What? Lift off
What they say? When the Tree Bears Fruit is the debut album from Melbourne four-piece Parsnip. Richens explains that all this buoyancy evolved from something far sadder: “‘Lift Off’s’ opening line stems from nonsense I wrote during a low point in my life. I wanted more than anything to be far away from the position I was in, longing to travel, to rise above the sorrow I was experiencing and reach a happier destination. After Parsnip formed I revisited the themes of transportation and movement as I have in many of my songs. Through my attempts at songwriting I discovered the joy that I was always seeking and that perhaps it wasn’t necessary to travel that far to find happiness. It means a lot to me if I can create joy and evoke the same spirit in others.”
Why we love it? Giddy and playful. The sound of the Shangri las and the Mouldy Peaches being locked in a room with the Muppets all night. Bittersweet melodies garnish a tune that sounds like it will fall apart at any moment but doesn’t, in fact it takes off. It’s about transporting yourself away from your troubles in your mind and that couldn’t sound like much more fun. Brilliant. (BC)
FFO: The Shangri Las, The Vivian Girls, Mouldy Peaches
What? ‘Titanium 2 Step’
What they say? While they’ve always hailed from New York, Juice B Crypts is the first Battles album both written and recorded there. Influenced by the city’s rhythms, it joins the dots of their lived and unlived experiences. The announcement of Juice B Crypts is timed with the release of first single ‘Titanium 2 Step’ featuring No Wave legend Sal Principato from the iconic ‘80s New York band Liquid Liquid. This first offering is an homage to the city, resembling a lost New York classic. “We loved making this record in our hometown of New York and cannot be more pleased that Sal from Liquid Liquid is on the track,” explains John, “it could not have been more perfect”.
Why we love it? If you’ve ever indulged in Battles’ exotic, oddball, future-proof art rock before, it will come as no surprise that ‘Titanium 2 Step’ is a dizzyingly, wacky and wonky ramshackle of crashing drums and Dadaist noise-noodling. Caution: Not for the faint of ear. (NK)
FFO: Liars, Animal Collective, Fuck Buttons
Who? Hanne Hukkelberg
What? ‘The Young and Bold I’
What they say? Norwegian experimental pop artist Hanne continues to utilise her collagist method of structuring songs, with further integration of found instruments. “I wanted the lyrics and my voice to stand out the most. I needed something to lift up the vocals and the lyrics, and I wanted to challenge myself. I think it’s a richer process if I write the lyrics and write the songs, and produce the record at the same time. It’s a tiny bit chaotic, but incredibly rewarding,” says Hukkelberg.
Why we love it? Inventive pop built on harmonic layers and catchy refrains. Skittering and pattering beats and beat boxing are threaded with an ingenious palette of pianos and guitars. Marvellously addictive. (BC)
FFO: Tune Yards, Feist
Who? Peppermint Heaven & Oscuro
What? ‘The One Beside You’ (Oscuro Remix)
What they say? Oscuro, a Leeds based producer who curates a truly distinctive sound making use of organic and electronic elements with ease. The young producer has excelled on Spotify with his piano-led, neo-classical style picking up support from a number of key playlists in the genre. For this remix however, Oscuro is taking the 4×4 style back, bringing a bonobo-esque groove to the Peppermint Heaven track.
Why we love it? Taking it back to the early 90s and then modernising it, Oscuro laces his soulfulness of a collage of 4×4 beats and synths that sound club ready, if only the club was one that stood proudly twenty plus years ago. Insidous. (BC)
FFO: Bonobo, Shadow Child, Maribou State
What? ‘Mae’n Hawdd’
What they say? Featuring long time friend Mali Llywelyn on vocals, the song was recorded with a mixture of 80s sequencers, 70s string machines and melancholic harmonies. Lyrically Dylan created a nostalgic black and white movie scene set in West Wales in 2013! The themes of soul-searching, transition, travel and isolation feature, interspersed with an uplifting chorus. It is about letting go and understanding that everything is easy when you know how.
Why we love it? Suave and string drenched this little gem is garnished in moonlit melodies that could have featured on the Super Furry Animals Mwng album or a record by Love. Awesome.(BC)
FFO: Super Furry Animals, Pulp, Love, Scott Walker
Who? Saint Jude
What? ‘Deaf Ears Blind Years’
What they say? Released on boutique label Slow Dance, Saint Jude’s debut track captures the wistfulness of youth spent at raves and in clubs, spilling out onto London parks at dawn. ‘Deaf Ears Blind Years’, captures a more intimate sound, the switch in style a force of hand. In Jude’s formative years as a DJ and club goer he developed tinnitus turning him from the euphoria of bright lights and dance floors and back into the bedroom to work on writing more intimate songs. The first fruit of that period is his upcoming self-titled EP released appropriately under his new moniker. He describes it “as a bit of a breakthrough for me in terms of songwriting – I was writing about real stuff rather than abstract ideas.”
Why we love it? Downtempo, and pouring forth over an ambient backdrops. Sifting through the detritus of city living in the early hours of the morning, fragments of melody intermingle with spoken word reflection on the things we lose as we grow. There’s a resigned wistful to this genre blurring piece that makes us hungry for more. Awesome.(BC)
FFO: Mount Kimbie, Nicholas Jaar, Caribou, Loyle Carner
Who? Lina Tullgren
What they say? Directed by Jack Gobillot, the “Saiddone” video stars Lina and ends in an alien encounter. Gobillot explains: “There’s a hypnotic, and meditative quality to Lina’s ‘Saiddone’ that drew me in immediately. The song speaks indirectly to how we all try to reconcile emotions with rationality, and how that can be a self-alienating process. I wanted to show a character going through this experience using visuals that were uncanny, lighthearted, and vivid. I love sci-fi, especially when it’s lo-fi, and wanted to incorporate that aesthetic. Nicholas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth offered a fair amount of inspiration. Lina plays a similar character in this, someone who’s not quite human, and has a bad relationship with Earth. They want one thing, though maybe know they shouldn’t, and the audience is left to wonder how things will turn out.”
Why we love it? An elegant introspective lullaby grappling with the heart versus the head. It tumbles through the weeds in the half lit morning threaded with arpeggios and jazzy tinkles. deliciously meditative. (BC)
FFO: Big Thief, Mothers, Hand Habits