It’s been a while since we featured a song from a local act, but this week we feature not only someone from Manchester, but also a band from our regional rivals down the M62, Leeds. As the UK slowly thaws, we hope to help you warm up with some lovely tunes this week from home and far beyond these frost-bitten shores.
New York born and raised, Mïrändä really captivated us with GLOW. It’s a track that manages to capture the erratic deliriousness of a desire that has a cost – known or unknown at the time. The track powers along in a seemly bright and breezy manner, with the brooding bassline giving the suggestion that not all is as wonderful as it seems on the surface. The uplifting synths are leavened by insightful and occasionally slightly dark lyrics, making it a song that seeks the light whilst being aware of the darkness lurks just below the surface.
We slow things down considerably with How I Deal With Silence from Sweden’s Covered in Snow. The duo who were previously part of synth-pop band Shallow Sense and have retained some of that band’s uncanny ability to balance the reflective with the bubbly, though in this instance in the form of a rich and emotive electro ballad. Powerful and plaintive, it has the air of one of those tracks that makes you want to look in to someone’s eyes and tell them you will always be there.
Violet Night by Meresha is another sublime cut from her Enter the Dreamland release (which AllMusic named as one of their albums of 2017) and highlights her unerring ability to take disparate musical influences and create a sound that very much her own. Hints of Europop mingle with ambient beats and funky rhythms which are topped off to perfection by a beguiling and bewitching vocal performance. The feelgood chorus is sure to stick in your head for ages! Meresha is running a remix competition for the track – there’s a few more days left to enter and you can find out more about it here. Good luck to all budding and established producers out there!
GOUX is a singer, songwriter and producer based in Manchester who says her sound is influenced by her love for the 80s as well as more current artists like Lapsley and HONNE. On Over You that results in a single that has all the feel of an 80’s house classic fused with a synthpop beat. Charming and feisty, think Pet Shop Boys circa Bilingual but with a modern and a soulful twist, then you’re on the way to capturing some of the magic of Over You.
Norway’s Aleksander Kostopoulos is well known for working with artists like Mari Boine, Adjagas, Moddi, Marthe Valle and ISÁK, but now the drummer/percussionist has launched his own solo career with Kusolda which is from his upcoming Faleo album. Given his day job it’s to be expected that the musical spine of the track is percussive in nature, but Kostopoulos shows restraint and considerable insight by keeping the beat of the track remain in the shadows and letting the undulating piano and ethereal male vocals take hold of the listener in a piece that manages to be both insistent and ambient in tone. There’s much beauty in its stirring and deceptive simplicity.
It’s rare to come across an artist that flies almost completely under the social media radar as much Voight does, but other than an unrevealing but visually captivating Instagram account, there’s not a lot to go on. But the music makes you want to know more, as does her art. Lhcr has a very synthpop influenced melody but takes this in a very different artistic direction, stripping down the song to its most basic, then letting the rich and sultry vocals set the entrancing emotional tone as layers of synths wax and wane. Lhcr will certainly get under your skin and pique your curiosity as to who has produced such a polished gem.
Rumours are a real European melting pot: a London based electronic music trio consisting of Fede, Mark and Marion hailing respectively from Italy and Norway. You can hear that cross-pollination in every note of Ways: Nordic melancholy and the Italian flair for romance are suffused with the urban electronic sophistication that exemplifies the best of British synthpop. The vocals mirror that moment of the day where light and dark briefly meet and exist in harmony as they cast a spell over the listener, the urgent rhythms of the arrangement adding to a sense of carnal abandon. The band has some gigs coming up in London soon, you can find out more on their Facebook page.
A question I’ve never asked myself is ‘What if Courtney Love had picked up a keyboard instead of a guitar?’ In the case of Me Not You, the answer came before the question – with Eventually and now Chemical Cure the band channel some of the rage, emotion and abstract longing that were so central to grunge, but wrapped up in delicious but edgy vocals and an overall electronic sound that feels sugar sweet at times but leaves an uncertain aftertaste. With its inviting combination of beauty and danger Chemical Cure is like serotonin for the soul.
Though mainly a means for the world to share pictures of cats, the internet also enables musicians from the far corners of the globe to work with each other. It also means that despite members of Scholar being based in Brisbane and Vancouver, they can produce a sound on Streaming of You that is sophisticated and seamless, as if they are sitting next to each other. With its warm tones, a melody that soothes the soul and a fusion of slightly retro samples with elements of the current chillwave sound, it’s a perfect short escape from a hectic day.
Last up this week is Confessional by Leeds duo Denton Thrift. The songcraft just shines through here, as if every word and every note has been crafted from precious stone. Its slowly changing nature makes it feel like it’s being shaped by the Yorkshire weather, and the vocals and lyrics are like soft but unyielding heather slowly unflowering on a warm Spring day. Conor Jordan and Jess Mollie have created a track that’s electronic at heart, but feels totally in tune with the natural world around them.
Well that’s it for this week, please be sure to check out the bands on Spotify, Bandcamp and social media – it’s harder and harder for artists to get their message out there these days and a bit of electronic love helps them on their way. Until next week!