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Puma Blue

In Praise Of Shadows (B-Sides & Live Versions)

    Puma Blue won widespread critical acclaim with the release of his debut LP ‘In Praise of Shadows’ earlier this year. Described by NME as “a brief moment of relief for those lost in the darkness” the album found his storytelling at its most honest and vulnerable to date whilst his production reached new heights, retaining its characteristic bedroom intimacy.

    Yet for all the intimacy of his ‘voicemail-ballads’ on record, his songs carry a different resonance in a live setting; a mix of improvisation, in-the-moment escapism and the collective power of an audience taking his music to new heights. It’s something the producer & vocalist, real name Jacob Allen, has had a lot of time to reflect on in the last year, the absence of touring, combined with a move to Atlanta GA, giving him the time and distance to fully appreciate the importance of the record vs. live dichotomy to the way his work is perceived, experienced and felt.

    Jacob says, “As beautiful as I could make something on my own, it could never compare to what these beautiful boys bring to it. Not just because they’re incredible musicians who are really connected to the spirit of music, but it’s more that live music is such an untameable thing. It’s such a deeper spectrum.”


    1 Postcard From Tokyo
    2 All I Need
    3 Velvet Leaves (Live)
    4 Snowflower (Live)
    5 Already Falling (Live)
    6 Sheets (Live)
    7 Oil Slick (Live)
    8 Opiate (Live)
    9 Bath House (Live)
    10 Super Soft (Live)

    Puma Blue

    In Praise Of Shadows

      Over the course of two EPs, two singles and a stripped-back live album, Puma Blue has established himself as one of the UK’s most vital new talents, quietly amassing over 50 million streams in the process and selling out shows from London to LA and Paris to Tokyo. Now he’s set to build upon his growing underground acclaim by releasing his long awaited debut album ‘In Praise of Shadows’ on January 29th via Blue Flowers.

      ‘In Praise of Shadows’ is a delirious dreamland of soulful vocals, D’Angelo-ish guitars and muted electronic beats. Its fourteen tracks are a contemplation on “the balance of light and dark, the painful things you have to heal from or accept, that bring you through to a better place” says the 25-year-old Puma Blue, real name Jacob Allen “It’s about finding light in darkness - and realising that it’s what got me here today.”

      Puma Blue’s nocturnal, soul-searching sound was born from a decade in which the 25-year-old was plagued with insomnia, “for literally a decade, I just couldn’t sleep,” says the cult-acclaimed London songwriter/producer. That certainly helps to explain the hazy, late-night “voicemail ballads” of the early EP releases that propelled him to prominence, 2017’s ‘Swum Baby’ and 2018’s ‘Blood Loss’ earning him a reputation as affecting chronicler of unrequited love and inner turmoil.

      It’s an intimacy still present across ‘In Praise With Shadows’ but there’s also a new maturity and lucidity to the way in which Allen deals with his demons and celebrates beauty across his debut album, influenced no doubt by his journey over the last two years in which a blossoming romance has finally helped him to sleep whilst a burgeoning career forced the previously bedroom-bound songwriter out into the open, driving him to find new perspectives on loss, love and everything in-between.

      The result is an album astonishing in its openness, from bittersweet reflections on past relationships - “I never learnt to cherish her” Jacob laments on ‘Cherish (furs)’ - to pure love-laden soliloquies such as ‘Already Falling’ or ‘Sheets’, one of the albums most personal moments, which borrows a sample from the score of Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and repurposes it as a lilting love-song that Allen describes as “like a really personal note that you’d leave in the house to be found when you’ve got to head out early.”


      1 Sweet Dreams
      2 Cherish (furs)
      3 Velvet Leaves
      4 Snowflower
      5 Already Falling
      6 Sheets
      7 Olive / Letter To ATL
      8 Oil Slick
      9 Silk Print
      10 Is It Because
      11 Opiate
      12 Sleeping
      13 Bath House
      14 Super Soft

      “I like to be quite plain and direct with my lyrics. I definitely try to make sure every song has its own personality, has its own world, its own universe,” says 24-year-old born and raised Londoner Joviale. Having “always been a creative person,” she decided to take the leap into making music three years ago following a transformative period in her life; the kind you go through in your early 20s when chapters of your life close and new ones begin. She taught herself to play the guitar, began to upload demos to Soundcloud and two years later decided she was ready to play her first show - a gig at Bermondsey’s DIY Space which she set up, paid for and organised all on her own. It put her on the map immediately and she found herself navigating meetings with major label executives while working 40 hours a week at her waitressing job.

      Joviale’s music paints landscapes and worlds: lovers on sinking boats, birds of paradise, the whispering and wailing of sirens luring people towards danger. On her ‘Crisis’ EP, produced by Bullion (Laura Groves, Westerman, Sampha) and being released on Blue Flowers (Nilufer Yanya, Westerman, Puma Blue), she uses her unique talent for musical storytelling to address and soothe the myriad crises - “identity crisis, personal crisis, financial crisis” - that life in your 20s seems to consist of.

      Opening track ‘Struggle Cuddle’ is inspired by the duality of the sea, with anxious synths adding an element of tenseness to the playful, nursery rhyme-like rhythm. ‘Ride Away’ deals with the “excitement and discomfort of risk-taking,” while ‘Dream Boat’ was birthed from a space between a lucid dream and a movie watched in bed and sees Joviale meditating on what happens when a smooth-sailing relationship drifts off course and has to navigate choppier waters. Final track ‘Taste Of The Heavens’ is the exhale and the release at the end of the journey.

      Having spent the last year honing her sound on London’s live circuit - including a successful residency at Laylow and a stint experimenting with an 8-piece band - her debut EP sees Joviale using her natural gift for storytelling to create dreamy, silkwrapped universes emotionally inspired as much by the bittersweet sound of 60s girls bands such as The Shangri-Las - “I feel like there’s a lot more pain hiding under that sugary-ness” - as musicals, which she loves for their ability to create narratives that can sweep the listener away. Jeff Buckley, Billie Holiday and Grizzly Bear were all also favourites growing up but more than anything Joviale is inspired by the concept of sound itself; its power and ability to psychologically affect people, both within music and the wider world. “I get very obsessed with soundscapes: different types of sounds, different types of source of sound. As much as I can be influenced through music, I think I’m also very inspired by the actual creation of sound. The vibration. The effect of air itself.”

      As such, ‘Crisis’ is a spirited, sugary remedy to the sensory overload that can define both life in a big city and the fraught journey of making it through your 20s. With her ability to mine a plethora of different creative mediums, Joviale turns a crisis into a gift. “I feel like you learn so much more by allowing someone’s imagination to be challenged,” Joviale says of her elaborate musical paintings and richly constructed dreamworlds. “I love to be challenged, and I love to challenge.”


      Struggle Cuddle
      Ride Away
      Taste Of The Heavens



        After his early material revealed an ambitious new sound borne on the forward-thinking experimentalism of influences like Nick Drake, David Byrne and Arthur Russell, Westerman’s single ‘Confirmation’ - available here on 7” - brought his music to new legions of fans, with Pitchfork profiling him in their Rising and Best New Music columns, saying it “captures a promising writer who’s learned how to take good ideas and warp them into stranger, more sublime shapes.” Gorilla Vs Bear placed it at Number 10 in their recent Best Tracks Of The Year (So Far) feature.


        I Turned Away

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