Five years in: (some of) the earthings! story in photographs

Honestly, there really isn’t a lot of story to tell, unless I decide to act like a really big thing and insist that the mundane things earthings! has done over its five years of existence is worth telling. But isn’t it fun to be able to post a photo album of scenes captured from those five years – at least scenes that don’t involve me writing paragraphs in front of a laptop from my so-called desk, or sometimes at various hotels across the region – and say something about the “story” of earthings! across its five years of existence? Yes, right? So, well, here it is – a slightly random compendium of photos, of the people we met, the people we became friends with, and in between, some photos that didn’t quite make it to these pages. This is, after all, a personal blog masquerading as a music blog. You get the idea. [NB]

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Review: Bruises by Dia Frampton

Bruises by Dia FramptonDia (Frampton) returns after almost six years with a brand new album Bruises with twelve original tracks that possibly tell about Dia’s drifting journey in life and in the music scene post-The Voice. I find it not to have a single trace of the vibe of her solo debut Red. Instead, she replaced it with poignant vulnerability and a kind of sadness that is hopeful. Each track has different transitory themes, from being lost to finding and braving a new path. The album starts with the ethereal aaaahs of “Hope” and stumbling “Out of the Dark.” Dia’s brilliant songwriting is magnificently textured by her authentic breathy voice from the weariness in the “Dead Man” to the soul-uplifting “Don’t Look Back.” Listening to it gives me a sense of both liminality and being lost at sea trying to get back home. Probably one of most well-crafted albums that I’ve heard for the longest time, Bruises is quite a rare genuine emotional experience. [AA] | 5/5

“I could show you now, but you’re never gonna see.”

“Bittersweet” by Archis | I’ve been sitting on this for a few weeks now, even months, knowing that there’ll be an EP release, and that EP was released yesterday, or today, depending on which time zone you’re on. Also, you’ve probably seen Allene mention these guys on her Fantasy Festival stage last week. Of course. This is a Dia Frampton project. She would include her. Archis is a collaboration with Joe Trapanese, composer for television and film; he’s had a hand in M83‘s sprawling Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, as well as the soundtrack to Tron: Legacy (led by Daft Punk). As for this, well, it’s an interesting, albeit inconsistent, mix. Dia’s always been a chameleon, recently throwing her voice into a couple of dance tracks (like this Crystal Method one), but the six tracks on Archis’ eponymous EP doesn’t always work. Sometimes Joe’s cinematic style and Dia’s more gentle ruminations work – like in this track – but sometimes it doesn’t. I’m looking at you, “Black Eye”. You’re way too confusing. And maybe that’s the rub. Maybe, like before, I just have to get used to it. But, again, there’s something here. And now you wonder if a full album is in the offing. [NB]

“Don’t be afraid to risk it all.”

“We Are Giants” by Lindsey Stirling featuring Dia Frampton | This didn’t really slip past the radar; I just waited for a stream. This song has got my interest for all the obvious reasons: I have seen both artists live. I didn’t quite expect them to collaborate, but if you factor in Dia’s recent forays into providing vocals for EDM tracks – and their common YouTube heritage, of sorts – I should’ve. I’m still trying to get used to doing shapes to Dia, though, but I guess I only have to imagine Lindsey performing in that manic style of hers and it will be effortless. This, by the way, is part of Lindsey’s second album, Shatter Me, which was released just last week. Now, to be en pointe again. And to, maybe, hope to see both of them perform the song live. In front of me. Here. Again. Or something. [NB]