What? ‘You and I’
They say: Filmed at Le Balajo – one of Paris’ oldest Cabaret clubs, owned by a wrestling dynasty – the droll video for 70s piano ballad ‘You & I’ was directed by Armand’s girlfriend, director & illustrator Victoria Lafaurie and also stars Ulysse’s other half, Danish actor & model Klara Kristin. Speaking about the video, Lafaurie says; “Like in Tex Avery’s animated cartoons, Ulysse & Armand are Klara Kristin’s conscience. Will she fall for the Devil or the Angel? We shot the video in Super 16 film. It was fun to mix the aesthetics of American cartoons with biblical clichés and a few ‘Ramen Western’ inspired scenes.”
Why we love it: Papooz make the type of cool, self-aware, retroist pop that is hard to ignore. ‘You and I’ is the first single taken from their upcoming second album Night Sketches and like the protagonist’s of its whacky video, its out to steal your heart. Defined by dreamy chord progressions, sleazy funk baselines and heady, plasticine synthesisers, the track feels like being warped back in time to the heyday of French pop music and whisked to some underground club for a surreal theatrical performance by the house band.
FFO: Ariel Pink, Air, Hers
What? ‘Only Ever’
They say: “This was one of those songs that wrote itself.” Explains frontwoman Millie Duthie, “We’d all been out in Brighton together and the morning after decided to do a writing session, it just came out of nowhere. Lyrically it’s a stream of consciousness, something I had to retrospectively analyze to work out what I was on about. It’s my own lament about losing myself to the person I project online in the pursuit of becoming successful. It’s an apology for what I can only describe as bragging, something that’s become obligatory for the aspiring musician to do, post this, share this, tell the world how well you’re doing when in actual fact it doesn’t always feel that way.”
Why we love it: The epic atmospherics present on ‘Only Ever’ are reminiscent of 80’s pop titans Simple Minds and the soaring vocals fall somewhere between Wolf Alice’ Elli Rowsell and Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Frazer. Thyla are clearly a force to be reckoned with, siphoning influences from all the right places and forging dramatic tunes that are like supercharged injections of heady adrenaline. There’s a lot of promise for this young bunch and 2019 might just belong to them.
FFO: Wolf Alice, Cocteau Twins, The Cure
What? ‘Outside Sublime’
They say: The West Londoner is currently working on recording his debut album with ongoing collaborator Bullion. The two previously teamed up on Westerman’s critically-acclaimed EP Ark, in which they honed in on a new sound, gradually burning a hole through the fabric of atmospheric pop with his dulcet tones and blend of magical-realism. Seeing the West London artist transported into a virtual reality, the video for ‘Outside Sublime’ is a wondrous affair, filled with unsettlingly familiar plant life and scenery. Directed by Beatrix Blaise, the video captures the dreamlike quality of the track, with animated waves lapping at Westerman’s feet as surreal animated figures float overhead. “Beatrix has come up with an impression of what is in my head” says Westerman of the video. “It has been an exciting process. It is not supposed to be real.”
Why we love it: After his days as a folk musician, Westerman has expanded his musical horizons, developing a more sophisti-pop inspired approach. The trippy and transportational attributes of the Londoner’s music have the ability to move you from the dullest emotional spaces to the most wondrous of worlds, filled with bright colours and endless, imagined possibilities. ‘Outside Sublime’ is just one of the many tracks that have proved the artist’s worth in the realm of alternative pop music – catchy, nuanced and dreamily chill. If you’re ever consumed by loneliness, let this be your warm embrace.
FFO: Arthur Russell, Pavo Pavo, Bullion
Who? Mannequin Deqth Squad
They say: Describing themselves as one boy & one girl lost somewhere between The Melvins and Taylor Swift, Aussie scuzz-rock duo Mannequin Death Squad drop new sub-3 minute single Blue today via Integrity Records.
Blue follows 2017’s mini-album Eat, Hate, Regurgitate, 3 UK singles (BBC 6 Music, Radio X, Amazing Radio, Shoreditch Radio) and 2 UK tours (with several dates as special guests of Slaves).
Why we love it: Scuzzy riffing, hooky percussion and attitude smeared vocals rippling with a middle finger to how others can make you feel bad. The video features a skate-boarding gorilla with relationship issues for Christ’s sake.
FFO: L7, The Melvins, Hole
What? Brown Sugar
They say: ‘Brown Sugar’ comes accompanied by a stunning live video of the band performing at YouTube Space in London highlighting the magnetic chemistry of Somerville and Markwick and providing a taste of their consistently sold-out shows for those yet to experience them. Explaining their thoughts on ‘Brown Sugar’ and its simmering energy, Somerville and Markwick said, “We once heard that a great song is one you either want to dance to, cry to or have sex to. This is the last.”
Why we love it: London duo IDER’s slick RnB-infused electro double act is the epitome of the modern pop music, relying on drum pads and synthesiser sounds rather than guitars. ‘Brown Sugar ‘ contains more harmonies than you can shake a microphone at, rising above the minimalist beats and bubbling synth work. Taking into account that the track’s video is completely live, the duo are definitely ones to keep an eye on.
FFO: The Japanese House, Stevie Parker, Westerman
Who? Donna Blue
What? ‘Get Away’
They say: “Get Away is about a night time car ride, trying to escape being stuck in a rut, or bored, in a strange place. It is the voice in your head that tells you it’s OK to slip away from it all for a moment. We feel it’s a great song to accompany you on a long drive, to spin on a dreary Sunday morning, or to dream away to while staring into a fire.”
Why we love it: Lynchian noir pop of the most cinematic kind, Donna Blue’s ‘Get Away’ might as well be the soundtrack to a scene from Lost Highway or Blue Velvet. Unlike Lynch’s more deranged characters though (Is there anything more unnerving than Frank Booth in a gas mask?), this track is a slow-dance of near-silence – cool, calm and mysterious. “Let’s hit the fuckin’ road!”
FFO: Still Corners, Lana Del Rey, the movies of David Lynch
They say: Ahead of the release, Tristan is pleased to share ‘Maljaande’, the first track from the EP. Her most pop-centric song to date, beguiling sounds and mesmerizing grooves exhort a magical and hypnotic dreamscape as the track shuttles between darkened electronics, pop and jazz. “Maljaande’s narrative deals with the paradox of a young, Western woman living a happy-go-lucky life while struggling to truly enjoy it, in the knowledge that outside her cultural bubble, the world is a mess”, she says.
Why we love it: TRISTAN’s darkened electronica is an intriguing thing. Containing jarring, whirring sounds, ‘Maljaande’ coalesces into one huge chorus, which is incredibly well-constructed and balanced by her angelic vocals. The songs outro says most about TRISTAN’s progressive songwriting – leading us out of the familiar and into a chasm of ambience, like a soul exiting the body. Artist’s like Arca and Oneotrix Point Never are ever-present throughout the tracks intricate, experimental workings and its a joy to hear.
FFO: Björk, Oneotrix Point Never, Arca