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Friends With Monsters

by Nishla Smith

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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    High quality, 180 gram, 12" 2x Gatefold LP (3 sides of music - A, B, C, + etched D side with Whirlwind logo mark) - comes with download code containing the digital album in multiple formats

    Includes unlimited streaming of Friends With Monsters via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    shipping out on or around February 15, 2022
    Purchasable with gift card

      $35 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Comes in a glassine, stickered bag containing CD and 32 page zine featuring lyrics, still images and a personal note from Nishla.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Friends With Monsters via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $20 USD or more 

     

  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    High quality, 6 panel digifile with a velvety soft-touch laminate finish

    Includes unlimited streaming of Friends With Monsters via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 5 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $14 USD or more 

     

  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

    Comes with album artwork booklet PDF + album cover photo as a jpg
    Purchasable with gift card

      $10 USD  or more

     

1.
Twilight 02:31
2.
3.
Julian 06:40 video
4.
Midnight 01:36
5.
Home 07:58
6.
Starlight 04:32
7.
3 A.M. 01:37
8.
9.
10.
Dawn 01:11
11.
Up 04:44

about

PERSONNEL

Nishla Smith - voice
Aaron Wood - trumpet & flugelhorn
Richard Jones - piano
Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley - bass
Johnny Hunter - drums & percussion

ALBUM CREDITS

Recorded at Giant Wafer Studios, Wales
Recorded & mixed by Alex Killpartrick
Mastered by Tyler McDiarmid
Produced by Chris Hyson & Nishla Smith
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
Photography - Robin Clewley
‘Julian’ artwork by Luca Shaw
Graphic Design - Becky McGillivray & Dave Bush
All songs by Nishla Smith except
‘It Might As Well Be Spring’ - Rodgers & Hammerstein

credits

released November 12, 2021

ABOUT THE ALBUM

Singer Nishla Smith creates vivid, enigmatic stories through sound, her voice stretching from melancholic sweetness through to dark intimacy. Her debut album 'Friends with Monsters' confirms Smith as a major new vocal talent in the UK, and sees the vocalist’s affinity for inventive narratives extended over the span of a full album. The Australian performer travelled via Berlin to eventually settle in Manchester, and is joined here by some of the city’s most talented improvisers. Richard Jones and Johnny Hunter cover piano and drums respectively, whilst bassist Joshua Cavanagh-Brierley and trumpeter Aaron Wood add graceful touches to complete the quintet’s intimate feel. Smith’s depictions of night-time have an enigmatic quality, inviting listeners on an atmospheric journey but all the while pointing to something greater.

A City Music Foundation artist, she has received commissions from Manchester Collective and Opera North, as well as Manchester Jazz Festival and Jazz North. As co-creator of theatre company Ulita, she also creates collaborative pieces that blend theatre, music and visual arts. Friends with Monsters continues that theatrical drive – “I'm a very natural storyteller, I just love to tell stories. I find myself weaving everyday events into tales that are very narratively pleasing.”

Set over the course of a single evening, 'Friends with Monsters' explores changing states of insomnia, informed by Smith’s own sleepless nights. It’s realised in four distinct sections; each is introduced by a scene-setting interlude. Smith shares one of those duets – ‘Twilight’ – with Jones to begin the night, an opener that floats tranquilly towards the title track. “‘Friends with Monsters’ is the central metaphor of the album,” says Smith. “It's about my inability to sleep, but it’s also about those things that haunt you, and yet have become part of you. You can’t imagine who you'd be without them.” In these gaps, Smith adds considerable emotional candour, as night-time slowly becomes a place where the most complex of emotions can roam free.

‘Julian’ grapples with affirming the future in the midst of loss, opening with Wood at his most harrowed. The clock ticks to ‘Midnight’ with Cavanagh-Brierley’s nocturne, a lullaby that could be of Birdland. ‘Home’ and ‘Starlight’ give chance for reflection – the first “a feeling of peace with the person you belong with”; the second tries to recapture the vibrant memories of childhood, knowing they’re ultimately rose-tinted. ‘It Might As Well Be Spring’ showcases Smith’s interpretive skill, offering a dreamy, up-tempo take on the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic inspired by memories of her grandmother. As daybreak beckons, the album continues its positive turn through the chilled out bossa ‘I Want To Make You Happy’, before reaching sunrise with ‘Dawn’. The night-walk concludes with the quietly inspiring ‘Up’, written whilst on holiday and embodying “the child-like feeling of being happy and free.” Smith wants first-time listeners to find the album’s subtle emotional range: “I want them to feel things with me.” Delving deeper into the dreamy world of Smith’s storyland rewards greatly.

PRESS HIGHLIGHTS

"Sumptuous and splendid... a great simplicity cohabits with a beautiful alchemy."
Radio REC

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