Introducing: Varsity Star

Varsity Star is a Brooklyn-based electronic musician / producer. He grew up in the suburbs of Boston, played jazz through college until becoming comfortable making music alone.

In 2017 he headed to Berlin, partially spurred by a biblical flea infestation in his apartment but also for music and while there, recorded his first album, Model Home.  Now, back on American soil, with a second album under his belt and mostly pest-free, Varsity Star has been occupying his time with shorter form output – singles, EPS, remixes & the like.

Most recently, that has seen the release of That’s Something; a just under 20 minute excursion into a world of electronic goodness built around an ear for melody, playfulness and richness of sound – demonstrated in exquisite fashion by both ‘Ball’ & ‘Treehouse’. ‘Ball’ is playful, pinging here and there, as a bouncing beat dances gleefully with pulsing synth and bendy, playful melodies – it is buoyant, bright and utterly contagious. While ‘Treehouse’ offers a more mellow take on the sound as it slinks and gentle bubbles along richly melodic keys, soft plush beats and twinkly synths as it meanders with a wide-eyed wandering air and peace of mind.

Varsity Star’s most recent release, a rework of ’19TET’ by UK producer Inwards, is a perfect coming together of all these aforementioned attributes. Warm woozy synths drift by like fluffy clouds on a balmy summer day while a flurry of beats – soft and crunchy – rush by like a babbling brook as we are whisked away, transfixed by the serenity, beauty and melodic allure. A wonderfully inventive and masterful producer.

You can sample some choice cuts below and if that’s not enough to sate your appetite, there’s loads more where that came from here.

Samoun – ‘Chakchouka’

‘Chakchouka’ is the debut single from Parisian pairing Samoun. Composed of two ‘famous’ producers, they are described as “the investigators of the Techno Raï genre” – whatever the back story, their debut single is a mouthwatering slice of minimalist heaven. 

Delivered with a deft touch that brings to mind the golden age of French electro (think Mr Oizo, Justice & a slew of other Ed Banger luminaries & early Daft Punk), metallic percussion, peculiar vocal and woozy, ghostly synth creates an otherworldly environment before the bassline drops and things lift off as it swaggers, grooves and moves. It is an absolutely stunning track, one that is not only addicting but destined to get people moving.

Tune in to the stunning powers of ‘Chakchouka’ below – the video is pretty great too:

https://open.spotify.com/track/71N3YYdTgwlCRSKLMmHBRJ


Holly Tomás – ‘Unfolded’

Holly Tomás is a musician / singer songwriter based in the Lowlands of Scotland. Originally from Cheshire by way of the Isle of Skye and Edinburgh, Tomás has been plying her craft from the past three decades in which she has traversed a more traditional singer/songwriter approach to recent incarnations which retain the emotional, intimate vocal textures and are woven into downtempo atmospheric soundscapes.

New single ‘Unfolded’ is a perfect example of the latter; a bewitching and ethereal affair, it unfolds slowly, gently introducing itself as bass murmurs, beats slowly groove and hazy dreamlike textures and atmospheric tones swirl all around Tomás’ beautiful and evocative vocals. ‘Unfolded’ is hauntingly evocative and thrillingly propulsive, evoking moods from melancholy to optimism – impeccably crafted and utterly captivating.

Listen to ‘Unfolded’ below:

Radio Europa – Something Beautiful [feat. Gwenllian Anthony of Adwaith] (Conformist Remix)

Conformist is the moniker of Cardiff producer Michael Simmons – taking inspiration from Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad and cut n’ paste pioneers Coldcut, Steinski and The Dust Brothers to name a few – renowned for his leftfield, meticulous, dense and layered productions.

Conformist has returned with a new remix of Radio Europa’s ‘Something Beautiful’ featuring vocals by Gwenllian Anthony of Adwaith – a teaser of more to come, with a third album expected from Conformist later in 2020. Conformist has given it a fresh new look, a makeover blending an intricate palette of synths, glitches and glistening strings, spliced vocal samples and spluttering beats to create something sophisticated, seductive and supremely inventive. In short, the outcome is stunning.

Listen to Conformist’s rework below:

BAILE – ‘Cyclical feat. Lukas Oppenheimer (Fake Fever Remix)’

We were introduced to BAILE, the project of New York producer Reed Kackley, who specializes in bouts of lavish, downtempo escapism, with EP, Winte earlier this year.

Hot in the heels of the EP, the Brooklyn-based producer has shared Winte, The Remixes and led by Fake Fever’s rework of ‘Cyclical feat. Lukas Oppenheimer’. It is a woozy and spaced out slice of otherworldly electronic music that expands on the original’s lullaby vibes and music box feels with glistening synths and lavish layers of lush electronics that whisk away to cosmic realms of tranquility. This aesthetic swells and gushes while a rising tide of breakbeats and murmuring bass up the tempo as we take a detour to glitch and psychedelic infused electronica.

You can sample Fake Fever’s Remix of ’Cyclical’ below now and if if that is to your liking, why not try the remix EP here, and original Winte EP here?

Ynys – ‘Aros Am Byth’

Ynys is the moniker of Welsh artist Dylan Hughes (formerly of Race Horses and Radio Luxembourg) who has dazzled us with his work to date; namely singles ‘Mae’n Hawdd’ and  ‘Caneuon.

Teaming up with the excellent Libertino Records once again, Hughes has returned with a super smooth and hypnotic new single; ‘Aros Am Byth’. It is yet another lavish psych-washed synth-pop beauty filled with starry-eyed wonder as Hughes brings together 70s Italian disco synths and power pop harmonies – a magical combo. ‘Aros Am Byth’ washes over you with ease as lush vocals flow above a slinking groove and seductive beats while woozy flourishes of synth ripple amid the psychedelic swirl. A beautiful hypnotic tune tinged with melancholy and swelling heart and soul – another dazzling display from Ynys.

Listen to ‘Aros Am Byth’ below:


Luke Hawker – ‘Uno Mono’

Luke Hawker is a musician and producer from Bournemouth on England’s south coast, mixing it up between electronic, downtempo and trip-hop.

Hawker’s latest single ‘Uno Mono’ came to fruition as an attempt to create “Nintendo meets Tame Impala” – he’s arrived there, and a whole lot more. At its core, it is built upon a charming blend of bright synths, seductive grooves and melodic allure. ‘Uno Mono’ danders along a bed of colour synths and playful melodies (that bring to my mind The Specials) with an airy, carefree vibe while more sounds, riffs and frazzled electronics enter the fray. It is measured, melodic and never overdone – everything has its place to which it fits perfectly for an utterly irresistible electronic excursion.

A beautiful charming delight – listen to ‘Uno Mono’ below:


Death Hags – ‘The Darkest Night’

Death Hags is the moniker of Los Angeles-based, French electronica artist, Lola Jean,  who carefully crafts hypnotic, futuristic and minimal electronica from the secluded hideaway hills of East LA.

An enigmatic creative force, Death Hags output over the past 12 months or so has been stellar and latest single ‘The Darkest Night’, is arguably the best yet. Opening with a slow-burning, intoxicating soundscape, droning synths and hazy kaleidoscopic textures swirl all around while Jean’s hushed vocals emerge and drift elegantly above the enveloping haze, while a deep hypnotic groove and pulsing beats propel us onward in complete captivation. A simply stunning and transfixing darkwave sound; just wow!

Be wowed yourself below with ‘The Darkest Night’ which is lifted from recently released record, Big Grey Sun #2.

GREYFIELD WOODS – ‘Soulless (feat. CliveTV)’

GREYFIELD WOODS is the solo project of Sam Holloway, raised near Bristol and based in South London.

Taking its name from a woodland near where he grew up, GREYFIELD WOODS create ominous pitch black soundscapes that blend atmospheric post-dubstep and deep grooving trip hop as evidenced by latest single ‘Souless’. Lifted from the album SANKTA LUCIA – inspired by the martyred Saint Lucy, and the Swedish tradition of honouring her to bring light to the dark winter months – it is suitably murky, eerie and subterranean. Stark, minimal production and haunting repetition creates an eerie vibe for a murmuring malaise of beats to usher vocals from CliveTV (Clive Browne) to the fore. That song itself, and vocals thrive amid the sparse, scorched earth tone of the barren atmosphere. ‘Soulless’ is bone-chilling, ominous but also utterly captivating.

Check out ‘Soulless (feat. CliveTV)’ below.

Jinx Lennon Shares ‘North Louth’; New Album Out Now

Jinx Lennon is a unique talent – a national treasure to be exact – and one of Ireland’s most insightful songwriters who is influenced as much by hip hop and post-punk, Jinx is the embodiment of a modern folk singer. 

Whether it is an acoustic guitar or sampled disco beat, raw garage noise or breakbeats his are songs of raw truth that push us to confront uncomfortable home truths in our society while kicking back against the humdrum bullshit of the modern world. Jinx’s new album Border Schizo Fffolk Songs for the Fuc**d was released on Friday last, and came accompanied by single ‘North Louth’. The tune, and the video, are immense. ‘North Louth’ is a hard-edged tune but one that has more than modicum of infectious allure, not to mention extremely danceable. While bristling with rawness as Jinx delivers his powerful lyrics in his distinct and brilliant manner, fizzing synths, frazzled electronics and break-beat add the dancey grooves.  Jinx Lennon’s music isn’t for everyone, sure but there is no one else quite like him and it hard to be unique nowadays but Jinx does it with ease and is searingly brilliant as always.

Border Schizo FFFolk Songs For The Fuc**d is out now – watch the superb video for ‘North Louth’ below: