Work has got in the way of fun this week, but I did manage to catch one gig at least. I enjoyed it, even if I was one of the unknown quantities of any live audience: the person who is there to see the support band! We’ve all done it and when one of your favourite acts is in town opening for a band you’re not majorly into that’s not going to stop you going!  It’s important to recognise and respect others though – bands and fellow gig goers are there for a different reason to you and theirs is equally as valid. I did feel a slight twinge of guilt as I saw people standing outside hoping for last minute tickets to the sold out show though. But whatever my reasons for being there I followed the unwritten rules of being a support band fan; I stayed for the headliner, I listened to them, I listened to them with an open mind and I broadened my musical horizons a bit . Oh, and I had fun! And now, on with the show.

Sydney duo Vast Hill have teamed up with producer Jordan F on Ready for the night; an 80’s inspired mix of dream pop and synthwave. The vocals of Elle Kress lift the track heads above most bands in the synthwave genre, giving their sound a smooth and classy quality. You can hear more from Vast Hill and Jordan F on Soundcloud.

Canadian band Multiversal Radio blend ambient sounds and samples to give us Smoke Signals – it’s a hard one to pin down musically as it drifts along and takes you with it on its journey through an imagined cosmos. The track evokes comparisons to Enya and the Cocteau Twins – two very different sounding bands but very similar for me in terms of the effect of their music has on a listener.

Rib Cage is the first single from  NIXE (pronounced “nicks”) aka Carmen Green who is well known for her work as keyboardist and vocalist for Polarsets and Lilliput. She describes her sound as ‘shimmery pop’ and it certainly nods towards a chart sound but with a sense of fun and individuality to it. Green’s vocals undoubtedly set the song apart with her occasional folk-like inflections.

Musician Teresa Vicinanza, known as Tee Vee utilises elements of synth pop, art pop, and dream pop on Angel Eyes. With a bass line straight from 80’s New Order, Vicinanza overlays the upbeat synths and samples with vocal melodies and harmonies that create an ethereal and immediate sound.

And it may be a shock to some of you, but here’s a track from Sweden! Nordik Sonar are a retro-pop duo from Stockholm that serves up a delight with Dancing. With its fun nod towards the subversive pop stylings of Alexander Bard, 90’s commercial house and 80s synths and is a real joy to listen to. Think Army of Lovers with blue eyed soul vocals and that’s only a partial description of what awaits you on Dancing!

Changing tack in tone, we have  Radiart from Vessels. The Leeds based five-piece have premiered the track as a teaser to their upcoming fifth album which is due out later in the year. On this showing the follow-up to Dilate promises to bring a new dimension to their music; Radiart is firmly focussed on the dance floor but retains the essence of their post-rock sound.

London-based band Ooberfuse categorise their music has having an ‘east-meets-west electronic feel’. With On My Knees they’ve delivered a very contradictory track; sonically it’s a beautiful wisp of a song with light and airy vocals that work well with a backing track that reminds me of Dubstar or Iris but is lyrically different from those two in its focus on faith. The track also has an emotional and heartfelt video inspired by the current situation in the Phillipines and is worth checking out.

Water Baby is the second single from Melbourne act Kult Kyss. The duo has delivered a song that draws from acts like Peaches and Iambounty but create a sound that is more percussive, more primal in its dirty electro feel. The track is part of their upcoming EP which will be released later this year and their strong sound and aesthetic makes me think it will be a cracker!

Nottingham gives us Deafanese and the wonderfully odd Gyokuro; the band say it’s all ‘raw analog synths, Gameboy grit and skittering, kaleidoscope vocal cuts’ which sums it up better than I could! Bass and 8bit – what’s not to like? Check out more of their music on Bandcamp!

And to end with we have She from Swedish solo artist Luha. It’s an amazing track, which for me echoes everything from 1940’s musicals to Bjork at her most imperious via a punk can-do attitude. There’s nothing derivative about She though, with its’ almost tribal beats and hypnotic chorus. Inventive and addictive with a bit of a flirtatious side to it, it made me seek out more of her music.

Hope you enjoyed this selection and I’ll be back with more musical treasure next week!