El Levtchenko – ‘After Hours’

We were introduced to Brazilian / American pairing El Levtchenko and their lush, sun-kissed and world encompassing sonic distillations throughout 2020 – offering beautiful and beguiling bouts of escapism as they did. 

El Levtchenko’s sound is magpie like, in the very best way possible, borrowing from a world of influences; there’s Cuban guitar music, a touch of hip hop, some Middle Eastern and African influences, funk and soul, and a whole lot of beautiful psychedelia. Their latest single ‘After Hours’ is – like previous singles ‘Hopeton Overton’ and ‘Sunday Social’ – a perfect exposition of their well honed style. It is an intoxicating brew, built on seductive grooves and cool, calm and chilled vibes, offering a zen-like state as it drifts along a funky, hypnotic groove as guitars chime and chords strut their languid wares amid the late night vibes. This is super chill, beautifully addictive and mellow, while oozing nocturnal vibes, it is a tune make the day better no matter the hour.

Check out the sunny delights of ‘After Hours’ below:


Fauna Twin – ‘Rudy’

It has been far too long since we’ve heard from Fauna Twin – the pairing of Parisian singer-songwriter Claire Jacquemard Ginsberg & Wales’ Owain Ginsberg (Hippies Vs Ghosts / We Are Animal) – who released their debut ‘The Hydra’ in 2016.

The good news is that toward the end of 2020, Fauna Twin returned with a wonderful new single called ‘Rudy’. It has an eerie and mysterious air to it as an insistent strum joins a meandering groove in taking us on a woozy waltz through hushed and haunting atmospheric textures that slowly swell, sending a shiver down the spine, while Jacquemard Ginsberg’s powerful vocals rise to soar above with stunning consequence. ‘Rudy’ is sublime, a chilling track that tenderly introducing itself before swelling and engulfing you completely. It is a magnificent evolution of what made their previous work so compelling.

Listen to ‘Rudy’ below and rumour has it, we should be seeing (or hearing rather) more from Fauna Twin in 2021.

Moon Paw Print – ‘Forever’

Irish producer Moon Paw Print crafts music for moonlit walks, dimmed rooms approaching midnight and for the moments that belong to the haze of a daydream.

Fresh from the release of marvelous debut Dreams of Ü – inspired by intensely vivid dreams experienced during lockdown it explores themes such as the nature of dreams; love, insecurities and seeking to find beauty in life – Moon Paw Print signed off on 2020 with ‘Forever’. A single of style and substance, ‘Forever’ is a lush, woozy and warm slice of hazy, spaced-out
daydream tranquility. Dusty beats patter beneath a warm blanket of glistening synths and lavish layers of lush electronics that whisk away to cosmic realms of tranquility and lullaby vibes. This aesthetic knows no bounds as it slinks and shuffles while gushing with warmth and melodic allure while peppered by heart melting trumpet to leave us in a state of pleasant bliss. ‘Forever’ is utterly divine – a sound to soothe the soul.

Listen to ‘Forever’ below now and you can listen to the debut album here too.


Albums of the Year 2020

Compiling music lists is always a nice way to reflect on a year, so in keeping with tradition, here are my favourite records from 2020.

This year I’ve narrowed it down 10 and there is little between them to be honest. Recommendations from readers will be greatly welcomed.

10.Whyte Horses – ‘Hard Times’

Manchester psych-pop outfit Whyte Horses’ latest endeavor continues on from where 2018’s ‘Empty Words’, as they whisk us off to a land of blissful, dreamy psychedelia, sounding both familiar yet fresh. Ostensibly feeling like a mutating shape-shifting pop art project, ‘Hard Times’ feels like a mixtape with a difference. It isn’t just simply selecting tracks, choosing the running order, but  recording and producing a selection of much-loved songs while rounding up some of your favorite artists into the bargain. Sound like fun? That’s exactly what Whyte Horses have pulled off on their third record.

Listen in full here.

09. Aoife Nessa Frances – ‘Land of No Junction’

Aoife Nessa Frances’ debut album ‘Land of No Junction’ draws from an eclectic array of influences – ’60s psych-pop, offbeat folk, orchestral flourishes and flair for avant-garde – which sounds familiar yet fresh, as it meanders through ever shifting scenery that blurs the lines between dreams and reality. Frances’ smoky vocal is a constant and gripping, and no matter the ever changing environs –  waltzing beats, undulating groove,  rippling guitar lines, hypnotic organ hums or swirling psych or hazy blanket of fuzz – it is a voice that shines like a lighthouse amid a dense bank of fog. Land of No Junction is a serene, hypnotic and stunning debut (and one that could have been called Llandudno Junction). 

Listen in full here.

08. Khruangbin – ‘Mordechai’ 

Texan trio Khruangbin – Laura Lee Ochoa (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) – are peerless sonic sorcerers and funky force of nature. Borrowing from a world of influences, theirs, and indeed third album  ‘Mordechai’,  is a colourful coming together of different sound, genres, cultures and era; there is funk, soul and hip hop, some Latin, Middle Eastern and Asian influences and a whole lot of beautiful psychedelia. It is an intoxicating brew, built on seductive grooves and mostly cool, calm and chilled vibes, offering either a zen-like sense of peace or funky, hypnotic groovy seduction – or a coming together of both. This is super chill, beautifully addictive and mellow, ‘Moredechai’ is a record to watch the sun go down.

Listen in full here.

07. Silverbacks – ‘Fad’

Irish post-punk outfit Silverbacks long-awaited debut album was worth the wait. Having patiently building a rep with superb single after superb single, there wasn’t too much doubt that ‘Fad’ would live up to its billing. Unspooling the ingredients of their sound is tough; there are touches of post-punk, art-rock, new wave and 90s indie to name but a few as tracks, built around a motorik rhythm and taut groove, rush past with a whirlwind of shifting multi-sensory sound as triple guitars attack. Lyrics are multi-layered and uniquely Silverbacks. There’s is a sound comparable to a place where parts Talking Heads, Television, LCD Soundsystem and Gang of Four can all coexist and flourish. A debut to remember.

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Swine Tax – ‘Johnny’

Having shared ‘Relax’ in November, Newcastle-upon-Tyne outfit Swine Tax return with the other half of double-a-side, ‘Johnny’.

Swine Tax have proven their credentials for fiery, jagged and infectious post-punk with a slew of singles that are best described as a bit indie, a bit alternative rock, a bit rough-around-the-edges and a whole lot melodic – and the single doesn’t break with tradition. Once again recorded with Barry Hyde of The Futureheads, ‘Johnny’ does however, offer a less frantic and hyperactive side to their sound. Anchored by a sunken, slowly slinking groove, guitars buzz and riffs fuzz while it swaggers atop a motorik beat with vocals soaring passionately above. It is groovy as, and punctuated by bursts of sporadic explosive riffs, burning emotion and epic crescendos. Yet another brilliant blast of post-punk from Swine Tax.

Listen to  ‘Johnny’ below:


Kelp – ‘Spleen’

“I know I’m not the hero you asked for, or wanted.. or needed… also I’m really not a hero. Presenting the misadventures of a miniature deep-sea diver fishbowl figurine.”

So goes the surrealist introduction to Kelp; Belfast-based purveys of loungey cosmic electronica fronted by an inch high, ethereal deep sea diver with a preoccupation for vocoders and additive synthesis. Kelp’s debut single is ‘Spleen’ an ethereal, slumbering and woozy slice of escapism. Anchored by a deep seductive groove, hazy vocoder vocals hover dreamily above a delicious blend of bubbling synths, lush strings and flickering electronics as we are treated to a whirring, cosmic and futuristic synth escape. Is the world ready for a loungey electronica outfit fronted by an inch high, ethereal deep sea diver? Maybe not but we’ve seen strange things happen in 2020 and judging by the music, we would be well to embrace this surreal experiment into our hearts.

Listen to ‘Spleen’ below now – it is an absolute joy.

Beige Banquet – ‘Wired/Weird’

Formed earlier in 2020, East London-based Beige Banquet (aka Tom Brierley) play drum-machine-driven and self-produced outsider/weirdo/art punk.

‘Wired/Weird’ is the first in a collection of tracks written and produced in a dank East-London bedroom during the first part of 2020 in circumstances familiar to many musicians, Brierley switched focus from performing to recording, and this is the first fruit from that labour. The aptly titled ‘Wired/Weird’ is spikey, agitated and drum-machine-driven post-punk. Fuelled by metronomic beat, repetitive guitar lines, jerky riffs and sharp rhythm section, making for an angular, intoxicating and off-kilter jam. This somewhat frenzied sounds perfectly complement the stream-of-consciousness lyrics and manic delivery – it is unique and brilliant with more promised in 2021.

Listen to ‘Wired/Weird’ below – it is out now on Just Step Sideways Records 

Benbo & Michelle Bee – ‘Room In A Box’

UK producer and musician Benbo, and long time collaborator Michelle Be, are a pairing that embraces their quirky nature, and love for music, feeding off one another’s particular penchant which oozes from every fabric of their sound.

Their latest fruit from their collaboration is ‘Room In A Box’, a loose-limbed, seductive, slo-mo groover. It slinks along a super seductive slo-mo disco groove as warped, wobbling beats intertwine with a pulsing synth, as hushed honeyed vocals float gracefully above. Aided and abetted by winding acid squelches, ‘Room In A Box’ winds along that seductive groove as the cosmic soundscape is peppered with subtle bouts of euphoria and ravey undertones. This is a stunning offbeat exploration of imaginative, off-kilter, funk and disco-infused cosmic that will worm its way inside your head and refuse to leave for days and days.

‘Room In A Box’ is out now, complete with a Hannah Holland remix, a shiny new radio re-version. Tune in below:


Ben Xylo – ‘Calculator’

Born out of the anxiety of the lockdown, ‘Calculator’ is the debut single from UK producer Ben Xylo, 1/3 of Bath rockers* The Vacant Official, and he’s gone and cooked up something rather special.

Taking a host of house, techno and electronica influences, Xylo assimilates these familiar traits into otherworldly electronic music that gracefully hovers in an ambiguous hinterland between subtly euphoric and vaguely ambient. Cloaked in a shadowy mystique, ‘Calculator’ opens with a slow patter of grooving beats, burning synth and frazzled electronics cascading from above. This eerie atmosphere begins to fade as the pace increases and synths swirl and pulse, sustaining the rhythm and protracting the promise of a euphoric climax, while keeping you captivated through beautiful hypnotic repetition. A stunning introduction to Ben Xylo, and one that will leave you mesmerised.

Listen to ‘Calculator’ below:

*They are from bath, they are not rockers of baths.

Sherwyn – ‘What’

Sherwyn is a Nashville-raised, Los Angeles-based artist & producer with an undeniable flair for mixing it up and transcending genres, blending hip hop and rap with lashings of funk, new wave funk and alt-rock.

Influenced by artists such as David Byrne, Keith Haring, Andre 3000, and Bootsy Collins, Sherwyn’s output thus far has been superb – ‘My Mind’ & ‘Starfucker’ both irresistible funky, new wave groovers. Latest single ‘What’, while a rather efficient 1:47, is a meatier heavy hitting hip hop meets rock jam. It struts along a bed of seductive big beats and swaggering grooving while a snarling riff and chugging guitar adds to the bite as Sherwyn spits a wishlist for a different world – his delivery confident, defiant and melodic. This is a superb cut with the right amount of everything – just superb!

Listen to ‘What’ below now: