• THE REGRETTES •
Perfectly imperfect – that’s one way to describe LA based punk act, The Regrettes. Writing songs that proudly bear a brazen and unabashed attitude in the vein of acts Courtney Barnett or Karen O – with a pop aesthetic reminiscent of 50’s and 60’s acts a la the Temptations or Buddy Holly – the LA based four piece create infectious, punk driven tracks.
Lead by outspoken frontwoman, Lydia Night, and comprised of Genessa Gariano on guitar, Sage Chavis on bass and drummer Maxx Morando, the group have left the LA rock scene floored, managing to capture the hearts of jaded rock critics while opening for acts like previous Dot To Doters Kate Nash, PINS and Deap Vally.
A song by The Regrettes is, essentially, a diary entry into frontwoman Lydia’s life. “My music is a spectrum of every emotion that I have felt in the last year, and you can hear that when you hear the songs. Everything that is happening in my life influences me. It’s everything from boys, to friends, to being pissed off at people, to being really sad. Just everything.”
Check out their most recent track ‘Come Through’.
• PETER OREN •
Indiana-born, everywhere-based singer-songwriter Peter Oren possesses a remarkable singing voice, low and deep and richly textured: as solid as a glacier, as big as a mountain. Similar in its baritone gravel to Bill Callahan, a hero of his, it rumbles in your conscience, a righteous sound that marks him as an artist for our tumultuous times, when sanity seems absent from popular discussions. His voice is ideally suited to confront a topic as large and as ominous as the Anthropocene Age.
That term is relatively new, reportedly coined in the 1960s but popularized only in the new century to designate a new epoch in the Earth’s history, when man has exerted a permanent – and, many would argue, an incredibly deleterious – change in the environment. Sea levels are rising, plants and animals facing mass extinctions; it may be humanity’s final epoch, which makes it a massive and daunting subject for a lone singer-songwriter to address, let alone a young musician making his second full-length record. But Oren has both the singing voice and the songwriting voice to put it all into perspective.
The songs on Anthropocene, his first album for Western Vinyl, are direct and poetic, outraged and measured, taking in the entire f***ed-up world from his fixed point of view. Art and activism are inseparable on these ten songs, each bolstering the other.
• EASY LIFE •
D2D favorites Easy Life are a Leicester five-piece whose early material explores that push and pull between the promise of a simpler existence, and the hedonism or temptations which occasionally threaten to get in the way. Singer and front-man Murray first met the band’s bassist and sax player, Sam, at school in the Midlands, where they bonded over a mutual love of early hip-hop, funk and jazz. Having signed up the rest of the band on the local scene, they soon began to write songs as Easy Life, mixing these more transatlantic influences with elements of indie, punk, and the less-exotic realities of rainy middle England (all in-between menial part-time jobs spanning TK Maxx and clinical trials to plucking turkeys or selling potatoes).
The first fruits of this labour proved to be ‘Pockets’, which Easy Life describe as a “93 BPM head-nodder born out of the need to give a middle finger to those people who don’t believe in simplicity, and are only concerned with material wealth and all other vices that have made modern living that little bit less sweet. It essentially documents that terrible sinking feeling of realising you can’t quite afford to pay this month’s rent due to your own stupidity; an unsettling emotion that is unshakable, too familiar and hangs over us like a dead albatross.”
Confident and charismatic, ‘Pockets’ is an instant introduction to an exciting, escapist new band, and a timely reminder that those lives lived fully also rarely come easily.