Covers is out now in North and South America through Sub Pop.
Today, Marika Hackmanreleases Covers, a darkly beautiful, self-produced new album which showcases a more vulnerable side.
Marika will be performing with her full band tonight in an abandoned swimming pool. Tickets for the show available here - the show starts at 8.30pm GMT with a second stream at 9pm EST/6pm PT.
During the extended stay-at-home orders of the last few months, Marika felt that creating a covers record was a way of exploring new sound ideas and expressing herself without having the pressure of the blank page. She recorded and produced Covers between home and her parents’ house, then got David Wrench to mix it. In contrast to her last two albums (including 2019’s Any Human Friend& 2017’s I’m Not Your Man), this collection of songs is more akin in tone and feel to her debut We Slept At Last, with a darker and more introspective sound. On Covers, we hear Marika’s emotive voice set against sparse arrangements of guitars and strings with the occasional synth or scattered drum groove.
Breathing new life into the songs she’s chosen, Marika reimagines work by some of the world’s most beloved artists, such as Radiohead, Grimes, Beyonce and Elliott Smith. It’s a suitably varied collection, but Marika’s intimate delivery and soft, nuanced and atmospheric touch to production, thread them all together effortlessly.
Marika explains how she came to choose the material: “When it comes to covers, I like to pick songs which I have been listening to obsessively for a while. It gives me a natural understanding of the music, and lets me be more innovative with how I transform it.”
For Covers, Marika turned to her musical heroes to get her through the year’s weirdness. The album is a new way of hearing some familiar things, and some less known, through the lens of this formidable artist.
“Realiti” is a stripped back piano and guitar based version of the Grimes classic from her most celebrated album Art Angels. Marika’s take is a total reinvention and yet it feels wholly her own. Muna’s ”Pink Light” from their 2019 record SavesThe World is a slice of dark pop, reminiscent of The Cure. In Marika’s hands, it’s a remarkably seamless switch-up to convert these into slower, brooding soft jams.
Marika was obsessed with the Shins growing up and cites their songwriting as a major influence. ”Phantom Limb” the track she chose to cover was always a favorite and, whilst looking up the lyrics she discovered that the song was written about a “hypothetical, fictional account of a young, lesbian couple in high school dealing with the shitty small town they live in.”Finding this out created an even deeper connection with the song and band.
Marika’s version of Air’s ”Playground Love“ is one of the highlights, taken from the soundtrack that Air composed for Sofia Coppola’s coming of age The Virgin Suicides, the result being a moodier, disorientating reworking of a classic modern moment.
Final track ”All Night” sees Marika tackling one of the standouts from Beyonce’s Grammy nominated Lemonade. Again, Marika flips the song on its head. Joined by a choir of stacked vocal harmonies, Marika’s voice transcends to conjure a deep emotional resonance.
Adventurous and versatile, Covers continues Marika’s lineage in turning each body of work into a new take and perspective on her creative vision. She twists and turns, always surprises, and is never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. It remains anyone’s guess to imagine where she will head next.
Marika Hackman Covers Tracklisting: 1. You Never Wash Up After Yourself (Radiohead) 2. Phantom Limb (The Shins) 3. Playground Love (Air) 4. Realiti (Grimes) 5. Jupiter 4 (Sharon Van Etten) 6. Pink Light (Muna) 7. Between The Bars (Elliott Smith) 8. Temporary Loan (Edith Frost) 9. In Undertow (Alvvays) 10. All Night (Beyonce)
DONUTS MIND IF I DO”/“PLASTIC LOVE” 7” AVAILABLE ON VINYL - Order now here.
Today, Japanese quartet CHAI are excited to share the official video for “Plastic Love,” their cover of Mariya Takeuchi’s 1984 city pop standard, which recently saw a resurgence of its own in 2018.
“Plastic Love” stars the group as “tour guides” of their beloved Tokyo, taking you through the city’s many districts in this exuberant visual. CHAI says: “THIS IS TOKYO! Everyone has their own perception of Tokyo, but many, at times, would say it can be sort of gloomy, sort of dark. With our version of ‘Plastic Love,’ we wanted to show you what Tokyo looks like from our point of view.
From Asakusa, to crepes in Harajuku, to the skyrise buildings and Tokyo Tower, to long night-time drives in Shibuya…we welcome you to our version of Tokyo! You also notice how we’re all wearing white? That’s because we are going to disrupt the gloomy Tokyo! We are the brightness amongst the darkness and we’ve come to illuminate! Just like Mariya Takeuchi did with this song in the 80’s, we’ve come to do this again with our version today!”
CHAI’s interpretation of the international cult hit is from their double A-side single, “Donuts Mind If I Do”/”Plastic Love,” out now on Sub Pop.
CHAI’s “Donuts Mind If I Do”/“Plastic Love” double A-side single is available as a limited edition 7,” which is available to purchase now from Bandcamp (on orange or turquoise colored vinyl), and Sub Pop Mega Mart (on lime green vinyl). All three options while supplies last. The “Donuts Mind If I Do”/“Plastic Love” 7” single will be available worldwide (excl. Japan and Asia) with an estimated ship date in late November.
[Photo Credit: Kodai Ikemitsu]
CHAI is a revolutionary four-piece, made up of miracle twins Mana and Kana, and the impeccable rhythm section of Yuuki and Yuna. Combining their powerhouse musical prowess with “pinkish punk” sensibilities, CHAI has managed to create a huge splash in the music scene in their homeland, Japan, and abroad. Now ready to build on their infectious sound and musical accolades, CHAI is gearing up with their new label to release even more new music into the world.
Toronto’s Kiwi Jr. will release Cooler Returns the group’s new album and the follow up to their acclaimed debut Football Money, on CD/LP/CD/DSPs January 22nd, 2021 worldwide through Sub Pop, with the exception of Canada through the band’s Kiwi Club imprint.
Today the band is sharing the official video for “Cooler Returns,” the album’s title track and new single, which was directed by Sean Egerton Foreman (who directed Kiwi Jr’s “Gimme More” in January 2020). Singer Jeremy Gaudet comments on the video: “No one is able to play live shows, so using the latest technology we have replicated the most accurate version possible of what Kiwi Jr. shows once looked like.
Buildings burning in every direction; macabre unknowns in your friendly neighbor’s basement; undecided voters sharpening their pencils: under pressure we could call Kiwi Jr.’s Cooler Returns“timely.” But what year is it, again? On their sophomoric smash-up released world-wide by Sub Pop Records, Kiwi Jr. cycle through the recent zigs & looming zags of the new decade, squinting anew at New Year’s parties forgotten and under-investigated small town diner fires, piecing together low-stakes conspiracy theories on what’s coming down the pike in 2021. Put together like a thousand-piece puzzle, assembled in flow state through the first dull stretch of quarantine, sanitized singer shuffling to sanitized studio by streetcar, masked like it’s the kind of work where getting recognized means getting killed, Cooler Returnsmaterializes as a sprawling survey from the first few bites of the terrible twenties, an investigative exposé of recent history buried under the headlines & ancient kings buried under parking lots.
[Photo credit: Warren Calbeck]
Not so long since their debut Football Money in archaeological time, unending gray eons later in the dog years of quaran-time, spiritually antipodean Canadians Kiwi Jr. return to disseminate this year’s annual report to the shareholders, burying the incriminating numbers in the endless appendices of a longform narrative record, a 3,000 word tract for stakeholders to pore over.
Cooler Returns - memories of Augusts past, unrepressed & transcribed fast - go down easier thanks to meaningful changes enacted in 2019’s KiwiCares Pledge: delivering on a promise to transition from Crunchy to Smooth by 2021, the caveman chug of Football Money has been steamed & pressed with the purifying air of a saloon piano - operated with bow-tie untied - and a spring green side-salad of tentatively up-tempo organ taps & freshly fluted harmonica.
A chronically detuned spin of the dial through swivel-chair distractions & WFH daydreams, an immersive ctrl-tab deluge cycling through popular listicle distractions like the unentombing of Richard III, or the deja vu destruction of the Glasgow School of Art, Kiwi Jr. sing this song to an indoor audience, crisscrossing canceled, every other prestige distraction source wrung dry, only songwriting remaining to deliver engrossing tales to the populace, just how I imagine it worked in the old days. Fixing loose ingredients into a sturdy whip, Kiwi Jr. beam in live from the 9-5, striding into 2021 with a mastered brainwave that comes equally from the back room of the record store as the penalty box. And how do we, left holding this box of deliberate entanglements, sign off to those as yet uninitiated, undecided, uncertain, unseen, absent return coordinates - Best Wishes, Warm Regards, Good Luck? Cooler Returns, Cooler Returns, C o o l e r R e t u r n s !
There is an additional limited edition version of Cooler Returns from participating Dinked retailers in the UK that will be available on yellow colored vinyl with a signed print and a sequentially numbered obi strip (while supplies last).
Kiwi Jr. Cooler Returns Tracklisting 1. Tyler 2. Undecided Voters 3. Maid Marian’s Toast 4. Highlights of 100 5. Only Here for a Haircut 6. Cooler Returns 7. Guilty Party 8. Omaha 9. Domino 10. Nashville Wedding 11. Dodger 12. Norma Jean’s Jacket 13. Waiting in Line
On Oct. 9th, METZ released Atlas Vending, the band’s most dynamic, dimensional, and compelling work of their career. After the stunning video for “A Boat to Drown In” that plays more like a short film, the gorgeous black & white cinematic clip for “Hail Taxi”, the ulterior universe created in the video for “Blind Youth Industrial Park”, and the quirky and light-hearted video for “No Ceiling.” METZ have now unveiled a Sisyphean sci-fi Saga for their song, “Pulse,” just in time for Halloween.
What people are saying about Atlas Vending: “Atlas Vending is the sound of a band fully confident in itself and delivering their biggest and best work yet.” ★★★★ - Upset Magazine
“The Toronto band maintain a formidable degree of power and velocity throughout their fourth album yet… provide more welcome respites from the ferocious barrage they’re otherwise highly skilled at delivering.” [8/10] -Uncut
” A record which draws on 35 years of North American alt-rock excellence, while still stamping its creators’ own identity firmly across its grooves.” [4/5] -Kerrang
”By gathering everything the group has done to date and mixing it together Metz manage to create a perfectly potent cocktail, one filled with nostalgia, sadness and grinding euphoria.” [8/10] - Loud and Quiet
“The expansiveness of the sonic palette on Atlas Vending just gives the band more room to paint outside the lines.” [8/10] -Under The Radar
“A record that feels both raw and refined, this will shake you to the core”★★★★ - DIY Magazine
“METZ still cooks and burns with the roar of Jesus Lizard and the pounding noise of Stnnng, but four albums in, the band is discovering new sonic routes to travel” - AV Club
METZ on the road in 2021: Sep. 15 - Bristol, UK - The Fleece Sep. 16 - Manchester, UK - YES Sep. 17 - Glasgow, UK - Stereo Sep. 18 - Blackpool, UK - Bootleg Social Sep. 19 - Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club Sep. 21 - Leicester, UK - 02 Academy Sep. 22 - London, UK - Scala Sep. 23 - Brighton, UK - Green Door Store Sep. 24 - Paris, FR - Petit Bain Sep. 25 - Dudingen, CH - Bad Bonn Sep. 26 - Zurich, CH - Bogen F Sep. 27 - Lausanne, CH - Le Romandie at Les Docks Sep. 29 - Berlin, DE - Lido Sep. 30 - Leipzig, DE - UT Connewitz Oct. 01 - Hannover, DE - Glocksee Oct. 02 - Copenhagen, DK - Loppen Oct. 04 - Hamburg, DE - Hafenklang Oct. 05 - Cologne, DE - Gebäude 9 Oct. 06 - Utrecht, NL - Tivoli Oct. 07 - Groningen, NL - Vera Oct. 08 - Antwerp, BE - Trix
Sub Pop has signed the UK band TV Priest and will release Uppers, their full-length debut on CD/LP/CS/DSPs worldwide February 5th, 2021. In celebration of this news, we’re sharing the official video for “Decoration,” the album’s lead single, directed by Joe Wheatley.
The FADER says of the “Decoration” video ““Gnarly British post-punk band TV Priest blow a breeze through life’s trinkets and accoutrements on “Decoration,” the beating heart of their forthcoming Sub Pop debut Uppers. Among the items frontman Charlie Drinkwater rails against over a jagged groove are feature walls, smashed avocado, junk food, and “the TV adaptation of the latest book craze (see premiere October 28th).”
Sub Pop became fans of TV Priest’s politically urgent, mechanical, subtly humorous (and self-deprecating) post-punk following the release of their standalone singles “House of York” and “Runner Up” as well as the Uppers early preview tracks “This Island” and “Slideshow” (Uppers was originally set to be released through UK label Hand in Hive this fall, but will now be available worldwide in February through Sub Pop).
(Photo Credit: Dan Kendall)
About TV Priest’s Uppers:
It’s tempting to think that you have all the answers, screaming your gospel every day with certainty and anger. Life isn’t quite like that though, and the debut album from London four-piece TV Priest instead embraces the beautiful and terrifying unknowns that exist personally, politically and culturally.
Posing as many questions as it answers, Uppers is a thunderous opening statement that continues the UK’s recent resurgence of grubby, furious post-punk music. It says something very different though – something completely its own.
Four childhood friends who made music together as teenagers before drifting apart and then, somewhat inevitably, back together late in 2019, TV Priest was born out of a need to create together once again, and brings with it a wealth of experience and exhaustion picked up in the band’s years of pursuing “real life” and “real jobs,” something those teenagers never had.
In November 2019, the band – vocalist Charlie Drinkwater, guitarist Alex Sprogis, bass and keys player Nic Bueth, and drummer Ed Kelland – played their first show, to a smattering of friends in what they describe as an “industrial freezer” in the warehouse district of Hackney Wick. “It was like the pub in Peep Show with a washing machine just in the middle…” Charlie laughs, remembering how they dodged Star Wars memorabilia and deep fat fryers while making their first statement as a band.
Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a precedent for introducing an album during a global pandemic, but among the general sense of anxiety and unease pervading everything at the moment, TV Priest’s entrance in April with the release of debut single “House of York” - a searing examination of the Monarchy - served as a breath of fresh air among the chaos, its anger and confusion making some kind of twisted sense to the nation’s fried brains.
It’s the same continued global sense of anxiety that will greet the release of Uppers, and it’s an album that has a lot to say right now. Taking musical cues from The Fall and Protomartyr as well as the mechanical, pulsating grooves of Kosmische Musik, it’s a record that moves with an untamed energy. Over the top of this rumbling musical machine is vocalist Charlie, a cuttingly funny, angry, confused, real frontman.
“Decoration,” Uppers’ centerpiece, has a streamlined groove soundtracking Charlie’s lyrical vignettes that captures the absurdity and mundanity of life. Its opening and closing line (“I’ve never seen a dog do what that dog does”) is a misremembered quote by Simon Cowell about a performing dog on Britain’s Got Talent. Charlie says, “We often said it in the studio as a kind of in-joke when someone did something good or unexpected. Having already toyed around with the ‘Through to the next round’ line,’ this seemed too good to leave out.” And the chorus “It’s all just decoration” is credited to the 2-year old niece of Alex’s fiancé, who reassured him after he pretended to be scared by Halloween decorations.
“Press Gang” is inspired by Charlie’s grandfather’s life’s work as a photojournalist and war correspondent on the UK’s Fleet Street from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The song is about the shifting role in the dissemination of information and ideas, and how the prevailing narrative that the “Death of Print Media” has contributed to a “post truth” world.
Album closer “Saintless” is the most personal and raw moment on Uppers. Charlie wrote a note to his son after his birth, following a difficult period his wife had faced during and after the pregnancy. The song is about how as parents we’re fallible and human, and while the world can be a difficult place at times the one thing that gets you through is giving your love to those that need and appreciate it. “Saintless” rides a motorik beat, with guitars, bass and synths building layers of intensity and emotion that replicate and swell with the message of the track.
Uppers sees TV Priest explicitly and outwardly trying to avoid narrowmindedness. Uppers sees TV Priest taking musical and personal risks, reaching outside of themselves and trying to make sense of this increasingly messy world. It’s a band and a record that couldn’t arrive at a more perfect time.