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CHESS CLUB

L'objectif

The Left Side

    The Left Side is the latest body of work from the Iggy Pop-endorsed teens since the release of their acclaimed second EP We Aren’t Getting Out But Tonight We Might in summer 2022. With Saul at the creative helm, The Left Side is a mature and cerebral body of work with Saul once again writing and producing the entire EP (with co-production by Ali Chant (Yard Act, Katy J Pearson, Dry Cleaning) on ‘Conman’ and ‘ITSA’). Written in Saul’s bedroom, the EP is a retrospective insight into the young band’s journey so far as they tie up their teenage years.

    A coming of age saga, the EP acts as a vehicle for Saul to dive into the psyche behind emotional evolution, and to unpack the complexities of maturity and the ability to say goodbye to the past. These themes present themselves not only in the songs, but right down to the title of the EP itself - which refers to the fact that the left side of the brain is responsible for comprehension.

    Summarising the EP, Saul says: “It’s the closest we have been to knowing what picture we want to paint. It’s another window into the musical space we wish to explore, yet I think we’re closer to having our sound. I think the project signifies the end of a section in our lives, moving out from the haze of the moment and reflecting on our teenage years and all its chaos with more understanding.”

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Entitled
    2. Conman
    3. The Dance You Sell
    4. Puppy
    5. ITSA
    6. What A Time To Be Alive
    7. Lily Of The Valley

    Cole Bleu

    Crushed!

      CRUSHED! is the culmination of a year’s worth of work, and builds on Cole’s streak of instantly catchy and meticulously crafted pop songs that are destined to be scream-along anthems. Incorporating threads of pop, emo and indie, CRUSHED! is a mark of Cole’s continued growth as a songwriter and producer, and is a brilliant and bold offering from an artist who continues to go from strength to strength as one of the most exciting young popstars in the UK. “I think of CRUSHED like it’s my diary. I took relationships and experiences I’ve had in the past and literally felt crushed every time I’d think about each scenario. Each song helped me get through unresolved trauma over sour relationships. As I wrote these songs in early 2022, each step of making these songs come to life has helped me overcome each unwanted memory in a different way. We recorded them in September, and having to revisit them so confidently knowing they would be out for the world to see was a whole other obstacle needing facing. But I know that I don't ever want to put music out unless it feels like you’re reading my diary. It’s where I am most authentic and vulnerable, and I wouldn't want you to see me any other way”. 

      TRACK LISTING

      1. HEARTBREAKERS
      2. SAD GUY GEMINI
      3. IS IT COOL 2 B FRIENDS?
      4. YOUAREYOUAREYOUARE
      5. HOMEWRECKER

      Trout

      Colourpicker

        Liverpool-based Trout (they/she) release their debut EP Colourpicker, on Chess Club Records. 

        Following the sunny, jangly ‘garden’, ‘in my room’ leans back into the grungier side of Trout’s repertoire, a track which plays on the fine line between romantic and unsettling in its depiction of an all-consuming adoration. This manifests itself in refrains like ‘Be the places I ignore / The hairs on my bed / Be the mould growing up my door’, and Trout explains; “‘’in my room’ is about completely adoring someone. It’s meant to be sweet and endearing but also a little creepy at the same time. I leant into the idea of being so obsessed with someone that you want them to be everywhere and everything, good and bad. It’s a satirical song but also a love song”

        Trout is the creative alias of 23 year old Cesca - who spent their childhood years growing up in Copenhagen, born to an Iranian father and British mother. Their early musical memories are of sibling rivalries played out to the soundtracks of the Gipsy Kings and a worn out Suzanne Vega tape which emboldened their early love of songwriting. On turning nine however, they found themselves suddenly uprooted, relocating with their family to a country they’d never even heard of - Wales. The teething problems which hallmarked such a shift in Trout’s psychogeography were compounded further by the prospect of learning a third language. Arriving in a “particularly Welsh part of Wales,” they had to quickly learn the Welsh language - an ability Trout now carries proudly. With their adolescence framed by green hills in the East and the Irish Sea to the West, growing up in rural Wales nurtured Trout’s reverence for nature and water, an inextricable part of their identity which has manifested in their passion for sustainability, and is reflected back in their artist moniker.

        Despite favouring the freedom of art class over the more rigid music syllabus at high school, after graduating Trout headed for the border, relocating to Liverpool to study music at LIPA. Whilst Trout reflects that it was Liverpool city itself and the community they found there which had the most significant impact on the course of their creativity, they credit their education with developing their interest in music production. Having previously dismissed this side of things as a dry, technical process, Trout credits a particular professor with shifting their perceptions to the craft - encouraging them to approach it as a style and creative outlet of its own. After mastering basic production software, Trout quickly realised that they were suited to the medium in a surprising way - having discovered several years earlier that their hyper-visual and aural response to music wasn’t the norm (and was in fact synesthesia). Trout began to employ this as their “sixth sense” relying on their instinct to understand where their songs needed embellishment or reigning in, and the Colourpicker EP is named in honour of this.

        This holistic approach to their craft is rarified on Colourpicker, which Trout elucidates as a collection of which reflect the “to-and fro-ing of many thoughts I was having at the time.” Tracks like ‘words’ and ‘bugs’ capture the feeling of being trapped in a state of unwilling inertia, the latter envying the productivity of the insects outside their bedroom. ‘garden’ builds on this theme, unpacking the temptation for codependency, whilst ‘gutter’ and ‘sad sad sad sad sad’ are written “from a stronger place,” namely the bittersweet defiance of having your emotions and experiences doubted by someone close to you. Across the EP’s six tracks, it becomes abundantly lucid that Trout is the kind of artist with the innate power to make you feel like you’re living their highs and lows in real time. Their influences are therefore unsurprising, but by no means insignificant - with Trout nodding specifically to the poetic songwriting genius of Adrianne Lenker, the layered vocals of Warpaint, and Sorry’s seamless blend of post-punk with idiosyncratic electronic flourishes. Carrying an undeniable charm and arriving in earnest, Colourpicker is set to be a striking first declaration from Trout, promising plenty more to come from this compelling new talent.

        TRACK LISTING

        01. Gutter
        02. In My Room
        03. Sad Sad Sad Sad Sad
        04. Words
        05. Garden
        06. Bugs

        Coach Party

        Killjoy

          Coach Party figurehead Jess Eastwood says that ‘All I Wanna Do Is Hate’ is about: “Acting out against people who are trying to help, but you're not ready for that and choose to do the opposite of the advice you're given. This song is just about being incredibly angry, for what, is up to whoever is listening; but sometimes you need to go against everyone to learn a valuable lesson. Maybe you’ll write a cool angry song about it.” 

          TRACK LISTING

          1A What's The Point In Life
          2A Parasite
          3A Born Leader
          4A Micro Aggression
          5A July
          1B Be That Girl
          2B All I Wanna Do Is Hate
          3B Hi Baby
          4B All Of My Friends
          5B Always Been You 

          Pixey

          Dreams, Pains & Paper Planes

            Dreams, Pains & Paper Planes is Pixey’s first longer form project since the glittering Sunshine State EP arrived in October 2021, which had followed her hugely acclaimed early-2021 debut EP for Chess Club, Free To Live In Colour.

            Commenting on the mini-album, Pixey says: “Dreams, Pains & Paper Planes is my biggest release to date. The majority of the record was written, recorded and produced by myself in my bedroom, alongside a couple of studio tracks. Genre bending was something I wanted to experiment with, tailoring to the moods of each song but still keeping to the core big beat elements. I wanted to write a record that kept a sunny sound but was more anxious lyrically. More than anything, I want the listener to feel like they can dip into an alternate world for a while, whether it’s comforting or not”

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Recycled Paper Planes
            2. Come Around (Sunny Day)
            3. I'm Just High
            4. Kids!
            5. Melody (From You To Me)
            6. So, Just Smile
            7. Treat Me Right
            8. In My House

            Phoebe Green

            Lucky Me

              24 year old Mancunian alt pop star Phoebe Green's debut studio album 'Lucky Me' is due out in August 2022. Produced by Alex Robertshaw of multi time Mercy Award nominated outfit, Everything Everything and his production partner Tom Fuller, the album announcement comes off the back of supporting Self Esteem, Everything Everything & Baby Queen in one month alone, a BBC Radio 1 Maida Vale session & a Killing Eve sync.

              TRACK LISTING

              Break My Heart
              Lucky Me
              Make It Easy
              Crying In The Club
              Sweat
              Clean
              Just A Game
              One You Want
              Won’t Sit Still
              DieDieDie
              I Wish You Never Saw Me Cry
              Leach
              I Don't Wanna Make You Cold

              Coach Party

              Nothing Is Real

                Coach Party grew up on the Isle of Wight (“it's only a matter of time until you meet pretty much everyone else on the Island,” says Eastwood) and eventually crossed paths as avid music fans - working in venues, playing together and meeting at the same gigs. Coach Party eventually formed after Eastwood and guitarist Steph Norris decided to start playing music together; quickly realising that there was something special about the pair’s songwriting and bond, guitarist Joe Perry and drummer Page joined the ranks. Musically, Coach Party are inspired by a broad palate of artists, but always find themselves drawn back to Nirvana, Sonic Youth and The Strokes, and contemporary artists like Wolf Alice, The Big Moon and Tame Impala. Ultimately though, Coach Party’s primary drive to write and perform music comes from “the often entertaining struggle of real life.” The band still live and work on the Isle of Wight (Jess at a farm park, Guy in a music studio and Steph & Joe in cafes), and describe life on the island as going “through pretty distinct phases of being a great, and a really frustrating place to live.” 

                TRACK LISTING

                1. FLAG
                2. Shit TV
                3. 3 Kisses
                4. Weird Me Out
                5. Nothing Is Real

                Pixey

                Sunshine State

                  Emerging Liverpool based songwriter, producer and multi-instrum multi-instrumentalist Pixey burst onto the scene in September 2020 with her incredible single ‘Just Move’. The track was written, recorded and produced in Pixey’s bedroom in Liverpool - with additional production added b added by frequent Gorillaz and Jamie T collaborator James Dring in London. Her debut EP 'Free To Live In Colour' followed to equal acclaim.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Life In Stereo
                  2. Sunshine State
                  3. Shine On
                  4. Take Me On
                  5. Day Dreaming
                  6. Heaven 

                  Sinead O'Brien

                  Time Bend And Break The Bower

                    Communing at the triangulation of words, music and image, O’Brien has always conjured powerful worlds: but none more powerful, or as immersive, than on her debut record. In the space that exists between her delivery – at once wry, silky, vicious, and self-assured – and the music – a dynamic, dancing call-and-response from her collaborators, guitarist Julian Hanson and drummer Oscar Robertson – lies a productive tension. Using a method of creating on-instinct, in constant communication with multisensory cues, O’Brien is carving out a space as a musical oracle for an ever-shifting era. The 11-track album was produced by indie super-producer Dan Carey (Fontaines DC, Squid, Black Midi, Kae Temptest, Bat For Lashes, Hot Chip, Franz Ferdinand) and recorded in his south London studio Mr Dan’s in late 2021.

                    “The story of the album is built up in layers; one song giving context to the next” explains Sinead; “I thought about becoming undressed; testing my ideas, my voice. Working myself out across themes of identity, curiosity, creative process. Experimenting with the form and shape of language, using tone and delivery to get to the immediate centre of what I am saying. The record opens and closes with poems, these tracks have a really clear direction - a form which is set apart from the ‘songs’. I hold stops in different places, moving emphatically through the lyrics, changing the meaning. No punctuation - only the voice mapping out the way.”

                    “The album title “Time Bend and Break The Bower”, from the song ‘Multitudes’, came into my head and made its demands, an idea that pressed on me throughout the record. It has a very active role. The clock symbol is enlarged, it looms like a moon over my activity watching, counting me down to zero. Dripping with self-sabotage and the feeling of being chased; it pulls and pushes against the verses which talk of ’Multitudes’; the things that faithfully come back - the images, the words, creativity. It is creativity itself.”

                    Since 2020, O’Brien has garnered international critical acclaim from titles like Rolling Stone, DIY, Dazed, Dork, Loud & Quiet, NME, Paste, Stereogum, The FADER, The Guardian, The Quietus, and AnOther Magazine, among others. O’Brien has also been consistently supported on national radio: she counts Jack Saunders at BBC Radio 1, and Steve Lamacq and Amy Lamé at BBC Radio 6 Music as champions of her music, with the latter station giving two tracks a spot on their B List. And O’Brien is building on her US support from the likes of Seattle’s KEXP alongside appearances at SXSW – in virtual form in 2021, and live with her band in Texas later this spring.

                    With a background on the design teams for John Galliano and, later, Vivienne Westwood, it’s no surprise that raven-haired O’Brien’s cultural touchstones also span a rich history of art, photography, film, dance and movement: from Helmut Newton femme fatales and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s bleak landscapes to modern performance by Michael Clark and Michael Laub companies, to the writings of Virginia Woolf and Samuel Beckett. Recently tapped by Alessandro Micele’s Gucci to perform, it’s clear that O’Brien’s esoteric instincts will continue to inspire those beyond the industry as well as within it.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    1. Pain Is The Fashion Of The Spirit
                    2. Salt
                    3. Girlkind
                    4. End Of Days
                    5. Like Culture
                    6. The Rarest Kind
                    7. Holy Country
                    8. Spare For My Size, Me
                    9. There Are Good Times Coming
                    10. Multitudes
                    11. Go Again

                    The Let Go

                    Delete My Feelings

                      Delete My Feelings is The Let Go's debut EP on Chess Club Records. The mixtape features self-produced bangers 'Woke' and 'Vegas' as well as current single 'Last Year's Model Club', which features additional production from Oscar Scheller (PinkPantheress, Arlo Parks, Ashnikko). The Let Go are Cole and Scout, 19-year-old Washington natives who relocated to the UK to attend LIPA in Liverpool. They write and produce all their own work together, with influences ranging from The 1975 and Billy Joel to Brockhampton and Dominic Fike, drawing influence from bedroom pop, hip hop, punk, indie and everything in between to create their own unique sonic landscape made for the here and now. 

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1. Delete My Feelings
                      2. Vegas
                      3. Woke
                      4. Last Year's Model Club
                      5. Beabadoobee
                      6. Ghost

                      Alfie Templeman

                      Forever Isn’t Long Enough

                        English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alfie Templeman follows up last year's Happiness in Liquid Form EP with new album Forever Isn't Long Enough. 

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Shady
                        2. Forever Isn't Long Enough
                        3. Hideaway
                        4. Wait, I Lied
                        5. Everybody's Gonna Love Somebody
                        6. Film Scene Daydream
                        7. To You
                        8. One More Day

                        Bloxx

                        Lie Out Loud

                          One of Indie-pop’s brightest prospects, BLOXX have come a remarkable way since exploding onto the scene.

                          Fronted by powerhouse lyricist Fee Booth, the trio craft stadium worthy indie anthems with deep, relatable undertones, a seamless snapshot into love, loss, and teenage life in a satellite town.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          Lie Out Loud
                          Coming Up Short
                          Go Out With You
                          5000 Miles
                          Thinking About Yourself
                          Off My Mind
                          Give Me The Keys
                          Hey Jenny
                          Changes 
                          It Won’t Work Out
                          What You Needed
                          Swimming

                          Colin Caulfield, aka Young Man may already be familiar to some of you for his reworkings of his favourite song, including a cover of Deerhunter's "Rainwater Cassette Exchange" which Bradford Cox described as "fantastically superior to the original". An accolade indeed!
                          Now Young Man brings us his debut UK single "Up So Fast" which is a lovely uplifting dream-pop number. Kicking off with simple stripped back guitar strums and vocals, the drum rhythm - a series of mini drum rolls, gradually builds to create a shimmering pop haze before it changes direction once again as it winds down to a finale.
                          Fans of Altas Sound, Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Panda Bear etc should take note.
                          Pitchfork: "acoustic guitars that give off the whiff of sunscreen, sun-baked loops, easygoing percussion, vocals blanched in reverb, and lyrics that take an 'aw shucks' wistfulness to growing up."

                          Freelance Whales found one another in late 2008, in Queens, amidst a strange amalgam of unfamiliar instruments, and precariously arranged pop songs. Using whatever musical gadgets they happened upon (mostly harmonium, banjo, glockenspiel, synthesizers, guitars, bass, drums, waterphone), the five members worked at crafting songs with interlocking rhythmic patterns, lush textural layering, and an engaged group-vocal energy. The result is their debut LP, "Weathervanes", whose songs work at evoking a sense of dislocation, or sensory disorientation.
                          This limited edition 7" gives you a taster of what to expect from the forthcoming album.


                          STAFF COMMENTS

                          Laura says: An unlikely combination of banjo, glockenspiel and synths weave a gorgeous hypnotic rhythm, added to by layered vocal harmonies to create a short, sweet atmospheric pop song. The flip combines the same ingredients but with a poppier more playful outcome.

                          Kurran And The Wolfnotes

                          Watabitch

                          Kurran and the Wolfnotes debut single "Whatabitch" stands as the perfect introduction to the way that this band have brought an unmistakable noughties twist to the alt-folk sound, with an playful hint of The Strokes complimenting the otherwise straight up trad-sound. With New Yorker Kurran’s faltering, heartbroken croon and textbook Isle of White Festival circa-1968 guitar jangle it’s half medieval minstrel, half basement bar sleaze.

                          Magic Magic

                          Sleepy Lion

                          Magic Magic are a five man covenant from Salem Massachusetts. With spellbinding songs and two drummers they have bewitched the good people of Salem with their ritualistic voodoo rhythms. Led by John Francis Murphy, virtuoso singer, songwriter and guitarist, Magic Magic are also Brendan Hughes on guitar, Dimitri Miro Swan on bass and the infamous Dylan Gough and Mike Hlady (The Doctor) two fervent drummers on twin kits in perfect offbeat sync. "Sleepy Lion" merges the grandiose splendour of Arcade Fire with a hurtling, lo-fi pop song to create one of the most euphoric singles you'll hear all year, While wonky instrumental track "Deep Red" over on the flip winds things down nicely.


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