Adam Melchor – ‘3 Hours Ahead’

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Adam Melchor is a Jersey-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter with a penchant for rich, melodic and heartfelt old-fashioned pop.

Originally trained as an opera singer, with his new single ‘3 Hours Ahead’, Melchor wistfully weaves a wide-eyed ode to friendship across time zones. Led by beautiful keys and dramatic dripping melodies, ‘3 Hours Ahead’ moves along a soft, steady and hushed drumbeat. There is a softness to his tone, conveying an intimate vibe and vulnerability that coalesce with some swooning orchestral-esque vibes, a gentle acoustic strum and lush layered vocals, vivid lyrics and beautiful keys. While he’s got quite a few releases already under his belt, his latest effort finds him in fine form, with his best and most affecting work to date. ‘3 Hours Ahead’ is beautiful song plain and simple – musically and lyrically – it is powerful and emotive, with a melancholic and lamentable feel. Beautiful and compelling, this is brilliantly moving.

Listen to ‘3 Hours Ahead’ below now:

Ben’s Imaginary Band – ‘Celebrity’

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Ben’s Imaginary Band is the work of Ben Romvari, a Canadian musician with a serious penchant for DIY and indie. Essentially a one-man band with Romvari looking after every role possible; he writes, records, and mixes his tracks in DIY studios based in Victoria, BC.

To date, Romvari has three albums to his name (or Ben’s Imaginary Band rather) Nocturnal Fables and Illusions (2007), Trust (2011) and The Apartment (2018); all characterised by intimate, deeply personal, melodic, somewhat melancholic and beautiful songs. Ben’s Imaginary Band’s latest single ‘Celebrity’, lifted from the latter record, is adorned with all the aforementioned attributes. ‘Celebrity’ is a charming, heartfelt and soft-centred piece of indie-pop balladry. Drifting along some gently tripping percussion and stripped back instrumentation, ‘Celebrity’ is dripping with melody and pitted with an idiosyncratic, kind of quirky sensibility as Romvari’s hushed, whispering vocals tug at the heartstrings.

Listen to ‘Celebrity’ below and The Apartment comes highly recommended also – listen to it here.

Tender Glue – ‘Dear Peri’

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New York City-based folk singer-songwriter Tom Gluewicki, aka Tender Glue, specialises in tender, rich and heartfelt lo-fi dream-pop – as evidenced by his debut record Closet Leftovers, released toward the back end of last year.

‘Dear Peri’ is the latest single to be lifted from his debut and is cut from a similar cloth to previous releases, ‘Lights Out’, ‘Rudy’ and ‘Back Home’. Recorded in the closet of his apartment, ‘Dear Peri’ is a wistful and melancholic guitar-driven ballad tempered with a heartfelt sense of loss and longing. The guitar strums amid a sombre, late-night sort of atmosphere that is eroded by a growing distorted sound that swells as Gluewicki’s voice clambers to be heard. ‘Dear Peri’ is yet another, in a long line of powerful, heartfelt and beautiful songs from the NYC-based artist.

Listen to ‘Dear Peri’ below and you can listen to the album Closet Leftovers here.

Introducing: Durty Mick

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Durty Mick is the musical moniker of Kildare musician Owen Murphy who from the confines of his bedroom, armed with an acoustic guitar, microphone and laptop, crafts a home brewed fervently DIY sound.

There is a decidedly mellow, late-night, nocturnal vibe to his sound as his ponderings delivered in a despondent world weary vocal tone accompanied by lyrics of everyday observations draped with a prowess for intuitive songwriting and storytelling. Latest release ‘Beige Slave’ captures all this perfectly – and more acutely than any written description. A gentle acoustic guitar-driven number, it revolves around some ruminating sounds, chilled out rhythm, acoustic plucks and strum while Murphy shares his flowing musings. Previous single ‘The Degenerate Manifesto’ is cut from the same cloth, expanding on the loungey, laid-back murmuring backdrop for Murphy to express his contemplative reflections. Both tracks have the right amount of home brewed, rough around the edges sound – a little hiss here and a touch of reverb there adds a distinctive character.

There is a touch of King Krule to Durty Mick but that is in no way a bad thing. An innovative, interesting and exquisitely crafted exploration that rewards again and again with repeated listens.

Tune into Durty Mick below – his debut album Damage Limitationist is out next week.

Martha Ffion – ‘Kennedy Hair’

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Last year, Martha Ffion released my favourite record of 2018 with her long-awaited debut LP Sunday Best; a beautiful record filled with gleaming guitar-pop, wistful-ballads, swooning sixties inspired indie-pop and touches of folk & country.

The Irish-born, Glasgow-based singer-songwriter is back with a wonderful new single ‘Kennedy Hair'; a super catchy slice of bittersweet indie-pop. Working with the excellent Lost Map Records again, ‘Kennedy Hair’ the first release in the label’s brand new PostMap Club – a series of postcard releases and other exclusives – references It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia while critiquing post-Brexit politics. As evidenced throughout her debut, Ffion’s prowess for observation is second to none. Lyrically she is clever, witty, and often times a sharp tongued, while her ear for a melody is only rivalled by her powers for observation, making for an incredibly infectious, lush and beautiful song. A phenomenally catchy slice of swooning, bittersweet indie-pop, it will be bobbing around your head all day, and you will be all the better for it.

Listen to ‘Kennedy Hair’ below and find you more about PostMap Club here.

Martha Ffion also appeared on the latest episode of NPR’s ‘World Cafe’ for music and a chat, you listen to that here too.

Introducing: Stella Donnelly

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Wales-born, Australian singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly built a much warranted reputation on the back of her 2018 debut EP Thrush Metal – a stunning collection of deceptively simple, sparse but compelling acoustic tracks filled with witty, stark, honest and frustrated musings tackling subjects like sexual assault, victim blaming and misogyny.

Following on from last year’s EP, Donnelly has announced her debut album, Beware of the Dogs will be released on March 8 via esteemed indie label Secretly Canadian, and the 13-track LP is led by the single ‘Old Man’. Joined by a full band, on the surface ‘Old Man’ is a breezy, easygoing and sparkling piece of indie-pop but amid all the warm melodies, it’s a song that finds a perfect balance between dreamy and acerbic, with a sharp message aimed at taking exploitative men to task. Once again, Donnelly has proven herself to be a masterful voice of rage, wit, humour and compassion.

Check out ‘Old Man’ and the Fiona Jane Burgess directed video below and the debut LP, Beware of the Dogs is out on March 8 via Secretly Canadian. You can listen to debut EP Thrush Metal here too – it’s very, very good indeed.

Stella Donnelly plays The Grand Social, Dublin on April 29 – Tickets €15.

Phileas Fogg – ‘Will Never Be Played Again’

Phileas Fogg is the moniker of London-based artist Asi Binyamini, who like his namesake – the protagonist in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days – Fogg spirits us away on an imaginative intrepid adventure.

Fogg introduced his decidedly catchy brand of reverb and fuzz-laden psych-rock with single ‘Ready or Not’ last year and he’s followed that with ‘Will Never Be Played Again’. It is an enthralling psych-rocker, tentatively building from a haunting and unsettling opening atmosphere it gradually grows in slowburning fashion, swelling as his vocals ascend rousingly above the dense competing layers of psych noise to add a topping of the anthemic. ‘Will Never Be Played Again’ serves as a timely reminder of Fogg’s knack for the hypnotic and captivating tunes – as evidenced by its predecessor ‘Ready or Not’.

Listen to ‘Will Never Be Played Again’ below now.

Simen Mitlid – ‘Saturdays’

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Simen Mitlid is a precociously talented singer-songwriter hailing from the woodlands of Os, Norway, crafting lush, Nordic indie-folk a la contemporaries like Sufjan Stevens, Broken Social Scene and Patrick Watson.

In 2017 Mitlid’s wonderful charming debut LP, Everything is the Same was one of the year’s finest and he is back with his first new material since. New single ‘Saturdays’ is the first taste of what Mitlid is cooking up for album number two, and the good news is his powers for fashioning beautifully charming and elegant indie-folk has not deserted him. Opening slowly with a delicate acoustic guitar and rich emotive vocal, ‘Saturdays’ is a tender ballad that feel both intimate and vast, set against a beautiful atmospheric soundscape. This is a beautiful folk song with an undercurrent of melancholy but marked by an optimism and warm inviting glow – ‘Saturdays’ is a delight.

Nothing concrete on the new album – title, release date etc. – but for now, sit tight and enjoy ‘Saturdays’.

TOLEDO – ‘Qué Pasa?’

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Revolving around the Brooklyn-based pairing of Dan Alvarez and Jordan Dunn, Toledo have have drip-feeding us charming delights from their forthcoming debut album over the past while, and bewitching us in the process.

The good news is Toledo will release their aforementioned debut, HotStuff in March and the latest single lifted from it, is without question the best yet. ‘Qué Pasa?’ is a heartfelt, lush and melodic slice of indie-folk delight. Dripping with melody as hushed, lilting vocals flow gently on by amid a sea of richness and warmth, flourishes of soft drums and state of tranquillity. ‘Qué Pasa?’ proves Toledo the masters of hook, harmony and heart. It is one of those songs, filled with such heartfelt beauty, glowing with warmth and marked by just the right amount of melancholy, that will leave you unable to resist its allure but all the better for it. An absolute joy!

Listen to ‘Qué Pasa?’ below and keep an eye out for the debut record come March.

Caoilfhionn Rose – ‘Awaken’

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Caoilfhionn Rose is a singer, songwriter and producer from Manchester.

Drawing from a deep well of folk, psychedelia and subtle electronica influences, ranging from The Mummers, to Rachel Sermanni, Melody’s Echo Chamber and Broadcast, she produces her own unique brand of beautiful, expansive, fragile and experimental psych-folk; something born out across her exquisite 13-track debut album Awaken, released back in October. As an introduction to both Rose and the LP, album opener and title-track ‘Awaken’ is perfect.

‘Awaken’ is a languid psych-folk daydreamer that whisks us away on a dreamy meditative journey. Swirling layers of vocal harmony gently unfurl an essence of pastoral warmth, as it meanders along a blissful groove and swirling, rhythmic psychedelia, and splashes of electronics complete the mesmeric backdrop for Rose’s bewitching atmospheric tones to entrance the listener completely. An elegant, awe-inspiring and charming blend of shimmering pastoral psych-folk – A hazy, soothing and altogether wonderful song.

Listen to ‘Awaken’ below and the album is just as beautiful an affair – listen to it here.