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

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Xenoula - 'Luna Man'

Welsh based Romy Xeno or 'Xenoula' is set to release her self-titled debut album on 24th November. In anticipation we've taken a listen to her track ‘Luna Man’; a decisively left of center single that had us at once scratching our heads but also waiting for more.

 Opening with some deeply gelatinous and wobbly sounding instrumentation 'Luna man' sways in and out the safe immediacy of pop, aided by a slight irreverence to the way the tracks sections are sewn together.

 However a big dollop of Icecream to go with our wonky-pop jelly comes in the form of a delicious section of vocal counterpoint, where Romys sweet soprano lead meets a rich polyphonic vocorder bass. It's fun, it's quirky, we can't wait to hear more.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Twist Helix - 'Little Buildings'

The crafting of arty, political, pop music is no easy feat, but it is one at which the Anglo-Spanish Electro-pop group Twist Helix excel. As the group wrap up their latest UK tour this evening in what promises to be a night to remember at the groups UK home on Tyneside, we take a look at their last single 'Little Buildings' [released July] a blistering example of the groups signature alternative Electro-Pop sound.

 The single itself is a rapid punching, jagged edged synthesis of rock and electronic elements. Beginning with a mysterious 'Tardis' like atmospheric whirring. From there we're quickly swept away by thrusting runaway arpeggiators and hard edged angular drumming in a gritty and evocative 3 minute work.

 Lyrically there's always been a slightly left-field 'meta'/postmodern aspect to the music of Twist Helix (the band seem to revel in 'music about music inspiring music'); and 'Little Buildings' is no different. The lyrics drawing attention to development schemes which sacrifice art spaces in favour of more 'glass windowed homes to better watch the artists go', it's an intelligent and innovative foil to the groups overarching pop-sensibility

'Little Buildings' is available as a digital download from the groups Bandcamp & features a remix by Jennifer Walton who has previously features on Earthly Pleasures for more info on Twist Helix and for news on future releases go to

Friday, 20 October 2017

Esther Joy - 'Friendless Necessity'

Taking me back to my misspent fucking class youth which was spent reveling in thrusting if somewhat dank electronic bangers by groups like VNV nation ESTHER JOY's 'Psychic Tears' was a welcome stroll down memory lane for me.

 Released in August it's aurally uncompromising record, so heavy on distorted electronics that one can't help but imagine the arpeggiators and drum machines coming in so hot they could melt the sun.

 That said there's a pop sensibility shyly hidden away within these tracks, somewhat eclipsed yes but still present. Certainly worth a listen.


Thursday, 19 October 2017

Ambiere - 'Tree Of Life'

Describing your music as 'Fairytale grunge with a jellybean peanutbutter finish' is certainly quirky attention grabbing tagline, however not its not an entirely fitting one in the case of Ambiere

Cut from a similar cloth as the Jazzy, neo-progressive, trip-hop group London Grammer; Ambieres sound on record strikes me as something more suited to ponderous chin scratching than pumping a jellybean laden fist in a mosh pit; Still it's got a definite quality to it and one that stands up to repeated listening.

Take their track 'Tree of Life' from the Eponymous 2017 EP, a stylish, intricate work robust with heady flourishes such as the lead guitar line which seemingly weaves around the vocal melody like a matadors Rebolera. 

Very, very impressive.