Many Voices Speak – ‘Necessaries’

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Sweden’s Many Voices Speak – aka Matilda Mård – has a very real gift in the way of slumbery whispers of lush dream pop.

Opening her 2018 account with new single ‘Necessaries'; it is indicative of Mård’s tender skill. Showcasing her charming, heartstrung indie-pop songs with a real knack for wry, emphatic storytelling, ‘Necessaries’ moves slowly, on a bed of rolling guitar’s and an undulating melody. Cloaked with an air of melancholy, subtle, drawn-out horns pepper the song, adding another layer to the wistful, dreamy fuzz and pulsating like heartbeat. This shifting mist of atmospheric delight is all capped by rich harmonies and Mård’s soft, sultry, breathy voice that drifts with a weightlessness. Delicate, dreamy and truly captivating, that balance between light and dark is, like ‘Necessaries’ in general, a thing of sheer beauty.

Tune in below. Hopefully we’re hearing more from Many Voices Speak very soon.

Photo: Julia Mård

Dear Japan – ‘Kushiro’

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Dear Japan is an intercontinental collaboration spearheaded by two, so far unnamed pairing from Hamburg and California.

The secretive duo do not offer much in the way of background info, preferring to make it all about the music, namely new single; ‘Kushiro’. Whilst ‘Kushiro’ is the duo’s maiden release, it’s not the work of novices. It is a minimalist slow-burner that channels haunting, dramatic and evocative atmospheric sounds tempered by soft yet unsettling percussion, and rich, smoky vocals that evokes a sense of weary detachment. It is mournful and emotive, with a dream inducing, sweeping, cinematic quality. A majestic, captivating introduction, no question.

Listen to ‘Kushiro’ below.

Introducing: Badhands

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Dan FitzPatrick, formerly of The Last Tycoons & The Mighty Stef, he has returned with his new solo outfit Badhands.

An album, Predictable Boy is in the offing this year, with inspirations drawn from Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Villagers and Leonard Cohen. As an opening intro to his new solo wares, FitzPatrick released debut single ‘Waves’ toward the back end of last year. Inspired by the experience when Dan and his brother Jamie swam out to sea to scatter their father’s ashes near their family home in Dublin, ‘Waves’ is a flourishing folk tune that will have your heart fawning from the first note. This warm, glowing organ hum swells, much like the sea, to engulf all in its wake but perfectly complimenting the rusticated guitar picks, that bubbles/buzzes in a Johnny Flynn-esque way and FitzPatrick’s wistful vocals.

A truly beautiful and compelling single, followed more recently by equally endearing ‘Let Me In’. The latest single tells the tale of a late night misadventure as the bluesy guitar and lush string arrangements give the song an ethereal ambience, richly bubbling away, building constantly in intensity to a pulsating finish. The mood is perfectly captured by Jamie Fitzpatrick’s eerie video, filmed at an abandoned farm near Stradbally, Co. Laois.

Dan FitzPatrick’s work with The Last Tycoons & The Mighty Stef is/was sublime and his solo work is of a similar high standard. As a side note, he was exceptional supporting Jeffery Lewis in Newbridge recently so between that and singles ‘Waves’ & ‘Let Me In’, we’ve a lot to look forward to with his forthcoming debut LP.

Listen to ‘Waves’ & ‘Let Me In’ below now:

Modern Leisure – ‘Girls In Black’

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Modern Leisure is a Denver-based outfit fronted by Casey Banker and ably assisted by a variety of Denver music stalwarts, who’ve got a indisputable talent for crafting enchanting pop gems.

‘Girls in Black’ is Modern Leisure’s second single, following ‘Ella for Real’, is brimming with sinuous melodies and enchanting arrangements, as it dazzles and gleams. Banker’s easy-going vocals are complimented exquisitely by hushed, heavenly harmonies, and swoon and sway over gentle guitars, jaunty bubbly percussion hushed heavenly harmonies and warm organ hum and glockenspiel twinkle. Oozing with a warn, relaxed and laid-back vibe; this is blissful on the ears.

Modern Leisure release their debut album Super Sad Rom-Com on June 29 via Guilty Pleasure Records, and ‘Girls in Black’ is but one reason to keep an eye out for it.

Tune in below:

Velodrome – ‘His Physique’

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Velodrome is the experimental project of London-based DIY singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kate Evans.

Evans embraces a charming exploration of baroque vocals, layers of melody & quirky lyrics with a lo-fi, retro aesthetic, as demonstrated with formidable dexterity on debut single ‘His Physique’. It’s a transfixing off-kilter concoction of sweet and catchy harmonies and melodies, with offbeat lo-fi psych-pop that playfully bubbles along with a bouncy charm. Evans’ delivery can be gentle, making her seem like the shyest of characters at times while on other occasions, her compelling baroque vocals sweep in to blow everything else out of the water. There is a slightly bonkers strangeness at play too but this musical whimsy probably wouldn’t resonate so much were it not for the moments of melodic sweetness – but thankfully, both are in plentiful supply. A fantastic opening intro to Velodrome and hopefully there’s plenty more brilliant bouts of offbeat lo-fi psych-pop on the horizon.

Listen to ‘His Physique’ below now.

Blackaby – ‘Georgie Wants A Garden’

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‘Georgie Wants A Garden’ is the sunny new single from Blackaby, a London trio fronted by William Blackaby and released through the Record in Peace label’s, RIP Introduces series.

The series, now on its second volume, shines a light on emerging artists and collecting them for an end of year vinyl compilation; the latest, as we said, is ‘Georgie Wants A Garden’. It is a three-minute outpouring of good vibes as heavenly harmonies ebb and flow over the gentle guitars and soft, almost brushed percussion. The trio’s take on ’60s inspired folk-pop is divine, with a loungey, lazy-day feel and shimmering, sunkissed glow making for an irresistibly lush tune as it skips on by. An absolute delight!

Listen to ‘Georgie Wants A Garden’ below. Volume 1 of the RIP Introduces series is here too.

 

Horizons Acts for 2018 Announced & Playlist

Horizons-2018

As regular patrons of the site will be acutely aware I have a great fondness for Wales, and more specifically Welsh music (not to mention the footballing powerhouse that is Wrexham AFC).

For a relatively small place, Wales does rather well for itself musically and for somewhere of its size, it is surely unmatched in both quality and quantity. From the towns and cities, mountains and valleys, Wales proves itself time and time again, to be an ever reliable source of creative, superbly inventive and experimental sounds across a myriad of genres.

While I am entirely grateful for the seemingly never ending stream of wondrous sounds, something apparent from a casual listen to Adam Walton’s excellent BBC Radio Wales Programme (see also Bethan Elfyn also of BBC Radio Wales & Lisa Gwilym’s C2 on BBC Radio Cymru) or cursory glance at the Focus Wales lineup or the Horizons showcase.

It is the latter that draws our attention today – a collaboration between BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales – Horizons aims to showcase exciting new, independent contemporary music in Wales, providing promotional and performance opportunities, incl. festival slots throughout the year.

Just this week, the twelve acts selected from across Wales for Horizons 2018 were announced. There are some familiar names in there; Adwaith, Campfire Social, CHROMA and Nia Wyn, and some new; Himalayas, I See Rivers, Aleighcia Scott, Alffa, Eadyth, Marged, No Good Boyo and The Pitchforks. Either way, new acquaintances or old, it is an incredibly diverse array of artists.

You can, like me, delve in below:

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