Truth is a beautiful thing by London Grammar

London Grammar’s latest album, ‘Truth is a beautiful thing’ is an absolutely stunning journey of emotion and sweeping scores. I enjoyed their debut too, but this album has just completely got its hooks in me.

Hannah Reid’s voice is simply stunning as she powers through the songs, at times with an air of Florence Welch to her. That, along with the atmospheric music behind her, cause me to almost lose track of time when I’m listening. Sometimes it seems like so much time has passed when in fact only two or three songs have.

The song that hooked me definitely has to be ‘Hell to the liars’. Words can’t describe it’s beauty and the affect it continues to have on me as I keep replaying it. I’ll link a video below as well as a link to buy the album.

London Grammar have quickly become one of my favourite bands in recent days and have been added to my current list of obsessions.

Buy ‘Truth is a beautiful thing’.

Between hope and danger by Hante

Hante’s music is always a dark, dreamy escape that I am addicted to getting lost into. As soon as I learned of her new release, ‘Between Hope and Danger’, I immediately had to listen to it. From the get go it contained everything I love about her music – mystery-entrenched soundscapes of unapologetic synth. That and her haunting, echo chamber style vocals.

The opening, “Le Point de Non-Retour”, was a dark choice with a Gothic choir accompaniment and a buzzsaw-style style. Characteristic of a relatively new style of music I’ve discovered called “Witch House”.

“Lies // Light” sounds like she’s experimenting with a typical Synthwave / Outrun style, but still in keeping with her own aesthetic. At times this song has sounds that remind me of old-skool Sega MegaDrive games. This is only going to be a good thing.

To my ears, she is at her darkest during the song “Eternite”. A sweeping, eerie synth is met by a devil’s organ and married by her wistful voice.

In the titular song, “Between hope and danger”, I might be mad, but I can hear references to both John Carpenter – who is par for the course in modern electronic music – and Angelo Badalamenti. For those who aren’t familiar with Angelo, he is the man responsible for many of David Lynch’s film scores. “Between hope and Danger” had echoes for me back to his main theme for Mulholland Drive.

All in all this album is a terrific addition to an already impressive body of work.

P.S. If you’d like to get to know the lady behind this great music, you can read my interview with Hante.

Welcome Back To Milk by Du Blonde

Welcome back to milk by Du Blonde is fierce, bold and packs a huge punch in its 36 minutes. Du Blonde, real name Beth Jeans Houghton takes us to many different places in this album. I’m excited to introduce you to it.

From the very opening crunching guitar riff of ‘Black Flag’, this album will wake you from any slumber. There’s no half-assed listening to her music with one earbud in. This album demands your full attention and I think you’ll be giving it.

‘Chips to go’ keeps the energy high with her occasional screaming and the super catchy guitar riff. As does the frantic assault on the senses from the later song ‘Mr Hyde’.

As well as her high-energy post-punk style music, Du Blonde also slows things down beautifully in one of my favourite songs, ‘Four in the morning’. With just her voice and piano, she sings with a softness, sitting in contrast to the album’s more aggressive songs. It also leads perfectly into what is perhaps the most experimental song on the album, “Mind is on my mind”

‘Mind is on my mind’ is a song of distinct parts, all unique yet working in the most perfect harmony together. It also makes an excellent example of Beth’s musical sensibilities. The best way I can describe this one is by quoting Beth herself:

I was interested at the time in writing songs with no repeating sections, but rather a succession of acts. A couple of months later, Sam and I took a trip out to the desert and came back to LA to make some music. I played him the track and he got in the booth and ad-libbed his lyrics over the instrumentation. He was done in like one or two takes. When I was back in London I’d become obsessed with these Middle Eastern and Greek guitar scales and I added the lead guitar in the outro as a contrast to Sam’s vocals.

‘Isn’t it wild’ is the perfect closing song for this album, after having being dropped into the blistering ‘Black Flag’ opening. Gorgeous strings, piano and voice being given a vintage echo. Listening to this gave me thoughts of floating gently back out of the album from whence I dropped.

Welcome back to milk has absolutely zero skippable songs, with each one holding an air of experimentation to it. Every one of these songs has been lovingly hand-crafted and come together to make an album that is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

Faith in humanity restored

I write this post on just another commute into work. The journey in is almost always uneventful, albeit for the occasional train delays and cancellations. However, today was different and my faith in humanity, and what we can accomplish, has been restored – and all from one simple interaction with a stranger.

I pretty much always get a seat on my train due to where I get the train from – one of the only benefits to my journey. Today the train was particularly busy and some people needed to start standing. One of these people was a lady who I noticed had two heavy bags with her.

Out of an automatic response to this I offered her my seat. She replied, “Only if you’re sure?”. I stood up for her and she accepted with thanks. Now, I’m not telling you this to show how much of a gracious person I am. No. I tell you this because of what came next and how it made me feel.

So I stood up for her and she sat, put her bags down, and the train continued on its journey. A few more stops down the track some seats were freed up – I took the opportunity to sit down, where I then proceeded to zone out to Hante’s latest album – it’s great and you should take a listen. Anyway, I digress.

When the train later pulled up at a further stop many people got off. As the train emptied I felt a hand on my shoulder – the same lady was stood over me smiling and said to me, “Have a lovely day”.

I smiled, replied in kind, and she went off on her way.

This small interaction between two perfect strangers highlighted to me the difference that can be made at the smallest level of society – embracing these tiny interactions in a positive way and always being willing to help, or offer help, to those around us. By acting in this way, creating change at the smallest level, we may help to affect positive change at higher levels.