Mountain Bike – ‘This Lonely Place’

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More closely associated with electronica, Belgium has produced more than its fair share of tidy bands too, and joining that list is garage outfit, Mountain Bike.

The four-piece, hailing from Brussels, have just released new single ‘This Lonely Place’. Taken from their forthcoming album About Too Sorry For Any Sorrow – due out on the 3rd of March – ‘This Lonely Place’ is a fuzzy, jangling four minutes of laid-back, hook-drenched, melodic-vibes. From a melancholic opening, it nonchalantly skips along head-nodding bundle of joy. Comparisons to the likes of Ty Segall, Mac DeMarco, Car Seat Headrest & King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard have been made, and while they are all valid, there is a certain late ’90s Blur and early noughties Graham Coxon (solo work) vibe too. Regardless, this is super catchy, infectious and addicting, Mountain Bike have found that sweet spot between pop and indie.

Listen to ‘This Lonely Place’ below, and keep an eye out for this four-piece in 2017.

Chick Quest – ‘Down in a Crypt’

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Self-described ‘Spaghetti Western Post-Punk Dance Party’, Chick Quest are an unconventional punky foursome – Ryan White (vocals, guitar), Iris Rauh (drums), Marcus Racz (trumpet, keyboard), and Magdalena Kraev (bass) – hailing from Vienna, Austria.

Chick Quest explore rather unusual realms of music, taking in parts punk, post-punk, ska, funk, b-movie and spaghetti western soundtracks. The Austrian foursome are readying their second album, Model View Controller. Ahead of its release later this month, Chick Quest provide a preview with ‘Down In A Crypt’. Its all dance-y and fuzzed-up post-punk with a spooky b-movie-esque organ riff, crunchy guitar riffs, brisk bass-line and dynamic beats. Catchy, infectious and simultaneously rather creepy; it’s a hard act to pull off but pull it off they do.

Model View Controller is out February 24th via Triangular Sounds. Until then, why not give ‘Down In A Crypt’ a spin below.

Rhodri Brooks – ‘Bws Dŵr’

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Rhodri Brooks is a Cardiff born singer and songwriter, whose rather wonderful sound is gathered from fragments of alt-country, psychedelia, Americana and lo-fi, and effortlessly sewn together.

Brooks’ chameleonic sound transcends eras and genres, evidenced by his wonderful back catalogue and latest single ‘Bws Dŵr’.The new track will be released through the Bubblewrap Collective – who he’s recently joined forces with – for Welsh Language Music Day on February 10th. Performed in his native Welsh, ‘Bws Dŵr’ is a gentle and wonderfully understated lo-fi blend of Americana/Country that lulls you into a hypnotic, woozy state of peace and calm as it meanders along with sliding guitars and washed-out vocal. So easy on the ear, this is just a wonderfully tranquil beauty.

‘Bws Dŵr’ is out for Welsh Language Music Day on February 10th. Listen to it below.

Orouni – ‘The Lives Of Elevators’

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Three albums deep already, French band Orouni are no novices, in fact they are virtuosos when it comes to classic, melodic guitar pop music.

Orouni’s carefully crafted arrangements are marked by an easy-going flow and a sense for melody and elegance – none more so than ‘The Lives Of Elevators’. The new track – which will be on their next album – is part of a live session with French streaming platform Findspire and followed by ‘The Devil And The Monk Seal’, from their most recent record Grand Tour (2014). Buoyed by an effortless ear for melody, ‘The Lives Of Elevators’ elegantly flits between melancholic and beautiful, fragile but authoritative, with lush arrangements and irresistible parps of brass. Charming and sometimes bittersweet, this is the class of perfect pop-craft associated with the likes of The Kinks, Sweet Baboo and Tap Tap et al. This is ever so endearing and delightful catchy but be warned, these pair of songs will get stuck in your head for days and days.

Orouni has recorded three albums to date, which can be acquired via Bandcamp, with another on the way in 2017. Check out ‘The Lives Of Elevators’ &  ‘The Devil And The Monk Seal’ below.

Swimming Tapes – ‘Cameos’

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Swimming Tapes are a London five-piece who deal in dreamy guitar-pop.

The band released their debut EP Souvenirs a few days ago, and with it, shared their fourth single ‘Cameos’. It is – as is the entirety of their debut EP – blissfully woozy indie pop, pairing blissed out, sun-soaked indie pop with bittersweet ache. Amid the laid-back hazy undulations, sparkling guitars and general breeziness, it is placing solemn verse against brimming optimism that rules the day. Swimming Tapes sound nostalgic yet fresh, melancholic but hopeful, and that’s a tough nut to crack, but so far these guys make it look all rather easy.

You can listen to new cut ‘Cameos’ below and if that is to your liking (and I rather think it shall) you can listen to their debut EP Souvenirs here.

Foreign/National – ‘Mombasa’

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Over the past two years of so, Aussie five-piece Foreign/National have made a habit or treating our ears on a pretty regular basis with a sublime selection of singles and self-titled EP.

Now though, the Melbourne warped-pop merchants are about to release their long-awaited debut album. Entitled Dépaysement, it will be with us on February 3rd and is preceded by another fine single ‘Mombasa’. The new track is another similarly sumptuous slice of jolly, warped pop. Breezy as the day is long, ‘Mombasa’ is a supremely infectious modern psych-pop tune. A bright, blissful, and melody-filled slice of sun-kissed psychedelic pop music, that will keep you grooving right along, providing some respite from the January blues.

Foreign/National’s debut LP Dépaysement, will be with us on February 3rd but for now, sample delights of ‘Mombasa’ below. It is fabulous!

Gulp Share Video & Django Django Remix for ‘Search For Your Love’

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Back in December Cardiff-based band Gulp Gulp – revolving around Lindsey Leven & Guto Pryce of Super Furry Animals fame – shared single ‘Search For Your Love’ and their intention to release a second LP in 2017.

Following on from that, Gulp have shared the single’s video and a Django Django‘s ‘Nautical Twilight Edit’ of ‘Search For Your Love’. The Django’s edit adds another dimension to Gulp’s already refined warm, fuzzy, lush spacey psych-pop. Upping the tempo and the groove a tad, and enhancing the textures, luscious melody, proggy-guitars and synthy celestial vibes, to compliment the marvellous original perfectly. Rather than a full face-lift, this is re-imagining the song; creating something completely hypnotic, and topped off by Leven’s sultry vocals, this is the very essence of dreams. Just time to sit back now and let ‘Search For Your Love’ (x 2) flow over you and seep into your senses, and leave you better for it.

‘Search For Your Love’ is available now via via Tim Burgess’ independent label O Genesis and Gulp are currently working with Luke Abbott on their second album, which is set to be released in 2017.

Listen to Happyness ‘Falling Down’; Album to follow in April

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London trio Happyness, comprised of multi-instrumentalists Ash Cooper, Benji Compston and Jon EE Allan, will release their second album Write In in April.

Alongside news of a follow up to 2014’s Weird Little Birthday comes lead single, ‘Falling Down’. Unfolds pensively, ‘Falling Down’ slowly-building before eventually elegantly swells to a warm but somewhat moody, melancholic burst of rough-edged guitar pop and bubbly drums. Like a slowly settling pint of stout, the reward is as gratifying to wait for as it is to behold. Being the first track unveiled from the forthcoming record, to be honest, you couldn’t ask for a better, more enticing introduction to Happyness.

Write In is penned in for an April 2nd release via Moshi Moshi and Bar None, in the UK and U.S respectively. Also, Happyness shall be in Dublin on April 21st, when the trio play Whelan’s – all the info is here.

For now, listen to ‘Falling Down’ below, it is wonderful.

Introducing: Wardrobe

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Wardrobe is the moniker of Belgian musician Johan Verckist who has a welcome penchant for timeless, exquisite alt-pop, filled with heart and soul.

Verckist will release his debut album Crawling, on February 24th and he has set the standard and cause for excitement with debut single, ‘Man of Straw’. It a sweet, sentimental song that gently waltzes along with an endearing warm glow and punctured with some heart-strung bouts of melancholy. Verckist’s vocals are warm and soothing to the ear, and deeply affecting. Similar praise can be laid at the feet of the latest single, ‘Nowhere Now, which too, is an exquisite piece of pop-craft. It softly trickles by with a gentle strum and warbley synth forging a soothing and warm partnership, pronounced further Verckist’s impeccable and genial vocals – much like ‘Man of Straw’. A magnificent and delightful listen, this is pop-craft at its stellar best.

Debut album Crawling shall be out on February 24th. For now you can sample the wonderful delights that ‘Man of Straw’ & ‘Nowhere Now’ have to offer. You can also check out the ace video for the former.

IRMA VEP – ‘A Woman’s Work Is Never Done’

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Manchester via North Wales musician IRMA VEP – aka Edwin Stevens – released a his new album, No Handshake Blues last week.

Accompanying album number four under the IRMA VEP moniker, is the LP’s lead single, and album opener, ‘A Woman’s Work Is Never Done’. It is a world-weary and shadowy 11-minutes plus of epic, sprawling distortion, feedback and psychedelic drone. The vocals are almost entirely swathed in distortion and reverb rendering the lyrics indecipherable, amid the already swirling fuzz and feedback. A thrilling and epic introduction to Irma Vep’s new and experimental sound, and album too.

You can listen to the epic ‘A Woman’s Work Is Never Done’ below. If that is to your liking, you can hear the new album, No Handshake Blues, over here.