What they say? Lowly have shared their new single ‘Stephen’, a song written on the day that Stephen Hawking died, that according to the band explores the “contemplation and sadness of what happens to the world when so many genius cells turn off and leave us.”
A band unafraid to reach beyond their comfort zone, Lowly thrive on the embrace of doubt and curiosity. An inquisitive spirit drives the quintet’s second album, which evolved from an open-ended process in large spaces, from lost factory halls to water towers. Released via Bella Union in April,Hifalutin brims with suggestive discoveries from its title onwards. Dictionary definitions include “pompous” and “larger than life”; the word is also antonymic with the word Lowly. However you take it, the result is the work of five people expressing themselves freely as a tight collective: focused, yet fertile with possibility.
Why we love it? Pulsing and evocative, weaving synths, clipped percussion tangle with meditative vocals that swell, reflecting the departing of brain power from the world. Splendid. (BC)
FFO: Bjork, Mew, Radiohead
What? ‘Two Diamonds’
What they say? Beezewax are finally ready to announce the release of their seventh studio album, titled Peace Jazz and set for release on 3rd May 2019 via Sellout! Music.
To celebrate the news, the band have also revealed new single ‘Two Diamonds’, available to stream in full now. Lead singer and guitarist Kenneth Ishak says of the track: “It’s based on a really old song that we’d already recorded, but then we lost the original tape. I would just play parts of the song when I played the guitar at home and just got into it again and wrote some new parts and lyrics.
“It’s just a straightforward love song to be honest, about finding something that is just yours, and that private world that is just full of joy. It’s easy to get jaded about things in general, so it’s great to find something that still excites and moves you—like seeing colour for the first time or tasting a new flavour of ice cream.”
With Peace Jazz clocking in at just under 40 minutes across 8 tracks, all of the ingredients that have made Beezewax stand out from the pack over the years remain present.
Why we love it? Like spying a flash of hope in a grey world. Woven with rushing euphoric melodies and a tapestry of epic guitars. Absolutely fantastic! (BC)
FFO: Teenage Fanclub, Dinosaur Junior, M83
Who? Emily Reo
Where? New York
What they say? Emly Reo has taken her background in classical vocal training to carve a pantone of melodies entwined with swirling synths on this, her first release on Carpark. Only You Can See It is a devastatingly beautiful collection of prismatic pop songs reckoning with the complexity of self-possession. Following the release of her acclaimed 2013 full-length Olive Juice, Reo spent five years writing, recording, arranging, producing and mixing these ten songs—at her apartment in Brooklyn, and at various studios and friends’ homes around New York. It’s her most intricate web of poetry yet, with prismacolour melodies winding through a vast pop vision. Reo employs her classical vocal training more than ever, her sweeping falsetto delivering double-time verses brimming in metaphor and mesmerizing layered soundscapes alike.
Reo’s songs have always been imaginative, and here she considers the space between imagination and truth with a heightened sense of tension that seems to have been bubbling under the surface for a lifetime. There are self-combusting soaring synth riffs, sparseness and then engulfing chaos. Melodies that unfurl into melodies (some of which came to her in dreams).
Why we love it? A sugary and sweet taste of Emily Reo’s world. A Casio keyboard bleeps usher in a twinkling kaleidoscope of bounding synths and sea-sawing melodies that sketch out the struggles of being a female in music. Insanely catchy and absolutely brilliant pop music! (BC)
FFO: Lacona pop, Charlixcx, SAD13, Grimes.
Who? Jango Flash
What? ‘Acting On The Telephone’
What they say? ‘Acting On The Telephone’ is the third Kamikaze Pop single from independent North Shields based producer, Jango Flash (Jack Angus Golightly). The track is an infinity mirror of anguish, reflecting on the devastating effects of Alcoholism and how it has destroyed the life, and the surrounding lives of one of his close family friends from down south.
Having taken time away to spend with his older brother through his progressing sickness until his late death, Jack has looked on at this situation from up north and written from the perspective of the alcoholic, speaking on behalf of everyone who has been affected.
Jack expresses, “There’s no way I can sugar coat a song after the most harrowing year of my Family’s life. Writing and producing music has carried me through some of the hardest times and given me purpose. Now, my job is to share these explosive feelings with anyone who’s frustrated at the world and feels the way I do… because I know I’m not the only one.”
Why we love it? Considering the tragic times that inspired the track, ‘Acting On The Telephone’ is a triumphant and uplifting example of Jango Flash’s self-described ‘kamikaze pop’. JF’s dark lyrics, give way to reverb-drenched vocal chants pierce through huge, spacious guitar strokes and clattering drums to create a dynamic guitar anthem that will stick around well after its four minutes are up. (NK)
FFO: Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, DZ Deathrays
Who? DJ Scratch and Sniff
What they say? It’s basically a f**k you to Brexit but in the form of a celebration of all thing Euro, fun and very disco. If you watch it to the end you see the UK left out of the disco in the cold, which strangely moves me given it’s an animated video.
DJ Scratch And Sniff are a duo formed of two Scottish-based electronic artists/producers/DJs, Marilyn Conor and Fiona Soe Paing. She’s actually known for her darker stuff (a little Gazelle Twin), but this single is more joy.
Why we love it? Brexit is an absolute clusterfuck and this colourful dancefloor-ready slice of disco is primed for entry to an alternative Eurovision song contest. (BC)
FFO: Gazelle Twin, Daft Punk
Who? Mellow Gang
What? ‘Little Half’
What they say? London psych-pop four piece Mellow Gang are due to announce new music shortly.
The London four-piece are now set to announce their debut album Adjourn, a record conceived and recorded “as a faux film soundtrack,” explains bassist Nick.
Full of shifts, Adjourn contrasts sharp songwriting with luscious soundscapes, riding waves from the sparkling pop of Carousel to the dark intensity of Match. Little Half’s angular motorik gives way to the Fleetwood Mac-esque De-Wire, while Whistle On’s towering chorus fizzes with glittering cymbals and haunting glissando. Throughout, sparkling guitars and shifting delays ebb under Harriet Joseph’s commanding, “Juanita Stein-esque” vocal (Loud And Quiet).
Lyrically, the band take a darker angle. Joseph explains: “I found the lyrics consistently cornering one theme – tension. The kind that had no beginning, end or resolve: just riding the wave of it, hoping for what you need before the tensions boil and weld over.”
New single Little Half will be released on 22nd March, followed by debut album Adjourn on 10th May.
Why we love it? Strident percussion and trembling guitar licks combine to create a heavy atmosphere that’s invested with fantastically smokey soulful melodies that boil over with a contemplative melancholia. Impressive. (BC)
FFO: Melody’s Echo Chamber, Wyldest, Beach House, Howling Bells
What? ‘Dream In Colour’
What they say? Vandebilt (Pronounced ‘Van’, ‘Duh’ & ‘built’) are a four-piece dance-floor inspired indie disco band from Sunderland, in the North-East of England.
Taking their name from the Paul McCartney song “Mrs. Vandebilt”, the band are not one for gimmicks or Instagram inspired fads or the rush of the industry and take inspiration from the song of their name – don’t worry, no need to rush. Their music is honest, positive and centered around the bands experiences of love, lust and loss as well as frequent experiences of north-east working clubs.”
Why we love it? Combining the pulsating indietronica-isms of bands like Friendly Fires, Cut Copy and Hot Chip, ‘Dream In Colour’ is funky, carefree piece of electronic pop that makes summer feel a lot closer than it actually is. (NK)
FFO: Hot Chip, Friendly Fires, Cut Copy