Writing about music has always been one of my greatest joys in life.
It all started with a music blog dotingly named after a song by The Smiths when I was fifteen or sixteen. Since then, I have written for numerous publications both in print and online, locally, and nationally. Across my career as a music writer, I’ve held editorial positions with tmrw magazine, and made headlines with ground-breaking interviews and first listens. If you’re interested, you can check out my portfolio, here.
ANYWAY! I wanted to bring some of that fun over to Cheeky Little Matinee. Therefore, I introduce to you “Rays from the Radar”. Essentially, each week as I take the first listen of my Spotify Release Radar, I’m going to share my first thoughts on five of the tracks that the algorithm Gods have gifted. With this, I’ll share my thoughts, associated anecdotes and hopefully be able to introduce some lovely new releases with you all. In return, I hope you’ll do the same with me!
Here goes. A nostalgia trip...
Oscar Scheller – ‘Boys Cry’
As ‘Boys Cry’ shakes off the baritone blues, Oscar Scheller finds himself surrounded by fluttering dreampop beats and lovely, cradling strings. The single is the title track of his third album, doted on as a “manifesto to manhood” and the track has a feel-good groove that soars with liberation.
Scheller’s lo-fi bedroom pop has always had a soft spot in my heart. ‘Boys Cry’ is full of self-love and realisation, and the charm is infectious. It is as gooey as a Valentine chocolate, but the message shines with pride and rightly so.
Will Joseph Cook – Be Around Me (feat. chloe moriondo)
This re-recording is a shot of endorphin. It’s like shaking a can of Sprite, tapping the top and drenching yourself in sticky goodness.
Listening is popping a never-ending gobstopper of positive vibes into your mouth. Eyes widen as the bouncing beats and super sugary sentiments sung with deliciously fun vocals, pull the sides of your mouth into a smile. Honestly, it is so sweet it would scare a dentist with its cavities.
All the best duets are found on TikTok. Kudos to the most fun duo this side of Lockdown 3.
Lewis Watson – drivers licence
Okay, so this track needs little introduction. ‘Drivers Licence’ will definitely be an answer on Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2021. And rightly so.
Watson’s take on the record is one that adds a sense of folklore to the phenomena. His vocal pronunciation every lyric with clarity, highlighting the simple sentiment of the story and how triggering the notions described are. The diary-like shortness aches along increasingly stretched strings that build in the monumental crescendo we crave for our #sadgirl singalongs.
I'm pleased to have effectively grown up with Lewis and his music. From his YouTube covers to his EPs to his albums, we've shared many a lovely chat outside venues and on the road and his music is always my happy place. This cover hones back to the approachability and musicianship that first attracted me to his voice and style. Love forever.
Black Honey – Disinfect
This song is a massive mood. Black Honey unleash rumpus energy and it fails to relent. Menacing drums creep and sulk with psychedelic vigour into a chorus that sees the band throw down their feet in a tantrum. Izzy B. Philips’ exquisite vocal is deceptively angelic yet coldly calculated with lyrics that shoot like aimed snipers. It’s a firecracker you cannot pull away from. In fact, you want to set off again and again.
Tom Odell – ‘Numb’
Walking alone down concreted city pavements, chin pulled in, back hunched and eyes glued to your feet taking one step in front of the other. It requires focus. Determination. Above, the night sky is grey and murky, illuminated pathetically by the flickering orange glow of lampposts. Rain falls around you, light enough to try and ignore, but before you know it your clothes are stuck to you possessively. You stagger through, quietly.
Listening to Tom Odell’s ‘Numb’ feels like that. A notion that many will have experienced. A bad day. A period of loneliness, emptiness and increasing frustration burning inside fighting with desperate upset. Lyrically, there’s a bitterness that free flows, spilling from his mouth with expression and desire as though they’ve finally been released from his raw scrawls.
Odell’s latest offering swaggers with slinky bass, clipped beats and a moody vocal that slumps as sentences end. ‘Numb’ illuminates a new side to Odell as an artist; still comforted by his precious keys, they are layered with wheezing, synthetic textures. In there, we still hear a glimmer of his signature golden melodies. Moments of lightness touches of delicate intimacy.
I hold my hands up to being quite the fangirl of Tom Odell and have worked with him on multiple occasions in the past. Together, we documented his “No Bad Days” tour in support of second album, Wrong Crowd, for tmrw magazine. Tom very kindly wrote out the name and mantra of his tour for me, and it is tattooed on my ribs as a reminder. I’m thrilled to see him back.