Swimming Bell – ‘1988’

Swimming Bell is the project of Katie Schottland. The Brooklyn-based folk singer broke her foot in 2015, and her imposed inactivity led her to write music. She writes by ear, having no formal musical training, and learned some basic chords from a chord sheet she printed out in order to work out how to play Neil Young’s ‘Harvest Moon’. From these gentle beginnings, she launched her debut EP, ‘The Golden Heart’, in October 2017, which was met with critical acclaim.

Following a meeting with Tomo Nakayama, while playing drums for a mutual friend’s band, she was inspired by his song, ‘Cold Clear Moon’, from his 2015 album, ‘Fog On The Lens’. She was inspired to record her own version of the track, and has included it on her forthcoming album, ‘Wild Sight’, set for release on April 5, through Adventure Club Records.

Katie started working with UK producer Oli Deakin, otherwise known as Lowpines, back on her first EP in 2016, and continues to do so. They started recording ‘Wild Sight’ in Leeds last spring, before moving on to London, and then New York. ‘1988’, the latest release from the album, is a cool-ly almost mystical track, calling to mind Lana Del Rey, Stevie Nicks, even Janis Ian to a certain extent: folky, yet with a certain edginess. The song cuts between a gossamer ethereal-ness and pure folk; there’s a certain pop sensiblity attached to her sound as well, and elements of the song, particularly the end, remind us of David Bowie’s earliest music.

This impression is helped in no small part by the accompanying music video, which centres around a young girl with a very vivid imagination. Armed with some bits and bobs from around the house – a couple of old TVs, a computer keyboard, some fairy lights, and other useful objects, she loads them into her wagon with her faithful teddy bear, and builds an incredible space ship. The second part of the video shows the girl and her teddy landed on a desolate planet, whereupon she explores by way of a tractor – teddy in the trailer. It’s quite beautiful and clever, with the extra-terrestrial element shot in black and white. We crash back to reality at the end however, when the girl takes the lavender plant she’s potted and presents it to her mother in the kitchen. She’s also wearing an amazing unicorn-head scarf, which we’re completely lusting after. It’s beautiful and lovely, and altogether enchanting.

Swimming Bell is currently on tour, and you can see her at the following:

03.14 Luthier’s Co-op (Easthampton, MA)
03.15 Hilo Catskill (Catskill, NY)
03.16 Abilene Bar and Lounge (Rochester, NY)
03.17 Burdock (Toronto, ON)
03.19 Radio Bean (Burlington, VT)
03.20 Sofar Sounds (Boston, MA)
03.21 Galactic Theatre (Warren, RI)
03.22 Crunch House (New Haven, CT)
03.23 Willimantic Records (Windham, CT)
03.24 Knickerbocker Taproom (Westerly, RI)
4.06 Trans-Pecos w/ Monteagle & Pale Mara – Record Release Show (Brooklyn, NY)
04.12 Bourbon and Branch (Philadelphia, PA)
04.17 Local 506 (Chapel Hill, NC)
04.18 The Flicker Theatre and Bar (Athens, GA)
4.19 JJ’s Bohemia (Chattanooga, TN)

Find Swimming Bell online on her Official Website, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com

Leave a Reply