January is almost over and the nights are getting shorter here in the UK, but the music keeps coming as regular as the morning sunrise… which leads us on to the ten picks for this weekend’s roundup.
First up are Patawawa who we featured only a few weeks ago. Like Patagonia, new track Song for Sam is also features on the band’s newly released Bedroom EP. It shows the band can do slow jams as well as upfront and funky numbers, but it also works as a great showcase for the their vocals and musicianship. In fact, it’s sure to cement their recent and rapid ascent in the public consciousness, which has seen them gain coverage in the NME and being tipped by many leading blogs as a band to watch in 2018.
Sun Pack is the ambient electronic project from LA based musician Niki Smith. R.E.S.T comes from her latest release called ECCO Kommunication, which was released via Montreal’s Blanket Fort label and takes a very ‘less is more’ approach to music. Developing from a very lo fi and low-key organ sound, gradually building not so much layers, but light coatings of gossamer-thin synths, guitar effects and loops, the emphasis seems to be on creating a chilled mood and quiet majesty – something it achieves with considerable ease and composure.
Blog favourites Magdalena Bay are back with yet another classy slice of soulful electropop in the form of new track Waking Up. The 80s-infused synths gently wash over the listener as the slow and rhythmic essence of the track acts as a perfect foil to the duo’s silky and seductive vocal performances. It’s yet another gem for them to add to their increasingly impressive back catalogue.
We stay in America and take an even more chilled turn into the world of BARDZ . He uses a very similar musical palate to the previous track, but to a very different effect on Kelona. It’s hard to label the track genre wise, as its chiming guitar and occasional booming drum rolls see it venturing into the outer experimental reaches of dreampop. However the track is electronic at its core, swaying from flashes of club hedonism to reflective shades in almost a heartbeat.
A Canadian native but now resident in San Francisco via Luxembourg, Vandelux has managed to create a track that marries the throbbing and glacial remove of acts like TR/ST and the ethereal earnestness of Kite with the introspective emotionality of Mr. Kitty. Broken Man has a strange appeal in its slowly unwinding bleakness as it simultaneously reaches out and turns away as if seeking an answer to an unknown question.
Noiseywater’s Love In Your Eyes is an altogether different kettle of fish, being a work of pure, unbridled joy – odd in a track that’s about unrequited love. It feels like a love song most of all though, capturing that moment when you make that first connection as eyes meet, hearts begin to beat faster as the tempo rises – both in the track and between the lovers that may never be. And that harp – it’s pure ecstasy!
Scottish duo Love Sick use Hope to reflect on matters of the heart, but of a more personal nature as it ponders on how we deal with the struggles of life, be they about love, work or something more personal. But the duo takes an uplifting approach to it all, both musically and lyrically, giving the listener the reassuring sensation of being hugged by a good friend at then end of a long day, letting you know that things can get better. Currently resident in Glasgow, the band will be playing their debut, Glasgow gig this April.
There’s never been any doubt that singer/songwriter Nadia Ali is immensely talented, but with her new project HYLLS we get to hear a new side to her song writing and vocals skills. It’s a more intimate sound, one that takes a more organic approach in its arrangement and allows Ali’s vocals to shine through, showing her real star quality and her ability to use her core musical influences to forge a new direction. You’ll be hearing this track at festivals this summer, but not the ones you’d have expected from the dance diva.
Next up is another returnee to the blog, this time is the wonderful Andrew Applepie with Riding the Fullmoon. It’s his reimagining of Blind He-Man O`Hara’s Keyhole Moon. It doesn’t fit in to a neat box, and though it has downtempo nuances, Applepie’s off beat but always affectionate take on genres means the track makes its own quixotic journey through thought and sound and leaves a probably puzzled smile on your face.
Lastly this week, we stay in Germany with Copperfield by Sterile Cuckoo. It’s just beyond musical reason, a mix of the harder end of futurepop and wistful clouds of dreampop, as arpeggios take hold of the listener and lead them on an almost hallucinogenic trip, making the whole thing some baroque swirl of delight. It shouldn’t make sense but it does, as its technopop sound rushes by as if in a strangely hurried daydream.
That’s it for this week, hope something appealed to you and be sure to check out the artists, and maybe throw some love or money their way. Until next week, be safe!