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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Anticipating an austere autumn

As the frankly pathetic summer we’ve had nears its equally pathetic end, it isn’t all bad news. The lack of sun has meant a lack of (or need for) distinctly summery releases. But, an autumn of falling leaves, dark evenings and, if it’s possible, even more rain will soon provide an appropriately bleak background for the most anticipated releases of the coming months.

Whether it’s just my taste or not, it seems to be the autumn of the delicate and heart-breaking female vocalist. And I love nothing more than a pretty voice singing something miserable.

The xx have unveiled the first two songs from their long awaited second album, set to be released on 10 September. Angels, the album opener, is a typically sparse affair, built solely around Romy Madley Croft’s beautiful vocals. It’s a brave move by the band to release such a subtle song as their first new music in three years, especially with the mainstream success their debut went on to have after its Mercury win. But it has certainly rekindled my love for them.

Natasha Khan aka Bat for Lashes also returns, with her third album The Haunted Man released on 15 October. She debuted much of the album at a one off gig in July, and a fan-recorded video of one song went particularly viral. Lucky for us that song, Laura, became the album’s first single. A piano ballad in the same vein as Sad Eyes and The Bat’s Mouth from her debut, it is a devastating piece of music, with Natasha’s lyrics offering support to a friend lost in today’s celebrity culture. Hopes are high for the album after her two near-perfect releases to date.

Last but not least, an artist that I have written a lot about on this blog over the last year has released a new song, as their debut album draws ever nearer.

Daughter, a three piece led by vocalist Elena Tonra, have to date released two stunning EPs and embarked on several tours supporting artists such as Ben Howard and Benjamin Francis Leftwich. This week they announced the release of Smother, a new song that has been recorded at Abbey Road in the sessions for their album, alongside their first US tour and largest UK headline show to date. Smother itself is another affecting number of atmospheric guitars and melancholy lyrics. Released on 1 October, it will hopefully be soon followed by an album.

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