Tokyo Tea Room – ‘Forever Out of Time’

Tokyo Tea Room is the psych-pop lovechild of Canterbury natives Daniel Elliott and Ben Marshall.

With the pair on guitar and bass respectfully, they are joined by four of their closest friends and fellow musicians; on vocals and keys, Beth Plumb, on drums, Sam Teather, on guitar, Ryan Debling and on synth, Graham Nunn.

This fellowship of friends has a preference for dreamy and psychedelic sounds, marrying melodic bass lines, hypnotic guitar riffs and dreamy synths together to form a seductive sound with a soulful personality – and their latest single is just one such example. Exploring the concept of holding on to the past, feeling an imbalance in life while trying to move on, ‘Forever Out of Time’ is an imaginative and colourful psychedelic pop song with layers of shimmering synth, frazzled electronics, fuzzed-up guitar and gritty bass tones. It is a song with the air of summery breeze as Plumb’s soft but euphoric vocals flutter above the glittering floods of surging psychedelia which veer off into a cascading mesh of experimental, spaced-out sounds. A beautiful and woozy cut of cosmic psych-pop – utterly divine.

‘Forever Out of Time’ is out now via Easter Island Records / Painted Halo Records – tune in below:

Heavy Heart – ‘Bed Bug’

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Hot on the heels of sublime single, ‘Bed Bug’, which was released last month the London outfit Heavy Heart have shared a transfixing and unnerving video to go along with it.

‘Bed Bug’ itself is spellbinding; a bright, shimmering tune from the get go, Heavy Heart explore the worlds of ‘90s indie rock, shoegaze and dream pop over the course of four-and-a-half minutes sprinkled with yearning, melancholy, hope and glistening guitar lines and a massive sound. Jangling guitar riffs and crisp but haunted vocals grab you attention before plunging into a soaring bittersweet chorus full of lamenting heartache with a lush backdrop of shimmering strings as ‘Bed Bug’ goes huge on the hooks and choruses. Delicate but powerful, layers of guitars, fuzz, distortion and whirring are moulded into something beautiful, transfixing you as it ekes out a perfect space between light and shade.

‘Bed Bug’, the first of three mixed and co-produced by Gabe Wax (The War On Drugs, Fleet Foxes and Soccer Mommy) and a new EP is expected this spring,

Tune in below.

Michelle Blades – ‘Politic!’

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Michelle Blades is a Miami-raised, Paris-based, Mexican-Panamanian songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a flair for colourful, catchy and effervescent psych-pop.

Blades is readying the release of her new album Visitor, due out on March 29 via Midnight Special Records, and has shared the vibrant off-kilter confection that is ‘Politic!’ as a taster. Blades’ multi-cultural experiences are reflected in the magpie like sounds of her colourful, imaginative and irresistible psych-tinged indie-pop as ‘Politic!’ flits in and out of psych dreaminess with jerky guitars, bouncy beat and jittery bassline puncturing the bright, luminescent spectrum of colourful sound. Addictive and infectious with decidedly danceable disco grooves, ‘Politic!’ manages sweetness, effervesces and jerky art-rock hi jinx simultaneously as vocals slide from deep and honeyed to powerful intent, and glass-shattering screech with such an ease. A colourful, fizzy and fuzzed-up psych-pop adventure of the finest calibre.

Listen to ‘Politic!’ below & watch out for new album Visitor, due out on March 29 via Midnight Special Records.

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.

Cam Maclean – ‘Sunshine’

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Cam Maclean, best known for his contributions with cult psych-pop outfit Vesuvio Solo, is a Canadian musician and songwriter based in Montreal.

In the latter half of 2018, Maclean ushered his first record as a solo artist with Wait for Love, leading us down a rabbit hole to an oddball world of psych sensibilities and serenity that echo a bygone era. As with his debut solo record, latest single ‘Sunshine’ is of a similar disposition with intricate guitar lines, high-pitched but soothing and emotive vocals, and songwriting full of both longing and hope. It is sun-kissed, twangy psychedelia delicately slinking along a retro groove, bringing a warm, melodic and heartfelt blend of frazzled doses of ‘sunshine’ and loungey, washed-out vibes.

Listen to the wonderful ‘Sunshine’ below and while you’re at it, why not check out Wait For Love
here.

Beach For Tiger – ‘It’s Been So Long’

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Beach For Tiger are a London-based quintet with a penchant for dreamily psychedelic pop gems.

This aforementioned flair is patently obvious from their recently released second EP, with ‘It’s Been So Long’ serving as the opening song. It is an enchanting and whimsical illustration of laid-back vibes and irresistible pop-craft, like a perfect blend of Tame Impala with a touch of Honey Moon and Real Estate. It is a woozy, undulating and heartwarming brand of wistful psych-pop that drifts along dreamily, as sinuous melodies, lilting hooks and jangly guitars coalesce with misty vocals which lead us into a bewitching psychedelic trance. Amid the enchanting haze of woozy psychedelic there is an understated, ever-so-mild groove that hooks you in. Not only do ‘It’s Been So Long’ have a real flair for psych-pop gems, they’ve got a right knack for creating tunes the right side of familiar.

Listen to ‘It’s Been So Long’ below:

Introducing: Moony Matelot

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Moony Matelot is the musical alter ego of NYC-based artist Todd Goings who writes and records his music from the solitude of bedroom; the outcome of which has given rise to three releases; 2015 self-titled EP, 2017 debut LP Voyage and 2018 album Tempest.

Moony Matelot sound is bound by an impressive, eclectic and exquisite aural enchantment, and lifted from his records, it is something both ‘Molly’ and ‘Munich’ are testament to. ‘Molly’ skips breezily along a playful giddy, bouncy beat, navigating its way through a smiley psych-toned pop adventure of chimes, bleeping electronics, sunny and carefree temperament with vocoder vocals. Taken from the aforementioned debut EP, ‘Munich’ is the breezier of the two, a hazy laid-back dose of wonderful escapism. A warm, charming and serenely beautiful slice of indie-pop, it sports a gentle but addicting guitar riff and subtle but seductive melody, ‘Munich’ is sweetly a melodious, delicate and dreamy delight. Fizzing with ideas and ingenuity ‘Molly’ and ‘Munich’ illustrate the splendiferous quality of what the project is all about.

Listen to ‘Molly’ and ‘Munich’ below and if they are to your liking, you can listen to Moony Matelot latest album here.

Eoin Dolan – ‘Quiet Christmas’

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Anytime Eoin Dolan pops up with new material, it is a good day and a short four months since the release of the superb, sci-fi-tinged Superior Fiction EP, the Galway musician / singer-songwriter is back a brilliant festive flavoured single, ‘Quiet Christmas’;

With ‘Quiet Christmas’ we find Dolan in his usual fine form. It is a bouncy wee tune that sees Dolan’s knack for crafting sci-fi-tinged surf pop that finds a space where sadness and beauty can coexist simultaneously. Melodic and catchy, ‘Quiet Christmas’ blends a jolly, jaunty and heady indie-pop energy with woozy, sinuous melodies and twinkling effects with sleigh bells and festive feels. And as per usual, it is a marvellous tune, a Christmas cracker if you will…..

Get acquainted with ‘Quiet Christmas’ below:

Caoilfhionn Rose – ‘Awaken’

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Caoilfhionn Rose is a singer, songwriter and producer from Manchester.

Drawing from a deep well of folk, psychedelia and subtle electronica influences, ranging from The Mummers, to Rachel Sermanni, Melody’s Echo Chamber and Broadcast, she produces her own unique brand of beautiful, expansive, fragile and experimental psych-folk; something born out across her exquisite 13-track debut album Awaken, released back in October. As an introduction to both Rose and the LP, album opener and title-track ‘Awaken’ is perfect.

‘Awaken’ is a languid psych-folk daydreamer that whisks us away on a dreamy meditative journey. Swirling layers of vocal harmony gently unfurl an essence of pastoral warmth, as it meanders along a blissful groove and swirling, rhythmic psychedelia, and splashes of electronics complete the mesmeric backdrop for Rose’s bewitching atmospheric tones to entrance the listener completely. An elegant, awe-inspiring and charming blend of shimmering pastoral psych-folk – A hazy, soothing and altogether wonderful song.

Listen to ‘Awaken’ below and the album is just as beautiful an affair – listen to it here.

Albums of the Year 2018

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Yes, it’s that time of year again, lists, lists and well, more lists – and from every angle possible. That said, drawing up a list of my favourite records from throughout the year is one of the most enjoyable aspects to the blog.

There was lots of great music in 2018 (as is the case every year) but here are 18 of my favourite records from the year – 18 for 18 if you will.

Without further ado, here are my favourite records from 2018. Enjoy!

18: Conor Mason – ‘On The Surface’

Conceived, developed and rendered into life over eighteen months in his hometown of Derry, Conor Mason’s fourth album is a treasure trove of musicianship and songwriting craft and is very assured in his musical landscape, conjuring the wistful wonderment of Elliott Smith, Grandaddy, Villagers and Matthew Jay. In essence, it is an exploration living life with uncertainty; the highs and lows, curiosity and change, and significance, or insignificance, of humans in the universe. Flowing gently by, amid a sea of hushed lilting vocals, whispering lyrical poeticisms and subtle instrumentation, Mason reveals himself master of hook, harmony and heart. At times fragile, tender and touching, his songs are paradoxically permeated by an air of richness and comforting warmth, yet shrouded in melancholy, and draped in Mason’s intuitive song writing and storytelling abilities. A beautiful record.

Listen in full here.

17: The Coral – ‘Move Through The Dawn’

The Coral returned with their ninth studio album in 2018 and their prolific work rate and flair for psychedelic folk and classy pop songs shows no signs of abating. Move Through The Dawn glides along serenely, laden with seductive, sweet melodies and lush string arrangements, with the likes of ‘Reaching Out For a Friend’ and ‘Sweet Release’ bouncing around your head all day. While ‘Outside My Window’ and ‘Stormbreaker’ remind us on The Coral’s other side (and the closest relations to 2016’s Distance Inbetween); heavier riffs, jagged guitars and general air of menace. It is another wonderful and solid record from one of Britain’s most enduring and lovable bands.

Listen in full here.

16: Kneecap – ‘3CAG’

Comprised of Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Provaí, Kneecap are a satirical hip-hop trio from Belfast who perform in Irish. The trio combine a fluency in Irish with an amazing delivery and a wry sense of humour to produce one of the most unique homegrown records of 2018. Over eight tracks, their mixtape 3CAG offers a satirical take on life for young people, with a particular west Belfast slant. If like me, your command of Irish leaves a lot to be desired, it doesn’t matter a jot. The beats are superb and so infectious, and the flow and lyrical skill on show is second to none, with plenty of laughs thrown in for good measure – anyone who might be sceptical to begin with will be easily won over, just press play.

Listen in full here.

15: Gwenno – ‘Le Kov’

Gwenno’s debut, 2015’s Y Dydd Olaf, was almost all in Welsh; Le Kov, sung in Cornish is just as stunning and serene a sonic dream. The music continues in a retro-futuristic psych-pop vein, but Le Kov is even more expansive sounding than Y Dydd Olaf. Gwenno’s calm, precise and often reverbed vocals navigate a whirlwind of electronic noise, intricately weaved mixture of moods, textures and pulsations, and soaring strings.The record feels alive, vital and organic, like a luminous dream, it is a place playfulness, shimmering beauty, mythology and modernity that are all interwoven with freeflowing ideas, synth-lines and electronic blips, and an undercurrent of poetical dissent. A stunning record – inviting and bubbling with creative ideas, energy and possibilities – from a unique talent.

Listen in full here.

14: Half Man Half Biscuit – ‘No One Cares About Your Creative Hub So Get Your Fuckin’ Hedge Cut’

Album number 14 from Half Man Half Biscuit sees Nigel Blackwell and company in top form with a collection of great, cheerful, upbeat tunes combined with witty, sardonic lyrics. Musically it picks up where Urge for Offal left off, a rocky, brash and pretty loud post-punk indie backdrop for sardonic but never cynical takes on everyday life. In short, it’s got what a HMHB LP always has; the irresistible wordplay, varying cultural references, surreal and improbable surreal tales, and the most quotable lyrics in the world. A real treasure.

Listen in full here.

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