Well, January is certainly under way, but music and musicians don’t work to a calendar! Instead they follow their own idiosyncratic beats and rhythms and the time is right when the music is right. The time was certainly right for our 10 hot picks this week – on with the first track of this week’s roundup.
Though released just as 2017 faded from view, They shall not pass by LPascolatti is very much of the here and now. Starting off like a 70s’ Italian homage to the Dr Who intro, the track turbocharges up to date with hints of industrial techno, synthwave and some samba-esque rhythms called into action. It makes for a track that is dark and enticing, with a bit of the night about it. The song features on his Up Side Down EP which you can stream on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
India is making waves with it’s diverse and growing electronica scene, something that’s sure to continue with tracks like Contact Made from Psychopanda. Starting off as a slightly off-kilter dance track, it takes some arrhythmic turns, a minimal moment about 2:30 taking the listener almost unawares. Slightly harsh synths ebb and flow in the mix, as the track is dappled with light and dark tones that leave you wondering if they should dance to Contact Made or just let its intensity wash over you.
American Nat Reed delivers a superior slice of soul on her new track Flow. Tonally it reminded me of New Jill Swing, its synth-nuanced take on R&B and electro bringing that 90s sound right up to date. Reed’s voice is an instrument in its own right on Flow, as she utilises loops, layers and harmonies to create a smoothness that acts as a counterpoint the personal and at times bleak lyrical content. She says the track was born of a moment of extreme anxiety, and it’s a tribute to her talent that she can turn such a moment in to a sublime artistic statement.
Teleology (You Will Not) is the latest release from Errunhrd – aka Canadian multi-instrumentalist, producer, vocalist, and songwriter, Shirin Ghoujalou. It’s a hard track to categorise, opening with an icy synth sound that wouldn’t be amiss on an old witch house track, but as a foray into an eclectic and electronic take on shoegaze and ambient it certainly defies convention. Tonally it puts me in mind of Chromatics fronted by a pensive Courtney Love, full of attitude, assertiveness and upfront emotional reflectiveness.
Based in Boulder Colorado, Yaysh takes electropop and rap to the extreme with Daep – the Vietnamese for beautiful. Part Peaches, part Missy Elliot, sprinkled – or maybe tinkled – with the electronic perversity of Fever Ray, the track is a minimal, tight and downright dirty slice of boneshaking pop. When asked to described herself she replied: “Well..if Kanye West and Adele had a baby…I would be that baby..and Drake would be my cousin.” But there’s a lot more to her music than its accessibility, there’s art and politics going on here as well.
Chrome Sparks (aka Jeremy Malvin) has re-emerged from a brief hiatus and teamed up with vocalist Angelica Bess on What’s It Gonna Take – a track that cleverly takes some downtempo and trap tropes and utilises them in a more upbeat, almost club-oriented sound. There’s a hint of melancholy about the track’s arrangement, but Angelica Bess’ vocals give it a real sense of chilled euphoria to balance that out. The track is a warmup for a year full of releases from Chrome Sparks via Counter Records, as well as a co-headline tour with Machinedrum later in 2018.
In a similar musical vein is Paige’s Everywhere which see him join forces with vocalist Jojee. It’s a very relaxed affair for a track with such a heady BPM, that’s probably down in part to Jojee’s laid back, smooth vocals which have a suitably aloof charm, all adding to the intoxicatingly sophisticated percussion and ever so mellow bassline. Is classy house a genre? I have no idea, but if it was, then Everywhere would be its gold standard.
Norwegian duo Atella are one of the highlights of Eskimo Recordings’ stellar roster and on the basis of Alive it’s easy to see and hear why. There’s a hint of acts like Royksopp and Frida Sundemo in the mix, but Atella bring a smooth urbanity to the miscellany of melancholy, which tempers the upbeat nature of the lyrics. It’s a wry and cultured take on the classic Scandinavian sound, perfect for sunsets and small talk over that last drink of the night.
Hot on the heels of world-travelling Swimming with the tide which we covered recently, Sweden’s Club 8 show they are still masters of sultry Scandinavian synthpop with their new track Fire. It’ll also feature on the band’s upcoming Golden Island album – their tenth in total. The track harks back to the heyday of Gainsbourg and Birkin in its illicit sensuality and studied air of abandoned modesty, as it entices the listener in to a world of richly indolent aural vice. Be sure to check out Labrador’s website for release details because this is an album you won’t want to miss.
Last up this weekend is a pure musical curveball courtesy of Louisianans Lace On Strange with their track Touch the Winds. It builds slowly, coming over like a particularly strong example of the synthwave genre, then veers in to the most excellent of musical diversions, channelling elements of Italo, 80’s FM rock and blockbuster film duets to serve up the perfect soundtrack for the films that exists only in your mind.
Hope you find something in those ten tracks to delight your ears and your soul – be sure to check out more of the artists’ music if you do. Why not show them some social media love as well, to show you care? Until next week then…