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.

Horizons Acts for 2018 Announced & Playlist

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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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Terra Pines – ‘Dream Big’

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Self-professed purveyors “sludgepop” and “grungegaze”, Terra Pines is an Australian trio comprised of Kelly Hanlon (guitar/vocals), Owen Dengate (guitar/vocals) and Cameron Smith (drums/vocals).

Playful genre descriptions aside, the Aussie outfit make powerful, fuzz-filled guitar tunes and just this month, have released their self-titled album. The album is fronted by rambunctious new single ‘Dream Big'; a perfect intro and one that will have you scooting straight over to the new album. An absolutely brilliant three minutes of fuzzed-up-noise, ‘Dream Big’ is tempered by her lilting vocals, while gritty guitars, heavy reverberating drums and rocking a crunchy, fuzz-heavy riff that rips through the track. For all the powerhouse pieces of post punk, shoegaze and grunge, there is a subtle seam of dreampop running through its core, eking out a near perfect space between sludge, fuzz and hazy pop.

Tune into ‘Dream Big’ below and if it is too your liking, why not check out Terra Pines’ debut record here.

Melts – ‘Skyward’

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What do you get when you bring ex-members of Ghost Estates, The Things, The Mighty Stef and The North Sea? The answer, Melts.

Melts are a freshly formed psych-leaning rock band from Dublin, comprised of members from some of the finest bands to emerge from the Capital in the last decade. With just a few select number of shows in their short existence they set off for the Meadow in Wicklow to record their debut single with Irish duo The Deaf Brothers. The result is ‘Skyward’, the band’s first single, is propelled by a hypnotically repetitive post-punk guitar and synth line flux. It is a tune that doesn’t mess about, it means business with its relentless, powerful drive and meaty, bassline groove chugging ever onward, burrowing inside inside your consciousness. As far as opening introductions go, they don’t come much bigger or better than this.

Listen to ‘Skyward’ below now.

St. Tropez – ‘Down’

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Amsterdam’s St. Tropez will release their second album later this year, and have shared a new single ‘Down’, a track they call “both a chaotic ode and a political indictment to destruction”.

The quartet’s new record follows their 2016 self-titled debut album and Debate EP a year later – and the new single provides a more than compelling case for excitement. ‘Down’ is a visceral cut of meaty post-punk. Pummelling drums usher in a scorching riff and monstrous bass, before a serious groove and ear for a sing-a-long chorus takes over. All of this is accompanied by an ominous aura of threatening menace while remaining weirdly, but supremely infectious. A powerful and compelling tune, and on that’s been on constant rotation in recent days.

You can check out ‘Down’ below now – just one other recommendation, turn it up LOUD.

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