Aaah, the 5th of November – a day in the UK where people celebrate someone failing to blow something by going en masse and blowing up lots of things! It’ll probably never change, and hopefully neither will our serving you up ten of the best tracks to come our way in the last week or so.
First up this week are regular visitors to this page, the Swedish band Snow Culture – comprising of duo of A and O aka Ana Diaz and Oskar Sikow – this time with their track Paris. Despite the band’s frosty name, this particular piece has an almost tropical percussion; certainly posessing the same melancholic, quiet intensity of previous releases but less brooding and more reflective in tone. Diaz’s vocals harbour a similar tone to that of fellow Scandinavian Molly Nilsson, though there’s a breathy warmth to her voice that could melt the purest Nordic heart. Paris features on the recently release EP1 which you can stream on Soundcloud.
From Sweden to the UK and next up is another duo – Likvid – and their track Can You Hear Me? The musical collaboration between songwriter Allan Vilhan and singer/lyricist Krisztian Karpati takes inspiration from downtempo and trip hop (and in fact electronica and industrial elements) but seems much more focussed on fitting those sounds and ambiances around the traditional song structure, going for verse and chorus to make as much of an immediate impression on the listener as the chilled beat and subtle chords that pervade Can You Hear Me? It’s an approach that shouldn’t be unusual, but it is, and it contributes to making this such a captivating and catchy song.
Back to Sweden again, this time it’s Swedish electro-beat artist ANNELIE with Teenager, a rumbling, meditative number that, despite its sometimes sombre feel, is a celebration of love at its purest. The Gothenburg based artist is another one that plays with the boundaries and expectations of a genre, because though Teenager is essentially an electro number, in terms of mood and tone it has more in common with acts like Radiohead and Mogwai than your usual electropop fare.
German group Oligarchy are yet another band that subvert the electropop rules (I have a thing for rulebreakers, can you tell?) with Sensory Overload. With a more shadowy, alternative take on the sound, coupled with slightly dissonant loops and a bassline that sometimes feels like a looming storm cloud, the vocals give it an almost gothic tone. You can get the track, which features on the band’s Warfare EP, for free over on Bandcamp.
Los Angeles based Producer and DJ Soul Bandit, impressed us with their new track Arrival. The song seems to take a mashup of the styles of Art of Noise and trance music as a starting point, but then slows it down, strips out the mindless joy of traditional dance music and focuses on creating sombre mood music that wouldn’t be out of place on a soundtrack. It evokes the feeling of driving late at night on empty, neon lit streets with only your thoughts for company; the music in sync with the overhead streetlights as you head to a very final destination. The track features on the Alone in Life, Together in Death EP which you can check out on Soundcloud.
Staying in America but moving on to a more upbeat vibe, at least musically, we have Lost in Chatter by Iris Lune. The Brooklyn quartet create a light and breezy tone with Ella Joy Meir’s rich alto, folk-infused vocals contributing both the anchor and the emotion to her bandmate’s tight, bright and fun arrangement. Again, it’s another track that doesn’t play by the rules, and it works incredibly well. Lyrically it has a deep and reflective thread that works its way through the pop feel, making it a track that can cause you to think or to dance, maybe both at the same time!
Canadians Young Galaxy deliver a laid back and almost soulful take on electro with their track Elusive Dreams, resulting in a sound that evokes comparisons with the much missed (by me at any rate) Electribe 101. The duo (Catherine McCandless and Stephen Ramsay) work with long-time collaborator Dan Lissvik on production duties to whip up a real quiet storm of emotion, as the piano and vocals wash against the gentle percussion and subtle bassline, serving as a counterpoint to the incisive lyrics that contemplate how close we are to losing ourselves as a species in this turbulent world.
Brooding synthwave/electro tracks always go down well with us at Electronic North and Big Dipper by Matthew Hodson is a fine example of how the crossover in genres can conjure up something new, exciting and instantaneously addictive. Released on his own label Solitude, organic drums underpin synths that ebb and flow, with swathes of reverb adding to a sense of dislocation; and yet all combining to serve up a slice of hypnotic and accessible electronica.
Another Swedish track, but this time a more downtempo – if not downbeat – offering in the form of Ease’s Alone in the Sun. The second single from their Let it burn, let it die EP (check it out on Soundcloud, it’s rather good!), Niclas Anderstedt Lindgren and Siri Jennefelt trade vocal barbs, her ghostly tones serving as a perfect balance to his more fragile, plaintive offerings. The song has the aura of the last shout of a dying love, with the lyrics focusing on absence while the stark arrangement adds weight to that sense of an accepting sadness.
Rounding up our ten of the best this week is Ferns and Stuff, the new single from Los Angeles duo Wild & Free. Released on Moullinex’s Discotexas label, Drew Kramer and George Cochrane serve up a real slice of LA electro; its slow beats, steady organic bassline, woozy synths and shimmering guitars making the listener hark back to the heyday of Balearic house, and dream of lazing by a pool with the only activity being the shining of the midday sun. Ferns and Stuff will feature on the band’s debut album, Shapes On Shapes – we’ve been lucky enough to hear a preview of the album and we can assure you it’s mix of tropical beats, mellow basslines and sultry rhythms are sure to strike a chord with many.
Well that’s another eclectic bunch of tunes for his week, I hope you liked some of what you heard and if not – there’ll be more tunes next weekend!