’s an album about love and lust behind the bleachers, in the dark of a multiplex, on the back of a motorcycle, in bathroom cubicles, under the neon glare of America’s bright lights – and it’s wholly, wholly brilliant.”
Lewis’ latest release under the Twin Shadow moniker comes in May this year. Titled Eclipse, the LP has thus far remained under wraps but promises to be the most exciting and ambitious to date, with George explaining to Dazed & Confused, “I think it’s important to let people take what they need from songs instead of explaining too much about what they mean for me personally. But my friends keep asking, ‘Turn me up’, what’s that mean? I keep saying, Take more from me. Ask more of me. Give me more back. Stop fighting against the things you want the most. ”
Even before the release of debut album Total Strife Forever in January 2014, William Doyle had a story to rival most. Upon seeing The Quietus’ John Doran at a Factory Floor gig in late 2012, he passed on a CDR containing some tracks he’d worked on under the name East India Youth – tracks which were good enough for The Quietus to start a record label just to facilitate the release of his debut EP, Hostel.
His debut LP earned huge critical acclaim, with The 405 (9/10), Clash Music (9/10) and Uncut (9/10) falling for the album, while Best Fit (9/10) perhaps summed it up best in their review when they noted, “Total Strife Forever is breathtaking. It might get tough sometimes, lonely and desolate even, but Doyle’s catharsis will hoist you by the bootstraps into lusher pastures”. The slow, steady rise was capped with the album being nominated for the 2014 Mercury Music Award, turning yet more people onto east India Youth’s uniquely textured soundscapes and atypical style of pace and rhythm. Seminal label XL quickly signed Doyle up for his sophomore LP – Culture of Volume, due for release in April 2015.
Born and raised in Virginia, Natalie Prass spent her teenage years absorbing the strange patterns and textures of the US east coast. Having spent her high school years playing in bands with Matthew E. White, Prass recorded a demo on an iPhone and sent it off to Jenny Lewis – becoming her keyboardist before moving to Nashville in 2006. In Texas is where Prass began to hone her own unique sound, a mixture of disarming sincerity and uniquely tinged romantic storytelling. Taking her own time to songcraft, Prass recorded her eponymous debut in 2014 with White – a record that has shown her to be one of the most distinctive and talented voices of this generation. Put out through Colombia Records at the start of 2015, it has quickly become one of the early frontrunners for album of the year.
Critics quickly fell in love with Prass’ LP, with The Guardian being particularly effusive, noting “The touchstones here, such as Dusty in Memphis, are all records that revel in a particular kind of musicality, yet this is a record that never feels retro, just timeless” – and awarding a perfect 10/10 mark. Pitchfork gave the album the much-coveted Best New Music award, writing in their 8.3/10 review, “[it is] a warm, intimate debut album that leaves space for darker contemplation—those stray thoughts that light you up at the end of the night”. Best Fit (9/10), Paste Magazine (8.4/10), The AV Club (8.3/10), Mojo (8/10), Q (8/10), The Independent (8/10), and Uncut (8/10) were among the many other publications to fall for Prass’ singular charms. This will be her debut Manchester show.