Haley Bonar has spent a lot of the past few years poring over her past. That has something to do with the sound of her recent recordings, whether it be her recent solo efforts or the throwback funky punky grooves of her side project Gramma’s Boyfriend.
But on her latest album 'Impossible Dream', this glance in the rearview has also inspired some of the most poignant and pointed work of her long career as songwriter even if you have to dig a little to find Bonar within the tunes. “I was writing short stories for a while, mostly for myself,” she says. “But in some ways you can afford a lot more when you’re writing something that’s three minutes long versus something that’s detailed and is obvious that it’s you. This is me looking back on memory lane and just using little fragments that are relevant to the song so it feels a little less naked.”
'Impossible Dream' then, like all of Bonar’s work, gains its power from a combination of the personal and universal. Even when she sings about her days hitting up basement punk shows on “Better Than Me” or kicks off this album with an ode to her formative years in the gently chiming “Hometown,” it will surely stir up memories from your own younger days. And as with her prior albums, Bonar reveals a widescreen look at the world, touching on issues of sexuality, jealousy, and the fragile ties that bind relationships together. If they connect with your circumstance and the cultural conversation at large, that’s just a welcome coincidence. “Those things have always been relevant to me,” Bonar says. “Those conversations have been happening my entire life.”
What is clear right now is the impact this album is looking to have on the world at large. Bonar has already received some excited press notices about the two singles from impossible dream that have already been released: “I Can Change” (“A resolute pillar of bold, classic songwriting,” according to The Line of Best Fit) and “Kismet Kill,” which Stereogum called “a penetrating rumination on just how transitory love and beauty can be.“). The biggest stamp of approval, though, has come from Elton John. The venerated singer/songwriter chose to play “I Can Change” on his Beats 1 show Rocket Man Radio. “Hearing Elton John say my song is beautiful is pretty awesome,” Bonar admits.
Growing up in Cumberland, Nau was a late-comer to folk and rock, given his parents’ love of spiritual music. But his father did also own a couple of Kinks albums, and then on his own, Nau discovered the rich singer-songwriter seams of Harry Nilsson, Damian Jurado and Pedro The Lion - all of which informs his own music. After fronting cult indie-folk favourites Page France and Cotton Jones, new album Mowing represents a new phrase in Nau’s life, with a sparser, more soulful and tender groove.
"Quite simply a low-key gem...outstanding." - The Sunday Express 5* (album of the Week)
"A kinder, gentler pop music" - The Sunday Times
“Great charm and character and a way of getting under your skin” – The Times 4*
Giampaolo Speziale and Federica Caiozzo met in early 2015 in Rome and, in what Federica describes as a "moment of surrender", decided to start making music together on a road trip through Austria, Germany and Poland. The duo gathered thirty improvised musical ideas and spent eight days recording with their friend and drummer Alberto Paone in a Roman studio.
In June of this year, Giampaolo and Federica decided to break from their previous musical incarnations and moved from Rome to London, taking with them a hard drive of songs, a battered suitcase and vinyl copies of Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left and Stevie Wonder's Hotter Than July. Settling in Camberwell, initially the house of an Egyptologist, they set about mixing the songs, the first fruits of which is the single 'Waiting'.
Built around a simple Korg MS2000 synth refrain and featuring both Federica and Giampaolo on shared lead vocals, 'Waiting' takes us through the minds of a wrongly accused death row inmate and his lover who's become delusional, lost in a dreamworld.