There’s a healthy North American flavour to today’s roundup, but with hints of European electronic decadence in the mix to balance it out. There’s an unintentional theme in that the tracks generally play about with the boundaries of what various genres are meant to be, or just completely ignore them. The best music often breaks the rules, afterall. And so, on to the music.
LAOISE actually hails from Galway in Ireland, not the place with which she shares a name, but there’s no confusing the fact that Rich is a killer track. It neatly subverts some of the clichés attached to the downtempo sound that inspires elements of her work. That chilled sound is there, but with synths leads and vocal samples that engender a sense of dissonance, and biting lyrics that are delivered in honeyed tones, Rich is pure pop – personal and a bit political.
Milk by Boston based NASAYA also plays around with genres, again taking some downtempo tropes but injecting Philly style strings, angelic vocals – courtesy of Myra – and some square sounds inspired by a Gameboy, which when allied with some incisive lyrics all results in what feels like a love song for someone no longer in love. Milk is full fat, not skimmed electro!
Australians Desert Moons – comprising of brothers Jake and Simon Dobson – have constructed something achingly beautiful in Deep Water, mellow beats combining with classical-sounding piano, ominous Moog synths and a vocal performance that just bleeds emotion. Lyrically deep, reflecting on the need to sometimes confront your inner demons, the track tugs at the heart and mind.
Juicy by Londoner Dans Mon Salon is deep and dark, musically and lyrically. The bassline throbs ominously, under a lyric that talks of obsession and twisted emotion, at odds with the sensual nature of the arrangement, but oddly working well together. I’d dance to this in a night club, or play it at home, but if a date invited me back to their place and put this on loud, I’d make my excuses and leave! Like many dangerous things, Juicy has a seductive side to it and maybe that’s part of the joy of the track.
Canadians Firewood Poetry weave some dense magic on It’s my art to xxxx, a track that wouldn’t have been amiss on the recent Twin Peaks TV series. Back masking, ethereal female vocals, eastern inspired sounds and a more upfront feel than previous singles; the song takes ambient sounds and gives the listener very the contradictory sensations of safe and uneasy as the tone and texture of the song progressively turns darker as it pulls you in.
San Francisco electropopsters SUMif – led by Steph Wells – return in triumph with IDW – their first single of 2017. It’s a track that opens slowly and cautiously, as if feeling its way in the world, before the vocals explode with energy and emotion. Musically, Wells cites The XX and Tei Shi as inspirations and you can hear elements of that in the slow, shadowed vibe of IDW but with its subtle nods to the mainstream contrasting its very indie sensibility, it manages to be accessible, anthemic and alternative.
Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, REIGHNBEAU is the work of visual and sound artist Bryce Hample. Gold Face sees him collaborate with bkbeats as well as Colleen Johnson from Twig Palace on a piece that has hints of early Orbital, providing an element of repetitive euphoria that runs through the song and lends it a sense of immediate familiarity. The vocals add colour, a sense of serenity at odds with the uptempo nature of Gold Face but it all works beautifully.
A quick return to the blog for NOVAA and Lo who are really on fire at the moment with each release from their joint project showing it to be a musical highlight of the year. Coinciding with the release of their Lights album comes My Splendor which features the vocals of Miami RnB singer Austin Paul. It has a more soulful take on their smooth electropop sound as a result of Paul’s exquisite crooning, which washes over the listener like waves from a quiet storm. I it’s a track that aims for the heart and scores a direct hit!
Garcian Smith has a left field take on electronica with changed, trap elements fusing in to offbeat vibes bordering on wonky techno and a sound that has an almost childlike quality to it. The rhythms and filtered vocals play with about rap and shape it in to something new and a bit disturbing. If Yung Lean is too accessible for you, then the sombre beats of Garcian Smith find a place in your dark heart.
Last up this week, is the aptly titled New from She’s Excited – an indietronica musician based in Brooklyn. Featuring on Love Is Round which is her most recent EP, New has unique trip-hop via Broadway edge to it, as if Portishead transformed Sondheim in to a series of stark beats and tasty lyrical meat. It’s a track that pulls off the difficult feat of being experimental without unsettling the listener, all the while being a damned infectious track.
That’s our ten tasty morsels for this week, hopefully you found something to entice you into supporting the artists and their work by streaming or buying their music. Musicians have cats and expensive synth habits to feed! Until next week, love life and love music!