A DIY INDIEPOP VINYL & CASSETTE LABEL

Digital

Suggested Friends - Turtle Taxi [12"/CD]

Artist: Suggested Friends
Title: Turtle Taxi
Format: 12” LP on sky blue vinyl / digipack CD
Cat#: Fika075
Release date: 4th October 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Suggested Friends are an indie rock quartet with a firm grounding in queer identity, fusing DIY punk roots with the interweaving guitars of 90s indie and a sometimes tongue-in-cheek take on the performative masculinity of 80s rock. There’s a tenderness to their songwriting, with lyrics reflecting on cultural malaise, trauma recovery and the banal absurdity of everyday life. Personal politics can come with an incisively dry sense of humour too.

Turtle Taxi is their second album and demonstrates just how far they’ve come from the raw, scuzzy sounds of their DIY debut; unrepentant in letting the pop hooks loose. The choruses are big, harmonies frequent, and guitar solos abound - this is a lush, textured leap forward. 

Suggested Friends are more confident, acknowledging emotional pain and exploring how this affective space elides with a more expansive sense of injustice in the world.

On Pretty Soon Your Grave Will Be A Landfill the earnestness and absurdity of gaslighting politicians is laid bare, through to the futility of naming social ills and not acting on them on At Ease. The album’s title track, Turtle Taxi, talks about the relationship between love as a labour and the focusing in on life as an opportunity for that to flourish in all directions – (‘teach ‘til I die, let this all pass by…’).

The quieter numbers on the record, such as At Ease or Blooms, recall folkier inspiration such as The Weather Station and Hiss Golden Messenger, through to the alt-pop oddness of Nilufer Yanya and Blood Orange. But for parallels as a socially conscious, high-energy and vulnerable punk pop band, think Martha or Charly Bliss - though they’d argue for that perfect sweet spot between Weezer and Abba!

Recorded in rural Norfolk over two separate sessions a year apart, album was able to flourish into a more collaborative effort, incorporating Faith’s wife Meghan on percussion and Sickroom Studio's Owen on trumpet - plus plenty of time to experiment with overdubs and piano flourishes to up that classic-rock vibe that simmers just under the surface.

Suggested Friends formed in late 2015 following a chance meeting at a gig between Christabel (drums) and Faith (guitar and vocals). They were soon joined by Jack on guitar, who had met Faith through an activist group in London. Mammoth Penguins’ Emma Kupa is the most recent addition on bass, having worked with Faith on a number of projects over the past four years.   

brilliantly distinct, wrapping their varying influences in to one rabid burst of lofi indie-rock” Gold Flake Paint

frighteningly good in a way that most stuff called frighteningly good just isn’t” Everett True, The Friendly Critic

a bright, fun, sparkly album with raw and to the point lyrics – there’s no hiding from the wit. Check it out; you’ll be hooked” Loud Women

Suggested Friends - For Jokes [Digital]

Artist: Suggested Friends
Title: For Jokes
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika075SG3
Release date: 13th September 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Queer DIY punks SUGGESTED FRIENDS have revealed a feline-fan-pleasing new video for their latest single ‘For Jokes’ that follows a day in the life of front woman Faith’s cat, Clarice. 

The single is out now, the latest to be taken from their new album Turtle Taxi which is released on 4th October 2019 via Fika Recordings, with the record available to preorder now.

Alongside the single, the quartet are delighted to announce an extensive run of November 2019 UK headline ‘Turtle Taxi Tour’ live dates (see below for listings) with tickets on sale now. 

“I decided to feature my cat Clarice in the video because she's been a long term stabilising presence in my life,” says Taylor of the video, “and is someone that I learn a lot from about taking small steps to counter fear. The video documents her struggles on a day where there was a dog in our front yard—she cycled through so many phases of venturing outside and then running back in, and I think her process of resting and rewarding herself after each attempt is very relatable.”

Commenting on the track itself, she continues: “This song is about trying not to give too much power to negative interactions or past situations. It's also about reclaiming an authentic or sincere understanding of the ways things have affected you. When I sing ‘it wasn't all for jokes, those were genuine words I spoke’, I'm describing efforts to liberate myself from the habit of making stuff into a comical anecdote rather than acknowledging its importance.”

Ahead of the newly announced run of live dates, they will also be supporting Camp Cope on 26th September in Nottingham alongside Witching Waves, appearing at Nottingham Pop All-Dayer 2019 and Weenfest 2019, and will be playing a special album launch show at The Shacklewell Arms in London on 9th October 2019

Previous singles ‘Cygnets’ and ‘Turtle Taxi’ went down a storm with fans old and new, scoring coverage from magazines and blogs including UPSET, Vulture Hound, Austin Town Hall, When The Horn Blows, Balloon Machine and more. The band previously received a surge of early praise from the blogosphere including GoldFlakePaint, Too Many Blogs, The Grey Estates, For The Rabbits, Get In Her Ears, Loud Women, GigSlutz, and Spectral Nights, alongside early radio support from BBC Wales.

Turtle Taxi is released 4th October 2019 on Fika Recordings

Suggested Friends live:

26.09.19 - Nottingham - Metronome (w/ Camp Cope)
09.10.19 - London - The Shacklewell Arms (album launch show)
12.10.19 - Nottingham - The Old Cold Store - 2019 Nottingham Pop All-Dayer
27.10.19 - London - DIY Space For London - Weenfest 2019
09.11.19 - Bristol - The Exchange
10.11.19 - Cardiff - The Moon
11.11.19 - Oxford - The Library
12.11.19 - Sheffield - Cafe Totem
13.11.19 - Leeds - CHUNK
14.11.19 - Liverpool - Craft Taproom
15.11.19 - Bradford - 1in12
16.11.19 - Edinburgh - Brig Below
17.11.19 - Glasgow - Glad Cafe

Suggested Friends - Turtle Taxi [Digital]

Artist: Suggested Friends
Title: Turtle Taxi
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika075SG2
Release date: 23rd August 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Queer DIY punks SUGGESTED FRIENDS are pleased to reveal a homemade video for their latest single ‘Turtle Taxi’, which is out now, and is the title track from their forthcoming second record. The band are set to release their new album Turtle Taxi on 4th October 2019 via Fika Recordings, with the record available to preorder now.

Commenting on the new single, guitarist and vocalist Faith Taylor said: “This song is about enjoying the ways that time stretches out when you’ve allowed yourself to be in nourishing relationships. It’s a celebration of rest and healing, and how a supportive and mutual bond can help to dismantle the urge to be constantly productive. Plus it’s a little bit about collecting jars and liking dogs. The song’s refrain—”I’ll be your honest turtle taxi”—is a reference to a ridiculous game I play in swimming pools with my partner. It’s all about finding that space for recreation and play as an adult, basically.”

The band recently announced they will be supporting Camp Cope on 26th September in Nottingham alongside Witching Waves, and will also appear at Nottingham Pop All-Dayer 2019 and Weenfest 2019, and will be playing a special album launch show at The Shacklewell Arms in London on 9th October 2019. Further live dates TBA (see below for listings).

Previous single ‘Cygnets’ went down a storm with fans old and new, scoring coverage from magazines and blogs including UPSET, Vulture Hound, Austin Town Hall, When The Horn Blows, Balloon Machine and more.

The band have previously received a surge of early praise from the blogosphere including GoldFlakePaint, Too Many Blogs, The Grey Estates, For The Rabbits, Get In Her Ears, Loud Women, GigSlutz, and Spectral Nights, alongside early radio support from BBC Wales.

Suggested Friends live

Sep 26 - Nottingham - Metronome (w/ Camp Cope)
Oct 9 - London - The Shacklewell Arms (album launch show)
Oct 12 - Nottingham - The Old Cold Store - 2019 Nottingham Pop All-Dayer
Oct 25 - London - DIY Space For London - Weenfest 2019
Nov 9 - Bristol - The Exchange
Nov 10 - Cardiff - The Moon
Nov 11 - Oxford - The Library
Nov 12 - Sheffield - Cafe Totem
Nov 13 - Leeds - CHUNK
Nov 14 - Liverpool - Craft Taproom
Nov 15 - Bradford - 1in12 Club
Nov 16 - Edinburgh - Brig Below
Nov 17 - Glasgow - Glad Cafe

Suggested Friends - Cygnets [Digital]

Artist: Suggested Friends
Title: Cygnets
Format: Digital single
Cat#: Fika075SG1
Release date: 2nd August 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

We’re delighted to announce the second album from queer DIY punks SUGGESTED FRIENDS is coming out on Fika later this year, with Turtle Taxi set for release on 4th October 2019. .

The band recently announced they will be supporting Camp Cope on 26th September in Nottingham alongside Witching Waves, and will also appear at Nottingham Pop All-Dayer 2019 and Weenfest 2019, and will be playing a special album launch show at The Shacklewell Arms in London on 9th October 2019. Further live dates TBA (see below for listings).

To celebrate the news, the band are streaming lead single ‘Cygnets’ in full today, accompanied by a hometaped video filmed in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia on the band’s recent 2018 US tour dates: https://youtu.be/dRQxXn8T5_I 

Commenting on the new single, guitarist and vocalist Faith Taylor said: “This song documents the uneasy process of learning to trust yourself and therefore also trust other people. It refers to ‘digital birds’ because my bird-sound alarm clock mixed in with the sounds of the actual dawn chorus and became a metaphor for discerning which messages and voices to believe. The song was written in ten minutes because I forgot I’d promised to bring some new material to a rehearsal. It ended up being one of our favourites ever!”

Suggested Friends are an indie rock quartet with a firm grounding in queer identity, fusing DIY punk roots with the interweaving guitars of 90s indie and a sometimes tongue-in-cheek take on the performative masculinity of 80s rock. There’s a tenderness to their songwriting, with lyrics reflecting on cultural malaise, trauma recovery and the banal absurdity of everyday life. Personal politics can come with an incisively dry sense of humour too.

Turtle Taxi is their second album and demonstrates just how far they’ve come from the raw, scuzzy sounds of their DIY debut; unrepentant in letting the pop hooks loose. The choruses are big, harmonies frequent, and guitar solos abound—this is a lush, textured leap forward. 

Suggested Friends are more confident, acknowledging emotional pain and exploring how this affective space elides with a more expansive sense of injustice in the world. 

On ‘Pretty Soon Your Grave Will Be A Landfill’ the earnestness and absurdity of gaslighting politicians is laid bare, through to the futility of naming social ills and not acting on them on ‘At Ease’. The album’s title track, ‘Turtle Taxi’, talks about the relationship between love as a labour and the focusing-in on life as an opportunity for that to flourish in all directions—(‘teach ‘til I die, let this all pass by…’).

The quieter numbers on the record, such as ‘At Ease’ or ‘Blooms’, recall folkier inspiration such as The Weather Station and Hiss Golden Messenger, through to the alt-pop oddness of Nilufer Yanya and Blood Orange. But for parallels as a socially conscious, high-energy and vulnerable punk pop band, think Martha or Charly Bliss—though they’d argue for that perfect sweet spot between Weezer and Abba!

Recorded in rural Norfolk over two separate sessions a year apart, the album was able to flourish into a more collaborative effort—incorporating Faith’s wife Meghan on percussion and Sickroom Studio's Owen on trumpet—plus plenty of time to experiment with overdubs and piano flourishes to up that classic-rock vibe that simmers just under the surface.

Suggested Friends formed in late 2015 following a chance meeting at a gig between Christabel (drums) and Faith (guitar and vocals). They were soon joined by Jack on guitar, who had met Faith through an activist group in London. Mammoth Penguins’ Emma Kupa is the most recent addition on bass, having worked with Faith on a number of projects over the past four years. 

The band have previously received a surge of early praise from the blogosphere including GoldFlakePaint, Too Many Blogs, The Grey Estates, For The Rabbits, Get In Her Ears, Loud Women, GigSlutz, and Spectral Nights, alongside early radio support from BBC Wales.

Further live dates TBA.

Turtle Taxi is released 4th October 2019 on Fika Recordings

Suggested Friends live:

26.09.19 - Nottingham - Metronome (w/ Camp Cope)
09.10.19 - London - The Shacklewell Arms (album launch show)
12.10.19 - Nottingham - The Old Cold Store - 2019 Nottingham Pop All-Dayer
25.10.19 - London - DIY Space For London - Weenfest 2019


Common or Garden - Trust Everyone [Badge]

Artist: Common or Garden
Title: Trust Everyone
Format: 34mm glitter midnight blue enamel badge on rose gold metalwork, on hand numbered backing card
Cat#: Fika074
Release date: 26th July 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Time stands still for no-one. Talented young Brisbanite Hannah Winter (née Botting) has taken a step aside from the much-loved Owl & Mouse to present her solo project Common or Garden

A step forward from her previous acoustic based & ukulele lead outfit, London located Common or Garden is self described as ‘scrappy’ synth pop - self produced and more experimental than her previous outfit. The core of her songwriting charm remains: vociferously personal stories, resonating harmonies and layers of vocals to lose yourself in.

IMG_5365.jpg

Self imposed limitations drove the songwriting process, having previously struggled to complete songs since 2015’s Departures. Opening track Bought was written on the bus home after a  confronting conversation with a friend. The sad, beautiful Opportunity was inspired by a quote from the Mars Opportunity Rover, as it broadcast it’s final long distance messages back to Earth [“my battery is low and it’s getting dark”]. Constellations deals with trying to help a friend who was struggling with their mental health and feeling like everything that was said made it worse.  

The EP Trust Everyone is a reflection of a hopeful gesture, trusting that everyone is doing their best. Hannah elaborates further: “I think the things that link them all are that they’re about women I know who were struggling in one way or another, and me trying to figure out ways to communicate with them, to understand them, or be there for them. So I guess the theme is reaching out.

Recorded predominantly on iPad at home and on public transport, Darren Hayman recorded Hannah’s vocals, and Hannah’s old band mate Emma Winston (Deerful) applied her know-how to the synth mixing.

Common or Garden have just started to perform live, supporting Mammoth Penguins and Darren Hanlon, with appearances alongside Darren Hayman and at Indietracks Festival forthcoming.

Hannah sings with older brother Bill Botting and The Two Drink Minimums (featuring members of Allo Darlin’, Tigercats, Nightflowers and more).

the songs are hardly there at all, but they linger sweetly” Uncut
a quite melancholic streak behind the sweetness of Botting’s often lovelorn lyrics” Folk Radio
simple, understated odes to a heart-worn sadness have bite” The Arts Desk

common - 0722.jpg

“Listening to Opportunity, this new sonic world if anything, feels a more natural fit for Hannah’s songwriting. The gentle, drifting propulsion of the drum machine, the burbling electronic pulses, the subtle meandering keyboard line, that for no real reason has us thinking of Cherry Blossom: it all feels like a perfectly unflashy backing for Hannah’s contemplative lyrics.” For The Rabbits

Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures - Tequila Island [12"/CD]

Artist: Stanley Brinks and The Wave Pictures
Title: Tequila Island
Format: 12” LP on agave and tequila coloured splatter vinyl / digipack CD with lyrics booklet
Cat#: Fika073LP/CD
Release date: 21st June 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Stanley Brinks is joined by The Wave Pictures for their fifth album together; and their first since 2015’s “My Ass”. That’s not to say either have been slacking in that time, both are notoriously prolific: The Wave Pictures have turned out 5 albums and Brinks 7 since they last came together in the studio.

Stan arrived at the studio with several CDs worth of unrecorded songs on a balmy North London night and instructed The Wave Pictures to pick out some favourites to jam during the following three nights of recording sessions.

To anyone familiar with Stanley Brinks' huge discography - more than 100 albums - it might sound more raw in a way, less sophisticated than some of his other recordings. It's still rich in jazzy sounds and original structures however, the songs looser and full of playfulness, with the lyrics carrying the essence of the songs.

Tequila - the drink - was obviously the inspiration for the album. While writing, and while recording.

Stanley 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.  

The Wave Pictures are David Tattersall, Franic Rozycki and Jonny ‘Huddersfield’ Helm. Formed in 1998 when Franic and David lived in a village called Wymeswold, the band played with several drummers until Jonny became a permanent member in 2003 replacing Hugh J Noble. In the beginning the band learned to play together by covering Jonathan Richman songs but soon David was writing lots of original material. 

They have since released six  studio albums to critical acclaim and played numerous sessions on BBC 6 Music, Radio 1 and Xfm. Interest generated from these recordings has enabled The Wave Pictures to play shows all over the world with artists including Jeffrey Lewis, Darren Hayman, Stanley Brinks, Freschard and Herman Düne.

“Tequila Island is every bit as joyous as you’d imagine a desert island with a well stocked bar would be. The meandering afro-beat influenced guitar line and prominent flute line provide the melody, as the infectious coming together of percussion and bass add a toe-tapping propulsion. Stanley has suggested Tequila was not just the influence for the songwriting, but also the recording sessions, where Mexico’s finest was used to keep out the balmy North London-night; which might explain why it’s the loosest and quite possibly most fun they’ve ever sounded.” For The Rabbits

“I like this album, it's a nice soup of folk, americana, Dylan-lite, with lots of drum brushes pattering away and acoustic guitars strummed softly.” Norman Records

“Brinks and The Wave Pictures pair detailed yet understated indie-folk weedling with the horizontal, alcohol-soaked relaxation that this sort of yacht-rock is often characterised by. The general instrumental foundation remains solid overall, driven by warm acoustic guitars that stick almost exclusively to simple melodies, but find a way to use them well in the lilting shuffle of Like A Fool and the title track, or the quicker-stepping dalliance into country on Like A Song. It’s all very tastefully produced as well, keeping everything relatively quiet and low-key, but simultaneously highlighting the pockets of detail that brings a nice sharpness and crispness to it all.” The Soundboard

“Two alt-indie cult acts for the price of one. Stanley Brinks of Herman Düne is a good match for the loose American-laced sound that The Wave Pictures muster. Comes in lyric inner sleeve on spectacular vinyl, transparent but spattered with teal!” The Arts Desk

“Musically speaking there are similarities with that record [Gin] too (I think it goes without saying that much of this record features jazzy guitar lines and a stripped back rhythm section), but there are also subtle changes in style, such as the country / rock n roll themed "Like a Fool" or "Like a Song", both of which have an air of The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo about them.” Cracklefeedback

“sounds like the whole thing is a teenage “band” recording in the kitchen, on a vintage cassette recorder borrowed from their gran. That’s after they’ve spent an entire year listening to the first Modern Lovers and Talking Heads albums” God is in the TV

The Ballet - Matchy Matchy [12"]

Artist: The Ballet
Title: Matchy Matchy
Format: 12” LP on black vinyl
Cat#: Fika072LP
Release date: 17th May 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Queer New York duo the Ballet marry the DIY ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of the Magnetic Fields and the romantic pop of Jens Lekman, to create literate, infectious pop gems.

Formed in 2005 by Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse, the Ballet self-released two previous albums: Mattachine! (2006) and Bear Life (2009). These caught the attention of Fortuna Pop!, which released their third album, I Blame Society, in 2013. The Ballet has been joined by a few other musicians along the way including Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O'Neill, who left in 2007 to join JD Sampson in MEN, as well as guest appearances on previous albums from Linton from The Aislers Set, Ramesh from Voxtrot, Scott Matthew, and Kaki King.

In addition to citing Stephin Merritt as an influence, Goldberg, who writes and home records all of the band’s songs, draws from an array of pop artists and periods, from 60’s bubblegum to 80’s synthpop and 90’s indiepop, fusing these in sophisticated and novel ways that reward repeat listening.

The Ballet’s new album, Matchy Matchy, is a return to the upbeat tenor of the band’s first two albums. While inspired by Goldberg’s experience navigating an open relationship with his boyfriend of 14 years, Matchy Matchy is not straightforwardly autobiographical; Goldberg writes from his experience, while also fantasizing about the perspective of his objects of desire, leaving ambiguous which is which. He is generally less melancholic than on I Blame Society, and fans will notice a return to earlier themes (“Looking” tackles Grindr, as “Personal” did Gaydar in 2006). Goldberg is not shy to write songs with explicitly queer subjects (“But I’m a Top,” “Messing Around,” “First Time in a Gay Bar”), while also taking on more universal longings, pleasures, and frustrations (“Jersey,” “Love Letter,” “Cry Baby”).

As the album’s title suggests, Matchy Matchy is also a meditation on sameness, both in its musical material (think limited chords in major keys, repeated phrases and constructions, and citations of Goldberg’s influences) and in its lyrical exploration of queer relationships and encounters. The album reclaims the insult of “matchy matchy,” finding value in repetition and doubling, both within the album and across the Ballet’s discography.

For press enquiries, please contact Jamie Otsa at Wall of Sound PR.


“This amiable embrace of ambivalence distinguishes Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse’s output as the Ballet from the work of their funny musical uncles, like the Magnetic Fields’ implacably ironic Stephin Merritt, the Hidden Cameras’ riot auteur Joel Gibb, even fairy godfathers Pet Shop Boys.
The music is so lovely, all dewy guitars and dripping synth bells, that it makes you understand the appeal of intertwining with someone who doesn’t necessarily respect you.” Pitchfork [7.6/10]

“The new single can only be described as a A-ha’s ‘Take on Me’ with the monochrome tones of The Smiths and it’s unbelievably catchy.” Attitude Magazine [premiere]

“‘Matchy Matchy’ is a beguiling album, one that plays with conceptions of not only sexuality but society as a whole. It’s an album for 2019.” Norman Records [9/10]

“The hooks are still in there, starring these light little keyboard notes maneuvering in and out behind that dancing guitar line. Sure Greg Goldberg has stylistic similarities to Stephin Merritt, but there’s this softness to his voice, a fragility that makes him feel just a touch more open and approachable.” Austin Town Hall

“the album is full of little pop anthems, in which the clean guitars are fused with the drum machines and some xylophone that another. This is the case of ' Looking ' or ' First in a Gay Bar ', which are brilliant. But the best of its more electronic side, appears in ' 20', a whole pop gem, for which many consolidated groups of the genre, would kill.” Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow

“The fact is that it is a beautiful, and irresistible, cut of synth-pop, for which many would kill. Among them his beloved Magnetic Fields .” Indienauta [Spanish]

“a sweet album, with a high playful tenderness” Written In Music [Dutch]

“The Ballet have succeeded in producing a record whose catchy sound never outshines the charm and depth of the lyrics” Lie in the Sound [German]

“The Ballet have become the sort of reliable, approachable yet pertinent little indie-pop act that it’s always good to have around.” The Soundboard

“this duo all the way from New York have fashioned an interesting way of marrying expressive DIY Indie music with some very pleasant and soothing instrumentation” The Independent Voice

“vocals akin with The Neighbourhood, but musically they have instrumentation and dance beats similar to that of Blaqk Audio or Scissor Sisters” Alt Corner

Mammoth Penguins - There's No Fight We Can't Both Win [12"/CD]

Artist: Mammoth Penguins
Title: There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win
Format: 12” LP on yellow vinyl / digipack CD
Cat#: Fika070
Release date: 26th April 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Following a sold out London show with Swearin’, Cambridge indie pop trio Mammoth Penguins are delighted to announce that they have signed to Fika Recordings and that their third album, There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win, will be released on 26th April 2019.

Mammoth Penguins are a 3-piece indie pop powerhouse, showcasing the songwriting and vocal talents of Emma Kupa (Standard Fare, The Hayman Kupa Band) backed up by the noisiest rhythm section in indie pop.

Their first album, Hide and Seek, was released with the much-loved and sorely missed Fortuna Pop! in 2015. Stand-out tracks ‘Strength In My Legs’ and ‘When I Was Your Age’ were picked up by BBC 6Music and Radio X, and the band played a live session for Marc Riley the following year.

But Mammoth Penguins didn’t want to stop there.  Their follow-up release John Doe in 2017 was an ambitious concept album, exploring the feelings of loss and anger at a man who fakes his own death, only to return years later. It featured contributions from Haiku Salut’s Sophie Barkerwood and Alto 45’s Joe Bear, and expanded well beyond the 3-piece rock‘n’roll template, with washes of strings, synths and samples (field recordings of butter being scraped on toast, photocopiers, and Ramsgate beach helping to fully immerse the listener in the world the band have created) filling out and developing Kupa’s songwriting.

Having had their ‘and now for something completely different’ moment, the band have brought that ambition and expanded palette to the production of this new release. The sound is big, bold and confident—with layers of guitars, backing vocals and keys all adding extra muscle—but maintaining Kupa’s candid, heartfelt, confessional style of songwriting, and the jubilant power pop hooks that made the first record so special.  

As with many songwriters, Kupa’s songs are derived mostly from her own personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings, be they long-lived or fleeting. “The times when people have said my lyrics resonate with them or articulate something specific for them are extremely validating for me and I hope that happens with this album,” she explains of the new record.

“Arranging the songs with Mark and Tom is a massive buzz and playing them live as a band feels so exciting. Having Joe and Faith put their mark on the album was also a massive privilege. Making a record can be an extremely slow and drawn out process that requires patience, perseverance and resilience, and because of that we are super excited and proud to be releasing this album.”

This time around, classic themes of love, loss and conflict are (mostly) given a hopeful and optimistic spin that opposition is neither inevitable nor hopeless. For musical comparisons, think Land of Talk, and Philadelphia bands such as Swearin and Hop Along, but Kupa’s insight into the everyday and her ability to pen such relatable and honest missives means that, often, the best comparison for Mammoth Penguins’ music is with your own past.

Press for There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win

“Standard Fare were never what I’d call twee, they were firmly in the indiepop scene and, even though Mammoth Penguins is a much more twee name, there is more oomph in the performances and arrangements, which makes for a nice mix of brawn, brains and heart. Speaking of, Emma’s heart remains on her sleeve, and her voice — both strong and vulnerable — conveys all the yearning and regret found in her lyrics. And the songs, like “I Wanna” — with its chorus of “I love you, I love you, I love you / Fuck it all, fuck it all, fuck it all” — are eminently relatable earworms.” Brooklyn Vegan

“[Kupa] has an unerring eye for the foibles of modern romance and details the mechanics of love and loss as well as anyone since the Wedding Present's David Gedge, only with a more sensitive touch. There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win is one of the finest examples of simple and true indie rock around” All Music [8/10]

There Is No Fight We Can't Both Win is another great collection of universally empathetic songs from a great songwriter that really ought to get a hearing beyond the indie world that is its home” Backseat Mafia [8.5/10]

“one of several moments on the album that remind me of their former Fortuna POP! label mate Steven Adams, and where this type of thing is concerned that’s about the highest praise I have to offer anybody. There’s No Fight We Both Can’t Win – smart, melodic, indie pop/punk about the trials of love and friendship, it’s a great record if you like that sort of thing.” Echoes and Dust

“Mammoth Penguins clutch memorable melodies out of seemingly fresh air. They have a very standard guitar, bass, drums set up which lacks somewhat in colour but the simplicity is used to create naggingly familiar hooks” Norman Records [8/10]

“for indie-pop overflowing with heart and replete with an oft-excellent command of melody, There’s No Fight…  delivers in spades” The Soundboard [7/10]

“Mammoth Penguins have come on in leaps and bounds here. This is simply a great album” God Is In The TV [8/10]

“Over the course of this album, Mammoth Penguins again show that they have the ability to create delightful pop music, much in the style as bands like The Pastels - I Wanna and Put It All On You - being prime examples” Even The Stars

“The 11 songs on There’s No Fight We Both Can’t Win revolves around the theme of love and relationships but Mammoth Penguins manage to avoid the album feeling stale. The band accomplish this by writing tunes you can really lose yourself to, lyrics that you can let wash over you and moments that just really engage you” Rush on Rock

“Heartfelt and honest...there's an attitude here that many similar bands are lacking in” Distorted Sound

“While there are some definite pop rocking numbers, my early time with the LP has me falling for “There is So Much More;” it’s a really soft tune, giving the album some diversity so it doesn’t wear on you…not to mention there’s no such thing as a bad Kupa performance” Austin Town Hall

“From the moment I heard Emma Kupa sing ‘I love you, I love you, I love you, fuck it all, fuck it all, fuck it all’ on ‘I Wanna’… I couldn’t help but become a Mammoth Penguins fanboy” Balloon Machine [track by track preview]

“an awesome pop record” One Chord

The Ballet - Love Letter [Digital]

Artist: The Ballet
Title: Love Letter
Format: Digital Single
Cat#: Fika072SG1
Release date: 12th April 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Following an appearance at Madrid Pop Fest 2019 in Spain last month, queer New York indie-pop duo The Ballet have released their new single ‘Love Letter’, which is out now on all good digital service providers.

‘Love Letter’ is the latest track to be taken from their fourth studio album,Matchy Matchy, which will be released by Fika Recordings on 17th May 2019.

Commenting on the new track, front man Greg Goldberg said: "I'm interested in the lengths we go through to keep our objects of desire around: trying to be on our best behavior, to be the person we think they want us to be, even at the expense of our integrity. It's a lot of work. I find poignant declarations of affection at the moment this all starts to unravel, maybe because these declarations seem particularly futile."

Previous single ‘But I’m A Top’ was added to Spotify’s Fresh Finds: Index playlist, with the track premiered with the UK’s best-selling gay magazine, Attitude.

Formed in 2005 by Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse, The Ballet marry the DIY ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of the Magnetic Fields, and the romantic pop of Jens Lekman, to create literate, infectious pop gems.

Matchy Matchy is released 17th May 2019 via Fika Recordings

For press enquiries, please contact Jamie Otsa at Wall of Sound PR.


Mammoth Penguins - You Just Carry On [Digital]

Artist: Mammoth Penguins
Title: You Just Carry On
Format: Digital Single
Cat#: Fika070SG3
Release date: 5th April 2019
Bandcamp | Spotify

Cambridge indie pop trio Mammoth Penguins have today released ‘You Just Carry On’, the latest single to be taken from their third album, There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win, released on 26th April 2019 via Fika Recordings.

“You just carry on. Me? I’m not that strong,” opines front woman Emma Kupa regretfully, on the new single; an ode to unrequited love that fizzes with the indie-pop magic and falsetto harmonies which made Mammoth Penguins such an irresistible proposition for Marc Riley at BBC 6music, whose ongoing support for the band continues with a live session scheduled for next month.

Kupa says of the new single: “One of the older songs on the album, ‘You Just Carry On’ is fast, noisy, petulant, and fun—and exhausting to play live. We have to give this song 100% every time we play it.”

The band have so far seen support from BBC 6music, Radio X, idobi Radio, Louder Than War, London in Stereo, Drowned in Sound, Exclaim!, God Is In The TV, and a whole host of blogs and specialist radio shows for their raw and incisive brand of lo-fi pop.

Mammoth Penguins recently announced a run of spring/summer UK headline tour dates plus an appearance at Indietracks Festival later this year (see below for full listings).

There’s No Fight We Can’t Both Win is released 26th April 2019

Mammoth Penguins live:
Friday 12 April – The Finsbury, London
Friday 10 May – Karma Kafe, Norwich
Sunday 12 May – Fusion Arts, Oxford
Monday 13 May – The Moon, Cardiff
Friday 24 May – The Tin, Coventry
Thursday 30 May – Bar Brig, Edinburgh
Saturday 15 June – The Shacklewell Arms, London
Thursday 20 June – Rough Trade, Nottingham
Tuesday 23 July – The Blue Moon, Cambridge
26–28 July – Indietracks Festival, Derbyshire

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