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.


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Sheila and The Kit - 'Next 2 U'

Earlier this month Dutch Synth-Pop duo Sheila and the Kit released their latest single 'Next 2 U'.

 It's a real foot tapping, bouncy, dance hall sort of song featuring some irresistible syncopated synth pads and sweet vocals guaranteed to make you want to move.

 The audible 80's influences lend the track a certain retro kitsch appeal too; the trebley vocoder pitch-bending lead riff which follows on from the chorus is something of an ear-worm. And the familiar reverb drenched splat of a triggered 84 electric-snare sound may explain where the group got the name 'The Kit'.

 Chirpy, upbeat and fun, I can see 'Next 2 U' appealing to fans of groups like Hot Chip, Avec Sans or Saatsuma.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

BDY_PRTS - 'Take it to the Top'

Feisty electro-pop duo Jill O’Sullivan and Jenny Reeve AKA BDY_PRTS are back and set to release their debut album ‘Fly Invisible Hero’ at the end of this month.

 The quirky Scottish pop sensations really are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to their irresistibly hooky electro-pop bangers which have been consistently paired with glossy, eye catching visuals since they first offered up their track IDLU back in 2015. Naturally the lead single (and accompanying video) from ‘Fly Invisible Hero’, is no exception.

‘Take it to the top’ is a quintessential example of what’s on offer from this seasoned group; a strident, powerful pop song, accompanied by a stunning video. In this instance we see the group donning colourful body distorting costume and ambiguously expressive Pierrot make-up; Its memorable yet left-field; simple yet compelling.

 However, the real triumph of the video is seeing the band themselves mature enough to perform with such satisfying conviction so as to make the most alienating of genres ‘art-pop’ seem authentic.

 ‘Fly Invisible Hero’ will be out via Aggrocat Records on 24th November.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Calva Louise - 'Getting Closer'

Calva Louise are easily one of the most compelling live groups currently active in the UK, I was lucky enough to see this group on tour earlier this year and was blown away. Jess Allanic’s guitar playing is put simply a joy to behold; so I was thrilled to discover they had new material recorded.

Their new single ‘Getting Closer’ (Released 10th November via Modern Sky) lived up to all my expectations. Opening with a ridiculously derivative bass riff, wonky calliope-esque guitar sounds, and sing-song vocals; this twee beginning is all a set up; a foil to the utterly soul annihilating torrents of distortion which flow seemingly from nowhere.

‘Getting closer is about identity crisis’… you don’t say! I mean really, the level of calculated understatement behind those words is so cunning its practically Machiavellian; This is what I love about Calva Louise, their sense of humour. They’re so witty and irreverent to the extent that one cannot help but feel charmed. I wish there were another hundred bands like them, but I have a feeling they’re totally unique. 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

New Portals - 'Chasing Shade'

Belfast based duo New Portals are back and have revealed a spellbinding pop ballad in their track 'Chasing Shade'.

 Featuring subtle atmospheric synths and a gorgeously warm studio piano; the track instantly sets itself up as having potential to deliver a contemplative magnum opus for the group; and as the marching snare rhythm kicks in, which with parade ground precision neatly cuts above the instrumentation, sharp as a rifle burst; and yet without overpowering the delicate vocals; the listener cannot help but acknowledge the fait accompli.

 This is simply epic

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Ibeyi - ‘Deathless’

Ibeyi might just be one of the most exciting groups in the world right now; the twin sisters produce a full-bodied and evocative pop sound that confidently fuses influences from electronic music, hip hop and even elements of  jazz.

Take the groups  track ‘Deathless’ taken from the album 'Ash' (released September 29th via XL Recordings), the result of a successful collaboration with American saxophonist Kamasi Washington, the track is a fine example of Ibeyi's willingness to use their art to grapple with big hot button issues such as race, male on female violence and police brutality.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Little Simz - 'Poison Ivy'

London based Little Simz unveiled a new video to her single 'Poison Ivy' earlier this week; and its a wonderful accompanyment to an immersive swaying modern ballad.

 Rhythmically there's a lot to pick out on this track, from the cuckoo of the pitched electronic percussion at the tracks opening, to the stuttering shuffle rhythm which chirps throughout like a scratched vinyl repeating and then of course Little Simz own, brilliantly precise lyrical flow.

 There's also a hint of Carlos Santana influence to this track, with a bold ostentatious guitar lead soaring above meandering conga percussion.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Mailers - 'Aire Frio'

Spanish group Mailers have unveiled the lead track'Aire Frio' from their forthcoming LP 'Humanos'.

The single is a surprising Indie folk ballad with a real iberian roots feel; and represents a massive departure from the floorfilling electro-pop of the groups earlier releases such as 'materia'. However this does not to detract from the undeniable talent of the seasoned group. Ana García's expressive vocals remain powerful as ever. Reaping the benefits of the new creative direction, this is a song with great rhythmic contrast and flair.

 Ending with a choral vocals over some accentuated flamenco style rhythmic clapping which is very en vogue now in Spanish indie (See Izal's track Copacabana) I can see this bold track with its big, swaying chorus going down well at home and overseas.

FYOHNA - ‘Called It Love’

L.A based Art-Pop duo FYOHNA unveiled their latest single ‘Called It Love’ this week. Having premiered on the 405 we couldn’t resist having a listen ourselves.

 Featuring a strong underlying influence of Trap music this is a much gloomier offering than the groups previous track ‘Believe you’; Smatterings of reverb sodden synth-pads, electronic snares and haunting ghost vocals are to be found throughout the verses creating a sense of unease.

 However, this atmosphere of foreboding is merely a foil, to be skilfully swept to one side as FYOHNA launch into a swaggering, half chanted chorus which is propelled by a grandiose synth bass riff.

 Above all Katarina Gleicher’s standout vocal performance makes for an enthralling listen, beckoning us on, as if a siren perched upon the rocks of a sea of sublime (if perhaps threatening) art-pop.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Bülow - 'This Is Not A Love Song'

It’s always a pleasure to stumble across new artists; especially one with as much promise as Megan Bülow (musically active as 'Bülow').

This emerging Dutch Pop-songstress has really caught attention with her sparkling debut 'Damaged Vol.1'; a two track teaser which hints at great things to come from the Netherlands based newcomer.

The stand-out track 'This Is Not A Love Song' is positively repleat with carefully sewn pop hooks and a confident title which does much to dispel any hints of the saccharine