Like many people, I was shocked and saddened by the death of Chester Bennington this week at the age of 41. There’s lots of speculation around what happened and why, but I’d prefer to think about his musical legacy; Meteora and Hybrid Theory were great rock albums – in fact great albums, period. In recent years Linkin Park’s sound had changed markedly and even though it sounded more commercial in the latter part of their career, the lyrical content could still carry great emotional weight and meaning as seen and heard on Nobody Can Save Me. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about how they found peace, reassurance and comfort in the work of Bennington and his band when they were going through their tough times and it’s sad that for whatever reason he couldn’t find that solace himself. To this weekend’s roundup then.
Raven Coleman is a singer-songwriter with a folk/acoustic background. In 2016, under the mentorship of producer and long-time friend Christopher Norman, he released the Cocoon EP, which saw his sound take a more electronic feel. He says The Mariner is a track about letting go of love and coming into adulthood an its harsh truths. The track has a lovely low-key feel to it, taking some inspiration from downtempo and creating a perfectly structured, emotional but at times fragile song.
Saturday Morning 5am by UK band The Sighs of Monsters perfectly captures that sensation when the party is over and in your mind it’s not quite the right time to go home yet. The piano sound and driving bassline give the track an air of urgency whilst the vocals of Dean Sobers bring a wistful and oddly euphoric feel to the track. This is such a perfect song!
Ambientronic are Australian Dean Jones and Russian Roman Shk. Loosely formed in 2014 from a chance encounter online, the duo blended their individual skills and experiences to create a unique brand of super chilled electronica. Movie Of The Old has a lush, laid-back sound which pitches the band somewhere between Pink Floyd and Air and with an effect reminiscent ‘found dialogue’ of artists like Scanner.
Canadian Olive B shows that the downtempo/R&B genre has plenty of life in it yet, and a lot of that is down to her breathy vocal style, but also the stripped back feel of for you, actually, which results in the track coming across as more textured and layered, not less. The track features on her album No(W)here which is well worth checking out.
Falling is the latest single from the young Belgian house producer Limits, who has recently signed to Different Recordings. Sharing a musical home with the wonderful Anna Of The North, his sound has a very synthpop mentality to it but is aimed more at the dancefloor than hers, yet has a similar sensual feel musically. There’s a real feeling of comfort and emotion in this track – it’s really got under my skin.
Kazy Lambist has followed of the recent success of Shutdown with the track Be Yourself, which sees the Montpelier native serve up some delicious French synthpop with dance flavour to it. A lovely combination of vulnerable vocals, effortlessly smooth electronics and a some instantly addictive hooks give the track an early morning anthem ambiance.
Just So by Sweden’s The Radio Dept. is a perfectly balanced mix of techno, EBM and ambient styles, with the old school drum and hi-hat sounds giving the track the aura of a recently rediscovered classic piece of electronica. The track is featured on the band’s Teach Me to Forget EP which features two brand new songs, three remixes and the band’s new take on the title track.
New York duo Secret Weapons cite acts as diverse as Queen, The Killers and Depeche Mode as musical inspirations and whilst Comeback Season doesn’t sound like something those bands would release, it does show they share their knack for making idiosyncratic, individualist songs that still have a pop appeal. The almost gospel-feel of the track and the ironic/optimistic nature of the lyrics give this bouncy pop number a real upbeat and positive vibe.
Noisywaters are a duo based out of Bellingham, Washington which features Will Barrett playing the harp and Benza Maman on vocals and keyboards. The categorise their music as being a marriage of dreamy pop hooks, exotic trap beats and a modern take on classical harp and piano. Tropilis just oozes class, with the harp and guitar gelling sweetly with the underlying electronic soundscapes, giving the track a light and breezy air. The song features on the band’s recently released Verano album.
Last up this weekend is Flashback by Nashville trio, Bien. It’s the latest single from their forthcoming EP, Electric Dream, due out later this summer. It’s synthpop at its’ heart but with gossamer layers of indie and folk stylings adding much depth and eclecticism to the song. Think Lana Del Rey with a dancier feel but the same sense of abstract longing, you’re getting close to the inherent appeal of Bien and Flashback.
That wraps it up for this week, hope you like what you’ve heard and that it brought you some pleasure. Don’t forget to check out the bands on social media and maybe throw the odd ‘like’ their way. Until next week then!