YellowStraps – ‘Blame (feat. VYNK)

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Belgian trio YellowStraps only featured on here with their sublime single ‘Nights Up’, which showcased their soul tinged alt-R&B with downtempo electro sensibilities with perfection.

The trio, comprised of Yvan Murenzi, Alban Murenzi, and Raphael Starkier, are preparing the release a new EP and ahead of which, they have shared the project’s title track ‘Blame’. A hypnotic slowburn guitar ushers in a simple beat before VYNK’s characterful vocals pitched somewhere between chilling, bleak and soulful deliver a tale of two people that are deeply in love, but they can’t make the compromise they need to make it work. While a blend of serene instrumentals and emotional undercurrents radiate jazz-influenced hip-hop sound, its tonal woes and poetic performance mean the vocals chime amid the jazzy instrumental seeds. Five minutes of blissful hypnosis – just wow!

YellowStraps will release their 4-track EP on April 20 via Majestic Casual, and if these past two singles don’t have you salivating, nothing will. Listen to ‘Blame’ below:

Lauren Ruth Ward – ‘Blue Collar Sex Kitten’

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Lauren Ruth Ward kicked off 2018 on the front foot, releasing her debut album Well, Hell, and that has been followed by a string of super singles.

First off was ‘Sheet Stain’, which we found Lauren Ruth Ward in fine but a little rowdy and loud, form. The Baltimore bred, Los Angeles based singer/songwriter has followed that with ‘Blue Collar Sex Kitten’ – a powerful blow of snarling rock ‘n’ roll fury, and my, hear her roar! It is a primal scream of pent up frustration, exploding into life grabbing you by the ears, shaking you furiously and demanding you pay attention. Crunching riffs, scorching vocals, driving electric guitar in sways of distortion and fuzz, rolling drums and biting back beat all conspire to create a rock ‘n’ roll roar of release of pure energy. A blistering blow of rock ‘n’ roll power.

‘Blue Collar Sex Kitten’ is below. If you dig what you hear, Lauren Ruth Ward’s debut album Well, Hell is available here.

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Secret Vaccine – ‘I Know What You Did’

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Hailing from one of Germany’s most beautiful cities, Köln or Cologne, Secret Vaccine are a foursome with a penchant for bright, bouncing and energetic indie flavours.

The quartet of Steffen Krämer (vocals/guitar), Martin Lucas (guitar/vocals), Alex Fabritius (drums), and Marcus Ditger (bass/vocals), evidence this predilection quite splendidly by ‘I Know What You Did’. It is four-plus minutes upbeat, energised and spiky indie. Drawing power from the trinity of relentless drums, rip-roaring riffs and emphatic vocals, the tempo builds, ramping up the intensity as the pinpoint vocal interchanges add to the feverish pace. ‘I Know What You Did’ passes like a whirlwind but instead of leaving a trail of devastation and destruction, you will be nodding along and hitting the repeat button.

You can listen to ‘I Know What You Did’ below & if it is to your liking, check out their debut album, SHAKE WELL BEFORE USE, which can be picked up on Bandcamp.

Desert – ‘Sense Likes’

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Desert are Barcelona-based producers Cristina Checa and Eloi Caballé.

Buoyed by a flair for rich, dreamy soundscapes, the Catalan duo reside in an enchanted world that is all their own; of sunny beaches, shimmering sands, calming seas and long summer nights. The pair’s latest single ‘Sense Likes’ drifts from a dreampop influenced origin, to traverse altogether more electronic and experimental regions. Opening with a beguiling, textured haze of dreaminess it shifts seductively, as subtle as shifting sands, through flourishes of electronics, Balearic touches to pounding electronic thumps and accelerating ravey tones. A lavish composition with what feels like a lifeblood of its own, it is utterly transformed. With breathtaking dexterity, ‘Sense Likes’ evokes a mixture of romance and melancholy.

‘Sense Likes’ is the lead single from their upcoming three-track release for singles label, CSCN.

Idan Altman – ‘It all Works Out In The End’

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Hailing from Maastricht, Netherlands, Idan Altman is a musician and producer with an ear for a winning sound.

Altman’s folkish wares lull the listener into a blissful state of hypnosis with lovingly crafted, expansive pieces of work. His latest offering, single ‘It all Works Out In The End’ is a case in point. It introduces itself, lightly bubbling away under undulating retro sounding electronics and gently plucked guitar, with a sense of melancholy permeating from the off before thawing with a more hopeful, optimistic tone. There is a real dreamy quality to these heartfelt ponderings and musical ruminating murmurings. A compelling, captivating and charming confection of unfeigned heart-strung emotion.

Check out ‘It all Works Out In The End’ below – it is magnificent!

Freedom Baby – ‘Drag The Lake’

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Freedom Baby – initially a Toronto-based bedroom project between Eric Reid and Brianna Bordihn – has progressed and evolved into a nine-piece orchestral pop group, affectionately called “ork pop”, and led by the aforementioned duo.

From these humble beginnings the ensemble have studiously crafted their debut EP, How You’ll Grow, released earlier this month. Drawing from a deep well influences, their songs slide from lighter folk sensibilities, swelling to multilayered tapestries of rich instrumentation. The EP’s lead single ‘When We Go’ – a bittersweet, misty-eyed cut of orchestral-pop – offered this in spades, as does the latest lifted from the record, ‘Drag The Lake’. Slowly building from a place of solitude and quiet contemplation to exuberance and excitement, with a tide swell of rich orchestral sounds to back them – ‘Drag The Lake’ will bowl you over with its emotional power and persuasion. The song swells to consume you and everything else in its wake. An exquisitely crafted, compelling, rich and irrestable tune. Magnificent!

Listen to ‘Drag The Lake’ below and you know, if you like that, and you will; you can listen to Freedom Baby’s debut EP here.

The Hails – ‘Younger’

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‘Younger’ is the brand new single from Florida-based indie-pop purveyors, The Hails.

Comprised of lead singer Robbie Kingsley, guitarist Dylan McCue, guitarist & vocalist Franco Solari, bassist Andre Escobar, and drummer Zach Levy, The Hails have created something that is instantly endearing, sparkling with charm and impossible to resist. ‘Younger’ shuffles along a jaunty melody with a breezy, shimmering temperament as pristine vocals, irresistible guitar hook conspire with mild flourishes of psych to leave you powerless to its temptations. No sooner has it finished and ‘Younger’ will be tempting replay after replay with its irresistible allure. In just under four minutes, The Hails have distilled the essence of carefree summer days, so much so that you can almost smell the fresh cut grass, feel the sunny heat and sense the calming blue skies.

Listen to ‘Younger’ below, it is a winner all ends up.