Nicholas Stevenson has unveiled ‘Ariel’ the first track off his new record, ‘Archipelago’, and it serves the first glimmer of new music he’s put out in a while. It’s brimming with scuzzy guitars, laid-back drums and Stevenson’s poetic words, “Though you keep it in the pockets of your heart, it’s not safe. It takes days to reach the summit of the soul, it’s hard, but try”. His individual vocal sets him apart from other male singer/songwriters. With such a beautiful album title, hopefully ‘Archipelago’ will live up to the greatness of this first listen.
Stevenson is also an illustrator with the video featuring an animation of a volcano erupting rainbow lava, which gradually gets more intense and violent as ‘Ariel’ goes on.
Float Fall – ‘Someday’
“Someday you’ll understand the reason why you just can’t be my man”, sweetly sings Rozanne Descheemaeker before Ruben Lefever, her Float Fall counterpart, joins to harmonise. While ‘Someday’ holds simplistic lyrics, it’s the humming atmosphere, cracking beat and twinkling keys that make Float Fall’s first single a joyous one. I want to hear more from the Berlin duo, NOW!
Weirds – Crocodile
With an intro sounding like a very down tempo ‘Inhaler’ by Foals, but being gurgled underwater, ‘Crocodile’ sparks interest from the start. There’s hectic array of psychedelia, which overpowers the drums most of the time. The brash vocal is fuzzy, but the teenage angst within fights past the uncertainty for glory. A close match for early Kasabian.
Ghost Loft – ‘So High’
Wonderfully calming with soothing samples, complimented with the glistening vocal. “You make me so high, you bring my alive”, coos LA producer Danny Choi, the man behind the seductive tone of Ghost Loft. His other tracks, like the glitchy ‘Seconds’ and the chilled beat of ‘Blow’ all show why he’s one to remember when you’re topping up your ‘quiet’ playlist.
FTSE – ‘SIRVYVIN’
If I saw anything with the word ‘FTSE’ on it I’d usually turn the page, with little knowledge/interest in the financial word, but not in this case. Midlands producer FTSE has created his own intriguing sound made up of deep scuzzy beats complimented by his soft and simple vocal – “This ain’t no life at all, we’re fighting, every day we’re fighting”. With a lot of producers on the scene at the moment, FTSE has done well to found his own style. ‘SIRVYVIN’ is tagged with ‘Hopelessness’ for a genre on Soundcloud, interesting.
Sivu – ‘Better Man Than He’
“We’ll find faith in the most magical of places, we’ll find home in the smallest of rooms” opens the chorus in an anthemic fashion, which is sure to go down well live. The ‘lo’s’ that signal the beginning of the song create a conscious atmosphere, and are reminiscent of something Alt-J-ish. Sivu a.k.a James Page’s dynamic voice lends itself beautifully and together with its uplifting feel, it reminds me of Bastille and Tom Odell. Sivu is one to keep an eye on.
The remix of ‘Better Man Than He’ by Eagles For Hands is also splendid with handclaps and gorgeous echos.
This is also a favourite pick from the past week. AlunaGeorge doing ‘The Jungle Book’. Please just do a Disney songs EP? Thanks.
Tropics – ‘Home & Consonance’
Tropics, a.k.a Chris Ward, has unveiled the title track ‘Home & Consonance’ from his new EP out in April. The Southampton-based artist layers up intricate jingles over a precise array of loops and padding drums creating a lush outcome. His gentle, sometimes shaky voice offers “It’s been so long and you won’t stay if you see me fall”.
Hudson Taylor – ‘Cinematic Lifestyle’
“If it’s love that you want, well then please won’t you come and get it” tempts Dublin brothers Alfie and Harry Hudson-Taylor over the quaint strums, which lends ‘Cinematic Lifestyle’ its folk characteristics. The duo, who are only 18 and 20 years old, have just finished up on tour with Jake Bugg. They’ve also pulled the plug on doing SXSW this year to focus on their writing, v.focused!
REID – Wake
Bookended by a rustic crackle, ‘Wake’ brings a classic case of head-bobbing along to the disjointed loops and dazed vocals that barely get off the starting blocks, so they become a cemented effect. The Irish producer has been compared to fellow countryman MMOTHS, who’s similar uncertain wash of spiralling sounds allows you to be submerged in the enormous atmosphere created.
This is HOT. Meet Aluna Francis and George Reid, THE UK duo that everyone needs to prick their ears up and wash their paws for. Reid’s musical production is good. Exceedingly good. It’s rebounding beats and trembeling synths have the elasticty to stetch around Aluna’s alluring voice and it’s acute helium wash. You’ll know you’ll like it and it will drive you in to musical insanity (it’s been in my head for a good few days now.) But, don’t be scared of the shame , you’ll be the ‘hip’ one out of your buddies when you bring this beauty to the table.
OUTFIT. OUTFIT. OUTFIT. Chanting is madatory for these Liverpool lads who have just released the video for their much-loved Septemeber single, ‘Two Islands.’ They’re going down the path of independance, with their new vid being made entirely by themselves with a little help from their friends (old flatmates), who creepily fade into eachother’s blank expressions. Liverpool has given British music some top gifts in the past. Obviously you’ve got The Beatles, Echo and The Bunnymen, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and erm Dead or Alive? Though this is the freshest piece of well, fresh to emerge since those bands began their slow decent.
‘Won’t you put me to sleep, put me to sleep,’ sings one man band veteran, Mauro Remiddi AKA Porcelain Raft. However, I dont think anyone will be able to put him to sleep or sleep themselves while their watching his new video. It’s flashing images and dramatic colour palettes put you on dream/nightmare border. But let’s forget the video and focus on the track, it’s good. The production’s glitchy tension is even more gripping embedded with that ghostly voice. It’s a tantalizing look at what’s to come from debut, ‘Strange Weekend’ due for a January release.
Free Download HERE
Au Palais – Tender Mercy
This duo bare a name that sounds almost seductive, in a french, roll off the tongue kinda way. But any linguistics buffs out there will know it actually means ‘To the’ or At the’ Palace. Bit of a shame really. The pair stand out from other girl/boy pairings. The gloomy fascination of the ringing synths and a distinct heroic voice will haunt your ears, but they’ll enjoy it. Hailing from Toronto, Au Palais release their second single, ‘Tender Mercy’ later this month and it’s a beauty.
The Miserable Rich – On A Certain Night
The Miserable Rich certainly aren’t miserable. The Brighton group are making Chamber music ‘cool.’ They’ve got the next step up the indie ensemble/folk rank nailed and they’ve passed Mumford and Marling on their way. Their most recent offering, ‘Miss You In The Days’ was released last week but for most they remain an undiscovered secret. With a sound as warming and delightful as this, it sounds fitting for a quaint pub with a log fire. Lovely and uplifting.
MoRo – Something I Can Feel
This happy little ditty is the work of new London 4 piece, MoRo. With the groove-implying tempo and some classic ‘whoos’ it could be done for sounding supicously like one of Vampire Weekend’s castoffs. But have no fear, it has just enough individuality to pull them through and it’s a very decent track. They release their debut, ‘Slow River’ next month with a record launch to mark the occasion at Camden’s Proud Galleries. Be there, this could be big.
This is impressive. It’s like Hanni El Khatib has digested most of the rock genres from the 50′s onwards and regurgitated them. There’s influences from the Rock ‘N Roll era, 70′s/80′s Punk and some weighty riffs that could easily rival Jack White and Kings Of Leon. His cover of ‘You Rascal You’ and his own venture, ‘Loved One’ are incredibly slick and crunchy, definitely worth getting your choppers into. He’s on to a winner here!
‘You Rascal You’
New Yorkers Milagres have something, but I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. Maybe it’s their use of the much extinct xylophone or their alternative/indie crossover. Whatever it is, it works. The words heard from Kyle Wilson are random but quaint to say the least, ‘All the birds seem to sing in the key of H. The Emperor of Ice Cream is here to stay.’ Give them a listen.
‘Here To Stay’
Futures – Islands In The Sea
Futures gave everyone a taste of what’s to come this week by putting new track, ‘Islands In The Sea’ up for free download. The four-piece share their ever-growing potential in progression of last years’ EP, ‘The Holiday.’ Everything that matters to the band is in there. The romantic lyricism, stressed chord progressions and the notable calm middle-eight, that is Futures’ trademark. The soft vocal is discretely projected as the intricate riff accompanies.
Download it HERE.
Electropop outfit, Fenech Soler are back on rightful form, after singer Ben Duffy’s recent Cancer battle forced them to postpone their UK tour back in March. Singles, ‘Lies’ and ‘Demons’ are examples of why the band deserve recognition. With waves to electro goodness and a vocal that sits at the higher-pitched end of the tone spectrum, it sounds impeccable. For fans of ‘Foster The People’ and ‘Everything Everything’.
Two-piece DZ Deathrays showcase ‘Rad Solar’, an adrenaline infused track where you’re in touching distance of the crunching riffs and the harsh sounding words, giving them an edge. Though at 1:45 this song may look brash, the song needs no more, its punchy message is apparent from the first few seconds. Short tracks intrigue, persuading you to listen to more. This has been done recently by The Vaccines and look at the sudden success they’ve encountered over the past year.
As one of the creative minds behind the Mystery Jets’ back catalogue and having previously penned tracks for Mark Ronson, I think it’s fair to say that Kai Fish is ready to produce some solo work. Fish’s recent single, ‘Cobalt Cheeks’ presents his talent as a singer/ songwriter. The distorted bass line fuzzes contently with some plucky guitar and a soft melodic vocal for effect, reminding me of the mid ‘Blur’ era. It’s a progression from the Mystery Jets; the boppy rhythms have gone, replaced with layers of maturity and depth.
Sheffield duo Slow Club are back with new single, ‘Where I’m Waking’ ahead of their second album, ‘Paradise.’ Their folk-rock sound sets them apart and they’ve got the whole male/female duo thing down to an art. They both cry, ‘You’ve got something, I’ve got something’. Yes, they both have something, something to sing about. Though with their musical chemistry it’s hard to believe that they have never been romantically involved with each other. A song of the promising sort, ‘Paradise’ is destined for greatness.
A happy sounding song. Danish ex-balleina, Nanna Øland Fabricius or ‘Oh land’ if you prefer, chimes in with her mystical words about dreams being under her pillow over the tapping beat and pulsing keys to charm your ears. Her self-titled record, is out now and you may even recognise track, ‘Son Of A Gun.’
The Drums are back this week with their new offering, ‘Portamento.’ ‘Money’ is the first single from the album and it’s a developed sound from the indie-pop trio. It still has the upbeat rhythm and an intericate guitar riff similar to, ‘Lets Go Surfing’ but it sounds suitably more mature. Singer Jonathan Pierce bravely confesses, ‘I want to buy you something, but I don’t have any money.’ The story of our lives really.
James Blake & Bon Iver – Falls Creek Boys Choir
It’s been the collaboration that everyone wanted to hear because of the great amount of diversity between the two artists. Yes, American Folk band, Bon Iver and London’s Prince of Dubstep, James Blake have joined forces. At a first glance, it seems weird but as you listen to it you realise that it’s not actually that weird at all. Bon Iver and James Blake both make beautiful, spine-tingling music in their own field, so why wouldn’t this be good? As with any James Blake song, it will take several listens to fully appreciate and understand but believe me, it’s worth it!
Ben Howard’s captivating voice oozes with wisdom and enchantment, sitting perfectly upon some fine acoustic noodling. The video captures the essence of the single, in the natural and vibrant surroundings. It paints an image of the chilled out track as Howard buzzes an honest mantra, ‘Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.’ Effortlessly beautiful.
‘Spector’ are one of those bands that sound cool, in their namesake and in the overall vibe of their single, ‘Never Fade Away.’ Singer Fred Macpherson bares a confident yet solemn tone to his voice, as he repeats ‘You know i’ll never fade away.’ The vocal rests over a slow initial beat and gradually developing in to a steady effort from all five members, which reminds me of ‘Pulp.’ With their simple lyrics, seen to be a trend this year with bands like ‘The Vaccines’, ‘Spector’ are on to a winner.
You can sense the energy in this track a mile off. The Oxford boys’ experimental direction allows ‘Crystals’ to vibrate in its upbeat charm and the use of panning creates illusions for your ears. Literally. Their brilliant single, ‘SWIMMHAUS JOHANNESBURG’ was released earlier this month, we’re just waiting on their much anticipated debut now.