Introducing: Maintain Mainframe

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“In the year 3046 a robot searches for the Alpha Key to unlock a cryptic sequence of code” – as far as back stories go, Maintain Mainframe’s is pretty different.

Unusual as it may be, it is pretty apt as this peculiar music outfit treat us to an unusual retro-futuristic fusion of classic rock, synth & psych pop and indie/alt-rock, strewn with science fiction influences. And aside from the imaginative sci-fi backstory, that’s the tale of their self-titled debut record.

Most recent single ‘The Mirror’ opens with a pastoral sounding strum and hushed vocals, before making way for a series of gritty riffs as it swaggers along a danceable groove., that sounds wonderfully gritty, dark and edgy. Similarly danceable is ‘Dreamphase’. Engulfed in layers of fuzz and eerie and menacing tones, muscular guitars and buzzing riffs up the intensity and ferocity, while propelled along an irresistible rhythmic groove and some sparkling retro-futuristic synth work. Meanwhile, ‘I Am A Robot’ channels the sound of The Flaming Lips for a colorful, melody filled and spaced-out spectacle.

This is without a shadow of a doubt, one of the colourful and imaginative creations for sometime. Combining everything from psych-pop, rock, electronica, krautrock and more, they do so with a supreme potency and in full Technicolor.

You can check out some choice cuts below, I assure you I’m not spoofing and you can listen to their debut album here.

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Introducing: Aircraft of Tomorrow

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Aircraft of Tomorrow is a creative collaboration between musician Paul Woodfull and visual designer Alastair Keady.

Paul composes electronic musical landscapes, exploring themes of melody and mood. Alastair independently responds to these musical compositions with visual interpretations.

What’s created is a gorgeous confection of ambient instrumental music that ebbs and flows through lush, atmospheric, cinematic drifts of retro futurism – of which the pair’s debut album entitled Alas Euphoric, boasts with stunning finesse. ‘Metro to Marco’ harnesses a deep, warm, winding synth, hypnotic chiming of keys and floaty atmospheric sounds to create a gripping, transportive and transfixing track, that will consume you. ‘Hundreds Of Eggs’ hypnotises as it pulses slowly and delicately through a gorgeous soft-focus of tick-tock percussion, ethereal synth and steady release of cloudy atmospherics. While ‘Pre & Post Redemption’ sounds like a cinematic soundtrack to a ‘70s BBC sci-fi drama. A gently building, moody and deeply atmospheric blend of ambient, cinematic retro futurism, Aircraft of Tomorrow’s debut record comes highly recommended.

Alas Euphoric is out now & you can stream it here; to get you in the mood, there are a few choice cuts below:

Introducing: Simen Mitlid

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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.

Recorded in vivid locales including his hometown cabin, Oslo and Vancouver, his debut LP, Everything is the Same is a charming record, imbued with a warm inviting glow, optimism and playful wonder. Most recently lifted from the record is ‘This Time’; a magical, soothing, and endearingly optimistic gem. Opening slowly with a delicate acoustic guitar and rich emotive vocal, before being ushered gently forward with a swell of twinkling keys, chimes, percussion and gentle hand claps as pure and really beautiful female vocals come to the fore. Title track, ‘Everything is the Same’ sounds much more world-weary and melancholic, yet marked by an understated optimism. Again a gentle strum leads the way, giving space for tender, touching emotion to surge and swell. There is a real strength in the songwriting and in the vocals too, which offer a real delicacy in their delivery. These are charming, beautiful and warm folk songs with intricate and sharp arrangements – and the album is a delight.

Simen Mitlid’s debut album Everything is the Same is out now, and you can listen to it here.

As a taster, ‘This Time’ & ‘Everything is the Same’ are below for your aural pleasure.

Introducing: Holy ’57

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Holy ’57 is the moniker of London-based artist Alex Mankoo, who is gearing up to release his forthcoming mini-album L.

Holy ’57’s forte appears to be that of warm, inviting and feel-good vibes, adorned with good old-fashioned, hearts-on-sleeves songwriting. Providing substance to this assertion, Mankoo has afforded us with two gems lifted from the forthcoming mini-album. Latest single ‘Canary’ swoons with sinuous melodies as it slinks along its oh so merry way, above some seductive beats. Previous single ‘Water // Chrome’ is no less joyous and entrancing as bobs along punchy drums and low bass, and like ‘Canary’, you’ll find yourself succumbing to its allure. Another consistent charm across both sublime single is the vocals, which have a soft and inviting quality to them that brings to mind something approaching Vampire Weekend or Tim Burgess, on his own solo work. A wonderful and truly refreshing listen, which you will be all the better for letting into your life.

Check out ‘Canary’ and ‘Water // Chrome’ below.

Introducing: Plain Zebra

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Plain Zebra are Derry six-piece – Vadim Zeberg (Vocals, Harmonica & Accordion), Graham Baldrick (Guitars & Vocals), Mick McCafferty (Bass & Vocals), Caolán McLaughlin (Keys & Vocals), Jason Feenan (Drums) & Aaron Mc Callion (Percussion) – who deal in brilliant bluesy/folky rock ‘n roll flavours.

‘In The Town’ sets out their stall, revolving around some stomping bluesy beats, licks a la The Black Keys with some sweet, sweet backing harmonies and some ‘Superstition-esque’ bass notes. Let’s get this clear; after the opening 10-15 seconds, these guys mean business. ‘Brickland’ continues with the bluesy-rock vibe, with an added element of mildly dubby tones, we’re left with another sublime piece of work. If you dig licks, riffs and stomping grooves, well then Derry six-piece Plain Zebra don’t disappoint. Top stuff indeed.

You can check out ‘In The Town’ & ‘Brickland’ below, and if that’s too your liking, there’s more where that came from here.