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  • Writer's pictureBarney Townsend

TM Store Spotlight - July 2021

As summer scorches on and live music venues open back up across the land, it's time for another eclectic selection of stores from across Townsend Music just ready to explore. Representing July 2021 we're serving you soaring sun-kissed pop, cinematic alt-rock, star-studded future rock n roll and two of the most accomplished singer-songwriters in the world today.


Aquilo - A Safe Place To Be

For Fans Of: The XX, London Grammar

Electronic indie-pop duo Aquilo achieved huge success as their first two albums; Silhouettes and ii, amassed 250 million streams as they hit Glastonbury and played with Oh Wonder. Audibly reborn on recent releases such as ‘Out In LA’ and the Sober EP, the band continue their resurrection with the release of new album A Safe Place To Be on October 15th.

Nowhere is Aquilo's soaring, ambitious and achingly beautiful sound more striking than on ‘Our Bones Turn To Stone’, a heart-quivering song that yearns for home over shimmering piano and strings. It was written two years ago when the duo - Ben Fletcher and Tom Higham - returned home to Silverdale from Los Angeles and discovered that embracing their roots was all the inspiration that they needed.

"It’s been 2 years in the making, we wanted to paint a picture of everything we’ve been through, everything we can remember, all in our own safe place called home." - Aquilo

A Safe Place To Be is released on the 15th of October. Pre-order on CD, vinyl and cassette from the official store, alongside a new range of merchandise and exclusive A3 signed posters.


Thea Gilmore - Afterlight and The Emancipation Of Eva Grey

For Fans Of: Natalie Merchant, Eliza Carthy

Singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore has released more than twenty albums since her 1998 debut Burning Dorothy and has announced two new records, one under the name Thea Gilmore and one under a new name: Afterlight. Although their songs share the same subject matter, stylistically they’re worlds apart. The Emancipation of Eva Grey promises to be her "last album as Thea Gilmore for a while" with songwriting and arrangements a judiciously joyous jazz excursion.

Afterlight is a very different proposition. This is a real account of one woman’s journey from an impressionable 16-year-old bound into a toxic working and romantic relationship with a man 23 years her senior, to a brand new artist and a free woman finding her own beginning, written, produced and performed by Afterlight.

"An account of all the damage, both physical and mental, wrought upon one small life." - Afterlight

Pre-order Afterlight and The Emancipation Of Eva Grey CDs now, the latter exclusively available as a limited edition physical-only signed version from Thea Gilmore's official store. Bundle both and receive a free signed print.


Curse Of Lono - People In Cars

For Fans Of: John Murry, Alabama 3

Founded and fronted by Felix Bechtolsheimer, formerly the singer-guitarist in British roots pioneers Hey Negrita, Curse Of Lono formed in early 2015. Combining harmony-laden Americana with driving, gothic alt-rock, Curse Of Lono cover themes including infidelity and sexual jealousy, the death of friends, and Felix’s personal struggles, leading Mojo to opine: “If dangerous living bothers you, look away now - but for everyone else, Curse Of Lono are a new beacon of darkness.”

New album People In Cars, is set for release via Submarine Cat Records, (who include former Store Spotlight alumni She Drew The Gun and Alabama 3 on their vaunted roster). Recorded during lockdown with long-term collaborator and producer Oli Bayston and engineer Iain Berryman, People In Cars is a stunningly cinematic record that continues the band’s musical evolution and reinforces their trajectory as one of the most compelling lyrical voices of the British musical underground.

"When I first got clean, I used to feel like running away a lot. This song captures that feeling. Only this time the pain isn’t drug related. It’s the ghosts of the past and the people I’ve lost." - Felix Bechtolsheimer

People In Cars, set for release on the 19th of November, is available to pre-order on limited edition clear or yellow vinyl, CD and cassette from the official Curse Of Lono store.


Mara Simpson - In This Place

For Fans Of: Emily Barker, The Unthanks

Described by Line Of Best Fit as "a perfectly balanced blend of folk, blues and Americana" Mara Simpson is a British musician and storyteller, currently based in Stroud. Through her songs and collaborations with artists and local communities, she draws on the sublime and the ridiculous from our everyday lives. In This Place marks the start of another new journey for Mara: the first record to be released on Downfield Records, a non-profit imprint set up by Simpson, placing artists at its centre.

In 2020, with songs ready to be recorded for her new album, she headed into the studio where she quickly came to the realisation that she was working in a toxic environment with a producer whose moods everyone had started to dread. The sessions were scrapped and eventually found Simpson working with Ellie Mason of Voka Gentle, in whom she found a natural collaborator.

"Ironically, at the end of a year spent managing my daughter’s breathing issues, I had an asthma attack induced by the studio’s hypoallergenic cat. Enough was enough..." - Mara Simpson

Blending alt-folk, analogue synth and classical composition, In This Place is a tale of quiet rebellion and taking back control, available to pre-order on signed CD along with a coloured vinyl edition pressed on recycled vinyl.


Humanist - Humanist

For Fans Of: Depeche Mode, The Anchoress

Humanist is the expansive and ambitious project orchestrated by guitarist and producer Rob Marshall - guitarist of Exit Calm and co-writer of Mark Lanegan’s celebrated Gargoyle and Somebody’s Knocking albums. This debut album features an all-star cast of collaborators including Mark Lanegan (Queens Of The Stone Age), Mark Gardener (Ride), Carl Hancock Rux (David Holmes, Portishead) and many more.

MusicOMH described Humanist as "a dense and intense experience, which one could argue expertly reflects the general mood of the world today. If you're going to examine such topics as death, mortality and the pointlessness of existence then it helps to have a fantastic voice to lead the charge." The album includes the epic single 'Shock Collar', featuring iconic Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan.

By popular demand, the Humanist vinyl is back in stock, with new bundles and merchandise available on the official store.


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