I’ve made no secret of my affection for Sarah Records, so it’s great to see that our friends at Skep Wax (partners in our Swansea Sound release) are rekindling the Sarah flame with a new compilation, Under the Bridge. There’s 14 songs, many with original Sarah Records acts like Secret Shine and the Orchids, releasing exclusive content specifically for this compilation, with a few related acts like The Catenary Wires and Jetstream Pony also being thrown into the fray. I love that the collection points at what all these bands are doing now, rather than continuously praising them for all they’ve done before (but read that Bandcamp Guide HERE). Hopefully these new recordings give you a glimpse at what you may (though hopefully you didn’t!) have missed over the years…all leading up to the release of the LP on March 18th.
Welcome to another Monday my friends. First, taking a minute here, as I’m writing this post, to celebrate the 7 day young Rhys Bennett Lankford! That’s right, went and had me another one of those kids, and its been a lot of fun, and well, we’re super stoked on the lil’ fella. That said, we also had a short week, so maybe we didn’t get as many jams in as we might otherwise. But, rest assured, we’ve got a pretty solid little collection of tunes here for you to begin your week, with quite a few ATX appearances from the likes of Lola Tried, American Friend and more. You know what to do, press play and stuff.
In case you missed our announcement last week that we’ll be helping put out the Swansea Sound cassette, you now have another reason to celebrate the music of Rob Pursey and Amelia Fletcher, but this time with their other project, The Catenary Wires. They recently released Birling Gap, and this song is one the surefire hits, so they’ve given it the video treatment to coincide with some UK tour dates. Clearly, anyone that listens will swoon over the interplay between Rob and Amelia, particularly as you watch the joy Rob has in singing these tunes. But, lets take a moment to shout out the backing vocals from Fay, Ian and Andy; they kind of roll across this tune with a huge wall of sound, splashing the song with this heavy harmony that would make Brian Wilson jealous. Birling Gap is available now from Shelflife.
Everyone always be trying to wrap up the week with their “Week in Music,” but we’re a little lazier, plus we figured you wanted to slow start your Monday, so why not do it by checking out what we were jamming to last week. So, we’ve put all the singles, plus a few other things we were loving in the mix. That way, you can sit back and just enjoy a fun playlist…and if you weren’t in on it, jump back and see what we had to say. Or don’t. Either way, you can now start your day with this hip playlist. We kick it off with the latest from Los Esplifs, who drop their Estraik Back LP tomorrow for 4/20.
Earlier this year we shared the A-side single for “Mirrorball” from the Catenary Wires, and in that post I alluded to a forthcoming LP from the band; the good news is that you can now pre-order the new record, Birling Gap. An added bonus is that it comes with a great new track that should only further push you to pressing “add to cart!” The song opens with a careful acoustic guitar and slight bit of ocean-spray ambiance, setting the scene for Amelia’s sparkling voice to shine, as per usual. With progression, the song builds in that ambiance, filling the pop bucket to the brim, spilling over into pure bliss near the 1:22 mark. Looks like we’re in for another treat, so be sure to get your hands on the new album, released by Skepwax (UK) and Shelflife (US) on Jun 18th.
When we were fortunate enough to have Rob and Amelia of Catenary Wires take over our web site last year, they hipped us to all they were working on, be it Swansea Sound, Heavenly reissues, European Sun and…well, we knew there was fresh CW on the horizon. Today, they announce their Mirrorball 7″, and they do so in typical fashion sharing a whimsical pop tune to give your day some wings, some spirit (maybe its only me that needs that!). Electronic buzz and horns open up before the light guitar strum provides the stage for the back and forth melodic banter between Rob and Amelia. For me, having listened to the band, and their various projects, this one feels supremely mature, like a lesson in the joys of indiepop being given by its elder states-people; it just gives you this warmth, almost as if it can’t be pigeonholed as anything other than a really great song. This 7″ will be out via Shelflife/Skep Wax on April 16th…and includes a Human League cover! And just a hint, this tune is the first single off a forthcoming LP later in the year.
With everything else going on, our main band, The Catenary Wires, took a back seat. We had a bunch of gigs booked in the spring, but obviously they all had to be cancelled. However, the album that we had started putting together at the beginning of the year is now nearly finished. We managed to record a few songs here, before lockdown, but most of it has been recorded since. Fay recorded her keyboards at home, Ian added some extra finger drums, weve done our parts and Andy has played bass and put the whole thing together beautifully. We are lucky to be working with a band who arent just musically gifted, but technically clever too. We are going to release a single early next year, called Mirrorball. Its the story of two lonely individuals who attend a retro 80s disco, and are forced to re-live the horror of the worst music of that decade but then make eye contact across the dancefloor. Yes, its a love song!
We dont have a video ready for the single yet, but we thought we might include a live performance we did for the Wedding Presents At The Edge Of The Sofa virtual festival. These songs will be on the new album: they are The Overview Effect and Like the Rain.
I’m a big fan of indiepop outfitPale Lights, and I reach out to the band from time to time, like I did this year when I was compiling my Year End List collection from people I admire. The band got back to me with their collective list, including some reissues, which you can find down after the jump. I don’t mind one bit seeing Robert Forster on a list!
The Catenary Wires history is perhaps far deeper than their discography, but in their short time, Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey have already worked with some of my favorite labels in Elefant, WIAIWYA and Matinee…and now their sophomore release is slated for new powerhouse, Tapete Records. This fresh single puts the band’s dynamic at the forefront, relying upon the interplay between the two, trading vocal duties with one another, uniting in certain instances to maximize the harmony; Amelia has this sparkling nostalgic movie star tone, while Rob has this more forlorn croon. The string arrangement dropping in just before the 3 minute mark keeps listeners aware that both the music and voice will be broad sweeping on Til the Morning; it’s out June 14th via Tapete.
There’s two things at work here: one, Matinee Recordings is back at it this year and two, The Catenary Wires are made up of members of Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Tender Trap, etc. With the first, I’m extremely happy, as the label is one of my favorite purveyors of divine indie pop. As to the second, I think the aforementioned bands make this track alone worthy of your time. I couldn’t think of a better way to begin my week than to listen to a track where the male and female vocals fit so well that your can’t help but feel yourself swoon. They’ll be releasing their Red Red Skies CD via the label in June.
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