Welcome to another edition of Freshly Squeezed, NFC’s monthly ‘best of’ track update. To qualify, a track needs to be two things: 1) on heavy rotation for me over the past month, and 2) not from an artist with a very large following.
As I sit and write this introduction, and I rack my brain to see if I can find anything to say in relation to the tracks I’ll detail below, one notable similarity suddenly struck me.
Every artist in the main tracks is female. I’m not sure if this has ever happened on this column previously, but I think October is an apt month for an all-female volume of FrSq. While I don’t want to go too much into it here, I hope female artists of all disciplines will continue to make amazing, boundary pushing art and not have to deal with a lot of the bullshit that has been outlined recently.
Anna St. Louis – Fire
One widely known and often recalled proverb states that ‘first impressions are the most lasting’. On the back of that piece of wisdom, Anna St. Louis is putting together a strong artistic outline. Being signed to Mare Records, Kevin Morby’s Woodsist imprint, is a striking first step, and the second is the release of debut single ‘Fire’, the leadoff track from forthcoming album First Songs.
The album title suggests that St. Louis has many more tricks up her sleeve, and if ‘Fire’ is anything to go by, I for one can’t wait to hear what more she is set to share. Backed by sharp, bluesy fingerpicking, St. Louis’ resolute vocal delivery and crisp production builds a warmth that is clear and welcoming to the ear. “Honey, let your fire be your cave’, St. Louis pushes, and this imagery carries the listeners to an idyllic, dusky Midwestern evening.
CCFX – The One To Wait
There must be something in the water in the Olympia, Washington. Take a look at the list of great musicians that have rolled through city: you’ve got Calvin Johnson, Kurt Cobain, Carrie Brownstein, and it goes on and on and on.
You can also add Mary Jane Dunphe to that list. The well-celebrate lead singer of Vexx and CC Dust has struck gold again with her new project CCFX, a marriage between her gliding vocals and punk band Trans FX, which has somehow, surprisingly, managed to manifest itself as a band that evokes the memory of lush, gothy dream pop of Cocteau Twins amongst others. ‘The One To Wait’ is a standout from their new self-titled EP – out on James Murphy’s DFA Records – which sees the band levitate in a warm space also occupied by The Cure, and held up by Dunphe’s dreamy, sometimes forceful delivery.
Miss World – Click And Yr Mine
Taken from debut EP Waist Management – which came out earlier in October – ‘Click And Yr Mine’ is the irresistibly catchy track from London-based Natalie Chahal and her project Miss World. Chahal tidily combines infectious pop hooks and slight fuzziness, a similar fusion of parts that has worked so well for Colleen Green or PNKSLM labelmate ShitKid (who also appears below!).
“I fell in love on the internet” chants Chahal in the outro of the track: acting as a double entendre to highlight the ease of dating apps and relationship websites along with the addictiveness of consumerism on the internet that some people use as a coping tactic.
Miya Folick – Give It To Me
When I first heard ‘Give It To Me’, the title track from Terrible Records signed Miya Folick’s upcoming EP, my reaction less than two minutes into the song was to a shift back in my seat and exclaim a “WOW”.
‘Give It To Me’ harkens back to the slower, sludge rock prevalent in the 90s, an era that Mitski has recently plundered with great success. Folick’s vocals are breath-taking – transitioning surely from a sweet, crackling valley into a fully blown out peak that sounds as if she is struggling to keep everything together. It’s only a matter of time before Miya Folick is one of the biggest things in the alternative music sphere.
Sam Valdez – It’s Alright
When I first heard Sam Valdez, I was first struck by her slightly left-field approach to Americana. One which shares many of the fundamentals of her contemporaries, yet distances itself far away enough that I could envision her playing in a bar in the city. So, when I found out her California-by-Nevada upbringing, this picture became more clearer.
It’s safe to say that her newest single, ‘It’s Alright’ is a by-product of these two West Coast areas. Mixing distorted guitars and with Americana sensibilities, Valdez ends up with a shoegaze-lite track that could be comparable to Sharon Van Etten in a more upbeat setting. That shoegazey production sits nicely in a middle space between that distortion and a cleaner quality to assemble an end product that is welcomingly dusty, which allows Valdez to show off her fantastically brooding voice.
And here are some more recommendations: