Just Give In / Never Going Home
12 May 2017
Following a hugely successful 2016, which saw her play to sold out crowds in the UK, North America and Australia, 26-year-old indie sensation Hazel English is releasing Just Give In / Never Going Home,which compiles her debut EP alongside six new tracks to make her first full LP-length release.
The Never Going Home side combines the hazy, direct songs that have helped Hazel rise to prominence this past year, while the Just Give Inside documents her blossoming creative partnership with Jackson Phillips (aka Day Wave).
Both musicians met when Hazel was working in a local book shop. Jackson popped by on his way to get a synth repaired, and the two got talking about music, before deciding to collaborate. Its a meeting of minds thats helped forge this essential debut collection.
Each song sports a timeless, sun kissed aesthetic that you might expect from Bay Area-based creatives, but Hazels direct style and pop sensibility take things to another level.
A traveller itching to see new places, Hazel first found Oakland on a trip away from her native Australia. It only took a few days to convince her this could be her new home. Shortly after, while studying creative writing in Melbourne, Australia, she had the option to study abroad.
She didnt know shed stay here, or indeed that shed find the tight-knit musical community that thrives in the Bay Area, but she was drawn to something unexplainable about the place a connection: I thought I was just gonna go for six months, but I got connected with the musicians and felt like a really strong part of the community. So it felt like home. That vibe really made me feel like I could be whoever I wanted to be, I could try whatever I wanted to do.
Given the time and space to make music in her new home, she took a casual approach to working with Phillips, even as debut track Never Going Home racked up millions of plays online. We were just kind of taking our time. Over the span of a year, whenever we could wed go and work on something. Picking lyrics from her journal entries and jotting down ideas on a reel-to-reel tape recorder, this simple but personal approach worked wonders.
In other hands, you could imagine these songs being direct, shiny chart smashes. Its not inconceivable to envisage the worlds biggest stars flocking to Hazel for the perfect hook. Plenty of these arrive on Just Give In / Never Going Home. The glistening Birthday captures summertime melancholy with smart precision, new single Fix flips excess on its head, while Its Not Real is a brilliantly stark account of how the mind plays tricks on you.
Closing song That Thing is an exciting outlier on the release. A perfectly-paced collision of stirring synths and circuiting basslines, it sees her working with Justin Raisen, a deskman described as Ariel Rechtshaids protégé, with production credits including Angel Olsen's sensational My Woman, as well as Sky Ferreira and Charli XCX. Although this shift in direction could remain a complete one-off in Hazels back catalogue (I just want it to feel like a standalone song, not paving the way for whats gonna happen next), its further proof that she can work magic in different territories.
Theres no guessing which direction future material will strive towards, but virtually nothing seems off limits. In turn, this double EP doesnt just serve to document Hazels more-than-promising first steps it suggests that whatevers next round the corner will be the making of a star.
05/15 - Berlin, Germany @ Privatclub
05/16 - Hamburg, Germany @ Nochtwache
05/17 - Brussels, Belgium @ Ancienne Belgique (AB)
05/18 - Paris, France @ Les Baines Douches
05/19 - Brighton, UK @ Horatios #
05/20 - Brighton, UK @ The Great Escape 2017
05/21 - Birmingham, UK @ Hare & Hounds
05/22 - Manchester, UK @ Castle Hotel
05/24 - London, UK @ The Lexington
05/25 - Bristol, UK @ The Louisiana
05/27 - Amsterdam, Netherlands @ London Calling Festival 2017
07/17 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
07/19 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bar Stage at Bootleg Theatre