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Inappropriate Places for a Listening Party - Vol. 5

This week's listening party landed us in a little hot water with Great Auntie Sheila, or GAS for short (which is quite a fitting nickname for reasons I probably don't need to explain to you) who has always been a bit scary, mainly due to her massive eyebrows being stuck in a permanent frown. But it happened to be her cousins wedding ceremony and things didn't go quite as smoothly as hoped

And so, amidst the hallowed halls of Wakefield's big church, where love is meant to blossom and vows are meant to echo, we find ourselves at the wedding of a distant relative we barely know. The pews are our cushioned thrones, and the floral arrangements, our only source of entertainment. As boredom envelops us like a sullen cloud, we decide, in a stroke of genius or perhaps sheer mischief, that now is the perfect moment to indulge in some musical escapade. Unbeknownst to us, the church's Bluetooth has become our unwitting ally, connecting our phone to the hallowed PA system. Little did we realise that our quest for amusement would turn this sacred ceremony into a symphony of surprises, a wedding soundtrack they never saw coming.

Matt Felix "Leave, Just To Stay"

A man standing in front of a black background. A white fabric hangs behind him and a rope is on the floor. Matt Felix, as featured on It's Indie And We Know It
Matt Felix (Photo credit: Sophia French)

In the whimsical realm of Matt Felix's musical creation, "Leave, Just To Stay" emerges as a pop-rock gem that beckons the listener into a world of split emotions and courageous choices.

With an Anglo-French heritage and the imprint of early youth on the enchanting island of Bali, Matt-Felix unveils a unique song writing style, drawing on a mosaic of influences and moods.

The debut single is a testament to Matt Felix's versatility, his voice serving as a charismatic guide through the intricate melodies and evocative lyrics. As "Leave, Just To Stay" unfolds, it weaves a tale of internal conflict, where the desire for change clashes with the trepidation of the unknown. The theatrical video, set against the historic backdrop of the Rivoli Ballroom in South East London, amplifies the song's dramatic undertones.

In the tapestry of pop-rock, Matt Felix's "Leave, Just To Stay" stands as a compelling introduction to an artist carving a distinctive path. With more musical offerings on the horizon and live London shows awaiting in March and April, Matt Felix invites listeners to join him on a journey where each note is a step toward uncharted territories.

Some might find the song appropriate for a wedding but the timing of it, blasting out of the speakers as the "blushing" bride was shuffling her way down the aisle when "Here Comes The Bride" should have been booming from the pipe organ, was unfortunate. And, although I enjoyed the song immensely, the fact that I wasn't aware of the mishap due to my noise-cancelling headphones taught me a valuable lesson that day.

Austel "Salt"

A black and white image of a lady. Austel, as featured on It's Indie And we know it
Austel (image: John Williams)

In the minimalist tapestry of electro-pop, Austel's "Salt" emerges as a poignant exploration of toxic relationships, martyrdom, and the fervent desire to escape emotional turmoil. Austel, acting as both architect and narrator, crafts a moody sonic landscape that mirrors the dual nature of its namesake — salt.

The Dead Sea, a barren and hypersaline expanse, serves as a symbolic backdrop, juxtaposing its lifeless surface with historical tales of healing and recovery.

Self-produced by Austel and skillfully mixed by Jess Camilleri, "Salt" unfolds as a visceral journey, allowing the listener to navigate the complexities of personal torment. The unapologetic minimalism of the single acts as a canvas, with Austel's vocals taking center stage. Each note and lyric is a deliberate brushstroke, painting a picture of emotional contrasts and raw vulnerability.

As "Salt" paves the way for Austel's forthcoming album, 'Dead Sea,' slated for release on 2 February 2024, one can anticipate a continuation of this captivating exploration into the intricacies of pain, healing, and the delicate balance between the two.

Of course, the bride's salty tears (see what I did there?) after having her grand entrance greatly improved, then having "Salt" replace the rather tired "Morning Has Broken" had made the congregation a little annoyed. I noticed this when I briefly caught the (frankly) evil look that Great Uncle Norbert was giving to me. By this time, I think that the entire family had worked out that I was, albeit unknowingly, responsible for the change of music. The cracking of tattooed knuckles from my grandma and the unnerving appearance of several burly distant cousins made me a little nervous and I turned the music off. It turns out that "Morning Has Broken isn't quite as terrible as I remember.

The Miserable Rich "Probably Will"

In the enchanting realm of orchestral pop-rock, The Miserable Rich unveils their mesmerizing single, "Probably Will," a sonic gem that serves as the final prelude to their eagerly anticipated fourth studio album. Tentative reassurances echo through the verses, encapsulated in the poignant refrain, "We're gonna get through this and much more, Yeah, you know - we probably will."

Black and white image of five men in a field of long grass. The Miserable Rich, as featured on It's Indie and we know it
The Miserable Rich

Inspired by the whims of Murphy's Law, this unlikely anthem (and it is an anthem!) weaves a narrative around the unpredictable nature of life's challenges. The recurring vocal mantra, "we probably will," becomes a rallying cry, delivered with a sense of defiance and hope. The collaboration with Mike Siddell (The Leisure Society / Hope of The States) on sweeping guest violins and operatic backing vocals from Kelly Barnes elevates the song to orchestral heights, creating a sonic landscape that resonates with emotion.

The genesis of "Probably Will" is a tale of chance encounters and serendipity, born from misheard lyrics and a bit of friendly arm-twisting during the album recording session. Vocalist James de Malplaquet's explanation adds an intriguing layer to the song's creation, making it not just an anthem but a testament to the unpredictable beauty of artistic inspiration.

“This was the last song written for the main album and nearly didn’t make it… the band agreed to ‘squeeze it in’ at the end of the day’s studio recording if we had time. I’ll admit that making a song about Murphy’s Law and giving it this title was a bit playful and I did quite like taking it to the band for that reason. Will has had quite a few accidents in his time, including losing his passport at the airport bar on the first day of a tour. That sense of fun led me to putting the joke in the middle section, something I first thought about while listening to a Japanese Breakfast song. I realised on second listen, she hadn’t said what I thought she had - so I did. Sort of…. Overall – though it was almost an afterthought – I think the song fits very closely to the paradoxical and contranymic essence of the album.”

To be honest, Murphy's Law was in play at the wedding ceremony by this time. Ironically, just as the vicar was asking whether anyone present knew of any lawful impediment etc, the line "We're gonna get through this and much more" blared out over the speakers. I think that may have been the final straw for the "happy" couple, who instructed the several burly cousins to escort me from the building.

As you can imagine, I'm currently writing this review from a hospital bed, after the burly cousins made it quite clear that they didn't appreciate the improvements I had made to the mundane ceremony. If I'm honest, the pain was worth it - these three tracks are fabulous and deserve a much wider audience than the thirty or so distant relatives in a church.

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