A one-off release, the enigmatic Belfast songsmith is back with a new single that finds him stripping back the sonics to craft something of an unadorned and unassuming beauty. Pared back of arrangement and unspoiled by overproduction, “Love Hz” lets Southern’s lyrics do the talking on this carefully crafted lo-fi release.
Delivered in his typically laid-back and understated style, Southern spins a tale of doomed romance and pining loneliness, as lyrics like “been in love with a girl from a different world // been abused, mistreated, I never saw it coming” linger heavily in the air like the gunpowder and mystery of a long since faded firework.
Speaking about the subject matter behind “Love Hz”, Thom Southern explains:
“”Love Hz” is the track that started it all with this direction. It’s a simple folk song about the pain of heartache and not only the loss of that person in your life but the loss of who you were when you were with them.”
Listen to ‘Love Hz’ – BELOW:
Written on a visit to see the artist, producer and pal Stevie Scullion (AKA Malojian) in Antrim Town, the pair set about working on “Love Hz” at his home studio back in 2021. Devising its knotty acoustic riffs, spiralling backward guitar licks, and rattling percussive stutters, Thom Southern put the finishing touches to the song in Bangor, NI, earlier this year. Proving to be a rejuvenating trip and a prolific experience, Thom remembers writing with Stevie:
“I’ve always admired totally independent artists like Stevie, making their own music for themselves and never compromising their craft. Meeting up with him again at this point in my life after years of working with different industry types/record labels became quite a liberating creative experience. It’s not surprising the first thing we did was start jamming together in his studio, and before we knew it we’d already finished a couple of songs, ‘Love Hz’ being one of them. I was heavily listening to Beck’s ‘One Foot In The Grave’ album at the time, and our writing sessions were definitely becoming more and more inspired by the mentality and attitude of that album. We continued to write more songs for a couple of days after that… it felt effortless.”
Busily writing and recording new material in various locations around England and Ireland in the months since Thom has been working on what he hopes will be the successor to his NI Music Prize-nominated first album ‘Plaza’. Turning a decisive corner from the atmospheric alt/rock leanings of his debut, the laid-back stylistics and loquacious narrative of “Love Hz” are said to hint at a new outlook and direction for the songwriter.
“The music I really want to make and have the most fun making is the more lo-fi acoustic stuff… tracks like my new single ‘Love Hz’. It was purely just for me and the friends I was collaborating with, reminding me of simpler times being a teenager in my bedroom with a rubbish microphone and my acoustic guitar” adds Thom. “Being ‘successful’ was the last thing on my mind back then and I feel like that’s where I’m at now. I really just don’t care what happens… it’s being in the middle of the creative process is the most exciting part and always will be.”
Deftly joining the dots between the Greenwich village style storytelling of Simon & Garfunkel with the slacker/folk day-dreamings of Kurt Vile or Alex G, by way of Beck’s alt-acoustic expressionism; “Love Hz” is an uncut gem that will ensnare listeners in its fractious tenderness and raw, unfiltered elegance.
Thom Southern is an alternative singer-songwriter currently based in Ireland. After a decade of helming various musical projects such as Southern and MMODE, Thom began releasing material under his solo moniker in 2021, where his observant and artful lo-fi creations have begun to find an admiring audience.
Receiving airplay from BBC Radio 1, Radio X, Amazing Radio, and RTE Radio 1, Southern has also seen his music reach new fans across key Spotify playlists, including New Music Friday, ‘LoFi Indie’ and ‘Alternative Ireland’.
Drawing comparisons to alternative-folk icons like Duster to Dylan, Sparklehorse to Elliott Smith; his music has been praised by established tastemakers, including XS Noize, When The Horn Blows, HotPress and Clash, with the latter championing Southern as “a musician with a gilded touch”. In 2022, he released his NI Music Prize-nominated debut solo album, ‘Plaza’, and has charted nearly a million streams to his name.
Having supported fellow alternative spirits like Michael Head and Just Mustard last year, Thom Southern is now gearing up for his first live show of the year, a sold-out appearance at The Court House in Bangor, which will follow the release of his new single “Love Hz” on 14 April. Standby for further new music and shows to come from Thom Southern later on in 2023.
THOM SOUTHERN – 2023 LIVE DATES
16th April 2023 – The Court House, Bangor – SOLD OUT – Details
Listen to the XS Noize interview with Thom Southern about his debut solo album PLAZA here.