Hatchie

On her debut EP Sugar & Spice, Hatchie delivered the sonic equivalent of falling
deliriously in love: a sustained rush of feeling, rendered in swoony melodies and gauzy
guitar tones and endlessly hypnotic layers of sound. Now, with her full-length debut
Keepsake, the Australian singer/songwriter tries on countless new textures, exploring
everything from industrial to new wave to dance-pop, handling each with understated
elegance and pure, powerful feeling.

In the making of Keepsake, the Brisbane-bred musician otherwise known as Harriette
Pilbeam recorded in a home studio in Melbourne and worked again with John Castle—
the producer behind Sugar & Spice, a 2018 release that prompted Pitchfork to dub her
the “dream-pop idol of tomorrow.” And while the album begins and ends with two
massively catchy pop tracks—the brightly defiant “Not That Kind,” the euphoric and epic
“Keep”—many songs drift into more emotionally tangled terrain, shedding light on
experiences both ephemeral and life-changing.

Throughout Keepsake, Hatchie’s kaleidoscopic sonic palette draws out distinct moods
and tones, continually revealing her depth and imagination as a musician and
songwriter. On lead single “Without a Blush,” jagged guitar riffs and woozy rhythms
meet in a sprawling piece of industrial-pop, with Hatchie’s gorgeously airy voice
channeling loss and longing, regret and self-doubt. Another industrial-leaning track,
“Unwanted Guest” unfolds in wobbly synth lines and fantastically icy spoken-word
vocals, along with lyrics about “being dragged to a party I don’t want to be at, then
getting at a fight at the party, and kind of hating myself for it but hating everybody else
too.” Meanwhile, on “Her Own Heart,” Hatchie presents a radiant jangle-pop gem that
puts a singular twist on the post-breakup narrative. “I’d seen people in my life go
through breakups and end up with no idea what to do with themselves,” she says. “I
wrote that song from the point of view of a girl who winds up on her own and embraces
having to figure out who she is, who doesn’t let her life get turned upside-down like
that.”

Elsewhere on Keepsake, Hatchie brings an unlikely transcendence to the most tender
of moments. With its softly pulsing beats and slow-building intensity, “Secret” spins a
heartrending anthem from what she describes as “confiding to a friend about your
mental health struggles, the things you can’t work out on your own.” On “Kiss the Stars,”
Hatchie’s cascading guitar work and mesmeric vocals meet with lyrics capturing a
precise form of melancholy. “With that song, I wanted to recreate the feeling of a
Sunday afternoon when the sun is setting and you don’t want the day to be over—that
awful end-of-weekend feeling,” she says. And on “Stay With Me,” Hatchie offers up
Keepsake’s most utterly rhapsodic track, all incandescent synth and unstoppable
rhythm. “At first I thought I could never put that on my album—it felt too dancey and
pop, and I figured it could really shine on someone else’s record,” she says. “But then I
realized: I’m the one dictating what my sound is; what I put on my album is up to me.”
That self-possessed spirit infuses all of Keepsake, which ultimately serves as a
document of a particularly kinetic moment in Hatchie’s life. “I’m not much of a nostalgic
person when it comes to memories, but I do have a tendency to hold on to certain
things, like tickets from the first time I went someplace on holiday,” says Hatchie in
reflecting on the album’s title. “It made sense to me to call the record that, at a time
when I’m going to probably end up with a lot of keepsakes—and in a way, this whole
album is almost like a keepsake in itself.”

Tallies

TALLIES navigate an unfamiliar world on their confident self-titled debut album, which blends elements of shoegaze, dream pop, and surf rock into a fresh sound that’s all their own. The band was founded by singer and rhythm guitarist Sarah Cogan and lead guitarist Dylan Frankland, a couple who met in a sound engineering class while attending Algonquin College. Tallies’ sound was fully realized with the addition of Frankland’s friend from childhood rock camp, drummer Cian O’Neill, and bassist Stephen Pitman. In a year since relocating to Toronto, the quartet have played shows with bands like Mudhoney, Hatchie, Sloan, and fellow Toronto band Weaves.

Sarah started music lessons at a young age, learning simple piano melodies and guitar chords that she could sing and write lyrics over. Frankland has also been immersed in music for most of his life, growing up with a music-obsessed father who introduced him to greats like The Smiths, The Sundays, Aztec Camera, and Cocteau Twins. He subconsciously carried these influences into Tallies, which is evident in the Johnny Marr stylings of his guitar riffs and the Robin Guthrie-tinged shoegaze textures of his production. “While writing this album, we were listening to The Sundays Reading, Writing and Arithmetic a lot,” says Frankland, adding, “Harriet Wheeler’s soft-spokenly sweet melodies has a major influence on where Sarah sometimes takes her writing to.”

Despite lyrics that confront the anxieties and uncertainties of growing up, DIY Mag noted their style is more carefree, calling it “woozy, surf-pop nodding gold that wouldn’t sound out of place blaring out of a busted cadillac cruising past Venice Beach.” Opening track “Trouble” is a song about naivety and being unable to foresee potential forthcoming danger. “This innocence, for women especially, is impossible to maintain as you grow older,” notes Cogan. On their infectious and charging lead single “Beat The Heart,” Cogan laments “the lack of empathy that exists so strongly today.” “Mother” touches on the transition from an adolescent, dependent relationship with your parents to a mature, independent one. Cogan questions what parental advice to take and what to leave behind, knowing she’ll learn from it either way (“My mother taught me to ask questions / She said that boyfriend will not do / I talked yet still I never listened / Somehow she always still rings true”). Album closer “Easy Enough” meditates on the lasting impact we have on each other and a realization of “how difficult it is to move past changing relationships,” Cogan says, while “Giving Up” addresses environmental concerns, namely global warming.

The album was co-produced by Frankland and Josh Korody at Toronto’s Candle Recordings, a hot spot where locals like Metz, Dilly Dally, Austra, and Weaves have made indie classics. It’s also where Frankland works as an engineer/producer. With upbeat percussion, melodic bass riffs, and magnetic guitar leads, Tallies puts one-of-a-kind melodies to the universal impact of adulthood hitting you square in the face. It’s the band’s soundtrack for adjustment and their outlet for making sense of the lessons they’ve learned throughout a year of change: “This year was very eye opening to how some people have made me feel new and uneasy emotions, and others have been so generous with kindness,” says Cogan. “I find it so interesting how people are so individual and different when we’re all built the same. I’ve grown from these interactions by recognizing them more and more everyday — Learning how to adapt and understand what people’s intentions really are and what my sensitive mind is contorting.”

“Tallies was written over the course of 2018. It was a year filled with on-going changes and the adaptation of adult life. This album embarks on a year of growing and the feelings left behind when everything around you is shifting.” – Sarah Cogan of Tallies

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