Being a fan of a band can be strange at times and engender strange feelings; often you can want them to be successful but you still want them to yourself and your friends, for the music to be a cool secret that somehow everyone should know about. Similarly, you accept that a band will want a band to progress musically, yet you still want them to keep the sound and spirit that first attracted you to them. In the last week or so I’ve been reflecting on this, mainly after listening to For Crying Out Loud, the latest Kasabian album. Fans will probably love it, it still has their trademark sound yet it lacks that mysterious quality that made previous release so edgy and essential. Paramore have changed so much in a few years that musically they’re practically a different band. After 22 years Slowdive have returned with an album that shows some musical progression but have probably produced their best music ever but could have been released over twenty years ago! Thing is, all over the world people will be checking out these three albums and having wildly divergent views about these same points. Music is about feelings, past experiences and emotions and those aspects of being passionate about what you listen to and love (or hate) all feed in to your opinion about the latest release of a loved band. It does show though that for many of us, music is still a very important part of our lives. But now, on with the show.
Tasteless is a stunning track from musician Belle Scar; a multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer and artist from Montreal now living in London UK. The synths lend a dark, brooding quality to the song which is only heightened by her voice as it swoops and swirls around the song like an eagle that has spotted today’s prey! The track is a promising morsel from her upcoming EP. No date has been set yet for release, so why not keep an eye out for any news and listened to some previously released tracks via her website.
Sirma’s third single Freefall has a lovely ethereal quality to it, like a gossamer thin piece of musical silk. With hints of Purity Ring and CHVRCHES whispering quietly in your ear, Freefall is catchy and captivating, as the track just draws you in to its tender grasp. This New York resident really has some talent.
Los Angeles alt pop group machineheart deliver a quality slice of emotional electro-pop with Shelter; a bass-heavy down-tempo arrangement which drives along thoughtfully as the vocals of Stevie Scott drifts over the track like a summer breeze as she sings “you can take it all, you can take it all, let my heart be your shelter”. The band somehow manage to improve with every release and each track is proving unmissable, giving the group an impressive back catalogue.
Another American alt-pop track but this time from Nashville, Gasoline sees Reign take a very classic pop formula and cast it in to an emotional tale which is laden with hooks and synths that reel you in to grab you with heartfelt lyrics. Gasoline has the pop sensibility of a Lady GaGa track and the emotional intensity of Seattle grunge.
Örnsberg is named after the home town of main man Johan, who contrasts his slow and melodic pop-vocals on Easy with a synth-heavy track that evokes a feeling of loss and sadness. It’s a highlight of his latest album Örnsberg Forever which is out now via Hybris Records – if you want to hear more, the album is streaming on Spotify.
We’ve featured American producer Michael Rogel before, and on Open Your Eyes he again takes elements of EDM and trip hop but this time adds some digitised and altered vocal samples and mixes it all up to make something that has his signature unique feel to it; continuing his musical balancing act of being edgy but accessible.
Experimental yet sweet to the ear,; a nursery rhyme written by the Brothers Grimm is the best way I could describe Kid by Annelie. It jumps and skips its way across your consciousness in an odd way, like a nun secretly carrying a flick knife – Kid has a sense of serenity that hides a darker inner core.
We often feature music from Sweden but it’s rare for us to have a song in Swedish. We’ve remedied that with Maria Holmström’s Skynda dig (Hurry Up). It seems to take inspiration from Air around the time of Cherry Blossom Girl, but overlays an otherwise electronic feel with an acoustic guitar lead that lends the song an easy urgency; which is fitting, considering the song is about the passing of time!
From Sweden to Denmark and the duo mono mono; their track Rumors takes some cues from the swirling sounds of bands like Cocteau Twins and Massive Attack to imbue the listener with a sense of security and warmth. An electronic take on shoegaze, if you will!
Last up is Birch with Nobody Lives Forever – it has an almost folk feeling to the vocal melody which leads in to a gentle chiming track that has a mellow metronomic rhythm all of its own. It serves to underscore the lyrics which carry great emotional heft in a contrasting but successful counterpoint to the airy track.
Well that’s it for this weekend. I hope some of the tracks we’ve selected interest you and that my post Eurovision ramblings have entertained and interested someone out there!