Tag: Brighton UK

New Video: Hanya Shares Surreal and Feverish Visual for “Amateur Professional”

Brighton-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Hanya — currently Heather Sheret (vocals, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar) and Jack Watkins (drums) — exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of their debut EP, I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, an effort that saw the British outfit quickly and firmly establish a sound that featured elements of dream pop and shoegaze. 

Much like countless acts across the globe, back in 2020, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays had plans to build upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally: they released their acclaimed, sophomore EP Sea Shoes, which they supported with touring across the UK and their Stateside debut at that year’s New Colossus Festival. But since then they’ve been busy.

Last year, the Brighton-based released their acclaimed third EP 100 Metre Sprint which featured: 

  • Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship
  • Monochrome,”a hazy and slow-burning ballad that celebrates the pleasures of life’s small things
  • Lydia,” a slow-burning and gorgeous track that continues upon their winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop. 
  • Fortunes,” a slow burning track, which featured  A Storm In Heaven like painterly textures, ethereal harmonies and deeply personal, lived-in lyricism. 
  • Logan’s Run,” which struck me as a lush and brooding synthesis of AM Rock and lush, A Storm in Heaven-like textures. Fittingly, the track was inspired by the 1970’s sci-fi classic, which the band watched a lot during the pandemic. 

Hanya’s newest single, the Theo Verney-produced “Amateur Professional” sees the rising Brighton-based outfit marrying their live show energy with their recorded sound — while further refining and pushing that sound in subtle yet decided new direction. Centered around a post-punk influenced take on shoegaze and dream pop that features shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars paired with angular and propulsive bass lines serving as a lush bed for Sheret’s gorgeous and vulnerable delivery singing ongue-in-cheek lyrics, “Amateur Professional” features the band’s penchant for rousingly anthemic hooks. But at its core, the song strikes at something deeply familiar for me — and those I’ve spent my adult life covering: The moral and mental gymnastics that creatives must grapple with when attempting to make a side-hustle viable in a consumer world that doesn’t value authenticity and constantly vies for every moment of our attention. 

“‘Amateur Professional’ was written at a time when we felt our most cynical,” Hanya explains. “Trying to remain inspired in this chaos and constantly grappling with self-doubt is something every person experiences, and we wanted to explore that in this world of a ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ mentality. The track is about attempting to be a full-time professional in whatever it is you want, even if you feel like a lousy amateur a lot of the time. It’s a fighting song, for when you’re feeling like giving up.”

Directed by Sara Azmy, the accompanying video for “Amateur Professional” is a gorgeously shot and surreal fever dream split between the office drone working at the office to support themselves and their dream until they burned out and lost their minds — and their dreams of music stardom. That balance between doing what you have to do to support yourself and living your dreams can be extremely complicated.

Brighton-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Hanya — currently Heather Sheret (vocals, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar) and Jack Watkins (drums) — exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of their debut EP, I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, an effort that saw the British outfit quickly and firmly establish a sound that featured elements of dream pop and shoegaze. 

Much like countless acts across the globe, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays had plans to build upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally: they released their acclaimed, sophomore EP Sea Shoes, which they supported with touring across the UK and their Stateside debut at that year’s New Colossus Festival.

Last year, the Brighton-based released their acclaimed third EP 100 Metre Sprint which featured:

  • Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship
  • Monochrome,”a hazy and slow-burning ballad that celebrates the pleasures of life’s small things
  • Lydia,” a slow-burning and gorgeous track that continues upon their winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop. 
  • Fortunes,” a slow burning track, which featured  A Storm In Heaven like painterly textures, ethereal harmonies and deeply personal, lived-in lyricism. 
  • Logan’s Run,” which struck me as a lush and brooding synthesis of AM Rock and lush, A Storm in Heaven-like textures. Fittingly, the track was inspired by the 1970’s sci-fi classic, which the band watched a lot during the pandemic.

Hanya’s newest single, the Theo Verney-produced “Amateur Professional” sees the rising Brighton-based outfit marrying their live show energy with their recorded sound — while further refining and pushing that sound in subtle yet decided new direction. Centered around a post-punk influenced take on shoegaze and dream pop that features shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars paired with angular and propulsive bass lines, Sheret’s gorgeous and vulnerable delivery singing tongue-in-cheek lyrics and the Brighton-based JOVM’s penchant for rousingly anthemic hooks, “Amateur Professional” strikes at something deeply familiar for me — and those I’ve spent my adult life writing about: The moral and mental gymnastics that creatives must grapple with when attempting to make a side-hustle viable in a consumer world that doesn’t value authenticity and constantly vies for every moment of our attention.

“‘Amateur Professional’ was written at a time when we felt our most cynical,” Hanya explains. “Trying to remain inspired in this chaos and constantly grappling with self-doubt is something every person experiences, and we wanted to explore that in this world of a ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ mentality. The track is about attempting to be a full-time professional in whatever it is you want, even if you feel like a lousy amateur a lot of the time. It’s a fighting song, for when you’re feeling like giving up.”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Penelope Isles Release a Gorgeous and Mind-Bending Visual for “Have You Heard?”

Brighton-based indie rock outfit Penelope Isles — founded and led by sibling duo and co-songwriters and co-vocalists Lily and Jack Wolter — had a breakthrough year back in 2019: Their self-produced, full-length debut Until The Tide Creeps In was released to critical acclaimed globally. The band supported the album with some relentless touring that included sharing stages with The Flaming Lips and The Magic Numbers, as well as three Stateside tours, including a stop at the inaugural New Colossus Festival.

The duo’s Jack Wolters-produced sophomore album Which Way To Happy was released last month through Bella Union. The album’s material was forged during a period of emotional and professional upheaval for The Wolters and for Penelope Isles. The band spent much of 2019 touring across Europe and America with their bandmates. When the pandemic struck early last year, the band — understandably — felt as though everything was falling apart: much like countless other folks across the world, the members of Penelope Isles found their plans and hopes in an indefinite stall. Along with that, Jack and Lily were dealing with their own respective heartaches and the departure of two bandmates. The departing bandmates were replaced with Henry Nicholson, Joe Taylor and Hannah Feenstra for the recording of the album. “A godsend after a low time,” Lily Wolters says. 

The Wolters along with Nicholson, Taylor and Feenstra holed up into a small cottage in Cornwall to start work on the new album when lockdowns were instituted everywhere. Claustrophobia kicked in, existential anxiety over the pandemic permeated everything and emotions — naturally — ran very high. “We were there for about two or three months, ultimately,” Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolter recalls. “It was a tiny cottage and we all went a bit bonkers, and we drank far too much, and it spiralled a bit out of control. There were a lot of emotional evenings and realisations, which I think reflects in the songs. Writing and recording new music was a huge part of the recovery process for all of us.”

Finished away from the confines of the Cornwall-based cottage and further flushed out with arrangements by acclaimed composer Fiona Brice, the band’s sophomore album finds the band further emphasizing the core traits that have won them acclaim globally: the bond between Jack and Lily, a desire to celebrate life in all of its facets and a sensitivity towards complex feelings. But interestingly, Which Way To Happy may arguably be their most ambitious effort to date: Sometimes, the album’s material swoons, sometimes it soars. Other times it bravely says “it’s OK to not be OK.” And this is while seeing the band balance on a sonic and stylistic tight rope between expansive cosmic pop, and intimate, earnest songwriting. 

In the lead up to the album’s release, I’ve written about four of Which Way To Happy‘s singles: 

  • The cinematic “Sailing Still.” Centered around a shimmering and brooding string arrangement, gently strummed guitar, thunderous drumming, a soaring hook and Lily Wolter’s achingly tender vocals, the heartbreakingly gorgeous track evokes a deep yet familiar yearning for peace in a mad, mad, mad world — while sonically bearing a resemblance to Lily Wolter’s collaboration with Lost Horizons
  • Iced Gems” is a gently undulating track featuring twinkling keys, fluttering and atmospheric electronics, thumping beats and Lily Wolters’ achingly plaintive vocals. And while being a decided sonic departure, the song is centered around somme deeply intimate lyricism and the duo’s unerring knack for crafting infectious, razor sharp hooks. 
  • Sudoku” is a slow-burning and lushly textured bit of dream pop/shoegaze centered around shimmering guitars, plaintive and expressive vocals, a soaring hook and a fuzzy power chord driven solo.
  • Terrified,” a sun-dappled, hook-driven bit of jangle pop but underneath the breezy and upbeat vibes, the song is a reflection on maneuvering a mad, mad, mad world with anxiety — and somehow pretending that you’re not crumbling on the inside.

The album’s fifth and latest single, the breakneck “Have You Heard?” was written by Lily Wolters and sonically is one-part Brit Pop, one-part jangle pop, one-part psych pop centered around rousingly anthemic hooks and Lily Wolters’ achingly tender and ethereal vocals. According to the band, the song was inspired by labelmates The Flaming Lips and much like that equally acclaimed act’s work, “Have You Heard?” manages to be upbeat — but that manages to be a bit deceptive, as the song has a bittersweet and uneasy undertone.

The recently released video was directed by renowned director Jamie Thraves, who has worked on gorgeous and mind-bending visuals for the likes of Radiohead and Coldplay. Shot in a cinematic black and white, the video is split between a surrealist narrative in which the band’s Lily Wolters has the power to hurt people just through words told forward and backwards paired with some great live-performance footage, which captures their live energy.

Brighton-based dream pop act and JOVM mainstays Hanya — currently Heather Sheret (vocals, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Jorge Bela (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of their debut EP, I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, an effort that saw the British outfit quickly and firmly establish a sound that featured elements of dream pop and shoegaze.

Much like countless acts across the globe, the Brighton-based JOVM mainstays had plans to build upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally: they released their acclaimed, sophomore EP Sea Shoes, which they supported with touring across the UK and their Stateside debut at that year’s New Colossus Festival. Since their New Colossus  set at The Bowery Electric last March, Hanya has been busy writing and releasing new material, including:  

  • Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship
  • Monochrome,”a hazy and slow-burning ballad that celebrates the pleasures of life’s small things
  • Lydia,” a slow-burning and gorgeous track that continues upon their winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop. 

The British dream pop outfit will be releasing their highly anticipated third EP lates this year. Now, as you may recall, last month, I wrote about the forthcoming EP’s lead single, the slow-burning “Fortunes,” which featured  A Storm In Heaven like painterly textures, ethereal harmonies and deeply personal, lived-in lyricism.

Hanya’s latest single “Logan’s Run” continues a recent run of lush and painterly textured material featuring glistening guitars for the song’s dreamy verses, towering feedback and pedal effect driven soloing, a propulsive backbeat paired with Heather Sheret’s gorgeous and expressive vocals. Sonically, “Logan Run” strikes me as being a sort of slick synthesis of brooding atmospherics, 79s AM rock and A Storm in Heaven-like textures.

“We wrote this track as a homage to its namesake – the 1970’s sci-fi classic Logan’s Run, set in a seemingly perfect future full of staggeringly blissful ignorance,” Hanya’s Heather Sheret explains. “We can’t get enough of this film, and whilst we were endlessly ageing during this pandemic, this track felt like our own soundtrack to the dystopian present. The film addresses concerns of consumption, truth and escape, all whilst remaining timelessly beautiful, confusing, and trashy. Just like us.”
 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Penelope Isles Release a Gorgeous and Heartbreaking Visual for “Sudoku”

Led by sibling duo and co-songwriters and co-vocalists Lily and Jack Wolter, the Brighton-based indie rock act Penelope Isles had a breakthrough 2019: their self-produced, full-length debut Until The Tide Creeps In was released to critical acclaimed globally. And to support the album, the band shared stages with The Flaming Lips and The Magic Numbers, playing over 100 shows — and they made three Stateside tours, including a stop at the inaugural New Colossus Festival.

The duo’s highly-anticipated Jack Wolters-produced sophomore album Which Way To Happy is slated for a November 5, 2021 release through Bella Union. The album’s material was forged during a period of emotional and professional upheaval for The Wolters and for Penelope Isles. The band spent much of 2019 touring across Europe and America with their bandmates. When the pandemic struck early last year, the band — understandably — felt as though everything was falling apart: much like countless other folks across the world, the members of Penelope Isles found their plans in an indefinite halt. Jack and Lily were dealing with their own respective romantic heartaches and the departure of two bands members, who were replaced with Henry Nicholson, Joe Taylor and Hannah Feenstra for the recording of the album. “A godsend after a low time,” Lily Wolters says. 

The Wolters along with Nicholson, Taylor and Feenstra holed into a small cottage in Cornwall to start work on the new album when lockdowns were instituted everywhere. Claustrophobia kicked in, existential anxiety over the pandemic permeated everything and emotions — naturally — ran very high. “We were there for about two or three months, untilately,” says Jack. “It was a tiny cottage and we all went a bit bonkers, and we drank far too much, and it spiralled a bit out of control. There were a lot of emotional evenings and realisations, which I think reflects in the songs. Writing and recording new music was a huge part of the recovery process for all of us.”

Finished away from the confines of the Cornwall-based cottage and further flushed out with acclaimed composer Fiona Brice, the band’s sophomore album finds the band further emphasizing the core traits that have won them acclaim globally: the bond between Jack and Lily, a desire to celebrate life in all of its facets and a sensitivity towards complex feelings. But interestingly, Which Way To Happy may arguably be their most ambitious effort to date: Sometimes, the album’s material swoons, sometimes it soars. Other times it bravely says “it’s OK to not be OK.” And this is while balancing a tight rope between expansive, cosmic pop and up-close, heart-felt intimate songwriting. 

So far, I’ve written about two of Which Way To Happy‘s singles:

  • The cinematic “Sailing Still.” Centered around a shimmering and brooding string arrangement, gently strummed guitar, thunderous drumming, a soaring hook and Lily Wolter’s achingly tender vocals, the heartbreakingly gorgeous track evokes a deep yet familiar yearning for peace in a mad, mad, mad world — while sonically bearing a resemblance to Lily Wolter’s collaboration with Lost Horizons
  • Iced Gems” is a gently undulating track featuring twinkling keys, fluttering and atmospheric electronics, thumping beats and Lily Wolters’ achingly plaintive vocals. And while being a decided sonic departure, the song is centered around somme deeply intimate lyricism and the duo’s unerring knack for crafting infectious, razor sharp hooks.

Which Way To Happy‘s third and latest single “Sudoku” is a slow-burning and lushly textured bit of dream pop/shoegaze centered around shimmering guitars, plaintive and expressive vocals, a soaring hook and a fuzzy power chord driven solo. Sonically, the track — to my ears, at least — brings back memories of classic Brit Pop.

“‘Sudoku’ is probably the oldest song on the album. We used to play it in our old band, Your Gold Teeth, back on the Isle of Man when Lily and I first started making music,” Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolters explains. “Dad loves a sudoku puzzle whilst he’s sat on the loo. So this one is for him! It’s a special song for us and we wanted to bring it back and play it with Penelope Isles.”

The recently released video for “Sudoku” is an intimate portrait of a middle aged gentleman. We follow the man as he gets up, brushes he teeth, makes himself a healthy breakfast and some tea before heading to his workspace to work on a model airplane. He stops to each lunch with his pet bird, water his plants and get a package delivered — and then back to work. When he finishes, he takes the plane out on a test flight; but it quickly proves to be a frustrating disaster with the plane flying a few feet before crashing.

The video ends with the band throwing the plane in the garbage and heading home to work on a model car.

New Video: JOVM mainstays Thyla Releases an Anthemic New Bop

Brighton, UK-based indie rock band and JOVM mainstays Thyla can trace its origins to when its founding members — Millie Duthie (vocals), Danny Southwell (drums) and Dan Hole (bass) — met while attending college.

While becoming JOVM mainstays, the Brighton-based indie act have helped cement their hometown’s reputation for a music scene with some of England’s hottest emerging acts.The band has played profile rising shows with Dream Wife, Luxury Death, Matt Maltese, Yonaka, Husky Loops, Lazy Day, Sunflower Bean, INHEAVEN and Fickle Friends. And they ere spotlighted alongside Pale Waves, Nilüfer Yanya, and Sorry in NME‘s 100 Essential Acts for 2018.

Thyla’s debut EP, 2019’s What’s On Your Mind was released to critical applause from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NME, The Line of Best Fit and Dork — and the material from the EP received airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, Radio X and KCRW. Adding to a breakthrough year, the Brighton JOVM mainstays opened for Rolling Blackouts Costal Fever, played attention-grabbing sets at The Great Escape, Live At Leeds and Hit The North. They capped the year off with their first national tour, which also included a headlining stop at London’s Electrowerk.

Last year, Thyla released their sophomore EP Everything at Once. The EP featured he anthemic and ambitious “Two Sense,” and the coming-of-age story “Lenox Hill,” which was arguably the most personal song the band’s Millie Duthie had written to date. After the release of Everything at Once, the rising British act spent the bulk of last year working on their highly-anticipated full-length debut.

Slated for a January 28, 2022 release through Easy Life Records, Thyla’s self-titled full-length debut will feature “Breathe,” an atmospheric yet dance floor friendly banger featuring glistening synth arpeggios, sinuous bass lines, squiggling guitar blasts, stuttering four-on-the-floor, Duthie’s plaintive vocals and an enormous, crowd-pleasing hook. The end result was a song that — to my ears, at least — reminded me of When The Night-era St. Lucia, while being completely of our weird and uncertain moment.

“Gum” the self-titled album’s second and latest single continues a run of rousingly anthemic material but while being a subtle return to form: while glistening synth arpeggios and driving bass lines are still prominent, the song features fuzzy power chords and thunderous drumming and Duthie’s plaintive vocals. The song manages to capture a self-assured young band — young compared to yours truly — with an unerring knack for an enormous, shout-along-with-your-friends worthy hook paired earnest, lived-in songwriting that seems to say to the listener “Don’t worry, we’ve been there, too.”

tach identity and value to ourselves and the sneaking and uneasy feeling that the more we learn, the less we know. And while you may learn more about yourself, everything else gets increasingly complicated and difficult. “Gum is about shrugging the weight of the world off your shoulders – being stuck, knowing it, and choosing not to care,” Thyla’s Millie Duthie explains. “The world is weird; life is confusing. You’re not always going to get what you want, but let’s stop talking about it.

Directed by John Daly, the recently released video for “Gum” features some surreal imagery — notably of the trio seemingly playing an unending game of Tug of War and not getting anywhere, despite being in the English woods.

New Video: Penelope Isles Release a Hallucinogenic Visual for Fluttering and Intimate “Iced Gems”

Led by sibling duo and co-songwriters and co-vocalists Lily and Jack Wolter, the Brighton-based indie rock act Penelope Isles had a breakthrough 2019: their self-produced, full-length debut Until The Tide Creeps In was released to critical acclaimed globally. And to support the album, the band shared stages with The Flaming Lips and The Magic Numbers, playing over 100 shows — and they made three Stateside tours, including a stop at the inaugural New Colossus Festival.

The duo’s highly-anticipated Jack Wolfers-produced sophomore album Which Way To Happy is slated for a November 5, 2021 release through Bella Union. The album’s material was forged during a period of emotional and professional upheaval for The Wolters and for Penelope Isles. The band spent much of 2019 touring across Europe and America with their bandmates. When the pandemic struck early last year, the band — understandably — felt as though everything was falling apart: much like countless other folks across the world, the members of Penelope Isles found their plans in an indefinite halt. Jack and Lily were dealing with their own respective romantic heartaches and the departure of two bands members, who were replaced with Henry Nicholson, Joe Taylor and Hannah Feenstra for the recording of the album. “A godsend after a low time,” Lily Wolters says.

The Wolters along with Nicholson, Taylor and Feenstra holed into a small cottage in Cornwall to start work on the new album when lockdowns were instituted everywhere. Claustrophobia kicked in, existential anxiety over the pandemic permeated everything and emotions — naturally — ran very high. “We were there for about two or three months, untilately,” says Jack. “It was a tiny cottage and we all went a bit bonkers, and we drank far too much, and it spiralled a bit out of control. There were a lot of emotional evenings and realisations, which I think reflects in the songs. Writing and recording new music was a huge part of the recovery process for all of us.”

ex feelings. But interestingly, Which Way To Happy may arguably be the most ambitious effort to date: Sometimes, the album’s material swoons, sometimes it soars. Other times it bravely says “it’s OK to not be OK.” And this is while balancing a tight rope between expansive, cosmic pop and up-close, heart-felt intimate songwriting.

Last month, I wrote about Which Way To Happy’s cinematic first single “Sailing Still.” Centered around a shimmering and brooding string arrangement, gently strummed guitar, thunderous drumming, a soaring hook and Lily Wolter’s achingly tender vocals, the heartbreakingly gorgeous track evokes a deep yet familiar yearning for peace in a mad, mad, mad world — while sonically bearing a resemblance to Lily Wolter’s collaboration with Lost Horizons.

Which Way To Happy’s second and latest single “Iced Gems” is a gently undulating track featuring twinkling keys, fluttering and atmospheric electronics, thumping beats and Lily Wolters’ achingly plaintive vocals. Although the song is a decided sonic departure from its immediate predecessor and their previously released work, the song is centered around some deeply intimate lyricism and the duo’s unerring knack for crafting infectious, razor sharp hooks.

me graphics that follows the Wolters as they travel by raft, complete with a living room set up and by tricked out van with bouquets of flowers before ending up in a meadow where they jam out.

New Video: Mount Kimbie Releases a Brooding Visual for Previously Unreleased Single “Black Stone”

Currently split between Los Angeles and London, the acclaimed electronic music duo Mount Kimbie — Brighton-born, Los Angeles-based Dom Maker and Cornwall-born, London-based Kai Campos — burst into the international scene with their first three critically applauded full-length albums: 2010’s Crooks & Lovers, 2013’s Cold Spring Fault Less Youth and 2017’s Love What Survives.

Since the release of Love What Survives, the members of Mount Kimbie have been rather busy: they’ve produced tracks by an eclectic array of acclaimed artists including James Blake, Travis Scott, Slowthai, Jay-Z, King Krule and a growing list of others. In the past year, Mount Kimbie have produced and featured on tracks on Slowthai’s #1 album Tryon, and have designed and cerated music for Undercurrent, an immersive, interactive multimedia installation that address the climate crisis, that also features contributions from Grimes, Bon Iver and The 1975. They also provided production work on Dave’s critically acclaimed We’re All Alone In This Together and James Blake’s “Say What You Will.” Additionally, Mount Kimbie’s Dom Maker has contributed to the soundtrack of Oscar-winning short film Two Distant Stangers, co-producing with James Blake, the closing track, which features Travis Scott and Westside Gunn.

The acclaimed duo mark the fourth anniversary of the release of Love What Survives with the release of two previously unreleased and unheard tracks from the Love What Survives sessions — “Black Stone” and “Blue Liquid” as a free download by signing up through email and for pre-order on white label 12 inch vinyl. “Black Stone,” is an instrumental track centered around layers of reverb-drenched, twinkling synth arpeggios and a chugging post punk influenced groove.

Frank Lebon, a longtime Mount Kimbie friend, collaborator and art director recruited up-and-coming artist Peter Eason Daniels to direct, the recently released video for “Black Stone.” Shot in a grainy, security footage-like black and white in London, the video captures people waiting for trains or buses, getting on trains or buses and waiting on a train or bus. “The video is about waiting, moving and stopping. Collective moments of solitude experienced between one place and another,” Daniels says. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Penelope Isles Release a gorgeous and Surreal Visual for CInematic “Sailing Still”

Acclaimed Brighton-based indie rock act Penelope Isles is led by sibling duo and co-songwriters and co-vocalists Lily and Jack Wolter. 2019 was a breakthrough year for the Wolters: they released their self-produced full-length debut Until The Tide Creeps to critical applause globally. That same year, the act toured extensively to support the album: they shared stages with the likes of The Flaming Lips and The Magic Numbers, playing over 100 shows — and touring the States three times, including a stop at the inaugural New Colossus Festival.

Since the release of Until The Tide Creeps, The Wolters have been busy with their own solo recording projects and collaborations with other artists, including Lost Horizons. They also spent time working on their highly-anticipated — and still not officially announced — sophomore album. (Word on the street is that we’ll be receiving details on that in the near future.)

in the UK — or if you’ll be in the UK during the late fall — you can check out the tour dates and ticket information on the band’s website. Hot on the heels of the tour announcement, the duo released “Sailing Still,” their forthcoming sophomore album’s first official single. “Sailing Still” is a cinematic track, centered around a brooding yet shimmering string arrangement, gently strummed guitar, thunderous drumming, a soaring hook and Lily Wolter’s achingly tender vocals. Sonically bearing a resemblance to Lily Wolter’s work with the aforementioned Lost Horizons, the heartbreakingly gorgeous track evokes a deep yet familiar yearning for peace in a mad, mad, mad world.

Directed by Jack Wolters, the recently released video is a gorgeously shot fever dream that follows Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter as she walks through and in a series of different locations throughout their native UK including a winding stone staircase at the shore, endless meadows, the forests, quirky stores and elsewhere. The visual is edited in a way that each passage leads to a stranger and more surreal passage.

“Before the enforced break due to COVID-19, we spent pretty much all of 2019 driving ourselves around Europe and America having some incredible adventures as a band and it seemed that everything since then had been falling apart,” Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolter explains. “Writing and recording new music as a huge part of the recovery process and when making this film for ‘Sailing Still’ I wanted Lily and I to get back on the road somehow, as travelling has been such a massive part of our band ever since we began. So I had this idea of filming Lily in a myriad of places and scenarios, both urban and rural, coastal and inland. Mountains and rivers, council flats and tunnels, cafes and bridges. We drove up and down the country for a week, sleeping in the van, and waking up at the crack of dawn to start filming again. Reconnecting as a band again but also spending time together as brother and sister was special for filming this real heartbreaker of a song.”

With the release of their debut EP I Used to Love You, Now I Don’t, the rising Brighton-based dream pop act Hanya — Heather Sheret (vocal, guitar), Benjamin Varnes (guitar), Dylan Fanger (bass) and Jack Watkins (drums) — received attention nationally and across the blogosphere for a sound that meshes elements dream pop and shoegaze. 

Much like countless other bands across the globe, Hanya had plans to build upon a rapidly growing national and international profile: earlier this year,. they released their acclaimed sophomore EP Sea Shoes and they made their Stateside debut at New Colossus Festival last year. Sadly, their New Colossus Festival set at The Bowery Electric was among the last sets of live music I’ve seen since the pandemic hit. Of course, without the ability to tour or play shows, the rising Brighton JOVM mainstays have been rather busy writing and releasing new materail including:

  • Texas,” a shimmering bit of dream pop that nods at 70s AM rock, and focuses on the longing and excitement of a new crush/new love/new situationship. 
  • Monochrome,” which found the Brighton further establishing a gorgeous sound and approach that sets them apart in a crowded and talented field.

The JOVM mainstays’ latest single “Lydia” is a slow-burning and gorgeous track centered around shimmering guitars, Sheret’s ethereal yet plaintive vocals and a rousingly anthemic hook that continues the band’s winning mix of 70s AM rock and Beach House-like dream pop. And much like its immediate predecessors, “Lydia” is carefully crafted, introspective and hauntingly nostalgic.

“‘Lydia’ started as a sweet acoustic number but kept getting bigger the more we played it,” Hanya’s Heather Sheret explains in press notes. “I think that’s the nature of things right now: big gestures only. This past year has involved a lot of contemplation, and so ‘Lydia’ was written about a chance to dwell on our memories and see people, situations and relationships in new light as time progresses. The reminder that rights and wrongs are ever-evolving, perspectives shift and over time you shape your own memories.”