Hazel English has revealed, her debut album Wake UP! will be released on April 24th, via Marathon/Polyvinyl. Ahead off the album’s arrival, the Australian artist has shared a video for “Off My Mind.” Hazel explains, ““Off My Mind” is about feeling stuck in a situation but too afraid to make a move. It’s about the limbo state between where you are and where you want to be.”
Wake UP! was produced by Justin Raisen (Angel Olsen, Charli XCX) in LA and by Ben H. Allen (Animal Collective, Glass Animals, The Big Moon) in Atlanta. It’s a record that English serves as a timely klaxon to give us all a meaningful shake and become more present in our own lives. “Sometimes I feel like we’re just sleepwalking through our lives,” hoping that Wake UP! helps “make people become more aware and mindful.”
The Australian-born, LA-based musician made an almost perfect introduction with a series of heavy-hitting singles culminating in a double-whammy of EP releases in the form of Never Going Home / Just Give In back in 2017. It was the sound of a young musician with an innate ear for melody and an eye for something bigger than the venues she was playing. Aurally, it was deliriously old-school dream-pop that slinked and fizzed.
As a sufferer of acute anxiety, English wrote these songs following something of an existential crisis. Stuck and isolated, she felt as though her life was becoming a series of mundane objectives, to which we could all, perhaps, relate. She questioned her own motives, “am I happy? Do I like the direction I’m going? Am I engaged with my community? Do I feel connected to others?” The answers were an emphatic collection of “No” response, and so the album’s title became a sort of personal mantra, “a reminder to wake up and be present in a time where we are used to switching off and looking for constant entertainment.
Obsessing over old movies and vintage clothing since the age of fifteen, English purports to take her cues from surrealism, Dadaism and the writings of sci-fi novelist Philip K. Dick. She wrote words before she became a musician – before a student exchange programme triggered her San Francisco move, English was studying creative writing in Melbourne and writing poetry prolifically. After reading Guy Debord’s 1967 book The Society Of The Spectacle, English pondered our obsession with self-image. In the book, Debord considers how we get caught up in the ‘spectacle’. English draws parallels from the 1960s text with the social media heavy world of the past few years, and ultimately how it can make us feel so unhappy.
1. Born Like
3. White Noise
4. Off My Mind
6. Five and Dime
7. Like a Drug
9. Milk and Honey
10. Work It Out