Das Body – Graceland
East Oslo-based Das Body have come to specialise in pop music that is a little darker, which is indicative of their locale in one of the capital’s greyer, apartment-block dominated suburbs. A sort of Salford-by-the-Fjords.
This song, taken from their debut EP Das Body EP, is quite unlike the previous single, the disco standard ‘Boys’; ‘Graceland’ is considerably more sophisticated, with frigid synths, and builds to an almighty climax. It has strong indications of pre-Hip Hop Lykke Li about it.
The official rationale is “The video is an attempt at a depiction of the abstract feeling of alienation, sadness and longing, but also strength and comfort, as the song so beautifully portrays.” No, it’s a girl undressing and dancing slowly while a couple of muscle boys pose in the jungle. (DB)
Chroma – Girls Talk
Long a coming force Chroma are set to release a new single on Popty Ping records and ‘Girls Talk’ is the pick of the bunch a gyrating fierce patriarchy smashing anthem and an assertion of female strength. ‘who are you to tell me I don’t own my body/ Who are to to tell me that I’m nobody’ spits and sneers fantastic front lady Katie Hall with a conviction that you wouldn’t dare look at without expecting to be kicked in the shins, over a clawing melange of frenetic electric bass and kick ass drums.
Hailing from the valleys this bilingual guitarless trio have been setting festivals alight with their brand of punk rock that seers somewhere between the early work of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the incendiary feminist riot grrl sound of Bikini Kill and Katie Hall’s stage roaming antics. This year, you won’t be able to take your eyes or ears off Chroma. (BC)
Tallies – Beat The Heart
Tallies release their self-titled debut album will be released on January 11th, 2019 via Fear Of Missing Out Records. Based on the exquisite ‘Beat the Heart’ it will be a fascinating offering from the Toronto four-piece. Shimmering with jangly guitars supplied by Dylan Frankl and framed in widescreen percussion and filled like lungs of air with Sarah Cogan’s effortlessly wistful tone that echoes the early work of the likes of The Sundays or Cocteau Twins. This hook-laden and enchanting track lament “the lack of empathy that exists so strongly today.”
Tallies self-titled debut album, they promise blends their influences into their own world. (BC)
Micra – Plastic
Micra make their debut with the gorgeous ‘Plastic’, sitting somewhere between the sonics and wispy melodies of early Goldfrapp and wistful textures influenced by the likes of Air and Ariel Pink, it’s an evocative sound that intrigues of what’s the come.
Comprised of the Bulgarian born-and-raised singer, Ivana Kay, and Australian producer/guitarist, Robbie Cain, Micra started out in spring of 2018 earning attention from Triple J for their early demos and live shows. Speaking about the single, Cain says: “‘Plastic’ was the original piece of music I sent to Ivana as a demo over email, convincing her to work on music with me. We tracked the initial vocals in our friend’s basement after meeting in a cafe for the second time.” (BC)
Enya Belak Gupta/Voice of Aiko – Prescription Dream
Here’s a slightly unusual one, but with a serious message. The music video ‘Prescription Dream’ was made by Enya Belak Gupta in collaboration with the artist Calista Kazuko for Voice of Aiko. It is a chilling insight into the terrible impact prescription drugs can cause with a tense, unnerving tone representing helplessness and confusion.
The film was released online on 17th October 2018 with the aim of getting people talking about this pressing issue. Working with Stakk Media and partner charities, this film release will launch a weekly vlog series sharing stories on prescribed harm. Voice of Aiko are also running musical workshops with those affected as part of the campaign.
Voice of Aiko founder Calista says, “What drove us to launch this project was hearing the shocking statistics and stories about what potential harm medications prescribed by the doctor can cause and how easily this can be helped by us just talking about it more, allowing people to make informed choices. We hope that with this emotional song, Enya’s stunning video, the artistic workshops and the weekly vlog we can raise awareness on this very important subject.” (DB)
Vivii – Suckerpunch
It’s a little unfortunate that Stockholm-domiciled Vivii should have released this track just as Sigrid does with her new single which has the same title, though that one is at least separated into two words.
If push came to shove I’d say Vivii’s dream-pop effort is better. Its melody is more consistent for starters. And any vocalist who can remind me of Alela Diane in her Headless Heroes incarnation, as Caroline Jonsson does, is always going to win me over. Vivii’s effort is a little more downbeat than Sigrid’s. “Been trying to stay out of trouble our whole lives, trying to do it all right. But that doesn’t really matter when life comes around and knocks you out cold with a suckerpunch.” It could have been written for Cliff Richard.
‘Suckerpunch’ was released on October 12th on Dumont Dumont. (DB)
Veronica Fusaro – Venom
It’s unusual to have a Swiss artist appearing here but Veronica Fusaro has caught my attention in the past and she has made her mark both in her home country and in Asia. Last year she flew to Manchester in the middle of winter to film a video for a song. I can’t help but have a soft spot for someone crazy enough to do that.
With two EPs under her belt, the more recent Ice Cold in February of this year, her latest single tackles the metamorphosis of love into hatred and the sensation of sudden paralysis that can generate. Heavily jazz-influenced, she manages to throw in some hip-hop beats into the song and vocally she develops the power you’d associate with the likes of Shirley Bassey. (DB).
Steady Holiday – Love and Pressure
L.A’s Steady Holiday returns with ‘Love and Pressure’ from her second album Nobody’s Watching, which was released in August. She says, “A lot of oversimplified advice gets thrown around and though it’s usually well-intended, it can be isolating. The song is about feeling social paralysis, and I wanted to have fun with that theme for the video, taking the lyrics very literally.” Neuroses and paranoia figure highly in Dre Babinski’s writing, delivered conversely as always in her trademark calm, slight, soprano voice. Both soothing and unsettling. (DB)