Five Right Now: Bess Atwell

Offering a moment of introspection, within the walls of latest single Co-op, Bess Atwell reflects on the trials and tribulations of early life, and the lull that followed. Much like the warmth that flickers from the relatable nature of her lyricism, the sense of nostalgia that is birthed within her melodies provides an accessibility. Deeply personal, Co-Op provides a welcome retreat for all. A place where those hurt can reconcile, onlookers can learn and understand, but all can find solace. 

Now part of Lucy Rose’s ever-growing Real Kind family, we caught up with Bess for the release of her latest single, Co-op, to see who’d been making it on to her stereo. These are her Five Right Now picks: 

Anything – Adrianne Lenker


This is my favourite song from Adrianne’s latest record that came out at the end of last year. The lyrics seem to focus on the power of the minutiae of intimate relationships (‘I wanna listen to the sound of you blinking’) which is something that I think has become a lot more important to people over this last year with the dreaded P word. We’ve been forced to appreciate the small things because, at times, they’re all we’ve had. 

I got properly acquainted with this record over Christmas, which I spent at my parent’s house. I don’t normally look forward to Christmas very much, but in the spirit of celebrating the small things, I threw myself into it. My sister and I made a few batches of gingerbread men and decorated them to this record. This song will always remind me fondly of that Christmas, even if the lyric ‘Christmas Eve with your mother and sis / don’t want to fight but your mother insists‘ felt like a personal attack.

Gordon (The ‘DENMARK, FOREVER’ 2020 version) – Soft Sports


It’s always a little unnerving when you’re a genuine fan of your own friends. I put this track on when I’m walking because it makes me feel like a bad-ass on an important mission to buy some milk and bread. Chris Matthewson, the frontman, plays guitar for me so it’s always a pleasure to see him step into the spotlight as an artist in his own right. 

The band originally released this song in 2019, but reimagined it over lockdown and released this second version late last year as part of their Denmark, Forever EP. They produced this newer version themselves and it’s so brilliantly moody. I love the synths, the slow, driving beat, and the strange treatment of the backing vocals. I’m such a fan of Chris’ production that we’ve recently worked together on something that will be out later this year. 

Maestranza – Fleet Foxes 


Anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes with me knows how I feel about this band. So it’s no surprise that their new record was my favourite release of last year, and this tune is one of my favourites on the record.

I appreciate artists who challenge their audience and evolve, but deep down I have a pop heart and tend to prefer somewhat more immediately accessible music. I think that’s why I adore this record. The band have been pushing the envelope in recent years which has been inspiring and interesting, but this record feels like they’ve circled back to what made me fall in love with them. I don’t think many people were in the mood to be challenged after such a difficult year, and Robin Pecknold really delivered what we needed; something that is a pure joy to listen to. This is the kind of track I’d give my right arm to see live with the full band.

I actually uploaded a cover of this song to my Instagram story when it came out and Robin shot me a message to say he liked it and shared it to the band’s page which was kind. 

to Perth, before the border closes – Julia Jacklin


I don’t have a huge amount to say about this track. I’m a big fan of Julia’s and I think this is just a really great song, and one of my favourite recent (ish) releases. Her melodies remind me of Feist at points. As with the Fleet Foxes’ track, it feels like the kind of song we need right now, communicating frustration but also hope. 

I went to see Julia play in Brighton for her Crushing tour. She was amazing, but I’ll always be a little haunted by that evening; I went for dinner before the show and, after a few glasses of wine, I thought it would be a great idea to ask the waiter for a pen and paper (the restaurant only had an orange felt tip) and handwrite my SoundCloud link onto some receipt paper to pass to Julia after her set. And I did it. Having now been on a few of my own tours, I can see that the last thing she would have wanted to do was type a convoluted web address into her phone after a show on the way to a Travelodge in order to hear a stranger’s music!

A Horizon Awaits – Route 500


Route 500 is a project by one of my best friends, George Ogilvie. After having moderate success with a solo career under his own name, I think it was really brave of him to “start again” in order to fulfil his own creative ambitions without the constraints of his original project. This track is the first song he released as Route 500 and was recorded as a voice memo on his phone. George didn’t originally plan to release the recording, but later decided it would be a liberating middle finger to the perfectionism that goes into the studio recording process. 

His new music is less immediate, which he would take as a compliment. Route 500 feels like a project that’s almost entirely for himself, almost as if he isn’t interested in anybody listening, which only serves to make it all the more compelling. Reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, George’s voice is so full of integrity and emotion that you can’t help but acknowledge you’re listening to something very special. 


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