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A track that people either love or makes them feel widely uncomfortable, M(h)aol‘s ‘Period Sex’ is a celebration of periods and how it’s still such a taboo subject even for those that would consider themselves progressive – a band known for being political, this was a song they wanted to be really sexy. Singer Róisín Nic Ghearailt says of the song, “Prior to writing the track I’d had a lot of eye-opening conversations around period shame with people of all genders and from all walks of life, and I wanted to write almost an anthem for everyone who had ever had a period or loved someone who had one. It felt like a hugely powerful thing to be in a position to create a song as a band that was unequivocally sexy. I’m a cis bisexual woman in a queer, sapphic relationship. Periods and period sex are a part of my reality, and my girlfriend actually helped me with the lyrics in the first verse.” With a shoestring budget, bassist Zoë Greenway made the video to show an honest portrayal of female desire. It was influenced by experimental filmmakers like Carolee Schneeman, Barbara Hammer and James Bidgood, both in their challenging of the dominant interpretations of sexual expression and how they use human bodies and dreams to subvert expectations. The main influence came from the period sex scene in Joanna Hogg’s film The Souvenir Part 2 with its mature, realistic and normalised depiction of period sex – the underwater world was inspired by Georges Méliès. Zoë comments, “At the end of the day, it’s just a bit of blood, isn’t it? It’s just a biological process that 50% of the human organisms on earth go through every month and there shouldn’t be any shame or taboo surrounding that. You know bats also menstruate? It’s just science that people menstruate, I don’t think anyone should ever feel embarrassed about it, about seeing blood on sheets or underpants or things like that. ”

Frankie Rose shares ‘Sixteen Ways,’ the second single from her forthcoming new album, Love As Projection. Frankie worked with choreographer Neil Schwartz and director Scott Kiernan on the video. “I wanted to make a dance video choreographed by 80s Baby (Neil Shwartz) but with the ESPTV (Scott Kiernan) aesthetic. I trusted them completely and just let them create a world for me. The result is a video that feels like a fever dream in the black lodge complete with my very own machine elves,” says Frankie. Neil Schwartz, the choreographer adds, “I wanted to make sure that the movement matched the aesthetic and wanted to create clean lines focusing more toward the upper body. We focused on the arms to create flowing pictures that would match and compliment the synths, beats, and Vocals, and overall musicality of the track. I wanted to give individuality movement to each dancer while still including a cohesive sea of flowing colors that complimented each dancer to bring about a visual harmony of pictures and shapes”

Margo Price’s fourth album Strays is an early highlight of 2023, with the alt-country songwriter infusing elements of ’70s psychedelia across the LP. Seems like the time period was also a visual influence on Price, as the new music video for the Sharon Van Etten–featuring album cut ‘Radio’ borrows heavily from that decade’s cinematic output—even if the most explicit reference point is Risky Business. “To me, this song is about turning down the noise and opinions of my haters and people who try to tear me down. It’s about having confidence in yourself and your vision,” Price shared about the single. “It’s also a pun about being naked that I lifted from Marilyn Monroe,” she adds, commenting on the song’s repeated line “The only thing I have on is the radio.” The visual captures Price engaging in a self-care routine involving shutting the (rotary) phone off, shedding clothes, and ordering a pizza, all while joint smoke fills the air. Speaking of which, the new video arrives along with the unveiling of Margo Price x Mom Grass, a new cannabis line in collaboration with Dad Grass that includes CBG joints, handmade tie-dyed t-shirts, and embroidered hats which aim to “invoke the free-spirited, psychedelic nature of this latest LP,” per a press release. [via Flood]

On March 10 songwriter, musician, visual artist and writer Shana Cleveland (La Luz) will release her new solo album, Manzanita via Hardly Art Records. Now, she drops the album’s opener ‘A Ghost’, a gorgeous, Mellotron-backed, angelic second taster of the upcoming LP. She wrote Manzanita while pregnant and shortly after giving birth with that experience informing a lot of her songwriting. Of the single Shana says, “I never really gave pregnancy and childbirth very much thought, and when I did become pregnant I was surprised by how much of a psychedelic experience it was. A subtitle for this album could be: ‘What to Expect When You Are Open to the Mysteries of the Universe.’ When I sat outside the house looking out across the field, the chemistry and shape of my body constantly changing, I understood that I was no different than the plants and animals around me.” The video was directed by Vice Cooler and aesthetically was inspired by the show Just for Laughs: Gags, a weird, wordless prank show that Cleveland loved and first saw on hotel TVs when traveling outside the U.S. She shares, “depending on your comfort level for symbolism, it’s a story of someone coming back from the dead to haunt their bff through cheap gags OR a metaphor for pregnancy OR a cautionary tale about colonialism.”

Multi-award-winning artist and Milk! Records co-founder Jen Cloher is sharing the third single ‘My Witch’ from their forthcoming fifth album I Am The River, The River Is Me which will be released on March 3 via Milk! Records / Marathon Artists. On the new single, Cloher said “I went to a party in 2022 where a friend had hired a portable cedar spa. They had set it up in the backyard and after a big feast people started to pile in. As the night progressed things became more and more debauched, bodies tangled together, laughter and booze, like a Bacchanalian scene in a forest… cut to 6 months later when I’m trying to think of a way to tell a funny (but sexy) story to accompany ‘My Witch’. I had been attending Pony Club Gym in Preston for a couple of years and I thought it would make the perfect setting for a pair of babes to be flirting during a steamy workout. Then to casting.. if there’s anyone who reps body positivity and owning their deep hotness it has to be Georgia Maq from Camp Cope. I had my Witch slash Personal Trainer cast! The gym scene needed to be about holding back though because the suggestion of something happening is sexier. Then it came to me! The explosion the song needed during the mega raunch guitar solo could take place in a spa cauldron. Georgia would lure me to her coven where things would turn wild. . Now to casting a coven of hot witches.. Seeing as me and Georgia are songwriters and performers it made sense that her coven would be overflowing with iconic Naarm based songwriting witches – Mo’Ju, Alice Skye, Kira Puru and Lay the Mystic all said yes to my invitation to spend an evening in a spa eating a lot of watermelon. The rest is history.”

North London indie-pop singer-songwriter Natalie Shay recently returned with a new single entitled ‘The Edge,’ a track about the painful breakdown and complete blow up of her friendship with her best friend. Now, Shay shares its official music video. Speaking on the new visual, Shay wrote: “The video was directed by Eleanor Grace Hann. It’s our first time working together on a music video. I had made the concept for the video myself. I wanted the video to be quite literal, ie. actually dancing on an edge of a cliff with a ‘friend’. It was mostly shot at Beachy Head (in the UK), in one day, (a very cold day). It shows the emotional tail end of a friendship breaking down and the comparison to how far it had fallen. My main reference and inspiration for this video was the movie ‘Thirteen,’ one of my favourite movies of all time since I was about 13 myself. It’s a movie about two troubled girls forming an inseparable bond and friendship only for it to go sour and destroy them both.” ‘The Edge,’ alongside its B-side ‘everything’s been happening,’ tells the story of how, once you finally come out of something that had grown bad for you, you reflect and realise so many cracks showed long before you accepted that as the case. Shay reveals, “Despite missing her and the good parts of the friendship so much, I know in order to still respect myself, I have to honour the power of an apology, and in this case, the lack of one.” Both tracks voice the understanding of the power that someone’s dream can hold over their well-being and happiness. Shay admits, “I am guilty of this myself, a lot of my mental health, personality and entire identity are completely wrapped up in my work.” She continues, “This is the same for a lot of creatives and people with a dream or goal from a young age in general. On realising that these goals may not happen the way you’d always planned, or realising things are going to be much harder than you ever expected, this can cause trouble for some people who lack the courage. I think me and my friend are guilty of this, and subsequently this triggered the downfall.” Staying true to her irresistible indie pop sound, ‘The Edge’ shines with kaleidoscopic synths, a contagious beat and energetic melodies. Despite the song’s melancholy theme, sonically it’s the ultimate get up and dance track, allowing you to lose yourself in the music.

Dutch/British artist Someone (aka composer, producer, and visual artist Tessa Rose Jackson) shares the final single ‘Guess I’m Changing’ from her second album Owls, both released now on Tiny Tiger Records. A lush, enveloping psych-pop track recalling the stirring emotional heights of contemporaries such as Feist or Sharon Van Etten and accompanied by a sci-fi visual telling the tale of an android’s awakening, created alongside up-and-coming Hollywood director David Spearing. “This song and video are about rediscovering yourself”, explains Someone “Daring to break a pattern, to accept a chance in yourself and feel free in the journey.” Heavily inspired by the work of Stanley Kubrick as well as Netflix’s ‘Maniac’ and Apple TV’s ‘Severance’ series, the visual follows an android working in a postal factory. “She lives the same loop every day,” explains Someone, “until she a postcard with a picture of a beautiful beach and she starts to realize there may be a bigger, wider world out there. Bit by bit, she starts to break the rules of her rigidly structured life, until finally she manages to break free.” “We wanted to say something about being caught in the mundane routine, whatever that is, and how to break free of that” adds director and long-term collaborator David Spearing. “How the smallest, most seemingly insignificant thing could pull your whole world apart (in a positive way). A nice melancholy idea… set to the most beautiful song.”

One of the UK’s most exciting rising stars and dance-pop icon in waiting Rose Gray has shared her brand new single ‘Ecstasy’, which premiered as Clara Amfo’s Hottest Record in the World on BBC Radio 1, in celebration of her new EP Higher Than The Sun also out now. Speaking about new track ‘Ecstasy’, which is Rose’s biggest floorfiller yet, she explains “’Ecstasy’ is a club banger moment for me. Much like most of my favorite 90’s dance records there’s just this explosion, pure ecstasy, pure anthemic ravey bliss. I played this at Printworks supporting Shygirl and just from how the crowd reacted, I knew I had to lead the EP with this as a single. I wrote it with frequent collaborator Alex Metric, in the studio I became obsessed with the lyric ‘Higher Than The Sun’, it was written in under an hour and felt just so right from the offset. It’s a club record. It undeniably makes you want to dance.“ The track is released alongside a sci-fi chic video, starring Rose and directed by Rauri Cantelo. “We wanted it to feel like a 1990’s meets 1960’s sci-fi,” explains Rose. “I was never very good at science at school, but put me in a Gucci lab coat and it seems I’m able to clone myself into hundreds of Roses.” Director Rauri says, “It’s essentially mad scientist meets uncanny valley, and what better way to show that than by having Rose conduct atom-altering experiments on herself.”

Ahead of the release of her new EP Back to the Start on April 7 via LUSTRE, indie-rock rising talent Mazey Haze (aka Amsterdam based musician Nadine Appeldoorn) has revealed her new single ‘Kill Me I Got You’ – accompanied by a black & white 16mm music video, shot in Hervelinghen, France by Wietger Mosch; inspired by the Swedish film ‘Kärlek 65’, and Mr. Bean. Written about sacrificing your own personal authenticity to appease someone else’s desires, the prowling, 60s psych-rock rhythm of ‘Kill Me I Got You’ is an exercise in recognising patterns within herself in relationships. With this song, Appeldoorn feels she has at last gotten to know herself, no matter how uncomfortable those moments of self-reflection may be: “I’ve learned that I should never force things with other people and be honest with myself and others – and I shouldn’t be afraid to communicate that.” Speaking more on the lyrical inspiration of new single ‘Kill Me I Got You’, Appeldoorn said: “It’s about how the search for a profound, real connection with other people can be confusing, lonely and complicated. Why do I ‘kill’ myself to be who someone else wants me to be just so I can be with them?”

Jonnine Standish of HTRK shares the self-directed video for her new track ‘Tea for Two (Boo)’, a haunted and whimsical ghost story taken from Jonnine’s new album Maritz, out later this month. [via Gorilla vs Bear]

Lizzo just dropped her newest music for her song ‘Special’— a glorious start to Black History Month, if you ask us — where she turns into a badass superhero with lengthy flowing waves, vibrant purple eye makeup, and very long nails. She stars as a waitress named Melly (a nod to Lizzo’s legal name, Melissa), who leads a secret double life as a superhero named Lizzo. Unfortunately, in this universe, Melly nor Lizzo are beloved by the general public. Despite that, Lizzo does still have a few fans including a little Black girl with curly hair who adores the superhero. [via Glamour Magazine]

Mol Sullivan isn’t going to let us off the hook. ‘Bury the Hatchet’ is an earworm built around unexpected structures and inventive pop-infused melodies. The Cincinnati-based songwriter’s new EP, A Little Hello, took a circuitous path through struggle and recovery to find its footing in a space where hard questions don’t get buried, and her voice is ready to, as she puts it, “howl a bit.” ‘Bury the Hatchet’ explores how avoidance and intimacy conspire to bring on longing and heartbreak. Sullivan is pointed, asking in the opening verse over emotive guitar leads and buoyant keyboard arrangements, “How can we bury the hatchet when you’re keeping it hidden? How can we unearth the truth and still find room for forgiveness?” Presented through a narrative that sees a wide-eyed version of Sullivan dressed as a cowgirl, navigating a bright-hued world where the cracks are beginning to show. It’s an incredible, strangely-moving video directed and produced by Sullivan. As she repeats the chorus, “What a shame,” over and over, the realization that this desire for openness isn’t going to be returned sets in. Her expressions heighten the lyrics’ emotional impact. “I was just trying to get through to you,” she croons, “But it turns out, I guess, that was too hard to do.” It’s straightforward, but the lilting timbre of her voice makes it hit so hard. When scenes shift to Sullivan’s other side, we are wide awake. A sharp-edged guitar solo and classic “Yeehaw!” send us into the distance. Sullivan tapped into something timeless and unforgettable on ‘Bury the Hatchet,’ using grit and courage to show so much vulnerability that it’s impossible not to feel a deep connection. [via Foxy Digitalis]

Adelaide based singer-songwriter Nyassa first came to attention through her work with the Hilltop Hoods, performing vocals on their The Great Expanse album and touring with the band in 2019 and 2022. She has now stepped into the limelight with the release of her debut single, the spectacular ‘Ghost’. Written by Nyassa with Telenova’s Edward Quinn, the track has a gorgeous, minimalist electronica sound which allows Nyassa’s breathtaking vocals to become the focus and drive the song firmly into your heart. Her passionate, multi-tracked vocals powering through the soaring melodies in the chorus make it quite possibly the most powerful and addictive 15 seconds you will hear in pop all year. Lyrically the song tells of the moment when you know you have to leave a relationship even though that carries a huge amount of pain. “I will love you even when I’m a ghost,” she sings. “Making music feels like being in love – you’re in another world, a beautiful one,” Nyassa says. “I want to make people feel something that they can’t explain. I naturally put a piece of my soul into my songs.” A music video for ‘Ghost’ has also been released. Creatively directed by Nyassa, it was filmed at the historic Martindale Hall and Mintaro Maze and showcases Nyassa’s love of avant-garde fashion and art, in particular couture runways from the 1980s and 1990s and classic 1980s silhouettes. “There’s just something so bold about wearing shoulder pads – I feel as if they hold a power,” she says. “I’m drawn to fashion that looks like art. I love having no boundaries when designing. [From a young age] I didn’t care what everyone else was wearing, it was more important for me to wear what I loved, no matter how different I looked.” [via Women In Pop]

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