ilu – ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop’

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Welsh label Libertino Records has fast become a reliable mine of intriguing and altogether wonderful sounds and we’ve struck gold once again with their latest release from ilu.

Dividing their time recording between Tallinn, Estonia and rural Wales, Ilu are mysterious Welsh Psych/Krautrock newcomers crafting epic, spacey, interstellar hymns – of Spiritualized proportions. Backing up these lofty claims is stunning debut single ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop’. Propelled along Krautrock, motoric grooves ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop’, spacey synths and heavenly harmonies envelop spiky post-punk guitars and bass rumbles which coalesces into one coherent, unstoppable sound. Sizzling danceable grooves are woven tightly into their mammoth tones and grinding churn, which is all punctuated with a beautiful yet melancholic sense of longing. As far as debut singles go, they don’t come much bigger or better than ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop'; an immaculate palate of sonics, sounds and textures

Ilu’s debut single ‘Graffiti Hen Ewrop’ is out on August 3rd – check it out below.

Silverbacks – ‘Dunkirk’

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Silverbacks have delighted and excited at every turn thus far and the Dublin-based outfit are back with their strongest showing to date, ‘Dunkirk’.

Produced by Girl Band’s Daniel Fox, ‘Dunkirk’ was released on June 15 through their own PK Miami Records. ‘Dunkirk’ is a sprawling three-minute post-punk underpinned by an insistent, nagging bassline and increasingly manic, winding guitar lines, metronomic drumbeat and Gang of Four caliber bass lines. It is the ideal backdrop for Daniel O’Kelly’s stream of conscious musings of a dystopian future where Dunkirk, despite its history, has become a built-up holiday destination for young families. ‘Dunkirk’ is the latest in a string of top class releases that signals strongest their evolution beyond their early Pavement-esque beginnings, to a coveted plain where parts Talking Heads, Television, LCD Soundsystem and Gang of Four can all coexist and flourish.

As pointed out in the intro, ‘Dunkirk’ is their strongest showing to date, tune in below.

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.