I’m really looking forward to the release of Darren Hayman‘s new album, Home Time, so when a new single pops up, you know damn well I’m going to throw a few words behind it. On this number, he’s spliced together footage from the band members various home videos during lockdown, done a nice little wash of colors and thrown it behind this beautiful song. It might be my favorite of the singles that have leaked their way into the world; I love the backing vocals from Laura K and Hannah Winter, perfectly adding harmonic layers to Haymans tunes…particularly the charm right before the 2 minute mark. Home Time is out May 22nd via Fika Recordings.
There’s something about Darren Hayman‘s lyricism that just feels right at home; it’s literary, similar to a John Darnielle; but, it also sort of feels a bit mundane, like he’s using the perfect words simply because they’re the exact piece needed for his songwriting puzzles. If you’re not familiar, might I suggest checking out Hefner…and follow the breadcrumbs from there through the Hayman Kupa Band and various releases on WIAIWYA. I love how this song’s presented so carefully, merely some light percussion and woodwinds to accompany careful guitar picking and Hayman’s voice. The accented backing vocals from Hannah Winter and Laura K really do help to elevate the song into something quite exquisite. This song will appear on Home Time, Hayman’s new album, out May 22nd via Fika Recordings.
Needless to say, There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win, was one of my favorite records of last year. One song that didn’t make the final cut for Mammoth Penguins was this gem they’re sharing titled “Sorry I Hurt Your Feelings.” It’s a special b-side tune that they’ve run up especially for today so that they can donate those funds to Trussel Trust, who support food banks…which I imagine becomes even more important in the current climate. Plus, the song makes up for the fact that we’d be seeing the band here in Austin for SXSW.
You can donate directly to Trussel Trust HERE.
We continue our coverage of the forthcoming LP from the Little Hands of Asphalt with the latest two singles from the Sjur Lyseid’s project. There’s only one more set of singles yet, so it’s best to go and get yourself acquainted with Sjur’s work before Half Empty is released. On “Dystopian Sci-Fi,” it feels like something Destroyer might have crafted; it has this brilliant piano line and distinctive vocal performance. “Six Feet Over” offers up a slightly Americana vibe, which doesn’t seem like a stretch, but definitely adds some differentiation to the album’s song cycle. If you like what you’re hearing, Fika Recordings releases the full album on April 3rd.
Every few weeks (two to be exact) Fika Recordings shares new music with us from the forthcoming Little Hands of Asphalt LP. Last time out, I think I finally clicked on why I love the way Sjur crafts his songs, even going so far as to compare the tunes to my favorite John K. Samson. Here, there’s one track that still has that inclination, but on “Writing About Music,” there’s great arrangement work that really builds on the song’s emotional pull; I love how it’s almost broken down to bare bones before bounding off with buoyant strings and rolling drum work to close the song out. We’re still about a month away from the March 27th release date of Half Empty, and I’m every bit as excited…hope you are too!
When Standard Fare called it a day, Emma Kupa moved on to from Mammoth Penguins. I’ve been a huge fan from day one, and There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win was one of my favorite LPs last year. All that said, I’ve never caught the band live, so I’m more than excited to finally get to see them at SXSW this year. We caught up with the group real quick to grab some answers to our little interview.
Oh…and if you’re so inclined…it’s tough to get bands from the UK to the US, so you can help by buying some Mammoth Penguins merch HERE.
You can pretty much guarantee that anything coming out via Fika Recordings is going to get my support; I’ve already encouraged you to give a listen to The Little Hands of Asphalt with the first singles. But, here, we have two really striking numbers, elevating my anticipation for the release of Half Empty. Honestly, both these songs remind me a lot of the Weakerthans (or John K solo stuff). “No Reception” has that upbeat energy, though you can still hear the penchant for pop sensibility. On the flipside, you’ve got “Drinking Song,” which is more of an intimate ballad that is sure to endear itself to any listener. I’m just all about these tunes; Half Empty is out on March 27th.
I’m not sure where I first stumbled upon Darren Hayman, but his songwriting has been ever-present since that time, whether that’s part of Hayman Kupa Band, his solo work, or just revisiting Hefner; he’s always hanging about in my rotations. Barely a few months after the ambitious 12 Astronauts, Hayman has just announced Home Time with this playful little single. The track revolves around two lyrical lines, and that’s it; still, the thematic element kind of encourages you to get up and try and try again, no matter what the outcome…that seems to be the nature of all our lives, making sense of our failures. Home Time will be out this Spring via Fika Recordings.
The great thing about the labels left in the world is that you can always rely upon the tried-and-true ones, like Fika Recordings. By and large, they release a lot of stuff I already love, but sometimes they bring up something I adore that I wasn’t even aware of, like The Little Hands of Asphalt. It’s the project of Sjur Lyseid of Norway, who has been mostly quiet since 2012, working behind the scenes in studios, rather than up front. Today, Fika shared two beautiful pop gems that will appear on the new album, Half Empty. There’s a fragility in these two tunes that I didn’t know I missed, so I wanted to be sure and share those with you today. The new album should be out on March 27th.
I’m glad the musical world hasn’t stopped just because year end listing is in full swing, as we wouldn’t have been gifted this glorious pop number from the Just Joans. For me, this song’s all about the vocal constructs that give the tune success. Don’t get me wrong, the track has the right musical punch where necessary, but it’s definitely the delivery of the lyrics. They definitely have that sort of disaffected youth or perhaps that sort of deadpan melancholy, but the “wee guys” choral backing track really makes the song something more than memorable. Just imagine if Arab Strap wanted to be a proper rock band. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of the Just Joans will be out on January 10th via Fika Recordings.