Sal Dulu – ‘Xompulse’

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Following up on from a string of stellar singles last year – ‘Duluoz Dream’, ‘Antasma’ & ‘Tyko’ – Dublin-based producer Sal Dulu impresses yet again, returning with the atmospheric ‘Xompulse’.

‘Xompulse’ is a beautiful piano piece punctuated by the classical, jazz and ambient influences ever present in Sal Dulu’s work to date. It is elegant, calming and spacious as we’re lulled into a dreamy opening sequence floating along a graceful reverbed piano that twinkles, ushering a richer, warmer second half as the melody gently shifts to a brighter tone, shimmering like an early morning sunrise. ‘Xompulse’ offers a decidedly calmer side to Sal Dulu’s talent; it is an elegant, tranquil and atmospheric beauty.

You can listen to ‘Xompulse’ below now. The Dublin producer’s other work is available here too, and well worth some of your time.

Lauran Hibberd – ‘Sugardaddy’

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Isle of Wight native Lauran Hibberd has spent the past 12 months building a name for herself with her colourful brand of fuzz-filled indie pop, and she has kicked off 2019 with pulsating anthem ‘Sugardaddy’.

With explosively exciting fashion, ‘Sugardaddy’ gloriously parades the irresistible facets of Hibberd’s brand of melodic, indie-pop goodness. It is insanely catchy and addictive, littered with gloriously sweet harmonies, crunchy guitars, absorbing riffs and a light coat of fuzz, while the wonderfully playful, tongue in cheek lyrics adding a final sprinkle of magic dust on top. As Hibberd says herself, “it’s like wrapping bubblegum around depression…”, ‘Sugardaddy’ is three-minutes of guitar-pop perfection and an irresistibly infectious little earmworm that will be fizzing around your head for days and days.

‘Sugardaddy’ is out now & you can listen to it below.

Lauran Hibberd will join Hippo Campus in The Green Room, The Academy, Dublin on February 19th.

The Hannah Barberas – ‘Look, Know’

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Self-proclaimed “DIY pop partisans”, The Hannah Barberas – Damien, Lucy, Doug & Matthew – an indie-pop foursome from New Cross, London have proven themselves a reliable source of home-brewed charms, with a knack for charming effervescent indie-pop gems.

This rep has been confirmed by a slew of irresistible singles and EPs over the course of the past 18 months or so. The foursome have kicked off 2019 with a cover of ‘Look, Know’, one of the band’s favourite songs by The Fall, and released to mark one year since the passing of Mark E Smith. It is a fitting fans tribute that remains pretty faithful to the original with meaty, very bassy basslines and snappy, biscuit tin snare leading the way with dual vocal exchanges adding a hint more pop veneer. And the intro includes a wee snippet from Mark E Smith reading the classified football results on the BBC’s Final Score – always worth being reminded of. Not only is great cover, the proceeds will go to a good cause; available as a name-your-price download, all proceeds will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

You can listen to ‘Look, Know’ below & download it, just name-your-price, from bandcamp.

Munky – ‘You’ve Got Male’

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Having occupied most of 2018 touring tirelessly around Ireland and Britain, Dublin-based post-punk outfit Munky returned home and began work on recording new material towards the end of last year.

With several demos in the bag, the foursome headed off to refine the fruits of their labour in the studio, where they enlisted the producing talents of Girl Band’s Daniel Fox. The Dublin outfit have kicked off 2019 by unleashing the as-yet-untitled forthcoming EP’s lead single; the raucous ‘You’ve Got Male’ and it is a thrilling three-and-a-half-minutes of relentless, searing psych-punk and psych fuzz over rather danceable grooves. An unrelenting, electrifying juggernaut, ‘You’ve Got Male’ unleashes a sprawling barrage of relentless, spiralling guitars and pounding drums from the get go. Searing riffs and danceable rhythms duke it out, cutting through swaying bass lines, while frontman Zac Stephenson’s caustic croons sit up top, airing a disdain for the powerful and hypocrisy that goes hand in hand with neo-colonialism.

A furious first taste of the new EP, ‘You’ve Got Male’ is breathtaking, potent and feverish as it screeches through serrated layers of sonic energy – and is best consumed at high volumes.

Listen to ‘You’ve Got Male’ below:

Bels Lontano – Kind Decade EP

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Bels Lontano is an electronic music project from US-based composer and producer Bret Bohman.

Following on from his stellar introductory single ‘At the Horizon’, Bohman has released debut EP Kind Decade. Comprised of six tracks – incl. ‘At the Horizon’ – it explores concepts of liminal spaces, natural beauty, therapy and personal growth, while taking inspiration from a wide variety of musical and non-musical sources – love, anxiety, beats and ambience.

‘At the Horizon’ finds a sweet spot between beauty and terror, with a steady bass thump and crunchy beats, it carves a way through the ambient atmospheric soundscape and silky melody. Glistening strings mingle with glitchy sounds as the intensity grows; it is elegant but with a foreboding sense of mild eeriness never far away. ‘Tumbleweed’ is cut from a similar, if somewhat more dancefloor ready, ominous cloth as it booms along big and glitchy beats the downtempo ambient sounds and chugging intensity of techno collide to create something both beautiful and fierce. ‘Florid Entanglements’ fizzes by with fluidity and bursts with rushes of euphoria while beats pop and whizz frantically in a sea of tranquil sounds, airy tones and glacial chimes. Penultimate track ‘Citadel’ opens with slowly evolving atmospherics which leads through an epic buildup into heavy, glitchy sounds with chopped vocals flowing over a pulsing bassline and crashing beats. Kind Decade is an aural delight of elegance, ambience and precision beats – a beautiful bout of electronic escapism.

You can sample some choice cuts below or you can find the entire EP here.

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.

Dorvin Borman – ‘In A Field So Far Away’

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Dorvin Borman is Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer whose glorious, colourful sound collage is heavily influenced by elements of psych-pop and dream-pop.

Borman has cut his teeth last year as one-third of the hazy dream-pop trio Mama Kokomo – who released the two sublime singles ‘Primavera Feel’ and ‘Valley of Heat’ last year – but standing alone, his new single is ‘In A Field So Far Away’, a dreamy piece of psych-pop soaked in woozy effects that provides a rich and colourful soundscape to indulge in. Opening with fluctuating synth lines and surging drum beat, ‘In a Field So Far Away’ makes its way through a hazy, gauzy world of warped psychedelic textures and frazzled electronics. It is an experimental jam that is ethereal yet propulsive, utilising the full power of its pulsating rhythms, funky, off-kilter bassline and dramatic synths it evolves beyond the beauty and shimmering atmospheric melodies, into something altogether more dancey and groovy. A warm, woozy, dreamy and downright magnificent delight.

Listen to ‘In A Field So Far Away’ below.

illmef – ‘Barely People’

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illmef is a Detroit-born, Sydney, Australia-based artist whose raw, barbed and outspoken sound dips into electronic, hip-hop and rap, among others.

Produced on a “shoestring”, illmef has kicked off 2019 by ushering his debut LP Light a Fire into the world. Triggered by a tumultuous social and political environment in his native US, Light a Fire unleashes a frenetic lyrical offensive across 11 tracks of barbed bars touching on issues of race, sexism, politics, anxiety, inequality, substance use, and more. The album is fronted by fantastic fiery lead single ‘Barely People’ – which is pretty typical of the record in general. The beats are fairly straightforward, simplistic or minimalist even, but they provide an ample energy charge for his raspy toned and feisty delivery to breathe, ebbing and flowing as it goes with an underlying grittiness and simmering anger. A fine vintage of raw, real & honest hip hop.

Tune into ‘Barely People’ below and if that is to your liking, you can listen to his debut LP Light a Fire, here.

Maddie Jay – ‘Little Love’

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Maddie Jay is a Canadian musician, bassist, producer, writer and multi-instrumentalist with a penchant for jangle pop, experimental music, synthesizers and sloths.

Having grown up in the relative wilderness of the small mountain town of Smithers, British Columbia, Jay traded that for the warmer climes of Los Angeles, where she now spends her days making music in her bedroom studio. Jay’s latest single ‘Little Love’ is an absolute treasure; a warm, layered and laid-back patchwork of rich, technicolor sounds. It slowly slinks along, from a gentle whirlpool of shimmering and lush dream-pop origins, it remains steadfastly chilled and tranquil. Dripping with melody, ‘Little Love’s neon glow sprouts from an irresistible soft wave of hypnotising synths, slinky grooves, shimmering tones and frazzled electronics. This beguiling, textured haze of dreaminess shifts seductively, as subtle as shifting sands, providing a perfect backdrop for Jay’s soothing vocals. A lavish composition, one of breathtaking beauty, it will have you utterly transfixed, powerless under its spell.

Listen to ‘Little Love’ below:

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – ‘Keen For Kick Ons?’

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Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have opened their 2019 account with exhilarating jam ‘Keen For Kick Ons?'; firing on all cylinders, it adds more weight to the claim of being Australia’s latest thrilling psych-pop exports.

Perth four-piece, Jack McEwan (lead vocals, guitar), Luke Parish (guitar), Danny Caddy (drums), Luke Reynolds (bass), have one of the finest and most memorable band names but with their latest, and previous singles ‘Social Candy’ and ‘My Friend’s A Liquid’, they prove they have the tunes to match. ‘Keen For Kick Ons?’ is yet another sizzling psych-rock odyssey, that twists and turns through a mix T-Rex glam-rock and proggy vibes, to a more familiar Psychedelic Porn Crumpets space of full-on fuzzed-up guitars, vibrant melodies, divine harmonies and exuberant energy. ‘Keen For Kick Ons?’ is a rambling and vividly imaginative aural adventure. In short; it is a cracker. A fine opening to what promises to be an exciting 2019

Feast your ears on ‘Keen For Kick Ons?’ below: