A DIY INDIEPOP VINYL & CASSETTE LABEL

Jessica's Brother - Jessica's Brother [12"/CD]

Artist: Jessica's Brother
Title: Jessica's Brother
Format: 12" album on black vinyl, pressing of 300 | CD in digifile sleeve
Cat#: Fika065LP/Fika065CD
Release date: 20th July 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

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Jessica’s Brother is the eponymous debut album from London trio Jessica’s Brother, comprised of songwriter Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm (drums, also of The Wave Pictures) and Charlie Higgs (bass, previously of Ramshackle Union Band). Channelling the spirit of the Brothers Grimm to create an otherworldly atmosphere, they weave their motley influences together making a rich and eclectic vision, with nods to Silver Jews, Jason Molina, Nick Cave, Richard Thompson and Neil Young. There are themes of joy, anger and silliness in a carefully crafted world with a colourful cast of characters. 

The trio formed in October 2016. Jonny and Charlie worked together in a framing business and had often talked about collaborating in a band together. Fate intervened when Jonny’s girlfriend Jessica introduced him to her brother Tom, and they found a songwriter in waiting. The trio clicked immediately and just nine months later they recorded the album with Laurie Sherman at The Booze Cube in Stoke Newington, with input from Darren Hayman. A few other friends joined them in the studio, including Dan Mayfield (Enderby’s Room), who added a dose of Bad Seeds/Dirty Three vibes on the violin and Paul Rains (Allo Darlin’/Tigercats) lent a hint of country twang on guitar and slide guitar.

With Jessica’s Brother, we see Tom Charleston’s songwriting blossoming in to a tour de force. Influenced more by poets than other musicians, he cites John Ashbery, T.S. Eliot and Philip Larkin as inspirations. He is drawn to how they can be irreverent, unassuming and playful, as he explains; “I suppose I wanted to offer something lyrically engaging and hopefully different.” His modestly lofty ambitions have paid off, with ten startling individual vignettes telling their own stories from a variety of narrator’s points of view. 

He tackles difficult subjects such as gender equality and the destructive nature of masculinity. These can be seen in tracks such as “One Of The Guys”, about the toxic nature of being one of the guys in a predatory pack, lamenting the masculine essentialism owned and largely perpetuated by the male sex. The single “Overnight Horror” revolves around the macho-masculine nightmare where, as Charleston explains, “the world has gone head-over-heels shitward and the narrator is reduced to selling his daughter or his wife to stay alive.”

Album opener is the Silver Jews-esque “Getting Obscene”, which sprang from a sense of going nowhere fast, acknowledged in a repetitious revolving chord which becomes an immersive rock’n’roll meditation. The tone completely changes with the next track “All The Better”, which is a hushed, eerie folk song exploring the melancholy and optimism of breaching adolescence and the limbo before adulthood; a simple tale of growing up. 

“Humdinger” is perhaps the one song on the album where the narrator is at ease with himself and the world. Though there are moments where this tranquility is nudged by outside tremors, so we know this moment is ephemeral.

Weaving a variety of influences from jangly indie-rock to gothic country and contemplative psych folk, Jessica’s Brother create the sound of a band coming together and getting caught up in the rush of starting new and enjoyable. The instruments clamber over each other in a small room, with Helm’s distinctive drumming counterbalances the gothic guitar thrums and wailing violin. Already lauded by the likes of The Guardian (for their first ever gig) and the Saatchi Magazine (for their first single), the scene is set for a bright future.

Jessica's Brother - Jessica's Brother

Jessica's Brother - Getting Obscene [Digital]

Artist: Jessica's Brother
Title: Getting Obscene
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika065SG4
Release date: 13th July 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

A week ahead of the release of their debut album, Jessica's Brother release Getting Obscene, the Silver Jews-esque opening track, which sprang from a sense of going nowhere fast, acknowledged in a repetitious revolving chord which becomes an immersive rock’n’roll meditation.

Jessica’s Brother is the eponymous debut album from London trio Jessica’s Brother, comprised of songwriter Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm (drums, also of The Wave Pictures) and Charlie Higgs (bass, previously of Ramshackle Union Band). Channelling the spirit of the Brothers Grimm to create an otherworldly atmosphere, they weave their motley influences together making a rich and eclectic vision, with nods to Silver Jews, Jason Molina, Nick Cave, Richard Thompson and Neil Young. There are themes of joy, anger and silliness in a carefully crafted world with a colourful cast of characters. 

The trio formed in October 2016. Jonny and Charlie worked together in a framing business and had often talked about collaborating in a band together. Fate intervened when Jonny’s girlfriend Jessica introduced him to her brother Tom, and they found a songwriter in waiting. The trio clicked immediately and just nine months later they recorded the album with Laurie Sherman at The Booze Cube in Stoke Newington, with input from Darren Hayman. A few other friends joined them in the studio, including Dan Mayfield (Enderby’s Room), who added a dose of Bad Seeds/Dirty Three vibes on the violin and Paul Rains (Allo Darlin’/Tigercats) lent a hint of country twang on guitar and slide guitar.

Jessica's Brother - Getting Obscene

The Smittens - Three States [Digital]

Artist: The Smittens
Title: Three States
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika067SG3
Release date: 13th July 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

Three States, the new single from The Smittens is out today!

“Three States is a coming out/transition anthem, I wrote this song amidst a need to capture the complexity of identity, politics, and everything so many of us get caught in between. There’s pressure on all of us to conform to certain standards, and it’s nearly impossible not to internalise the toxicity. The idea of three states came to me while driving back to Vermont after being at NYC Pride. It’s a window into vulnerability, fear, determination, growth, and ultimately, better living through modern day medicine. There’s beauty in complexity. What’s holding you back? What worlds are you caught between? May we all find the spaces in which we belong. Fuck the binary, baby.” The Smittens’ Dana

Pre-order the 12″ LP City Rock Dove now or listen to the new single on Spotify.

Mikey Collins - Falling [Digital]

Artist: Mikey Collins
Title: Falling
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika068SG2
Release date: 29th June 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

"Falling" is the second single to be taken from the forthcoming debut album by Allo Darlin' drummer Mikey Collins.  Hoick is due out via Fika Recordings on 17 August. The song is a bright, upbeat pop number with call and response vocals provided by Laura Kovic from Tigercats. It is about Mikey proposing to his wife, something he swore blind he'd never do.

The video was shot on a summer's day in London, bringing the track to life, adding colour and movement, featuring the dancer Dessy Adesuwa, who choregraphed the piece herself.  As Mikey explains; "London always shows it's best side on a sunny day and we shot the footage in ten hours around Little Venice, Fitzroy Square and St James Park... much to the joy of many onlookers."


Mikey explains further about the song; "This is about the process of proposing to my wife. About how I changed my opinions on marriage and how I changed my mind from it being something that I never wanted to do to being something very important to me!"

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Freschard & Stanley Brinks - Midnight Tequila [12"]

Artist: Freschard & Stanley Brinks
Title: Midnight Tequila
Format: 12" album on pale blue vinyl
Cat#: Fika066
Release date: 29th June 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify

Following on from 2014’s Pizza Espresso, Freschard and Stanley Brinks come together for 12 brand new tracks.

Midnight Tequila is an irresistibly charming collection of late night tales, woozy ballads and uptempo sing-alongs. 

Clemence Freschard’s beautiful vocal tones lend this a rich, French indiepop/chanteuse vibe, complemented by Stan’s wistful timbre and characteristic warm instrumentation. Perfect accompaniment for that late night tequila.

Stanley Brinks is renowned for his unique anti-folk style: both playful and suggestive, insightful and entertaining. Brinks was born in Paris, France, in 1973. He studied a bit of biology and worked as a nurse for a while. Half Swedish, half Moroccan, strongly inclined to travel the world, he soon began spending most of his life on the road and developed a strong relationship with New York. By the late 90s he’d become a full time singer-songwriter – André Herman Düne – as part of three piece indie-rock band, Herman Düne. Several albums and Peel sessions  later and after a decade of touring Europe, mostly with American songwriters such as Jeffrey Lewis, Calvin Johnson and early Arcade Fire he settled in Berlin. The early carnival music of Trinidad became a passion, and in the early 21st century he became the unquestioned master of European calypso, changing his name to Stanley Brinks. Under this moniker he has recorded more than 100 albums, collaborated with the New York Antifolk scene on several occasions, recorded and toured with traditional Norwegian musicians, and played a lot with The Wave Pictures.  

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Freschard grew up in a farm in French Burgundy. Aged 18 she moved to Paris, where she baked pies and cakes in a cafe. There, a local musician and regular customer called Stanley Brinks wrote a few songs for her to sing. Homeless in Paris, she saved up just enough money to get herself a ticket to New York. There she found an old electric guitar and started writing her own songs. In 2004 she moved to Berlin, where she recorded her first LP, "Alien Duck". Her second album, "Click Click", recorded in 2006, features electric guitar by Stanley Brinks. On her third album, she plays the drums herself. On her fourth “Shh...” she also plays the flute, and she breaks out the washboard on her fifth “Boom Biddy Boom”. On Midnight Tequila, Freschard brings it back to just drums and vocals.

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The Smittens - Love is a Word [Digital]

Artist: The Smittens
Title: Love is a Word
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika067SG2
Release date: 29th June 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

Love is a Word is the second track taken from the forthcoming City Rock Dove from The Smittens.

The Smittens’ Missy Bly says: “This song came after I heard the buzz and learned personally, that love is and requires action. This one could potentially be written forever because the list of love metaphors is never ending. Love is potential, love is forethought, love can be cruel, exalting and regular and love is definitely fun to sing about!”

The Smittens - Cats for Cats [Digital]

Artist: The Smittens
Title: Cats for Cats
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika067SG1
Release date: 8th June 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

The Smittens return with Cats for Cats, their first new track since 2016’s Love Record Breaker, ahead of the summer’s UK tour and Indietracks appearance. Their 6th full length album will be released in August.

The Smittens’ Max Andrucki descibed Cats for Cats:

Masc for Masc" is obviously a gay dating app cliche, and for a long time I felt like it was just too obvious a reference so I resisted it, until simply couldn't any more! I was thinking of substitutes for that lyric that I could use instead and a friend, whom i actually met on Scruff, suggested "Cats for Cats". In the end I kept the original lyric but added that one as well. Maybe I just like cats, and especially the idea of cats as little, queer icons. The song is maybe about being 40, and in a long term relationship and horny, and again how the freedom of experimentation always comes with its own costs. Like dipping your toes in water, like sailing the open sea.

The Smittens are a 6-piece indiepop band that make upbeat and introspective tunes, tinged with vulnerability and optimism. While sonically the elements of multi-layered harmonies, countermelodies and ba-ba-ba singalong hooks still play a large part in The Smittens’ approach to songwriting, as each of the 4 main songwriters has grown, the overall perspective of the songs seems a bit moodier, and more serious. They’ve long since left behind the label of being a ‘cute’ or ‘twee’ band since their debut album 15 years ago.

City Rock Dove is instead an album of transition, ennui and nihilism; honing in on personal politics and gender queerness. The album contends with the turbulent changes of modern America serving only to cement the status quo - and it’s not just the outside world that’s changing either: The Smittens are also singing about the changes in themselves and taking a hard look inside. Gary Olson (Ladybug Transistor) returned to mix the new album, having been instrumental in helping develop the richer textures first seen on 2016’s Love Record Breaker EP.

Pre-order City Rock Dove on 12" heavyweight vinyl or digitally

Catch them on their short UK tour on the dated below:
July 24 - Cambridge, The Blue Moon
July 25 - London, The Shacklewell Arms
July 26 - Sheffield, Cafe Totem
July 28 - Derbyshire, Indietracks Festival

Mikey Collins - Sound in Here [Digital]

Artist: Mikey Collins
Title: Sound in Here
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika068SG1
Release date: 25th May 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

"Summer-fresh indie pop with a personal streak, it's a contagious little jewel of a song." Clash

"Sound In Here" is the first single to be released from the debut album Hoick by Mikey Collins, the drummer for Allo Darlin', which was premiered by Clash. Reflecting the joy and humour of his previous band, the track is a surprisingly upbeat song about tinnitus. As Mikey explains:

"This was a song that I wrote whilst thinking about the tinnitus that affected (Allo Darlin' guitarist) Paul Rains and I after years of touring.  Paul, particularly, had a very hard time adjusting to having damaged hearing and a constant tone in his ears.  It got me thinking about whether it was all worth it etc - of course it all was, but there were costs to all that travelling and not sleeping and loud gigs and shit.  This song thinks about that.  I wanted it to sound like the Cure."

Mikey Collin - Sound in Here

“Gentle, chiming indie pop packed with depth and nuance, Mikey applied a real perfectionist streak to the recording. Summer-fresh indie pop with a personal streak, it's a contagious little jewel of a song.” Clash

“this is definitely a pop song from start to finish; there are some added flourishes you might not have found on an AD track though. Personally, I really like the vocal delivery of Collins here; it lives somewhere in the realm between Norman Blake and Matthew Caws…both voices I adore.” Austin Town Hall

“bright and breezy with no end of hooks” Beehive Candy

Stanley Brinks - Peanuts [12"/CD]

Artist: Stanley Brinks
Title: Peanuts
Format: 12" album on ruby red vinyl | CD in digifile sleeve
Cat#: Fika064LP | Fika064CD
Release date: 11th May 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

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After releasing a pair of playful records alongside of The Wave Pictures, and two albums of folk shanties and old-time calypso with Norway’s folk troupe The Kaniks, Stanley Brinks’ next release for Fika Recordings is back to being a solo affair, albeit with collaborator and long time muse Clemence Freschard alongside Claire Falzon and Helene Nuland.

Stanley Brinks is renowned for his unique anti-folk style: both playful and suggestive, insightful and entertaining. 

Brinks was born in Paris, France, in 1973. He studied a bit of biology and worked as a nurse for a while. Half Swedish, half Moroccan, strongly inclined to travel the world, he soon began spending most of his life on the road and developed a strong relationship with New York. By the late 90s he’d become a full time singer-songwriter – André Herman Düne – as part of three piece indie-rock band, Herman Düne. Several albums and Peel sessions  later and after a decade of touring Europe, mostly with American songwriters such as Jeffrey Lewis, Calvin Johnson and early Arcade Fire he settled in Berlin. The early carnival music of Trinidad became a passion, and in the early 21st century he became the unquestioned master of European calypso, changing his name to Stanley Brinks. Under this moniker he has recorded more than 100 albums, collaborated with the New York Antifolk scene on several occasions, recorded and toured with traditional Norwegian musicians, and played a lot with The Wave Pictures.  

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Jessica's Brother - Humdinger [Digital]

Artist: Jessica's Brother
Title: Humdinger
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika065SG3
Release date: 4th May 2018
Bandcamp | Spotify | iTunes

Jessica’s Brother is the eponymous debut album from London trio Jessica’s Brother, comprised of songwriter Tom Charleston, Jonny Helm (drums, also of The Wave Pictures) and Charlie Higgs (bass, previously of Ramshackle Union Band). Channelling the spirit of the Brothers Grimm to create an otherworldly atmosphere, they weave their motley influences together making a rich and eclectic vision, with nods to Silver Jews, Jason Molina, Nick Cave, Richard Thompson and Neil Young. There are themes of joy, anger and silliness in a carefully crafted world with a colourful cast of characters.

The new single is "Humdinger" is a languid indie folk track, recalling their heroes, Silver Jews. As Charleston explains, it is: "perhaps the one song on the album where the narrator is at ease with himself and the world. Though there are moments where this tranquillity is nudged by outside tremors, so we know this moment is ephemeral."

Jessica's Brother formed in October 2016. Jonny and Charlie worked together in a framing business and had often talked about collaborating in a band together. Fate intervened when Jonny’s girlfriend Jessica introduced him to her brother Tom, and they found a songwriter in waiting. The trio clicked immediately and just nine months later they recorded the album with Laurie Sherman at The Booze Cube in Stoke Newington, with input from Darren Hayman. A few other friends joined them in the studio, including Dan Mayfield (Enderby’s Room), who added a dose of Bad Seeds/Dirty Three vibes on the violin and Paul Rains (Allo Darlin’/Tigercats) lent a hint of country twang on guitar and slide guitar.

Weaving a variety of influences from jangly indie-rock to gothic country and contemplative psych folk, Jessica’s Brother create the sound of a band coming together and getting caught up in the rush of starting something new and enjoyable. The instruments clamber over each other in a small room, with Helm’s distinctive drumming counterbalancing the gothic guitar thrums and wailing violin. Already lauded by the likes of The Guardian (for their first ever gig) and the Saatchi Magazine (for their first single), the scene is set for a bright future.

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