Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Violet Kind - Speakeasy

There's something rather special going on in Glasgow right now, the city seems to be churning out alternative guitar bands with strong female leads at a rate of knots. Honeyblood, The Van T's, Life Model... all spring to mind, now I think it's time to add The Violet Kind to that list.

 Taking an audible influence from the more melodic end of the shoegaze spectrum and with a whistful lyrical style borrowed from long forgotten plains of proto-emo 'Speakeasy' is the lead track taken from The Violet Kind's debut EP ‘OXTR, which is due for release on the 16th of March.

An incredibly brave conceptual work, OXTR is indented as a vessel for catharsis for the survivor of sexual violence; championing those who are brave enough to speak out and standing with those who aren’t able to.

I was particularly taken by Katya Mansell's intricate guitar work on the track; opening with a section of heavily atmospheric reverse reverb effects over which sparse clean notes accompany a heartfelt opening vocal, Speakeasy progressively evolves as picked rhythms add momentum until the track reaches it's full alt-anthem stride.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Twist Helix - 'Ouseburn'

Happy International Womens Day! Of course on Earthly Pleasures every day is #IWD

Being a female positive music blog that talks about girls who play guitars (or anything else for that matter), we're always striving to place ourselves at the vanguard of women in emerging music. While our original purpose was to redress what we saw was an imbalance of insightful coverage into the work of female artists, one year into our mission we continue with a renewed vigor which can only be attributed to excitement and pride we feel in championing rising female artists.

We pride ourselves in being among the first to switch onto the music of amazing artists like 'Didi', 'Bulow' and 'Duck who have gone from strength to strength this year as we ourselves have grown in our scope and ambition. Another great artist we introduced last year was Anglo-Iberian electro popsters Twist Helix, brainchild of the Spanish born singer Bea Garcia.

Twist Helix, really are a force to be reckoned with. Having formed in the North of England this compact three piece produce a vivacious, animated form of indie electronica that is completely their own. Their latest single 'Ouseburn' takes its name from a hip stretch of canal side in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and celebrates the flourishing arts scene that has sprung up alongside what was literally a post industrial back water.
Lyrically rooted in the quotidian, Garcia's lyrics evoke a sense of shared solidarity among the artists agglomerated by the riverbank; noting the shared communal experience of smokers shivering in the cold, the intertwining of influence as sounds from a rehearsal room invade a poetry reading, and the all encompassing presence of art as a graffiti tag 'GRIM' looms over the valley like a Geordie equivalent of the eyes of TJ Eckleburg. It's remarkably intelligent stuff and yet somehow unencumbered; it's catchy, dance-able and makes you feel good, and that is the songs real triumph.

 'Ouseburn' is above all a work of shimmering, effervescent pop with a strong synth lead. Tracks like this restore my faith, that the joyous, uninhibited fun of indie-disco isn't dead.

 Ouseburn was released 09/02/18 via Paul Back Music

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Drang - 'Lucky You'

South London's Drang know how to make a gorgeous racket... their post-punk tinted jangle pop is reminiscent of 80's underground icons Pylon and their pithy lyrics grabbed me instantly. Their latest single 'Lucky You' is set to be released on the 10th of this month and has already received quite a warm welcome from the Fresh On The Net Listening Post.

 Opening with an usual clapped rhythm, over which hints of feedback from a choppy, palm muted guitar wash like waves onto a breakwater; 'Lucky You' bursts into life with a short catchy riff followed by short repeated opening vocal. This yes is textbook pop, but it's incredibly effective, reeling the listener in almost instantly. This however is not to downplay the obvious musicianship at work here... the midsection to this song is perhaps one of the most surprising non sequitur's in a pop leaning track i have ever had the pleasure to encounter and the genius of using this section to unify the seemingly dislocated intro to the final chorus is inspired. On top of this I was deeply impressed by the pace of the runaway 16th's on the open hi hat that propel the track headlong into sudden juddering breaks, while the stabbing guitar technique provided a lively counter to the rooted bass which underpins this track perfectly.

 A final word must be saved for Drag's ambient-psychy offering in the form of the singles B-side 'saturation point', revealing a completely different side to Drang this alluringly hypnotic instrumental has a real cinematic quality and I find myself willing the band on to develop what strikes me a nascent ballad/anthem into a fully fledged work.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Sleepclub - 'Cut You'

Cut you is the debut single from Australian dream-pop outfit Sleepclub; the music video uploaded on 14th December has a charming DIY feel to it, utilizing extreme closeups to accentuate strong emotive quality of the accompanying music.

 'Cut you' is a textbook example of dream-pop; wistfully lingering vocal notes elongate each verse  deepening sentiment and amplifying the impact of each chord change. As repeated melodic sequences and lyrical hook's expand a sense of deep encompassing rumination, we're led on-wards by the somber evenly paced bass-line which underpins the track.   

 With a slightly mathy drumfeel spacing out sparse snare-strikes around some Bossa Nova style accentuated tom accents; kit-wise this is a rhythmically intriguing track which flirts with notions art rock and the sound of groups like Warpaint.

Friday, 5 January 2018

L-Space - 'Alone'

Another retrospective highlight from my 2017 comes in the form of Glasgow electronic-dream-pop outfit L-space. I was lucky enough to catch these at the tail end of last year playing support for Glasgow Shoegazers Life Model.

Their track Aloe came out during my brief hiatus for festival season and i've been kicking myself for missing it on release date but here we go none the less.

 Featuring a very Ultravox Vienna style electronic kit sound, slowly meandering synths and airy vocals, this floating, almost ethereal dream pop ballad will draw you in with ease as the group steadily build their instrumentation adding minimalist guitar and doubling up on the depth of the drum machine.

Slowly, surely... Its all about the anticipation, the listeners longing for the to song reach its apex, which is in-fact its true peak. A great listen.

XTALK - 'Dreams'

'Dreams' the latest single by Manchester Electro-poppers XTalk and came out at the tail end of November. With big bass synths, trappy rhythms, and smatterings of delayed vocals and ghost reverb  it's a smoldering sultry work of contemporary synth-pop.

With a very noire feel to the instrumentation and lyrics, this track is really lifted by Sarah de Warren's honey sweet vocals which has been nicely accentuated with some choice mixing.

 Listen for the big drop around 2:40

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Taiacore - 'Not Boring Like You'

 Spanish Wonky-Pop duo Taiacore make for an addictive listen. Their latest single 'Not Boring Like You' (released 29th Nov on Paul Back Music) was a deserved flavor of the month back in Spain catching the attention of Que Musica, Insonoro, Mi Rollo es el Inide; but this absolute banger of a pop song somehow remained anonymous in the English language press (despite the groups  English language vocals).

 With big 80's Synths bursting underneath popcorn arpeggiator sounds, rhythmic clapping and even hints of surf rock guitar it's a real sonic hodgepodge so far out of left field we were taken aback by how quickly it got us humming along.

 It's a bit hard to pin down but a track like this would probably stand up well against the works of UK groups like Metronomy and that is a big compliment. 'Not Boring Like You?' - We agree 100%, one of our favorite releases of 2017 no question about it.


IORA - 'This isn't about you'

Manchester based electronic-folk Artist IORA is probably one of the most exciting artists we came across in 2017. Blending glitchy trip-hop and with choral folk elements her track 'This isn't about you' is a heavily atmospheric ambient offering from this versatile songstress who seems to confidently navigate between pop leanings and these more left-field offerings (see also Thieves' Den).

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Seafoal - 'XERACLIUS' EP

One of the nice things about new year is I can unashamedly take a step out of the promo cycle and take a look back at some of the awesome stuff I've missed over the last 12 months.

 One such example is the hypnotically gloomy 'XERACLIUS' EP by SEAFOAL who hails from Blackpool in the north west of England. This succinct 5 track EP is a great cold-pop offering; set up brilliantly by releases opening number 'Submerged'. 'Submerged' nicely ticks all the boxes for lovers of retro synth; it's very 'drive-soundtrack' and I mean that as a big compliment; it beckons the listener in like a siren as evocative and airy sine leads blur with (what must be for the first time ever) tasteful use of vocorder.

 It's a striking cinematic feeling track and a great intro. Following on 'Fiends' is a serious work of cutting dark electro pop; once we're past the teasingly wonky fanfare intro we're met by thudding reverb sodden drum machine and synth chimes skipping over a grumbling arpeggiator. This could be a 'Depeche mode' track were it not for Zander Sweeney's sweet and dreamy vocals.

 Elsewhere in the EP we find an infectious pop offering in 'You'll be Sorry' and 'chess' (a stomping number with a much more urban feel).

 Wrapping things up an unassumingly epic synth-pop anthem 'Samara', from humble beginnings the track references 90's Dance music with delayed keyboard sounds echoing under the mournful mewling of what sounds to be a guitar played with an e-bow. As the tension slowly rises, the instrumentation expands and the drum track evolves from dance beats to echoing toms before a final full synth rock breakdown. This is seriously good.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Happy Hollows - 'On The Wave'

Happy Hollows have gone all retro synth and we love it!

 Yesterday the free spirited US alt-rockers unveiled the new video to their track 'On The Wave'; a sci-fi themed visual spectacular.

 Musically 'On The Wave' is a step forward for a group who have always dabbled with electronic elements but never brought them to the fore preferring to allow Sarah Negahdari's exceptional guitar skills shine (see tracks like 'Amethyst', 'Folding road').

 With 'On the wave' the guitar takes a step back and in its wake we find a combination of thick saw-tooth mid tones, an intricate weave of driving arpeggiators, and ringing 80's aero toms; this is clear and confident step into dancehall synth-pop.

 In terms of production again this feels like a step up. With Sarah's vocals finally being taken to their full potential with spring reverb accentuating the natural lilt of her powerful vocals.

 FFO Kate Jackson & the Wrong Moves, White lies.

Friday, 8 December 2017

The Pop Guns - 'We Don't Go Round There Anymore'

So one of my regular hangouts for my weekly new music fix is Freshonthenet and last week I had the pleasure of stumbling across the jangly foot tapping guitar pop of South Coast based 'The Pop Guns'

 'We Don't Go Round There Anymore' is the second single to be taken from the groups 'Sugar Kisses' album & I could see this track going down a storm somewhere like Indietracks or Indiefjord. Upbeat and hooky, the  infectiously cheery vibes struck me instantly. It's a real foot tapping, warming piece of indie-pop a perfect countermeasure to the cold winter weather.

While the recording of drums on a lot of indie-pop tends to be a little bit too dainty I was taken aback by the depth of the thunderous alt-rock snare & tom sound on this track; when paired with the sharp, cutting guitar tone, grounded bass and slightly rough edged vocals which whoop joyously in the outro 'We Don't Go Round There Anymore' has all the makings of an Indie pop classic.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Gaptooth - 'They Cut We Bleed'

Overtly feminist electro-pop which samples the voices of women on anti-austerity marches? Yes Please!

 Welcome to the wonderful world of East London based producer Gaptooth (aka Hannah Lucy), who released her equally righteous and joyous single 'They cut we bleed' yesterday.

 Featuring Samples recorded at Sisters Uncut actions in London in 2016 this is an intelligent and engaging work of bold indie electronica, which sticks it to the patriachy in an unflinching manner; Yet it's undeniable pop sensibilities should not be overlooked.

 For a track so uncompromisingly direct in vocalising its politics 'they cut we bleed' is surprisingly lively and spirited; with a vivacious quality coming from the electro-dancehall influence so clear in the sound of the runaway arpeggiators which are underpinned by a thudding 808 which permeates throughout.

 Cleverly blurring the lines between situational samples recorded at a rally and a big pop hook chorus of her own composition ("back up, back up we want freedom!") this is one to crank up on your stereo till the walls come down (hopefully taking the patriarchy with it).

Friday, 1 December 2017

Martha Ffion - 'We Make Do’

Earlier this week Glasgow-based songwriter Martha Ffion announced 2018 will see the release of her much anticipated debut album 'Sunday Best'. The announcement of this exciting development coincided with Ffion revealing the stream of brand new track ‘We Make Do’.

 Leading with a delicate piano line ‘We Make Do’ is the perfect example of Martha Ffion's now familiar pendulative, lilting pop style.

 Giving credit where it is due, one has to to mention the playful, if subtle production behind this track. Simple garnishes including vocals manipulated to resemble the vintage sounds of an antique radio and drum sticks being played off of shells have been delicately applied not to distract the listener but rather to encourage us to appreciate the organic quality behind Martha Ffion's songwriting craft.

 This is a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come, we can't wait to hear more.