(Video) Marika Hackman – ‘Drown’

marika hackman 2014

We were given a first taste of what to expect from the highly anticipated debut album* from Marika Hackman, We Slept At Last, with its first single ‘Drown’ back in October, and now to stoke the fires of interest further, it has been given the visual treatment.

The single itself is characteristically eerie and sort of rustles and flickers in the darkness, muffled drums and delicate strum create a suitably haunting ambience for Hackman’s whispering soft vocals to beguile us. It is this underlying layer of darkness which is eked out further to quite grim and unnerving proportions on the new video, as the songs title is taken literally. Unsettling it may be but visually it is pretty stunning. We Slept At Last will be released on February 16th 2015 and ‘Drown’ is timely reminder of her remarkable songwriting prowess, naturally intertwined with her captivating vocals. For someone still in the dawn of her career, she’s already got a pretty a tasty back catalogue to her name, of which ‘Drown’ is as good as any. It goes without saying but her forthcoming debut full length is one to keep your eyes peeled for in the new year.

You can check ‘Drown’ below and you can pre-order We Slept At Last here.

*Debut album proper following on from here splendid ‘mini-album’ The Iron Taste in 2013.

Only Real – ‘Yesterdays’

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London’s Only Real aka Niall Galvin has unveiled a new track ‘Yesterdays’, taken from his forthcoming debut album.

Latest single ‘Yesterdays’ sticks to the script; sugary, sun-drenched and somewhat unseasonal surf-rock goodness, better fit for sunny beaches than the grey skies of wintertime. Opening with a whirl of harmonies and charming samples before Galvin lays down typically telling half-rap/half-spoken word lyrics. Shimmering melodic guitars echo the laid back, nonchalant poise flourishing toward a woozy feel-good climax that ensures summer is not forgotten just yet. Since introducing himself with woozy slackerish, surf-rock inspired tunes, produced in his West London bedroom, Only Real hasn’t put a foot wrong. Rather, he has proven a profuse source of sun-kissed lo-fi-indie-pop. In ‘Yesterdays’ we’ve got yet another deliciously woozy, feel-good track

As yet there is no title or date for Only Real’s forthcoming debut LP but it’s penned in for release in early 2015. For now? Check ‘Yesterday’ out below.

Favourite New Sounds of 2014: W/ Philip Neeson AKA Dukla Prague Away Kit

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As November draws to a close and the silly season of list making and roundups draws near, myself & Philip Neeson, who runs and edits one of my favourite and frequently visited Dukla Prague Away Kit, decided to get in on the action early. A blog swap whereby he & I pick our five favourite new acts from 2014 seeming the most apt. After all, I quite enjoy these end of year lists, both sharing mine and reading others to see what I`ve missed out on during the year, so this covers both bases nicely.

With that I shall leave you in Mr. Neeson`s capable hands as he outlines his favourite new sounds of 2014. You can also check mine out here.

(05) Nochexxx:

The boy Nochexxx (aka Dave Henson) actually released a couple of slabs back in 2011 but 1) I wasn’t aware of these, and 2) he finally put out a debut LP this year, so he’s new in every other sense of the word…ahem. ‘Thrusters’ is one fun-packed acid test of retro bleep and sample-heavy techno. (The tune included here samples the classic ‘The Fly’ movie). “Electro-funk freak beats” was how Boomkat described this release, and they’re usually not that wrong.

(04) Vomitface:

“Slimy-grunge post-punk disturbance” is how I winged the track ‘Sloppy Joes’ on the website upon first listen or three. I enjoyed it lots. And then a month or so down the line the New Jersey three-piece got in touch to tell me about their “completely reverent and irreverent simultaneously” video for the single, and I loved it– and indeed them– even more. The vid in question is music video of the year for me, and the tune quite possibly my number 1 single to boot. I’m looking forward to hearing more.

(03) Quirke:

Josh Quirke’s ‘Acid Beth’ is possibly my second favourite EP after the EP from my number 1 new act below ( I do like EP’s, you know). A dark release, that incorporates things like ghostly pianos in empty Victorian houses (the title-track) and restless, all-out industrialized techno attack (‘Break A Mirrored Leg’).

(02) CRUISING:

CRUISING are an Irish DIY indie supergroup. They’re also quite loud and raw. In fact, one can’t imagine them ever playing in a venue hat isn’t a spit-and-dust dive with graffiti scribbled in the toilets. I saw them play a venue in Belfast earlier this year that was a spit-and-dust dive with graffiti in the toilets. CRUISING also very good. And put out a cassette single this year on the excellent Soft Power label called ‘You Made Me Do That’. It sounds like Jack White playing The Fall circa 1980.

(01) M.E.S.H.:

My favourite new act award goes to M.E.S.H., who is from Berlin, a place that seems to produce no end of good electronic and techno. His debut release ‘Scythians’ is possibly my favourite EP of 2014.  It’s out on PAN, which also happens to be one of my favourite labels. I particularly love ‘Captivated'; it’s one cold and uncertain cave-dweller of a track. But M.E.S.H. loves everything from dub-techno to spacy hip-hop.

Photo by John Quintero

(Video) Beach Day – ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’

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During the summer Beach Day released Native Echoes, a collection bright and cheeky, lo-fi garage rock tunes. Inspired by nostalgia but powered by a fresh verve, it captured that hazy summer vibe and this bright blend of garage rock, surf pop and girl group sounds, sits comfortably alongside contemporaries like Cults and Tennis.

Needless to say, hazy summer days (and nights) are but a distant memory on this side of the world but doesn’t mean we must dispel the hazy, sun-kissed and cheery tunes. Beach Days’ latest single, ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’ provides an easy and breezy escape from the shackles of winter. It has a swooning, peaceful feel to it, aided by the sound of waves lapping a Holywood shore line. A gentle jangle accompanies Skyler Black’s wonderful floating vocals in tenderly piercing the soft fuzz that crackles with warmth and tingles with nostalgia. One of many loveable and inescapably brilliant tunes that festoon their latest album, Native Echoes.

You can check out ‘How Do You Sleep At Night’ below and if you’re liking that, why not give the album a whirl over here?

Ceiling Demons – ‘Every Step (Fold – Follow The Lights remix)’

ceiling demons fold 2014

Following the release of their debut album Dual Sides, alternative hip-hop group Ceiling Demons are releasing ‘Every Step Is Moving Me Up’ as a digital single, along with a brand new remix from Leeds based trip hop extraordinaires Fold.

The single aims to raise awareness for CALM, short for Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity dedicated to raising awareness and the prevention of suicide – an issue that has affected far too many of our lives for sure. Accompanying the Yorkshire trio’s own ‘Every Step Is Moving Me Up’, an assured, sincere and wholly positive track, is Fold’s re-imagined and re-titled ‘Follow The Lights’. Uplifting and warm, it underpinned by a soft driving beat, trip hop grooves and dubby layers, peppered with uplifting bouts of brass and chanting samples which extenuates Ceiling Demons’ deft lyrical dexterity, which ingrains a positive message within their music. A marvelous anthem of positivity, which is quite apt and all for a very good cause.

The single is available from all the usual haunts as well as a ‘name your price’ via bandcamp, with all proceeds going to CALM. You can also check out their debut LP, Dual Sides, here.