Belfast-based musician Isobel Anderson was born in Sussex, and is inspired by the coastal scenery of South East England. Flint Shingle is the first track and new single from her latest album CHALK / FLINT, due for release 2nd June. “The chalk is my skin, the flint is my bones. I came here to set me free.”
““Flint Shingle” is evidence of Isobel Anderson’s growing songwriting prowess, with a conscious effort to develop the production and instrumentation on the record. Isobel’s textured vocals conjure a haunting ambience, she explains, “It is sort of a love song, if only with a nostalgic, almost regretful, sentiment. The idea is that the landscape acts as a sort of sobering force, a marker of myself and what I am now.””
Her work also explores individual and collective constructions of ‘place’. With an MA and PhD in Sound Art, she has already released three studio albums, which have earned over 17 million Spotify streams and enthusiastic airplay on BBC radio. Her live performances include Glastonbury’s Acoustic Stage and The Secret Garden Party; her work has also been performed internationally.
When she was 26, Isobel developed tinnitus, following an ear infection. This has had a profound effect on her life and the beautiful song “Little Sounds of Pain”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiC-JAND_u8 from her third album In My Garden (with Ruby Colley on violin) describes her battle with the condition. She is teaming up with PledgeMusic http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/isobelanderson to release CHALK / FLINT, and 10% of any money raised after the crowd-funding goal is reached will go to the British Tinnitus Association.
I hadn’t intended writing about this band today, but I ran out of time with the thing I did want to write – spreading myself thin again.
American Football is another band I’ve stumbled upon recently. I was reading Pitchfork, the online music magazine. There is an amusing article from Feb 2016 about this band; amusing because the writer waxes lyrical about what a shame it is that they are never going to make another album, because their first and only record showed such promise. I looked them up and was a bit confused to find 2 albums listed – they released their second album two months after the article was written, much to the surprise of the music press it seems.
When I listened to their first album from 1999 I was slightly enchanted. The music belies the lyrics I think which are so heart-breaking and full of melancholy as they chart the difficulties in a relationship. The guitars are beautiful (I was sort of reminded of mid to late 90s Teenage Fanclub, or is that just me?), there are trumpets in places and the off kilter, swaying melodies are soporific in a calming way; yet the subject matter is quite gloomy in places. The second album released last year continues with a similar sound and themes. It’s almost as though they’ve had a lovely peaceful time of it for the past 17 years until something has triggered the need to vomit up and share the emotion again.
But quite honestly, I don’t know what I’m talking about here. I’m just trying to explain my response to listening to it. I don’t know enough about this scene or music in general to provide a more informed view I’m afraid (Wiki says it’s Emo – I curled my lips at this, hey, what do I know?), but I’m here to learn.
Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge. What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?