Sat in the gap that occurs in the last days of a year but just before the new one kicks off, there’s equal amounts of reflection and projection. The last guitar chords and bass drum kicks of 2023 may only now beginning to fade and the hand scribbled flat plan for 2024 on the wall of the Heavenly office already looks pretty full. So, a good time then to take stock of what just happened while taking a look at what’s to come in what promises to be another crazily big year (realise we always say that, we haven’t let you down yet have we?)
First up, 2023 proved just as cosmic as we thought back in January.
The first new music in six years from H. Hawkline. A compilation of incredible nocturnal sounds from Unloved. The debut long player from Eyes of Others. The peerless Baxter Dury’s seventh solo album. Fran Lobo’s immersive debut album. Pip Blom’s synth heavy masterpiece Bobbie. The first solo album in fifteen years by Belfast legend David Holmes. Further expeditions into the far corners of the dance floor with Cosmo Murphy’s second Balearic Breakfast compilation and on our own in house remix series. Add to that EP releases from OneDa, Katy J. Pearson, audiobooks and The Orielles and the first ever recordings by hurdy gurdy wielding madmen Local Psycho. The office stereo was burning.
The first couple of months of 2024 are already set up with debut albums due from Revival Season (aka Mattiel’s Jonah Swilley and rapper Brandon ‘BEZ’ Evans, who release The Golden Age of Self-Snitching in February); South London’s lo-fi misfits Tapir! who collect together some of their previous EPs to form a beautiful debut collection (The Pilgrim, Their God and the King of My Decrepit Mountain, January); the first new music by Halo Maud since her genius, massively successful collaboration with the Chemical Brothers (Celebrate, March), transportational new music from Melbourne’s Mildlife (Chorus, March) and the self-styled ‘best musician in the entire world’ Lynks (who are we to disagree?) releases the almighty Abomination (April). Beyond that, there are albums on their way from Manchester’s OneDa and Belfast’s finest, Kneecap. And, inevitably, all the stuff that we haven’t even heard yet that we know we’ll obsess over and need to get on board with the second we hear it.
Not content with a fit to bursting schedule, we decided we’d add an occasional fanzine to the workload. HVN FAN ZINE #1 came out in the autumn as an accompaniment to orders from our Bandcamp store. This informal in-house insight was a collection of words and pictures taken from Heavenly vaults that rarely get seen by the wider world. ZINE #2 is on the way now – keep an eye out, it’ll keep getting bigger and better.
As with every year, there’s always an anniversary for something, and 2024 is no different. In fact, there’s two significant anniversaries we’ll be celebrating. It’s a full thirty years since the Heavenly Sunday Social began at the Albany on Great Portland Street in London (on 7th August) and twenty five years since we opened the Social just down the road on Little Portland Street. Expect a whole host of events, gigs, beer collaborations and a lot of poor excuses for bad behaviour and the hangovers that inevitably follow.
So, with all those records behind us, and that new cohort on the way, give us a few days to check our heads and recalibrate. We’ve got a big year ahead of us. Hope you’re up for joining us.
Words by Robin Turner, Forever Heavenly.
Robin is also the author of, ‘…Believe In Magic, Heavenly Recordings, The First 30 Years,’ published by White Rabbit Books.
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