Introducing: Amber Arcades

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Amber Arcades is the moniker of Dutch-born musician Annelotte de Graaf.

De Graaf first started writing songs while temporarily living in Philadelphia back in 2010, and on her return to her native Netherlands, she released a first EP in 2012. Four years on and now signed to the ever reliable Heavenly Records, she is gearing up to release her debut LP. Produced by Ben Greenberg (Beach Fossils, The Men, Destruction Unit) and backed by a band comprised of members of Real Estate, Quilt and Kevin Morby, the album is a culmination of songs written over the years, and what we’ve got to go on so far, is ever so good.

The most recent of which, ‘Right Now’ is a dazzling piece of ‘60s inspired, meandering psychedelic pop. It simply drifts along, unhurriedly, over floating pop melodies, hypnotic, lush jangly guitars, frazzled electronics and punchy beats are coated with light layer of fuzz and an incandescent glimmer, as de Graaf’s dreamy, breathy vocals hover above majestically. This is flawless jangly fuzz-pop with an upbeat groove and distinct ’60s retro feel, but importantly while sounding familiar, it stays on the right side of familiar. ‘Turning Light’ meanwhile, is consumed by a similar luminescence. Harnessing a beautiful blend propulsive beats, krautrock drums and shimmering guitars, like ‘Primary Colours’ era Horrors, with a touch less distortion and the inclusion of de Graaf’s soft, soothing vocal.

De Graaf’s musical vision works like a dream and there you have it, two very good reasons to be excited about the forthcoming record. No definitive date for the release of the debut record but you can check out ‘Right Now’ & ‘Turning Light’, below.

 

Light Falls – ‘Prism’

 

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Chances are you’ve already come across Dominic Gentry’s work, albeit under his previous alias, Attaque.

Having established name within the world of techno, before shifting his focus a little, Gentry has decided upon a new moniker, Light Falls. Accompanying this re-brand so to speak, is new single ‘Prism'; as clear an indication as your likely to get that Gentry’s output remains steadfastly superb. Meticulously crafted, ‘Prism’ is beautifully fine as it gracefully traverses a hinterland between delicate electronica and driven techno, with the chanting vocal adding a final touch of class. ‘Prism’ unquestionably marks a marvellous return for Gentry, and it’s a sublime intro to this, his new moniker.

You can check out ‘Prism’ below now – hopefully we’ll be hearing plenty more from Light Falls throughout 2016 and beyond.

 

Totalitarian – ‘Real Mad Thing’

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Totalitarian is the moniker of Irish electronic producer, Aidan Sheerin, originally from Monaghan but now based in Co. Armagh.

We were introduced to his skills toward the back end of last year, with his debut single, ‘What I Need..’. The track displayed a clear preference for head-nodding and lavish explorations of genres and styles, taking in all-manner of electronic, electronica and hip-hop influences. Totalitarian’s latest release, and first of 2016, ‘Real Mad Thing’, follows much the similar path. It’s a playful, upbeat, bumping piano house tune with shades of Toddla T/The 2 Bears going on. Through a fusion of playful ’90s piano loops, compelling groove and beat combo, and more than a hint of Jamaician dancehall inspiration; ‘Real Mad Thing’ radiates a feel-good and summery vibe. In doing so, providing a well needed and well timed, massive injection of positivity amidst a time of dreariness. It is another fine, fine track from Sheerin, hopefully there’s plenty more to come in 2016, and beyond.

Check out ‘Real Mad Thing’ below, now:

 

Tuff Love – ‘Resort’

 

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Glaswegian scuzz-pop aficionados Tuff Love, have already graced us with a terrific trilogy of EPs in recent times. Those EPs – 2014’s ‘Junk’, and last year’s ‘Dross’ and ‘Dregs’ – marked them as one of the most exciting new bands around, all dazzling, fuzzy indie pop with sugar-sweet melodies and crunching choruses and shoegazey guitars galore.

This promise has been condensed into a single release, Resort. Ordered chronologically and marking the culmination of their hard work, it tells the Tuff Love story so far. Perhaps surprisingly, Resort sits together decidedly well as a ‘record’ in itself, especially considering the fragmented time in which they were recorded and originally released. Tuff Love strike a perfect balance between these contrasting ingredients of their sound. In all of three-and-a-half minutes, opener ‘Sweet Discontent’ outlines exactly what Tuff Love are all about. A racing melody is underpinned by a tattered grunge-echoing riff and a coarse, churning rhythm, and Julie Eisenstein’s dreamy, almost listlessness vocals, which exudes a sense of rage, sorrow and unhappiness. Raw yet dainty, blissfully rambunctious guitar-pop anthems, channeled through a haze of lo-fi recordings, is what they excel at. Of which any number of tracks from Resort will testify too; ‘Crocodile’, ‘Slammer’ or ‘Flamingo’, take your pick!

It’s not clear how far along Eisenstein and Bear are with a debut album proper, but Resort sits together rather nicely indeed. Not only does it allow us to draw a line under these excellent early EPs, it reminds us how good Tuff Love and you get the feeling they are destined for big things.

Resort is out now through Lost Map Records (buy or stream now).

Sales – ‘Jamz’

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SALES have been relatively quiet since the release of their wonderful Renee EP back 2014. The Orlando-based duo did however release the single ‘Big Sis’, back in August of last year and partake in a pretty extensive tour across N. America and Europe too.

Last week, SALES announced that they intend to release their long-awaited debut album on April 20th and shared ‘Jamz’ as a first taste of things to come. Catchy, melodic and pleasantly chill dream-pop; it is yet another gorgeously textured, beautifully nuanced and sparse track. Stylistically speaking, ‘Jamz’ is comprised of the same ingredients, as it drifts around Jordan Shih’s playful gentle guitars Lauren Morgan’s delicate vocal. And there is nothing wrong with that in the slightest; why change a good thing? ‘Jamz’ acts as a strong indication of what we can expect from their debut and is as good as anything from their existing catalog.

SALES’ debut album will be out on April 20th, till then, you’ve got the wonderful ‘Jamz’ to keep you company. The duo have also announced a string of US dates, hopefully some north of the border follow soon.

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