I have been following Hazel English and sharing her stuff ever since I heard “It’s Not Real” last year. After more songs appeared on Soundcloud I was hooked: her sound is a perfect blend of dreamy, lo-fi jangle with sunshine-pop traces.
Hazel English is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter based in Oakland,California but native to Australia. Hazel is part of a jangle-pop scene in the Bay Area, which counts the likes of her producer Jackson Philips aka Day Wave and Craft Spells amongst it ranks. Hazel’s exquisitely chosen vintage look, dreamy narrative songs and visuals caught the attention of the music blogs very early on last year and she quickly became a bit of an internet sensation. After the upload of “Never Going Home” and “It’s Not Real” on Soundcloud, blogs like Gorilla Versus Bear, Stereogum and The Line of Best Fit have been putting her in the limelight.
By now, Hazel is about to release her debut EP “Never Going Home” on the 7th of October on House Anxiety/Marathon Artists.
The EP is a nice collection of her DIY creations to date. The EP also contains 3 newer songs that are being revealed bit by bit. First newcomer was “I’m Fine”, was exposed on August 24th, “Control” was be introduced today on October the 5th. The waiting now is until Friday to hear “Make it Better“, which, I am sure , will be a pleasant surprise.
“ Never Going Home” EP:
Hazel said her music is “transportive”. It makes you feel like you’re in a different place”. “Never Going Home” is very much that: it portrays the exit of her birthplace Australia to new adventures in California. “Never Going Home” merges a yearning, bittersweet melancholy for home and the feeling of prospect and open future at the same time. The video has a DIY feel to it and is a very personal snapshot of this turning point in Hazel’s life.
“Control” is the latest song and (revealed today /October 5th) and I ‘m happy to say it’s incredibly lush and very much “Hazel at her best”! The start is “composed” with a “Hooky” bass and bare vocals, then synths roll us into a verse with a pressing question “ what are you searching for?..you wanna be in control, (and) do what you like”. The dreamy chorus, however, is total abandon and its splendour sweeps us off our feet: this is the part where we let go of “control”, get out of our self-imposed prison and finally say and do what we want. “Control” comes alongside an official video, directed by Kate Cox.
“It’s Not Real” was the first Hazel song I heard and still remains my favourite til this very day: it was like suddenly and unexpectedly coming across a long awaited replacement for my beloved The Sundays. Hazel somehow has the same dreamily introverted pureness that Harriet Wheeler used to have: “the real world is a sham, my mind escapes and I will stay true to myself, fuck you” kinda thing. I love that! This song is about the impossible pursuit of perfection, which, after hearing it, doesn’t seem so impossible at all: it has that perfect balance of gentle jangle, dusky lo-fi, and sunny harmonies.
“I’m Fine”: I had to to get used to this at first because it’s different from all the tracks that were uploaded before. It starts out with a lo-fi garage-y guitar, then pursued by unexpected sharp synths and catchy cooings. But at 1:15 it becomes Hazel again when the jangle starts cascading and warm bass notes kick in. Despite the unmistakable ear-worm quality, I think overall, opinions will be divided on this course in sound. A younger, hipster audience will surely adore it.
Can’t wait to see her live in Amsterdam soon!
Having extensively toured the West Coast, there are now tourplans for a national US tour and full European to support her official debut release.
Headline tour in Europe:
19 Nov Glasgow @ The Poetry Club
20 Nov Leeds @ Headrow House
21 Nov London @ The Waiting Room
23 Nov Amsterdam @ Paradiso Amsterdam
24 Nov Brussels @ Botanique
The whole thing is available to pre-order now on limited edition collectors vinyl.
Follow Hazel on Spotify here