Festival season is in full flow here in the UK and this year has seen more high-profile problems than previous years. There’s been the abandonment of the Y Not festival, with the blame being put on inclement weather – something that seemed to shock people organising an outdoor festival in the UK! That was followed by the cancellation, also mid-festival of Hope and Glory in Liverpool. Boomtown saw people queuing for up to six hours to get in, with people having to stand in the blazing sun the entire time. And then getting rained on once they got in! And of course, there was the fire at Tomorrowland in Spain. Disappointed Y Not revellers will get refunds, in fact after the social media disappearing act of Hope and Glory, Skiddle have said they’ll refund tickets bought via them. Generally, Boomtown fans have taken queuing in good grace and there’s been no issue with the festival itself. As with any large event, things can go wrong, from the weather to organisation difficulties and with over 30 festivals in August alone, the law of averages dictates there’ll be problems somewhere along the line. Having been involved in co-ordinating a boutique festival some years ago, it gives you an appreciation of how daunting and complex running large scale events must be. But good festivals will have contingency plans for potential problems – and the ones that cut corners, expand too quickly or fail to prepare? Well, we’ve all seen the consequences. And with that, on to this weekend’s roundup.
Novaa and Lo have followed up their stunning collaboration on Lights with the equally superb For A Ride. Slightly A wonderfully off kilter, but very catchy track, it’s a smooth and seductive slice of quality trap-influenced electro that just makes you want to chill in its glorious glow. It’s yet another winner for the duo and their label Majestic Casual.
Los Angeles based iamBADLUCK is pure unadulterated pop, her feisty vocals on Nothing Compares gliding over an upbeat RnB and downtempo influenced slow burning sort-of-love song. She has described the track as being a reflection on her own love life, and has said she views her stage name as being ‘born of a desire to find catharsis over her bad dating habits’. The lyrics are personal and confessional lifting the anthemic nature of the arrangement to deliver a song the likes of Pink would die for.
Foliage by Cloud has an entrancing quality to it; musically and vocally it incites comparison with the likes of Imogen Heap or This Mortal Coil, but there’s a muscular solidity to this track underneath the layers of dreamy vocals and slowly unwinding organic sounds, rhythmic shapes and samples of falling rain, combined with faint echoes of the ‘Bristol sound’ of the 90’s. The track will feature on her upcoming album Equivocal which will be a welcome addition to her previously released work.
Cuffed is a prime cut from Nick Hakim’s debut album Green Twins, and was remixed by Jamie Lidell featuring Marcus Machado. The remix has teased out the slow jam aspects of the track, giving it a sheen worthy of the Purple Prince at his sexiest!
Constant is the newest track from Priyya and it’s a beautifully dreamy number, all shimmering guitars and lyrics that switch seamlessly from English to Nepalese and back; using language, lyrics and music to explain some of the universalities of being born in one country but growing up in another and the love and loss and that entail.
Waking Up Slow is the latest gem from Gabrielle Alpin and it’s one of the best synthpop tracks you’ll hear this year – a perfect balance of synths and vocals, it just oozes warmth, cantering along breezily and taking you with it. Think Ray of Light era Madonna and the shiny pop of Parallels or Avec Sans and you’ll have some idea as to how good this track really is.
Cataline is the brain child of Chicago native Brent Puls, a producer, musician, and artist who says his eclectic career involving a background in conceptual sculpture and astrophysics has in turn given him a diverse musical palette. Fire in the Sky will feature on the upcoming Disentanglement EP and is an instantly addictive track; a hazy trip through almost an almost psychedelic form of electronica. Lyrically the track reminds me of bands like Xenturion Prime and Syrian, all futuristic and dystopian, but musically Cataline ploughs it’s own furrow.
Eric Benoit says his song Symptom is about anxiety, fuelled by his reflection on a friend he lost to suicide: a subject which also occupies much of the creative force behind his new album College. The track builds slowly in to a track that journeys through the darkest sounds Daft Punk would wish they had made. There’s a lot of beauty in darkness and Benoit does a great job in uncovering it.
Mercyfox is a dance-punk duo from Copenhagen, with members Christoffer Hein and Dragut Lugalzagosi confecting a bubbly blend of dance-infused noise-rock on Dead White Doves. They cite bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, LCD Soundsystem and Japandroids as influences – and you can hear them on the track – but there’s a cool and unique old school indie vibe to what they do.
Finishing up this weekend What Kind Of Love by Neil Friedlander – it’s the first single from his debut album Movements Into Language. The most mellow of arpeggios, the most beautiful of vocals which remind me of Anhoni and the subtle yet striking key changes and countermelodies give the track and starkly emotional quality. For such a complex arrangement, it has instantly catchy chorus and a real immediacy to it.
And that’s our ten for this week, hope you liked it and we’ll be back again next week with more new music or you. Until then, adios!