It’s been a great week for live music here in Manchester, and with Ladyhawke last weekend and the Pet Shop Boys tonight we’re spoiled rotten for quality electropop right now. In between getting far too excited at gigs; we’ve compiled 10 of our favourite discoveries from the past week for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!
Our first track this week is Snow by Scottish duo Isle. We recently saw Isle support the wonderful Ladyhawke in Manchester, and their brand of anthemic synthrock went down really well with the audience. Snow is an outwardly cheerful song with a sad heart, reflecting on the love and loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a tough mission to get something like that across in a four minute song; but they do it well in a style that reminds me of Hurts and Mirrors with vocals that have a hint of The Cure in their delivery.
Crisis Point is an electro barnstormer from Mr Kitty. With firm nods to his 8bit past, it glitches and glides its way along with distorted vocals and a rousing bass line. The darker he gets, the more harshly and unashamedly heartbreaking his music sounds. Crisis Point is the first track to preview from his upcoming album A.I. which will be released via Negative Gain Records. If this track is anything to go by, it’s going to be one to watch out for!
We’ve featured Liverpool duo Halem before, and on hearing Ghost we just had to do it again. Powerfully soulful vocals, piano riffs and great production show why there’s a real buzz about Katy Bryson (vocals) against Reece Cairns (drums/keys). There’s a real euphoric house feel to this track which should see it go down well on the dance floor as well as with more private listeners.
Anything Else is the latest release from London duo The Glass Children. Comprising of David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou , The Glass Children describe their music as ‘combining lush synth production with powerful ethereal vocals’ – something they do it very well indeed if this track is anything to go by. They’re ones to file alongside Vivien Glass and Empathy Test as purveyors of the finest quality dark pop, and a band with a great future.
Metal Boy is a slow burning track from Charity Vance aka Charity. Some great vocals really draw the listener in, whilst the overall atmosphere and arrangement of the track combine to create a great electro ballad. Lyrically it is very much a love song, but it does have a bit of a twist to it so be sure to listen closely – that is, if Charity’s dreamlike vocals don’t send you off into reverie.
Nadoyel’s track Photographs is a great slice of left field experimental electronica. With a repetitive piano motif and some off-kilter, almost atonal, arpeggios it is certainly unlike anything I’ve heard for a while. The track has a beautiful charm to it, largely due to the fact that musically, it lives in a fascinating place somewhere between John Cage and Regina Spektor. Photographs shows Nadoyel to be an interesting, innovative and promising artist. Check her out – you won’t regret it!
Swiss duo Motrade deliver a very rich and emotional piece in Escape, taken from the EP of the same name. It’s a taste of their upcoming album Lovers & Angels which is due out in April. Escape has a really rich quality to it: rounded female vocals emote over a deep and brooding electronic soundscape that gets right inside your mind and stays there. The most direct musical comparison I can come up with is HVOB, but Escape takes a more cerebral and less dance oriented approach than the Austrian band.
Dreamrave is not a musical concept I’m really familiar with, but Possession by Pastel Ghost leads me to think I need to look in to it more. This track drips with a very laid back form of class: vocals that are plaintive and enticing, languid percussion that brings ambient trance and 90’s club sounds to the mix and a crystal clear, polished sound makes Possession sound light and wistful. A really track that made me hit repeat over and over and over.
I’m not sure I could compile a playlist without at least one track from a Scandinavian artist, so it’s just as well that Childhood Dreams by Norwegian singer ARY fits the bill so perfectly. It’s a quirky little number; ARY’s slightly bluesy vocals teamed up with a right earworm of a bubbly, bassy track. As with so much Scandinavian pop it hides lyrically complex and emotional themes beneath a pop veneer, meaning you can take it was a bouncy pop number or something a bit darker. I’m happy with both!
See you next time.