Discover more from The Line of Best Fit
The Friday Dispatch
Kara Jackson, Ride, Bdrmm and Eden Rain
Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love? – the debut record by 23-year-old singer-songwriter and former US National Youth Poet Laureate Kara Jackson - mirrors the thoughts that can’t fit perfectly in a four-line pop chorus. The folk-laced body of work is choppy, bold, and playfully sarcastic; the intention is the key, shaping her delivery into quick, witty lines that appear more like statements than lyrics. Jackson approaches her songwriting with the same process as she would the academic form: constructing a thesis statement, a middle section, and a bold ending. “I’m trying to find my own power and assert myself,” she tells Best Fit, using her talent to rewrite situations in a way that brings her power, understanding and acceptance.
Jackson has been inspired in equal measure by Joni Mitchell and Beyonce: “I feel like all of these women have a really strong presence as album makers,” she explains, drawing on their firm intention and the timeless quality of their music. Each song of Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love? was designed specifically to address the tougher questions and themes from different chapters of her life, creating a summation of her experiences, memories, and stories.
Since her debut single, “Wake Up, You’re Stuck” in 2021, Eden Rain has played an intricate role in all her own artwork and videos. Through her personal, charming, “gutter-vision” aesthetic, the character of her alt-pop confessionals continue to bloom. “I thought of art as separate from what I did until I realised they’re kind of the same thing. I definitely wanted it to feel like this whole world that fits together and makes sense because if I try and put as much of myself into the music I make, it didn’t make sense stopping where the lyrics end,” she explains. “I just wanted it to be an extension of the world the song came from."
For Rain, inspiration comes from many different places. “If I had writer's block, I’d find it easier to doodle or draw. I’d go on trains and draw people’s conversations, and that was a lot less pressure than writing a song,” she explains. “A lot of my songs started off as doodles and I’d flick through my notebook like, that’s an interesting thing, maybe I can turn it into a song.”
Something old, something new
Every week, one of Best Fit's writers or editors share their recommendations of two records they love - one from the past, one from the present. This week, Best Fit writer Chris Todd on Carnival of Light by Ride (1994) and Bdrmm’s I Don’t Know (2023).
As every ageing shoegazer will tell you, it’s frustrating to find out when you hear an amazing new reverb drenched track by a group and the creators are almost exclusively from outside the UK, despite being country which arguably birthed the genre.
I first stumbled across BDRMM about a year before their first album dropped, through various online drops, and then a signing to the official shoegaze gate-keeper label, Sonic Cathedral, and wow, instead of being American, they came from HULL.
Their self-titled debut was my lockdown jam, the murky introspection a perfect accompaniment to the end of the world headfuck we experienced daily. Their new album, I Don’t Know, is the sound of a band with a bit more cash to spend, cleaner and more nuanced, it remains intimate sounding but with splashes of widescreen outreach. They’re still prone to the odd wig out: lead cut “It’s Only a Bit of Blood” has the kind of filthy swagger Radiohead displayed on their 2003 album, Hail to The Thief, plus they’ve clearly scrambled enough cash together to get a few synths which adds another fascinating layer to the sound.
Ride’s third album, Carnival of Light, (dismissed internally as ‘Carnival of Shite’), has been kicked continually over the decades since release. There was collective shrug when it came out, Ride was out of style, there was no place for ambitious eight-minute singles (“Birdman”), or even worse, wearing flares. This was the beginning of Britpop’s commercial phase which Ride inadvertently helped kickstart with their 1992 single, “Twisterella”. However, in the elapsed two years Suede, Pulp, Elastica, Oasis and Blur had all hit their peak, charismatic lead singers were all the rage, there was no place for apologetic rock stars, so Ride were cast aside.
Removing that shoegaze cloak resulted in an identity crisis, and let’s face it, nobody was going to pick Mark Gardener or Andy Bell over Lush’s Miki Berenyi in a cool lead singer sweepstake. This is something Bell alluded to when I interviewed him some years back, agreeing that they just weren’t hot anymore, saying Gardener wrote all the best songs on Carnival (very true), while his own songwriting had gone downhill.
Carnival has its own cult following and it does have some great moments, all written by Gardener, opener “Moonlight Medicine” (featuring keyboards by Deep Purple’s Jon Lord), is a sitar-aided slow build piece of swirling 90s indie via 1967 psych, this is a sound of a group of teenagers progressing into manhood, they didn’t want to continue with three-minute jangle, they understood Pink Floyd now. “From Time to Time”’s cokey late seventies American swagger, the Byrdsian chiming of “1000 Miles” and the country-tinged melancholia of “Only Now” have matured exquisitely with age, revealing them to be some of Gardener's best Ride songs.
Dropping at midnight every Thursday, follow our 20-track playlist for a taste of the best new music from the most exciting breaking artists.
These are the songs our editors and writers have on repeat right now, taken from the hundreds of tracks released in the last seven days. Leading the selection this week are amazing cuts from SERRE, Pearla, Trout, Stranger Ranger, and coverstar Matilda Lyn.
The Line of Best Fit is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.