Amaya Laucirica – All of our Time
Another artist from a growing scene down under, Australian musician Amaya Laucirica recently released her new album Rituals, which is out now via Opposite Number Records. She will be heading over to the UK in May for The Great Escape Festival, more tour dates to be announced.
‘All Of Our Time’ is draped in a hazy nostalgia, wistful and longing vocal melodies that have been stuck in my head for days and pared back percussion and sensitive guitars, it’s a gorgeously rendered slice of songwriting punctuated by the ebbs and flows of relying on someone else. As Amaya explains: “The weakness is that the spontaneity disappears and the fire needs to be reignited over time. The strength is that their love has the patience to endure this time.” (BC)
Haux – Arrows
Haux is the project of photographer-turned-musician Woodson Black. ‘Sparse’ is a good way to describe his approach, with vocals that are other-worldly, as if he’s communicating from the other side, in black and white. He reminds me ever so slightly of an electronic Leif Vollebekk.
‘Arrows’ is from his new six-track EP, Something to Remember, which was released on 30th March. It could easily be a soundtrack to a Scandi-noir drama, with its scant, icy synths. Speaking of scant, the track is only two minutes and 30 seconds long.
His next project is a self-directed film inspired by the characters and events explored within the Something to Remember EP. After that, a headline tour across North America and Europe but one that only touches the UK twice – in London and Glasgow. (DB)
Lostchild – Blacklist
Lostchild hails from Banbury, Oxfordshire and his performing name is taken from his lonely existence through adolescence, unable to connect with his peers. Turning to music to channel his emotions he has released a few EPs, mainly synth-driven pop like this, and dealing mainly with issues that have brought him support from the gay community. The 2016 single ‘Town’ together with a popular video was his breakthrough moment.
He has tended to shift more in the direction of a club vibe recently, again as evident here on ‘Blacklist’, and with a greater sense of empowerment; less child, less lost. I don’t suppose he’ll thank me for saying he sounds like Rick Astley. But he does. (DB)
Matthew Byrne – Nancy from London
And now for something completely different. Newfoundland (Canada) musician Matthew Byrne releases his new album Horizon Lines in the UK on May 25th, a collection of originals and interpretations of traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic. With a seafaring background, Byrne’s repertoire is heavily influenced by the weaving of stories with arresting melodies, establishing him as a leading light in Canada’s traditional voice milieu.
‘Nancy from London’ sounds like it could be a football insult directed at visiting Cockney players from the Stretford End or The Kop. It turns out to be an exercise in folk music storytelling of the highest order; simple, vocally lucid and with subtle phrasing. (DB)
Newmen – Delay
Newmen hail from Frankfurt, more of a global financial centre than a hive of rock music but they are doing their best to redress the balance, with a new (fourth) album, Soft Ware to be released on 4th May and ‘Delay’ is the first single from it. If you dabble in Krautrock, which I suppose they do judging from this track you have to be careful to avoid adverse comparisons with the likes of Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. Newmen make a pretty good fist of it thanks to their experimental approach to synth-pop.
The song concerns “the emotional reciprocation in a state of dreamy euphoria”, which sounds like a euphemism for something trip-related. It is cold and unemotional at the beginning, lively in the middle and chilled at the end. As the PR says – complex, yet straight to the point. (DB)
Hippies Vs Ghosts – No Left No Right
Lifted from their third album, North Walian sonic mischief makers Hippies Vs ghosts return with ‘No Left No Right’. Like a Spaghetti western theme tune reassembled by a kick-ass live krautrock group then tweaked by David Holmes. THere’s a percussive and melodic playfulness about the Hippies Vs Ghosts sound that illuminates, from the twanging guitar riffs, dirty and psychy flourishes, and “nah nah nah” backings it’s a Molotov cocktail of sound with a barmy video. If the makers of Baby Driver 2 are looking for a soundtrack for their next title sequence look no further. (BC)
Agar Agar – Fangs Out
French duo Agar Agar are back with ‘Fangs Out’ a more experimental and surreal take on their club inspired nighttime electro sound. With surreal imagery, switching between spoken and sung, their tapestries are surprising and lustful, oscillating between the kind of an Avant pop world’s inhabited by Fever Ray and Tune Yards. Live they go a bit heavier – more into Factory Floor territory. The accompanying video is a beautifully twisted dystopian clip, following a woman who wears VR glasses and turns into a dog that gets attacked by a pack of dogs.
They have a host of dates/festivals coming up this year and will be releasing their debut record in September. Their previous EP Cardan alerted me to their potential as I tipped them as ones to watch, they played one of the busiest gigs at Great Escape last year and then sold out Moth Club as their headline London show. (BC)