Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 announce second album ‘Mas’; Share ‘Ar Ôl Y Glaw’

With so much of our lives put on hold as we navigate our way through the pandemic, it brings great joy to hear that Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 will release their second album ‘Mas’ in 2021.

Originally penned for release in 2022, the follow-up to 2019’s stunning debut ‘Joia!’ has been fast-tracked by a year and out on 26 February 2021 via Banana & Louie Records. As with its predecessor, ‘Mas’ will have songs sung in Welsh, backed with a distinct pop flavoured with music from across Latin America; a beautiful melting pot fabulously informed by tropicália and bossa nova, but with a psychedelic flavour. Ahead of the album’s release next month, we have been afforded a glimpse of what we can expect with lead single, ‘Ar Ôl Y Glaw’ (After The Rain). It is a joyous bundle of sunshine that tips along a bright strum, bubbling bass-led groove, array of sunny tones and beautiful breezy and feelgood vibes. It is sweet, charming, colourful and playful – an undeniable triumph; this is pure unadulterated psych-pop perfection. Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18 sounding fresh, new and alive, once again.

Listen to ‘Ar Ôl Y Glaw’ below:



Alexis Neon – ‘All My Dreams Of You’

Alexis Neon are a dream-pop pairing based in Ottawa, Canada.

Buoyed by a flair for rich, dreamy soundscapes, the Canadian duo reside in an enchanted world of calming sounds, hazy vibes and rich melody, marked by an omnipresent melancholic air.

Alexis Neon have opened their 2021 account with ‘All My Dreams Of You’ – and it is a doozy. Written, recorded, and produced in their apartment, it takes us on a woozy waltz that meanders through a sea of dreamy tones and textures as gentle melodies undulate below. ‘All My Dreams Of You’ sees an exquisite pairing of lush dreamy vocal lines with woozy instrumentals and atmospherics, with tranquil and beguiling results. A beautiful and entrancing slice of woozy and enchanting pop, a fine way to kick off 2021.

Check out ‘All My Dreams Of You’ below and if it is too your liking, why not check out their Seven Windows EP here.

Albums of the Year 2020

Compiling music lists is always a nice way to reflect on a year, so in keeping with tradition, here are my favourite records from 2020.

This year I’ve narrowed it down 10 and there is little between them to be honest. Recommendations from readers will be greatly welcomed.

10.Whyte Horses – ‘Hard Times’

Manchester psych-pop outfit Whyte Horses’ latest endeavor continues on from where 2018’s ‘Empty Words’, as they whisk us off to a land of blissful, dreamy psychedelia, sounding both familiar yet fresh. Ostensibly feeling like a mutating shape-shifting pop art project, ‘Hard Times’ feels like a mixtape with a difference. It isn’t just simply selecting tracks, choosing the running order, but  recording and producing a selection of much-loved songs while rounding up some of your favorite artists into the bargain. Sound like fun? That’s exactly what Whyte Horses have pulled off on their third record.

Listen in full here.

09. Aoife Nessa Frances – ‘Land of No Junction’

Aoife Nessa Frances’ debut album ‘Land of No Junction’ draws from an eclectic array of influences – ’60s psych-pop, offbeat folk, orchestral flourishes and flair for avant-garde – which sounds familiar yet fresh, as it meanders through ever shifting scenery that blurs the lines between dreams and reality. Frances’ smoky vocal is a constant and gripping, and no matter the ever changing environs –  waltzing beats, undulating groove,  rippling guitar lines, hypnotic organ hums or swirling psych or hazy blanket of fuzz – it is a voice that shines like a lighthouse amid a dense bank of fog. Land of No Junction is a serene, hypnotic and stunning debut (and one that could have been called Llandudno Junction). 

Listen in full here.

08. Khruangbin – ‘Mordechai’ 

Texan trio Khruangbin – Laura Lee Ochoa (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) – are peerless sonic sorcerers and funky force of nature. Borrowing from a world of influences, theirs, and indeed third album  ‘Mordechai’,  is a colourful coming together of different sound, genres, cultures and era; there is funk, soul and hip hop, some Latin, Middle Eastern and Asian influences and a whole lot of beautiful psychedelia. It is an intoxicating brew, built on seductive grooves and mostly cool, calm and chilled vibes, offering either a zen-like sense of peace or funky, hypnotic groovy seduction – or a coming together of both. This is super chill, beautifully addictive and mellow, ‘Moredechai’ is a record to watch the sun go down.

Listen in full here.

07. Silverbacks – ‘Fad’

Irish post-punk outfit Silverbacks long-awaited debut album was worth the wait. Having patiently building a rep with superb single after superb single, there wasn’t too much doubt that ‘Fad’ would live up to its billing. Unspooling the ingredients of their sound is tough; there are touches of post-punk, art-rock, new wave and 90s indie to name but a few as tracks, built around a motorik rhythm and taut groove, rush past with a whirlwind of shifting multi-sensory sound as triple guitars attack. Lyrics are multi-layered and uniquely Silverbacks. There’s is a sound comparable to a place where parts Talking Heads, Television, LCD Soundsystem and Gang of Four can all coexist and flourish. A debut to remember.

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Oddnesse – ‘Hot Air’

We’ve been keeping tabs on Oddnesse for a number of years now, and has impressed at every given opportunity with a a slew of lush, dreamy and alluring indie-pop gems – ‘Are You Down’, ‘I Used To, ‘Donut Shop’ & ‘All American Lie’ instantly spring to mind.

For those of you new to the name, Oddnesse is the fruitful collaboration between musician Rebeca Arango and producer Grey Goon, two east-coast heads based in Los Angeles with a shared affinity for catchy hooks, heavy grooves and apocalyptic hypothetical – and demonstrating their propensity for the brilliant, Oddnesse is signing off 2020 in fine form with stunning single ‘Hot Air’.

With ‘Hot Air’ we find Oddnesse’s penchant for richly melodic and lavish indie-pop pushed to new and exciting levels. We are entranced by the dual powers of Arango’s melodic cooing and entrancing, propulsive groove, as a dazzling blend of glistening guitar-lines, choppy chords, shimmering synths and bubbling basslines create a beautiful, melodic and bewitching splendor.  A stunning way to sign off on 2020 and one that will be bobbing around your head all week.

Listen to ‘Hot Air’ below:

ae inc. – ‘Krystina’

ae inc. is the latest musical project from songwriter & producer David Sanderson (aka David Harks) who has been the recipient of much deserved lavish praise for his work with Safetalk, varying collaborative projects and of course, his solo work.

Adding to this huge diverse and impressive back catalogue is ‘Krystina’; the debut outing for the fledgling ae inc project – and it is up there with the very best of his work to date. ‘Krystina’ struts into view, slinking upon a bed of cushioned beats, deep groove and pulsing synth as hushed melodic vocals flow amid the woozy textures & dreamy harmonies above. It is warm and uplifting, dreamy and seductive as subtle bouts of euphoria and mild ravey undertones illuminate the hazy allure and undercurrent of melancholy. Sanderson already has an enviable back catalogue over supreme quality and ‘Krystina’ is up there with the very best of his work.

Listen to ‘Krystina’ below – it does not disappoint.

Amber Jay – ‘Pencilled Brims’

Amber Jay is a Liverpool-based artist and musician with a real flair in the way of captivating, synth-splashed, electronic alt-pop – and this flair is matched by an enviable embrace for experimentation and pushing the boundaries.

Jay’s latest single ‘Pencilled Brims’ is a perfect case in point; a futuristic alt-pop synth-fueled cut that captivates and transfixes. Opening with Jay’s delicate vocals and elegant strum amid a hazy atmosphere she creates a vacuum for it to quickly evolve, taking a haunting and gritty futuristic turn. Dark beats bubble amid a haunting air while synths squelch and shimmer, and frazzled electronics cascade from above creating a hypnotic back drop for Jay’s vocals to thrive. Marked by poignant lyrics, ‘Pencilled Brims’ transcends genres, effortlessly finding a sweet spot the feisty backdrop with touching bouts of vulnerability.

Listen to ‘Pencilled Brims’ below – it does not disappoint.

Wilding – ‘Swipe Right’

Melbourne psych-pop purveyor Wilding – aka Justin Wilding Stokes – has charmed us with gloriously playful, jovial and off-kilter pop at every given opportunity and following a period of relative quietness, he is back with some life brightening music.

Infectious and jaunty cosmic psych pop is the order of the day with ‘Swipe Right’ – the third single from his new album The Death Of Foley’s Mall – as he leads us through the dispiriting pursuit of finding human connection through online dating amid lockdown. ‘Swipe Right’ is quintessential Wilding as it bops along an infectious groove, bouncing synths and bright syncopated guitars and hooks you could hang your hat on with melodic vocals floating above. It is a sweet and charming sound all wrapped with a delicious pop sensibility that will have you hooked from the get-go. This is irresistible pop eccentricity at its best and a timely reminder of Wilding’s boundless talents, and is an artist that merits such wider acclaim.

Listen to ‘Swipe Right’ below and if that floats your metaphorical boat, why not check out the new album The Death Of Foley’s Mall here.


CIEL – ‘All My Life’

CIEL are Brighton-based, Dutch dream-pop trio fronted by Michelle Hindriks.

Together, the trio concoct a heady brew of starry-eyed dream pop with shoegaze, psych and indie brushstrokes – demonstrated exquisitely by their debut EP Movement earlier in 2020. The trio are back with a brand new single ‘All My Life’.

It is another sumptuous single that marks yet further evolution of their dream-pop origins. Opening with a gently pulsing synth underpinning Hindriks’ dreamy tones as we are slowly enveloped by a woozy wonderland before a change of pace, as it surges atop bristling guitars and huge hooks to anthemic heights. It is still dreamy and richly melodic but there is a harder edge to it with CIEL striking a perfect balance between indie-rock and dreamy pop, synths and guitars, and power and elegance.

Listen to ‘All My Life’ below:

MÊL – ‘Cusco’

‘Cusco’ is the third single from Welsh outfit MÊL and marks their move from being collaborators to a fully formed “proper” band; they are Rhodri Owen, Morgan Jones and George Amor with help from Eryl (Pearl) Jones and contributions from musician/producer Llŷr Pari and poet Geraldine Mac Burney.

Inspired by a trip to the Peruvian city of the same name, ‘Cusco’ was recorded in September, as the freshly liberated outfit emerged from lockdown cabin fever, blinking into the sun. A mash of ’60s-leaning-psychedelia, pastoral folk and freewheeling exploration, ‘Cusco’ opens with a sunken bassline and off-kilter groove ushering us into a mystical atmosphere that feels revelatory and transcendent and as it reveals itself, a mesmeric hypnotic pattern emerges for the hushed and withdrawn vocals to thrive. The slowly plodding, off-kilter bass-line wanders at its own pace as if existing in its own space and time while mingling with hazy guitars that meld into the percussion while mumbling of words babble in the background. Taken separately, these components would make little sense but in tandem they hum sweetly.

‘Cusco’ is a real treat – listen to it below

Lauran Hibberd – ‘Boy Bye’

Lauran Hibberd has fast become a reliable go-to name for irresistible blasts of fuzz-filled indie pop with her satiric, tongue-in-cheek approach is wrapped with fuzz, crunchy guitars and anthemic tendencies

The hotly tipped Isle of Wight native has returned with yet another top quality tune in the shape of new single ‘Boy Bye’. While marked with a lot of the recognisable Hibberd characteristics – it is satirical, sarcastic, punchy and hooky – ‘Boy Bye’ takes a more measure tempo as it meanders melodically through swathes of warm fuzz and feedback. It is potent and powerful with roaring guitars complimenting her angry vocals as it swells to anthemic climax. Hibberd has crafted yet another powerhouse  slacker anthem bursting with all that hooky, sarcastic brilliance that we all know and love.

And just a final note, even taking a cursory glance at Hibberd’s existing work and it is easy to see why she’s built a rep for super catchy and fuzz-filled guitar-pop heroics. It has been solid gold tune after solid gold tune, and what’s here is as good as any of them.

Listen to ‘Boy Bye’ below – and if your into this, there is an interview with Lauran Hibberd in the 10 Year Celebratory Zine from a few months back – read it here.



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