HighClouds, Music Junkies’ Holy Bible is a project headed by a team of music-addicts. We have varied tastes and we are crazy about emerging talented artists; we run a music blog that has became a real multimedia platform. Our main focus is reviewing materials (album, EP, video, tracks) from new up and coming artists. We also cover the releases of established ones.
Sir Babygirl‘s debut album Crush On Me is out on Father/Daughter.
Crush On Me is the long-awaited debut album by Kelsie Hogue under the moniker Sir Babygirl. A queer and non-binary pop sensation from New Hampshire who put out three of the best singles to be released under any genre last year, Sir Babygirl was one of the hottest names in alternative pop music even before putting out an album or EP. And deservedly so. Her music appropriates pop tropes not so in vogue at the minute and gives them a new spin by placing them in a queer context.
Much has been written about Hogue’s obsession with 2000s pop. Unlike with other left-field DIY pop artistes, there’s not a lot on Crush On Me that sounds forward-thinking in the way that SOPHIE or Brockhampton do. Instead, Hogue’s efforts seem more focused on recuperation than on re-invention. Take lead single “Flirting With Her” and the crunchy guitars with which the song opens, or the gang vocals in “Cheerleader”. A good chunk of the album feels taken out straight out of the mid-2000s pop scene – some of it sounds pop-punkish in a good way, which is something I thought I would never say about anything.
If you’ve been following Sir Babygirl for the past year or so, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard almost half of the album. However, these songs take on a different meaning when listening to the album in full. Clocking in well below the thirty minute mark, Crush On Me impresses by showcasing a wide range of styles in a very limited time. “Heels” is a straightforward pop song almost exclusively propelled by its programmed rhythm section, “Cheerleader” is a kickdrum-and-synth led banger that wouldn’t be out of place in Robyn’s Body Talk, the unabashed loneliness of “Everybody Is A Bad Friend” feels like the end result of a Rilo Kiley and The Radio Dept supergroup, and you’ll probably go double check that you aren’t listening to one of Paramore’s latest albums after hearing “Pink Lite”. The list goes on and on. Crush On Me is an absolute gem of an album, the kind of release you can listen to on repeat until you’ve learnt every note and every word.
A ridiculously strong album from front to back, Crush On Me is not marred by any underdeveloped idea or dubious production choice. Every song here is either an absolute banger or a nice little linking point that makes Crush On Me feel more like an album effort. And that is quite the feat when you come to consider that one third of the album is comprised by reprises and outros, something that Hogue can easily get away with – simply because the reprises might be the best thing about Crush On Me. On “Flirting With Her (Reprise)”, she takes one of the original’s many hooks and writes an entire new song out of it, an understated acoustic guitar tearjerker that stands in stark contrast with the crunchy feel of its mother song. A similar thing happens with “Haunted House (Reprise)”, whose melancholy airs suggest that the party of the original song resulted in a hangover from which no one has recovered yet.
It comes as no surprise that Hogue attended a classical pop structure course, as the songwriting in Crush On Me reveals that, for all her insistence on putting together a different disguise for each song, there are a few recurrent tropes in her songs. For example, Hogue often goes for string-led breakdowns just before the final burst of emotion (“Flirting With Her”, “Cheerleader”), and most of her choruses are structured in a similar way. This is far from being a criticism – Hogue recognises the strongest points in her songwriting and makes the most out of them every time she can.
Crush On Me screams out “debut album” throughout every second of its running length. Hogue experiments with different sounds in every track, not because she hasn’t figured things out yet but because fluidity is at the very heart of the Sir Babygirl project. Based on some of the album’s passages, it wouldn’t be too surprising if the next Sir Babygirl album is an ambient-inspired dream-pop record or a straight-up power pop album – hell, it might even be both things at the same time. We can hazard a guess, but only Kelsie Hogue knows what Sir Babygirl will be in the future. The rest of us should just sit back, relax and enjoy what Sir Babygirl is at the moment – one of the most exciting news in pop music in recent times.
Pecas‘ new song “T-Shirt” is out now via Broken Circles.
Pecas is the moniker of Brooklyn-via-Madrid artist Sandy Davis. Earlier this week, she dropped a lo-fi and sensual R&B song, “T-Shirt”, which explores obsessive love. Indeed, the dreamy and retro track was written after she stole an ex’s t-shirt and turned it into a fetish trophy. In the accompanying Joshua Thomas-directed visuals, Pecas acts as a tender psychopath laying in a silky bed and playing with fruit pulp in a suggestive manner reminescent of Stephanie Sarley‘s art.
About “T-Shirt”, the artist detailed on Gorilla Vs Bear where it was premiered:
I stole my ex’s t-shirt after we broke up and slept in it for really long time. At a certain point I realized that it was slightly creepy and also comical. The song was an admission to myself of just that. The video didn’t come to fruition until a year or so after I had written the song, at that point I was far enough removed from any sentimental attachments to it and was able to explore more of the comedic aspects. I drew a lot of inspiration from Connan Mockasin’s “I’m the Man That Will Find You” and started to play around with the idea of being the female counterpart to that. I wanted to own being a creepy/sensual R&B crooner and hoped with the video to blur the lines of gender, identity, and sensuality. The song was later revised to include low pitch-shifted vocals to reinforce this idea in the video. And in the very end of the editing process we added a warp on my face for a few shots, primarily because I really got a kick out of it – the idea of breaking and recreating my perception of myself and how others perceive me.
“Crush On Me” is the title track of Sir Babygirl‘s debut album Crush On Me out now on Father/Daughter.
Kelsie Hogue aka Sir Babygirl has finally released her debut album and, coming with this exciting news, the queer artist has also unveiled an uncanny video for its title track. Revisiting the myth of Narcissus with an Avril Lavigne‘s “Sk8er Boi” aesthetic, Holgue is playing here two characters – or two sides of her bisexual personality – who fall in love with each other. The video also features her old dog who is now dead but forever in our hearts.
Earlier this week, Sir Babygirl kindly curated and inaugurated the first edition of our monthly LGBTQ-friendly playlist Queeropedia.
Sir Babygirl - Crush on Me (Official Video) - YouTube
“What Lovers Do” is taken from Hand Habits‘ new album placeholder due March 1 on Saddle Creek.
A few weeks before the release of their sophomore album, Meg Duffy, also known as Hand Habits, shares a brand new track from the 12-track project. Released on Valentine’s Day, the falsely tender “what lovers do” compares desire to fire and explores the artist’s struggles to become fully involved in love relationships. “halfway with my hands into the fire of my desire”, she sings.
The follow up to the excellent “can’t calm down” also comes with an Alexa Viscius-directed video which features Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes. About this new release, Duffy explained to The Fader:
Hesitation, revelation, and repetition-aspects of the story you can identify easily, and must be the witness and the participant. When the shame baton gets passed back and forth between parties, who is the fool? I could never claim to have a complete understanding.
“Send To Robin Immediately” is taken from Robyn‘s excellent album Honey out on Konichiwa Records.
Robyn is never where you expect her to be. Last year, she ended an 8-year hiatus in solo with the release of Honey, an amazing album showcasing a new musical direction. Recently, she also announced her fashion line RBN in collaboration with Björn Borg. And while a lot of fans were expecting “Ever Again” as her next single, the Swedish popstar has now decided to release a video for the Kindness-produced song “Send To Robin Immediately”.
Just like for her previous single “Honey“, the visuals of “Send To Robin Immediately” were directed by Max Vitali. They also celebrate the freedom to love and dance freely and introduce as well the capsule collection that the artist created with renowned stylist Naomi Itkes. Watch below.
Helsinki’s Flow Festival 2019 takes place in the unique urban setting of Suvilahti on 9.–11. August.
Helsinki’s Flow Festival have just revealed 18 new additions to what is shaping up as a highlight of the Summer 2019. The new series of names includes the freshly GRAMMY-awarded queen of rap Cardi B as well as hip-hop innovators Earl Sweatshirt and slowthai. Queer multi-talented singer-songwriter Blood Orange and adventurous pop artist Neneh Cherry will also be part of the celebration. The other names as well as the the daily program are available on their website.
Next week, the ecological-friendly festival will publish the Resident Advisor Front Yard program featuring electronic music. All in all, almost 150 artists will perform at the festival, including HighClouds favourites Robyn, Mitski and CupcakKe. Get your tickets there.
“Free” is taken from SASAMI‘s self-titled debut album out March 8 on Domino.
After having collaborated for years with a myriad of talented artists, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sasami Ashworth will finally unveil her debut album as SASAMI in a few weeks. So far, we’ve heard “Callous”, “Not The Time” and “Jealousy” and she has just unveiled a brand new single off of the 10-track project.
Her new offering, “Free”, features additional vocals by Devendra Banhart. About this quiet new track, she stated:
‘Free’ is a lopsided duet about how destiny plays into matters of the heart – how sometimes when you lose in love, freedom is the consolation prize, and in that way, you’ve actually transcended.
Coming with the song, here’s the Riley Blakeway-directed video which was shot in Australia. Watch below.
Westkust‘s self-titled sophomore album is out March 1 on Impartmaint / Luxury / Run For Cover / Through Love Records.
A few weeks ago, Gothenburg’s five-piece band Westkust, who have two members in common with Makthaverskan, announced the release of their sophomore album with the epic, wild and yet so pop “Swebeach”. The track was instantly added in our Best Tracks of 2019 playlist.
They’re now back with a second single, “Cotton Skies”, which celebrates unconditional love with fervor and innocence. “Come and look outside ‘cause we have cotton skies, And there’s no place around here for me, I’ll love you till I die”, sings a cheerful Julia Bjernelind over heavenly shoegazing guitars. It simply sounds as magic as your very first love: it is short, fresh and sassy, and it flies by… Listen below.
In the thriller-like visuals, which were filmed by Jake Menne with assistance from Daniel Chesney and Skyler Ford, Whitney Ballen is driving on a forest road while trying to escape a masked character. This tense atmopshere is obviously a metaphor about going through a difficult relationship. Happy Valentine’s Day anyways. Watch the video and check her upcoming gigs below.
Whitney Ballen - Black Cloud [Official Video] - YouTube
SAMIA‘s double A-side single “Lasting Friend/Paris” is out now on Grand Jury.
Twenty-year-old singer-songwriter Samia recently shared a double A-side single as well as a video for the first track “Lasting Friend“. The New Yorker artist has now unveiled the visuals for the second track “Paris” that she co-directed with Zak Adams. Sounding like a tender lo-fi lullaby, “Paris” is actually a regretful song about a broken relationship. The touching video also plays with this feeling of nostalgia as it features personal video footages of the artist. Watch below.