Another week gone, another Roundup under our belts, with plenty to fun to be found within even the more reflective numbers we’ve picked this week.
First up this time round id White Nights – the latest single from New York based electronic music collective Tiger Mountain. The band eschew rock and roll norms and are as likely to be found playing a gallery or church as they are a sweaty bar. Their sound would work wherever they play; tight yet dreamy vocals flow over subtle percussion; and a melody that inspires a sense of abstract joy by delivering a soothing aural ambrosia. Musically, it exists somewhere between the hazy musings of MGMT and the more experimental work of Pink Floyd; White Nights sees Tiger Mountain create a unique space for themselves.
Maia Quin and Andre Samuel aka Goldspace have teamed up with alternative hip hop artist Saint Laurant on Heavy Hitter; a track that delivers more fun and edge with each listen. Smooth RNB beats collide with more ambient and downright chilled sounds before being given a kick with a guest rap that underlines the wry lyrics and bittersweet attitude to 4/20. When Maia Quin and Saint Laurant playfully battle vocally it gives the song a balance between the ethereal and the temporal, letting the more observant listener know that everything has a price.
Bronze Whale say they put an emphasis on releasing music that revels in fashioning a sense of smoothness and sophistication with every beat; and once again they’ve succeeded with new track Patterns. It fuses strands of indie, chillstep and a lowkey take on club-friendly sounds to weave a track that is as smooth as silk giving a layer of beauty and serenity. The vocals and lyrics embroider a more wistful and heartfelt take on what they call ‘the push and pull of relationships’ into the very fabric of the song.
Australia has a fine pedigree in producing shiny but deep pop, and that’s a spirit that Adelaide duo Nakatomi demonstrate perfectly on Old Flame. With nuances of futurepop built in to the very DNA of the track, it sees Emily Smart’s rich and poignant vocals breathe life in to lyrics that reflect on the feelings that are awakened and the memories that are renewed when visiting the past. With a sound that will appeal to fans of Avec Sans and Parallels with its subtle nods to 80s synthpop and 90s dance, Old Flame feels like a long-missed friend making a welcome visit.
Tesha’s Debut 5-track EP, Dreams Vol.1 is out now and So Alive is one of the real highlights. Once again capturing perfectly her ability to merge leftfield beats and pop sensibility, Tesha’s vocals lift the track to a different plane. Think Erykah Badu’s swooping cadences but with a patina of smouldering sensuality thrown in to the mix, then you’re getting close to understanding the inner beauty of the artpop that is So Alive.
There’s a real burgeoning electropop movement in Leeds at present and with a series of storming releases, Krrum (Dark Peaks born but Leeds-based producer and songwriter Alex Carrie) has shown himself to be another shining light of that scene. The primary sensation you get from Waves is that it is fun – and least in terms of its overall sound – bright and breezy with a catchy chorus and light arrangement. Within that light there is also shade – as the man says himself: “Waves is about noticing the cyclical nature of everything, being scared of repeating things and having no control over it, like your life is predetermined.” The track will feature on his debut album, Honeymoon due out on June 15th via 37 Adventures / +1 Records.
Nature Boy is one of those tracks that makes you go silent for a bit. It’s the work of Atlanta-based student Trae Berry and is a result of his studies there. The track throws a series of pleasant yet startling musical curveballs, opening with a sound that wouldn’t be amiss on a retro loungecore compilation, before the listener is gently shifted in to a series of beats and loops inspired by the classic jazz song Nature Boy, made famous by Nat King Cole. Chilled but with a slightly brooding feel to the arrangement, Berry’s smooth and yet oddly sinister sound puts a very different spin on lyrics previously considered to be of a more spiritual bent.
Indie-electro can sometimes be a difficult musical fusion to pull off, as the success or failure of a track is very much in the ear of the listener. I don’t think there can be much doubt that Lithuania’s Deeper Upper have pulled that blending off with great success though on Boys Don’t Cry. 80s powerpop clashes blissfully with soaring guitars and a synthesised bassline straight out of synthpop central casting, Boys Don’t Cry sounds like the closing track to a John Hughes movie. With sense of melancholy closure, it reminds you that being in touch with your emotions can be a real strength, not a weakness.
Dig Exotic is the solo project of Los Angeles songwriter, musician and producer Rebecca Rosoff. Coming from her recent Act Two EP, Paid for Pain is a refined yet open exploration of the nature of loss and how we deal with it, lyrically stark and at times cutting right to the heart of the matter. The more reserved tone of the arrangement serves to soften the lyrics, with some retro Balearic dance nuances and unflustered beats creating a comforting ambience within which to explore the song’s deeper meanings.
Last up this weekend is a new song from ANIQO. Chess sees the German singer/producer explore the more ambient and experimental parts of her sound, channelling sombre cinematic tones to Badalamenti-style musical twists. Whispered vocals set the scene before Anita Goss’s vocals slowly unfurl like a black origami swan, taking flight in lyrics that merge emotional intensity with strong imagery, leaving the listener feeling like they’ve shared a musical and spiritual journey with the artist. Oh, the video for Chess is quite cool and well worth checking out.
Well that’s it for this week, hope you enjoyed what you heard and don’t be a social media stranger to the bands – they love fan feedback and social interaction. Goodbye for now!