An important part of being a musician is the struggle to get their music out there and heard by people willing to pay for it – be it by streaming or download. It’s hard at the best of times so when a new platform comes along that offers to play fair with artists, it deserves some credit. Resonate is a new service; a co-op that offers artists a fair financial deal and listeners the option to own a track after steaming it a number of times. Sounds like a win-win and we wish it the greatest success. And on with this weekends’ roundup!
Philadelphia-based vocalist and producer Ga-Nu cites artists like Deadmau5, Animal Collective, James Blake and Bon Iver as musical influences, and you can hear some of that in the way the arrangement on Waiting For You has such a rich and brooding quality. Leisurely and languid, dense classical and jazz rhythms intertwine with soulful vocal loops and ambient textures to give the listener the sensation of time being suspended in a moment of beauty, where anticipation is the overwhelming emotion. The track features on her Wandering Soul EP which is out now via Blind Colour – check out the link for streaming and downloading details.
If you haven’t noticed by now we’re big fans of Color Theory and in large part that is down to the constantly innovative approaches Brian Hazard applies to established music genres, something he manages with considerable finesse on The Fifth Of July. There’s lashings of synthwave hooks and nuances, drawing the listener in to that unique musical universe, but the heartfelt vocals and evocative lyrics create an air of humanity that’s often missing in that particular field of music. The track is about the post Fourth of July comedown in Hazard’s home tone of Huntington Beach, but you could just as easily imagine it as the town anthem for San Junipero. You can find out more about Hazard and his music over on his Patreon page.
Beneath the Surface by Manchester’s Demons of Ruby Mae is being reissued on the back of being featured in the closing moments of Season 6 of cult US TV series Suits. It’s a welcome exposure for the band, whose fusion of thoughtful indie electro and anthemic introspection deserves a much wider audience. The song eschews the empty bombast that ensnares many Manchester bands, but nevertheless still has a sense of awe and immediacy that you can imagine filling arenas in the not too distant future.
April Towers (aka Nottingham duo Charles Burley and Alexander Noble) are back in the roundup, following up single Tel Aviv with the much more poppy but just as delightful One Night. This time round there’s a nod to the disco-house that made people swoon over Bilingual / Release era Pet Shop Boys. It’s no pastiche or tribute though, having a fresh and spirited feel as the vivacious bassline, Italo synths and polished vocals give One Night and air of sophisticated abandon. The Nottingham duo’s Certified Freaky album is due out end of this month and it promises to be a real treat for lovers of electropop.
Los Angeles based Zosia (Anneke Lada) says she has been writing songs since she was nine years old and takes inspiration from areas outside music, including the work of icons like Isaac Asimov and Pythagoras. Her alternative take on electropop has that genre’s sense of immediacy and warmth, yet it also has layers of musical and emotional complexity and depth you don’t normally associate with the genre. But it’s Zosia’s voice that keep you spellbound – dripping with pain and bitter experience, it’s also awash with the soft, dangerous power we associate with water itself.
Gothenburg’s Monovibes was originally the solo project of Gustaf Fredrik Nero, but the last few years saw the introduction of Niklas Hugosson and John Lönnmyr to result in the current three-person line up. The subtle sonic brushstrokes on Crash And Burn are reminiscent of acts like Front 242 and Cabaret Voltaire giving the track an old school feel, but there’s a dancefloor-oriented sensibility to the arrangement that pulls the track in to less darker climes in comparison to those groups. The vocals are at times stark, but the dark vocal phrasing oddly gives the track a wry sense of optimism. Brooding, intense yet with a clubby ambiance, it balances its different musical and lyrical tones with considerable ease. Crash And Burn is out now and features on the bands’ Floors EP which is out now via Pitchfork St. Records. You can stream the whole EP on Soundcloud and Spotify.
Fifteen by Magic Moments marries the confessional tones of spoken word poetry with abstract sounds and sonic sculptures that seek to capture the confused and exciting times many of us go through at that age – one where danger, rebellion and excitement are often the same thing. Where pain is found in everything from bereavement to a stolen kiss or a lost chance at love, that moment where childhood and adulthood simultaneously collide and separate. Stark, beautiful and encapsulating that uneasy time of life, Fifteen is the perfect soundtrack for reminiscing about a time when things change utterly, even for the most self-assured of us. There’s a lyric video here to help you capture the poignant and fast-changing lyrical imagery of the piece.
Don’t Even Try which is released via YouTooCanWoo and sees French producer Yuksek and JD Samson (known for her work with Le Tigre, MEN, Pussy Riot, Christina Aguilera and more) collaborate on a track which fuses dance floor beats with a punk attitude. Dirty, almost Latin rhythms and an infectious percussion mix it up with some nu disco passion to make you want to shake your hips, shout out loud and throw your hands in the air – all at the same time. It’s the perfect soundtrack for getting sensual in some dark and sweaty club, or maybe a more private space, just one on one.
Australian Lucy Neville says Shameless is about ‘how far we will go to have a piece of something that tastes like fame’ but despite the reflective and occasionally downbeat nature of the lyrics, the song has a strangely euphoric feel. That’s no doubt in large part due the Neville’s superlative vocals – rich, uplifting even in some of the songs bleaker moments. The plaintive guitar that occasionally drifts in and out of the arrangement gives the song the aura of being an anthem for those that are beaten not by failure, but by the trappings of success that an individual can fail to navigate. Its beauty is accentuated by its soul baring honesty, taking the listener on a journey that lets us know we are never truly alone. The track is released via Humble Angel which prides itself on being the first streaming only record label.
After a deceptively guitar laden opening, Trees by Brooklyn trio The Rungs quickly develops in to a jaunty and upbeat electro tune with an indie twist. Light and airy vocals duel with hooks and melodies that wouldn’t be amiss on a Wendy Carlos classic, or Freezepop at their most wildly addictive. Leftfield without being quirky, serious (lyrically) without being too full of itself, it’s a complete joy from start to finish and will probably see The Rungs quickly move up the musical ladder to greater success.
That’s it for this week, hope you like some if not all of what you heard – we look forward to bringing you more top tunes next time round. Have a great week! Except for Donald Trump and Michael Gove – I hope everything they attempt this week turns in to a ball of failure and humiliation.