Exotic Monsters (22/1/21)

Exotic Monsters (22/1/21)

Creativity Homepage Feature Letterbox Music News Releases Singles

Release date: 22nd January 2021
Label: My Big Sister Recordings


GET THE SONG

+ Click to download pay what you want/can from Bandcamp.
+ Get “Exotic Monsters” plus all previous Penfriend singles when you join The Correspondent’s Club (free and paid tiers available).
+ Type “penfriend exotic monsters” into your digital music platform of choice.


ABOUT THE VIDEO

“We’re more connected than ever, yet we’re becoming more polarised. The pandemic promised a coming together of communities yet, as the third UK lockdown grinds grimly on, the people in my area of Bristol have battened down the proverbial hatches. It’s easy to feel like we live on a different planet from our fellow humans sometimes, so with this video I wanted to bring the artwork for the single to life, to suggest that perhaps the monsters we perceive to be all around us are more similar to us than different.

I spent 20 hours constructing 3D paper masks, set up a green screen in my living room and used up two of my daily exercise sessions to create this oddball trip into my imagination. Enjoy!”


ABOUT THE SONG

Penfriend, aka music producer, songwriter and multi-disciplinary artist Laura Kidd, presents “Exotic Monsters“.

Sparked by a throwaway phrase from Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Exotic Monsters” is a laundry list of asynchronous human needs and desires; a reflection of our increasingly confused, disconnected and polarised lives. A timely reminder of the practice of cultivating gratitude through meditation, the song is an attempt to examine our internalised inconsistencies; the “facts” we pile up on our own backs throughout lives bombarded by airbrushed images and ads for the unattainable baubles we’re informed are essential for true happiness.

Shackled to our phones by big tech companies monetising and eroding our attention spans, feeling increasingly as though we live on a different planet to those we disagree with, chasing likes on social media while forgetting to look after our brains and our hearts…where will this all end? Some days it’s hard to believe late MP Jo Cox’s poignant words, that “we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us”.

Addressing this sense of disconnection and depersonalisation, “Exotic Monsters” evokes the menace of “Enjoy The Silence”-era Depeche Mode with a nod to the 80s- Madonna hero worship of Sky Ferreira’s “Everything Is Embarrassing” and the hypnotic synth pop of Sylvan Esso.

To quote Björk, “I’m no fucking Buddhist, but this is enlightenment”.

Fun fact: “Exotic Monsters” features several Creative Commons drum samples created by the European Space Agency, recorded at their European Space Research and Technology Centre in the Netherlands. Using sounds from space on a song about feeling disconnected from life on earth just felt wildly appropriate…

CREDITS

Written, produced, performed and recorded by Laura Kidd at The Launchpad, Bristol. Mixed by Dan Austin. Mastered by Katie Tavini. Artwork by Alex Tillbrook, concept by LK.

ESTEC drum samples pk3, pk4, pk6 and pk11 credit: Peter Kirn/CDM/ESA CC BY-SA. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

LYRICS 

I try sollipsistic recreation
I crave love without abbreviation
I need time to kiss this cup of coffee
I keep letters from the one who loved me
I will take all the dreams that Hollywood promised me
I want it now

We’re exotic monsters, dead from the waist down How can I be clear?
Gratitude’s the first sign of waking
I won’t go back

Keep a kiss for me
Cos we all fall down under an international sky
Fighting to believe it’ll be all right
I’m on an extrasolar high

I seek narcissistic decoration
I crave soil, warmth, ventilation
I’d like to focus on my silent fiction
I need to kick this dopamine addiction
I dream of being someone’s happy memory I want it all

We’re exotic monsters, dead from the waist down
How can I be clear?
Gratitude’s the first sign of waking
Please don’t keep me here

Keep a kiss for me
Cos we all fall down under an international sky
Fighting to believe it’ll be all right
I’m on an extrasolar high

Keep a kiss for me
Cos we all fall down under an international sky
Fighting to believe it’ll be all right
I’m on an extrasolar high

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Obey Robots – “Let It Snow” (4/12/20)

Obey Robots – “Let It Snow” (4/12/20)

Homepage Feature Letterbox Releases Singles


Release date: 4th December 2020
Label: My Big Sister Recordings


GET THE SONG

+ Pre-order vinyl / pay what you want/can download from Bandcamp.

ABOUT THE SONG

“Let It Snow” is the debut single by Obey Robots – a bold new project from Rat (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin) and Laura Kidd (Penfriend / She Makes War). Connected by mutual friend Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff), the pair pool their disparate influences to break new ground.

An unflinching, anthemic powerhouse to close out a terrible year, “Let It Snow” announces itself on a motoric Krautrock groove recalling Stereolab’s “French Disko” if rewired by Queens Of The Stone Age or “Used For Glue”-era Rival Schools. There isn’t a jingle bell in sight – just a clarion call for a collective look to the future.

As her previously busy world reduced to the size of her Bristol studio, The Launchpad, Laura started creating cut-up collages from Rat’s intense, melodic guitar parts, building new sound spaces to voice her hopes, fears and frustrations but, more importantly, to offer a hand to the uncertain.

The lyrics to “Let It Snow” issue a heady invocation to the weather gods to fast forward this worst of years by dousing the world in clean, crisp hope for brighter days, where we can hug our loved ones and gather together in dark music venues to celebrate the wonders of being alive.

The double A side single is available to pre-order NOW on limited edition pink 7″ vinyl and CD, with the first track, “Let It Snow”, available as a pay what you want/can digital download.

CREDITS

Written by Pring / Kidd. Produced by Laura Kidd. Mixed by Dan Austin. Mastered by Katie Tavini. Guitar performed and recorded by Rat. Bass, vocals and synths performed and recorded by Laura Kidd. Drums performed and recorded by Max Saidi.

LYRICS 

Look how we run for cover
Watch how we fight, fight, fight
I haven’t seen my mother
But I found my lust for life

I want to race the summer
Cos we’re falling down, down
Just let me talk the winter round

I’m feeling so soluble, time melts away
These days are unendable
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

The roar becomes a whisper
Smash through computer screens
I haven’t seen my sister
So fire up the time machines

I’m feeling so soluble, time melts away
These days are unendable
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

I’m feeling invisible, words wear away
This year is impossible
Let it go, let it go, let it go

Feeling so soluble, time melts away
These days are unendable
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
Let it go, let it go, let it go

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The Only Way Out Is Through (8/9/20)

The Only Way Out Is Through (8/9/20)

Homepage Feature Letterbox Releases Singles


Release date: 8th September 2020
Label: My Big Sister Recordings
Distributor: Southern Record Distributors

GET THE SONG

+ Download PWYW from Bandcamp.
+ Get all Penfriend singles PLUS unreleased track “Cancel Your Hopes” FREE when you join The Correspondent’s Club.
+ Search for “Penfriend” on your music platform of choice.

ABOUT THE SONG

I can’t do much of anything when I’m feeling down, let alone write a song about it, but one day in 2019 when I was trudging my way back, I made an attempt to leave a breadcrumb trail for my future self.

“The Only Way Out Is Through” is my attempt to trap the “shapeless forces” that “pull at me”, making them solid by assigning words to them, reducing their power and size to something I might feasibly be able to overcome. The aspirational sentiment that “resistance is crucial, forgiveness is beautiful” is one I find very hard to enact in the moment, but something I can at least continue to strive for.

Ironically, this song is being released during my lowest fortnight of the last 12 months, so the safety line of lyrics I knotted inside the music is a helpful reminder of brighter days.

The choice to release music in a universally dark time isn’t one I take lightly. “The Only Way Out Is Through” is the most resonant and useful piece of music I have to offer right now, a rescue raft for whoever needs one.

That’s what this song is for me.

LYRICS 

Gotta get out of this
Making a meal of distress
Fatalistic to the bone
Thunderclouds in every home
Gotta get out of this

The only way out is through
Not gonna lose my heart – I never meant to
The only way out is through

Gotta get out of this
Drowning in yesterday’s tears
Intimate conspiracies
Shapeless forces pull at me
Gotta get out of this

The only way out is through
Not gonna lose my heart – I never meant to
The only way out is through


The only way out is through
Not gonna lose my heart
I never meant to wish on a falling star
But I won’t let it go

Denial take me away
Pretend like I’m not the queen of stretching the days
In all the wrong ways – til they break
Denial take me away
I crave your sweet mistakes but
Resistance is crucial, forgiveness is beautiful

The only way out is through
Not gonna lose my heart – I never meant to
The only way out is through

CREDITS

[music]
Written, produced and performed by Laura Kidd at The Launchpad, Bristol.
Drums by Max Saidi. Mixed by Dan Austin. 
Mastered by Chris McCormack at Blacklisted Mastering.

[artwork]
Portrait by @genskiart, logo and wordmark by Miritte Ben Yitzchak, concept and layout by Laura Kidd.

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Everything Looks Normal In The Sunshine (15/5/20)

Everything Looks Normal In The Sunshine (15/5/20)

Letterbox Releases Singles

Release date: 15th May 2020
Label: My Big Sister Recordings

GET THE SONG

+ Get all Penfriend singles PLUS unreleased track “Cancel Your Hopes” FREE when you join The Correspondent’s Club.
+ Download PWYW from Bandcamp.
+ Search for “Penfriend” on your music platform of choice.

Read more about how the song came into being here.

CREDITS

[music]
Written, produced and performed by Laura Kidd. 
Drums by Max Saidi. Mixed by Dan Austin. 
Mastered by Chris McCormack at Blacklisted Mastering.

[artwork]
Portrait by @genskiart, logo and wordmark by Miritte Ben Yitzchak, concept and layout by Laura Kidd.

ABOUT THE SONG

Debut Penfriend single “Everything Looks Normal In The Sunshine” was born as the horror of Coronavirus overtook the news. Shocked by the way life in her local neighbourhood seemed to carry on regardless – lawns were mowed, sparrows chirped and Laura’s dogs always need their walks – her heartfelt response was, naturally, a song. 

Written in a morning coffee break while her husband took a Skype work meeting in the next room, the song was recorded entirely in her home attic studio The Launch Pad, except for live drums which were beamed in remotely by Max Saidi. 

“Everything Looks Normal In The Sunshine” is a technicolour reflection of these unprecedented times, offering hope and solidarity amidst the fear, an explosive sugarbuzz pop banger that at once recalls the heady strut of Dream Wife and Dinosaur Pile Up whilst nodding quietly to Blue Album-era Weezer and Nirvana circa Nevermind. 

“Take heart there’ll be time to celebrate” Laura urges as her widescreen, powerhouse guitars enter the fray. Right now, hope is what we all really need.

LYRICS 

Keep calm, stay remote 
Write your troubles on a Post-It note 
School’s out, last orders at the bar 

I’m not pleased to see you 
Don’t stand so close to me 
There’s trouble in the supermarket 
But everything looks normal 

Take heart, there’ll be time to celebrate 
Don’t second guess humanity away 
Stand tall and we’ll all take the weight 
Cos everything looks normal in the sunshine, sunshine 

Lights out, kids up early 
Not ready for a life inside 
It’s gonna be a quiet night 
but everything looks normal… 

Wake up, don’t be stupid 
Your money won’t help you now 
It’s too late to get your friends and neighbours round 

Take heart, there’ll be time to celebrate 
Don’t second guess humanity away 
Stand tall and we’ll all take the weight 
Cos everything looks normal in the sunshine, sunshine, sunshine 

Take heart, there’ll be time to celebrate 
Don’t second guess humanity away 
Stand tall and we’ll all take the weight 
Cos everything looks normal, even though it’s terrifying 

Take heart, there’ll be time to celebrate 
Don’t wanna trust my future to fate 
So I’ll cut my own hair while I wait  
Cos everything looks normal in the sunshine, sunshine, sunshine

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