Another week gone, another musical miscellany arrives to tempt your taste buds. This week the playlist has a bit of a festival feel about it, with heavy emphasis on uplifting vibes and fun sounds, but with some consciousness raising lyrics in the mix also. And on with the show!
First out of the blocks this week is London duo LiiN with their track Reveal. Producer Neil Simons and vocalist Malo Ramsoir use 70s and 80s analogue hardware in conjunction with digital software to create an arrangement that’s reminiscent of classic soft rock but filtered through a modern electronic musical lens. Ramsoir’s vocals give the track a cool, slightly indie sensibility, but it works brilliantly with the overall electronic feel of Reveal. It’s a hard track to place in a genre but it’ll certainly appeal to fans of indie, rock, electro and maybe even prog! They remind me of mind.in.a.box at their best which for me, is a high recommendation indeed!
Hesanobody know how to build the perfect indie electro anthem, if Roadblock is anything to go by. From the stirring piano opening you know you’re in for something special as the track piles on the hooks and a vocal performance that’ll have fans of Brandon Flowers and Tom Smith swooning. The track doesn’t go for the easy option of the obvious rousing crescendo but ends very much with a more human touch – Gaetano Chirico’s easing the song to an emotional finale, with the lyrics ‘The engine is on and we don’t care / or do we care?’ echoing in your ears.
In Your Atmosphere is the opening track taken from American Trevor James Tillery’s forthcoming album, Together.Alone, out November 10th. It’s a lovely piece of retro-futurist downtempo, slowly rhythmic and looping its way along as a solid bedrock to the smooth, soothing water that is Tillery’s vocals. There’s a plaintive quality to the track that is balanced by the ethereal vocals, as if the whole thing is designed to be a love song for ghosts.
It’s difficult to pull off indie-style vocals on an electronic track but Jeremy Shayne pulls it off on Millennial Syndrome – an off-kilter slow number for those who are too cool for ballads. It flows along like a metronome, with direct lyrics that have a real open emotional feel to them. The vocal effects serve to complement rather than distract from Shayne’s molasses-sweet voice. Shayne’s been tipped as one to watch at it’s not hard to see why, on the strength of this take on emotional electropop.
Rising Like The Sun is the second single from the Danish producer Steen Thottrups’ critically acclaimed new album Balearic Bliss. The track sees him team up with long-time collaborator Denver Knoesen on a track that sums up the whole sunrise at Café del Mar feeling – acoustic guitar, undulating beats and emotive lyrics, underpinning that sense of wistful joy evoked by one memorable night ending, but with a new day of possibilities to come.
Jessie Frye takes the standard poppy love song and inverts it on Honey, over a sultry electro arrangement she ladles out sugar sweet lyrics that play tricks with the listener. Initially presenting Frye has the passive receiver of her lover’s intentions and actions, they take a twist to show that she has a dominant role in the relationship. Superficially Honey might come across as a love song and maybe it is, but it plays about with ideas like power and honesty in relationships in a wry, catchy fashion.
Another track that plays with the convention is Satellite by Prime which takes some musical inspiration from the ‘big room’ house music genre but instead of parading vacuous slogans over cliched beats, Prime lets his vocals and heartfelt lyrics take centre stage on a song that seamlessly grafts on synthpop and futurepop elements, engendering in the listener a sense of empathy rather than a sense of empty euphoria. Oh, and it’s a great pop song!
South London born and bred, but now based in Berlin, Lamia brews up a mesmerising sound on Not Mine. It sees her take inspiration from dark electronica and the Berlin and London electronic music scenes, as she sprinkles Not Mine with slow beats, chilled synths and most importantly vocals that wouldn’t be amiss on a classic Blue Note album. She’s described the track as being about ‘ideals overriding reality and the attempt to compete with a version of yourself within another’s mind. It explores the power of the human psyche to live through what you want to believe, rather than what is actually there’ and feels like a torch song for the 21st century.
I found it hard to write something about Elohim’s The Wave beyond ‘it’s great and you really should listen to it cos it’s awesome’. It’s very much its own sound and it encapsulates why she is becoming such a live draw. If you like the carefree pop of CHVRCHES, a bit of early Madonna, the leftfield laconia of Ionnalee then the upbeat and frankly fabulous The Wave will have you dancing like a fool.
Last up this week is Aussie duo Kllo with Dissolve, the lead single from their debut album Backwater which is out on 20th October. There’s an oddly retro feel to this; not in the arrangement or overall sound, but more the sensation It creates of being around dance music in the early 90s when the excitement of hearing something new and innovative was such a rush. You can pick out a myriad of genres on Dissolve but it feels so self-contained and unified it feels like it was born, not made. They’re playing Manchester soon an we’ll be there, that’s for sure!
Thanks for sticking with me through all that verbiage, as ever, I hope there was something in there that appealed and made you want to hear more from these fabulous artists!