Is it spring yet? As the sun beams down brilliantly on our London HQ office you could be forgiven for thinking so. If, like us, you'll be putting on your shades as you step out of the door and pretending that that's acceptable in February, then we've got just the playlist to accompany you.
On today's New Music Friday playlist we've got the glorious new album from Julia Jacklin and some like-minded dream-pop, with a good dose of hard-hitting truth from Sleaford Mods, slowthai and Dave.
As ever, don't forget to follow Festicket on Spotify, and find some words on our top picks below.
Julia Jacklin – Crushing
“Give me a full length mirror so I can see the whole picture,” sings Sydney’s Julia Jacklin on ‘Head Alone’ from the artist’s second full-length Crushing, released today. It’s a telling line, one that points to a record of self-reflection that not only questions one's own identity and form but the forces that attempt to touch, prod, mould and, fittingly, crush it.
The record’s lead single ‘Body’, released back in October, was an understated return; a hushed, dark, five-minute slow-burner, it paints its anecdote of a past love falling apart at the seams with both a wispy fragility and an empowering acceptance of independence.
As the album’s opener, then, it applies the same duality to the songs that follow – a compelling mix of pure jubilant and cathartic guitar-lead bangers (‘Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You’), haunting, gossamer slow-dances (‘When The Family Flies In’), and something in between (‘Turn Me Down’). An album of supreme songwriting, Crushing is everything Jacklin’s return was hoped to be. JB
Sleaford Mods – Eton Alive
Sleaford Mods’ focus forever remains fixed on the forgotten towns during an age of austerity and troublesome working-class mundanities, with their latest effort offering a similarly scathing assemblage of punk-poems to complement their heralded back catalogue.
Whilst not veering too far away from their laissez-faire basement dance-punk production, Eton Alive indicates that the Nottingham duo are keen to expand their palette to a certain degree; ‘Kebab Spider’ could be mistaken for an early Happy Monday’s demo, a knowingly naff kazoo makes it on to ‘O.B.C.T’, yet their ferocity remains intact.
In the UK, current public opinion may be muddled, but frontman Jason Williamson’s lyrics are certainly not - album name Eton Alive is an evident nod to the Tory reign of Great Britain in an increasingly fractious era. His distinguished snarl and deft wit gifting crucial social snapshots of navigating dingy pubs toilets, barren high-streets, and reckless abandon having been left by the wayside. So, no drastic changes. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. TC
Murlo – Dolos
Never one to shy away from the boldness or grandeur on his projects, composer, producer, artist and illustrator Murlo has given another glimpse into the universe that he seems to inhabit with his debut album Dolos (and the accompanying graphic novel).
Having previously delved into Greek mythology with his incredible 8-track EP Odyssey back in 2015, the new project does so once more, taking its name from the personification of trickery, deception, cunning, and guile.
Characteristically cinematic, the album brings to mind soundtracks for the epic open-worlds of The Legend of Zelda or The Elder Scrolls, but with the pervasive bounce and energy that Murlo brings to everything he does. Elements of garage, instrumental grime, experimental club, film soundtrack, classical music, and even Gregorian chant all come into play – but the result is a piece of work that is hard to pin down – a reflection of its boundlessly creative creator. JK
Sleaford Mods will play Bilbao BBK Live in Bilbao, Spain from 11-13 July 2019. Tickets, payment plan, glamping and more are available here.