Mountain Bike – ‘This Lonely Place’

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More closely associated with electronica, Belgium has produced more than its fair share of tidy bands too, and joining that list is garage outfit, Mountain Bike.

The four-piece, hailing from Brussels, have just released new single ‘This Lonely Place’. Taken from their forthcoming album About Too Sorry For Any Sorrow – due out on the 3rd of March – ‘This Lonely Place’ is a fuzzy, jangling four minutes of laid-back, hook-drenched, melodic-vibes. From a melancholic opening, it nonchalantly skips along head-nodding bundle of joy. Comparisons to the likes of Ty Segall, Mac DeMarco, Car Seat Headrest & King Gizzard & The Wizard Lizard have been made, and while they are all valid, there is a certain late ’90s Blur and early noughties Graham Coxon (solo work) vibe too. Regardless, this is super catchy, infectious and addicting, Mountain Bike have found that sweet spot between pop and indie.

Listen to ‘This Lonely Place’ below, and keep an eye out for this four-piece in 2017.

Kan Wakan – ‘I Had to Laugh’

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Ahead of his ambitious triple LP release Phantasmagoria, Los Angeles-based, Bulgarian-born artist Kan Wakan is ramping up the anticipation with another single ‘I Had to Laugh’.

With this new one – the third single from the forthcoming LP – Kan Wakan further showcases his versatility as a producer. The inaptly titled track, ‘I Had to Laugh’ is graced with a glum, sullen mood and solemn piano which slums to the background as Rachel Fannan’s fragile and melancholic vocals. It slowly unfurls and the mood brightens, as the clouds part to blossom majestically, with grandiose strings, horns orchestral flourishes shine to transcend the mood. A powerful and emotionally affecting blend of organic and electronic production from Kan, coupled with Fannan’s stunning vocals, making for a remarkable track.

Phantasmagoria will be out this May, take a listen to ‘I Had to Laugh’ below.

Chick Quest – ‘Down in a Crypt’

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Self-described ‘Spaghetti Western Post-Punk Dance Party’, Chick Quest are an unconventional punky foursome – Ryan White (vocals, guitar), Iris Rauh (drums), Marcus Racz (trumpet, keyboard), and Magdalena Kraev (bass) – hailing from Vienna, Austria.

Chick Quest explore rather unusual realms of music, taking in parts punk, post-punk, ska, funk, b-movie and spaghetti western soundtracks. The Austrian foursome are readying their second album, Model View Controller. Ahead of its release later this month, Chick Quest provide a preview with ‘Down In A Crypt’. Its all dance-y and fuzzed-up post-punk with a spooky b-movie-esque organ riff, crunchy guitar riffs, brisk bass-line and dynamic beats. Catchy, infectious and simultaneously rather creepy; it’s a hard act to pull off but pull it off they do.

Model View Controller is out February 24th via Triangular Sounds. Until then, why not give ‘Down In A Crypt’ a spin below.

Foresteater – ‘Big Deceiver’

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Foresteater is the moniker of Mikey Pro, Singer/Songwriter/Multi-Instrumentalist from Phoenix AZ, USA.

Formed in 2015 after a dream about a band playing on an island in outer-space surrounded by electric rainbows – definitely one of the more interesting backstories – Pro’s deals in super catchy, mildly psychedelic indie-pop. Showcasing this fancy, Foresteater’s released debut EP Nightlife of the Exploding Heads in May 2016 and he is kicking off 2017 in style, with sublime new single ‘Big Deceiver’. It is a bright, colourful and catchy delight of sugar-spun harmonies, earworm melodies and hooks you could your hat on. Playful, with psych-tinged underbelly, be warned, ‘Big Deceiver’ will get stuck in your head for days and days.

‘Big Deceiver’ is out now & you can listen to it below:

Orouni – ‘The Lives Of Elevators’

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Three albums deep already, French band Orouni are no novices, in fact they are virtuosos when it comes to classic, melodic guitar pop music.

Orouni’s carefully crafted arrangements are marked by an easy-going flow and a sense for melody and elegance – none more so than ‘The Lives Of Elevators’. The new track – which will be on their next album – is part of a live session with French streaming platform Findspire and followed by ‘The Devil And The Monk Seal’, from their most recent record Grand Tour (2014). Buoyed by an effortless ear for melody, ‘The Lives Of Elevators’ elegantly flits between melancholic and beautiful, fragile but authoritative, with lush arrangements and irresistible parps of brass. Charming and sometimes bittersweet, this is the class of perfect pop-craft associated with the likes of The Kinks, Sweet Baboo and Tap Tap et al. This is ever so endearing and delightful catchy but be warned, these pair of songs will get stuck in your head for days and days.

Orouni has recorded three albums to date, which can be acquired via Bandcamp, with another on the way in 2017. Check out ‘The Lives Of Elevators’ &  ‘The Devil And The Monk Seal’ below.

Watch Bad Sea’s new video for ‘Solid Air’

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Having utterly bewitched us with ‘Solid Air’ a few months back, Dublin duo Bad Sea – aka Ciara Thompson and Alan Farrell – have unveiled a splendid video for the single.

‘Solid Air’ was one of the finest singles released last year, in Ireland or elsewhere. Revolving around a steady, groovy drum beat, wiry guitar stabs and impressive pop hooks; this smooth and smokey alt-country is the perfect backdrop for Thompson’s rich, crisp vocals to shine. The homespun video, detailing the ‘delights’ of relationship trouble, is directed by Ricardo Deakin and also stars Colm O’Neill. At just over three minutes, this is a similarly first-rate video companion for an exquisitely crafted and delivered number, sure to leave an indelible mark on your soul.

Really excited to more from Bad Sea throughout the year but for now, check out ‘Solid Air’ below.

Ten Fé – ‘Another Way’

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London duo Ten Fé (Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan) have steadily been building a name for themselves and with their debut album out this week, the pair have shared their latest cut ‘Another Way’.

Having already distinguished themselves an unrivalled purveyors of positive, optimistic and uplifting sounds, ‘Another Way’ most certainly solidifies this reputation. The swaying melody, warm synth, soft cushioned beat and rather sublime vocals combine for a gloriously uplifting track that is big in ideas and big in heart. Although influenced by a lot by the films the pair watched while recording the album – offering bleak, expansive portrayals of America – the new single is imbued with a bright air and hopeful tone. Just the aural antidote for troubled times.

Ten Fé’s debut LP Hit The Light is out this Friday, February 3rd – needless to say it is one most definitely to keep an eye out for. Ahead of that, well, go and listen to ‘Another Way’ below. Your day (and week in fact) will be better for it.

Listen to Happyness ‘Falling Down’; Album to follow in April

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London trio Happyness, comprised of multi-instrumentalists Ash Cooper, Benji Compston and Jon EE Allan, will release their second album Write In in April.

Alongside news of a follow up to 2014’s Weird Little Birthday comes lead single, ‘Falling Down’. Unfolds pensively, ‘Falling Down’ slowly-building before eventually elegantly swells to a warm but somewhat moody, melancholic burst of rough-edged guitar pop and bubbly drums. Like a slowly settling pint of stout, the reward is as gratifying to wait for as it is to behold. Being the first track unveiled from the forthcoming record, to be honest, you couldn’t ask for a better, more enticing introduction to Happyness.

Write In is penned in for an April 2nd release via Moshi Moshi and Bar None, in the UK and U.S respectively. Also, Happyness shall be in Dublin on April 21st, when the trio play Whelan’s – all the info is here.

For now, listen to ‘Falling Down’ below, it is wonderful.

Introducing: Wardrobe

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Wardrobe is the moniker of Belgian musician Johan Verckist who has a welcome penchant for timeless, exquisite alt-pop, filled with heart and soul.

Verckist will release his debut album Crawling, on February 24th and he has set the standard and cause for excitement with debut single, ‘Man of Straw’. It a sweet, sentimental song that gently waltzes along with an endearing warm glow and punctured with some heart-strung bouts of melancholy. Verckist’s vocals are warm and soothing to the ear, and deeply affecting. Similar praise can be laid at the feet of the latest single, ‘Nowhere Now, which too, is an exquisite piece of pop-craft. It softly trickles by with a gentle strum and warbley synth forging a soothing and warm partnership, pronounced further Verckist’s impeccable and genial vocals – much like ‘Man of Straw’. A magnificent and delightful listen, this is pop-craft at its stellar best.

Debut album Crawling shall be out on February 24th. For now you can sample the wonderful delights that ‘Man of Straw’ & ‘Nowhere Now’ have to offer. You can also check out the ace video for the former.

H. Hawkline Shares new track ‘Last Thing On Your Mind’

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Welsh artist H. Hawkline is currently working on the followup to 2015’s wondrous In The Pink Of Condition.

No concrete details on the album have been announced but we’re afforded an early taste of what we can expect with new single, ‘The Last Thing On Your Mind’. Featuring frequent collaborators Cate Le Bon and Josiah Steinbrick and powered by synths and a minimal drum machine, the single explores new territory. It does so while retaining the classic Hawkline approach for earworm hooks intertwined with gently groovy sounds, charming oddity and fused with experimental whims into mildly psychedelic, wonky pop song. A marvellously tantalising six-minutes.

As was said previously, there’s no solid info on when we can expect the new record but after all, any new H. Hawkline is good news. Be sure to be on the look out for the full length later this year.

Listen to ‘The Last Thing On Your Mind’ below.