Penfriend, aka music producer, songwriter and multi-disciplinary artist Laura Kidd, has announced the release of her debut album Exotic Monsters, out May 21st via My Big Sister Recordings. Accompanying the announcement is the brand new song ‘Cancel Your Hopes’, which is an eerie, upbeat alt-rock anthem. It’s a starkly honest commentary on the world we’re living in and trying to navigate as best we can.

“’Cancel Your Hopes’ is about doing everything you were told was right and then realising the world’s going to end despite your best efforts,” Laura explains. “Left stranded by those who were once the grownups, our mission is to keep trying to appreciate the incredible fact of simply existing in this beautiful world, while attempting to navigate the toxic parts of technology, live a meaningful life of use to others, love deeply and learn to accept love while leaving as little negative trace on the planet as possible while doing so.”

Exotic Monsters, builds on Kidd's accomplished ear for melody and ambitious production style, marrying disparate influences from Tanya Donelly, Juliana Hatfield and Nevermind-era Nirvana to the gritty tension of Nine Inch Nails and Puscifer and synth soundscapes of Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears and Sylvan Esso.

Written and recorded in solitary confinement during the drawn-out, tumultuous Brexit nightmare and well on into the Covid-19 pandemic, Exotic Monsters mirrors our dystopian world, posing questions and offering comfort, hope and a friendly shoulder to lean on.

Drawing more from her wide-ranging reading list than her favourite bands, Laura deals with the gruelling emotional matters of 21st-century life with honesty, grace and warmth, referencing Ursula Le Guin, Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood and Mark Westmoquette along the way.

The announcement of Exotic Monsters follows the release of the title track earlier this year, which comes with the brilliant and unsettling video, which premiered with Clash who called the track “a wonderfully off piste pop song,” whilst Classic Pop hailed it “…[a] moody slice of synth-pop.”

It follows 2020’s release of the sincere and hopeful ‘The Only Way Out Is Through’ and ‘Everything Looks Normal In The Sunshine’, which is an explosive sugary pop banger that recalls the heady strut of Dream Wife and Dinosaur Pile Up whilst nodding quietly to the Blue Album-era of Weezer.

Laura is also behind the Attention Engineer podcast, which aims to address how in a noisy online world, the gift of someone’s attention is priceless. In each episode she has deep conversations with artists she admires about how they balance online and offline life, tour and family, creative introspection and happiness.

It has had acclaim from the Guardian stating that Kidd, “talks with insight and warmth to (mostly) other musicians.” Guests so far have included Tanya Donelly (Belly), Frank Turner, Rebecca Lucy Taylor (Self Esteem), Corin Tucker (Sleater Kinney), J Wilgoose Esq (Public Service Broadcasting) and Lemn Sissay MBE, Liz Stokes (The Beths) and many more and shot to #10 in the Apple Podcasts top music shows in the first three days.


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