Tori Amos – ‘Reindeer King’.
There is something always so familiar about Tori Amos that keep me coming back to her over the years and that is her unwavering spirit.
As a surprisingly candid singer songwriter that writes often from personal experience, we feel her strength and vulnerability as a woman through an amazing back catalogue beginning with Little Earthquakes released in 1991. Her controversial lead single Me and a Gun about her harrowing sexual assault when she was 21, set in motion an artistic awakening seldomly rivalled by her contemporaries. Then came arguably her greatest triumph Cornflake Girl that had critics spellbound and fans singing along with its anthemic chorus, despite its vague references to sexual oppression, female adolescence and betrayal.
Incredibly on her 15th studio album called Native Invader a few years back, she decidedly took inspiration yet again from personal upheaval and almost everything that is wrong with our modern world from politics to nature. From it comes Reindeer King, still one of my favourite tracks from it. Honestly how Amos’ voice never fails is beyond me! It is as always breathtaking, as is her choice of arrangements for the song with her unfailing grand piano taking centre stage.
Have a listen here below to this wonderful live rendition of Reindeer King.
Cat SFX – ‘Doom Generation’.
Glasgow-born record industry maverick Alan McGee recently got back in the music industry game. In short, that’s a godsend for exciting new talent in the UK, especially bands with a primary focus on guitar rock. One of McGee’s recent signings to his Creative 23 record label, is a four-piece London-based band called Cat SFX. Their debut single Doom Generation has been gaining traction in recent weeks in indie circles and has been enjoying a repeated run on my stereo this week. What I love about it is its infectious pop punk infused sound and caustic lyrics that takes aim at our digital world. Interestingly, former Sony ATV songwriter and frontwoman , simply known as Cat, originally wrote Doom Generation as a poem. But after meeting songwriter/producer Gordon Mills late last year, together they shaped it into a thumbing guitar driven pop punk anthem.
As Cat explains: “Doom Generation is a commentary on my personal experiences of mental health issues, big pharmaceutical companies and their “cures”; the massive pressure that’s put on my generation by social media and a reality TV culture that dislocates us from our feelings.”
In truth, there is not a lot more that I know about this exciting new outfit, other than to say that they remind me of somewhere in between Dream Wife and Sonic Youth. Enjoy!
Fenne Lily – ‘Berlin’.
Following her melancholic ‘break-up’ debut On Hold (2018), UK-based indie folk singer songwriter Fenne Lily is about to strip it all back again with her highly anticipated new album, Breach out in mid September later this year. This time around for Lily the new album is set to lean more towards an examination of her own mental and emotional processes. In particular it “deals largely with loneliness, and trying to work out the difference between being alone and being lonely”, as Lily recently explained in a press release.
Last month we got a taste of the new album via her lead single Alapathy. This week Berlin debuts as the latest cut from the forthcoming album that celebrates the idea of being alone. According to Lily:
“When I was 21 I spent a month alone in Berlin. While I was there, I recorded everything I did as a voice note or in a sketchbook, even if it was boring. On the plane ride home, my phone packed up and I lost all my song ideas from my trip. Initially, it felt as though I’d lost a part of my brain, but gradually pieces started to come back to me. To help the remembering process, I tried to picture all the things that surrounded me during my time alone in Berlin. The more I pictured these mundane objects, the more lost ideas I could remember. This song was one of these ideas. When it came to deciding on a video for it, I’d recently had a dream about an illustrated man eating his own brain for breakfast and, on the same day, was introduced to Henry’s animated short film ‘Pollock’. His work and my dream were impossible to ignore in their similarities and so this video was born. It reflects both the comfort and claustrophobia of the everyday, and how company can be found in everything when you’re left with only yourself and an alien place. The umbrella made me cry – I kind of hope it helps you do the same.”