St. Francis Hotel – ‘Liar, Liar, Liar’ (feat. Gaz Coombes)

St. Francis Hotel are London-based Irish duo who are releasing a string of collaborative singles on Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records, building up to their forthcoming debut album. 

The first of which is new single ‘Liar, Liar, Liar’ which sees the pair team up with Supergrass’ Gaz Coombes, and it is rather special. It is a smooth, soulful and energised slice of lavish indie-pop with psych brush strokes tumbling in the warm swirl of rich pop allure. It is warm, hazy and richly melodic as it gently swaggers along a seductive groove and soft pattering drums. Coombes recognisable croon takes the lead but ‘Liar, Liar, Liar’ also features guest vocals from Inflo and Jordan Max, which add a lush gospel-tinged layer. Utterly gorgeous.

Listen to ‘Liar, Liar, Liar’ below now – it doesn’t disappoint.

Foreign/National – ‘Balmy Evening’

Over the course of their existence, Melbourne five-piece Foreign/National have made a habit or treating our ears to songs that are packed with sunshine and escapism, culminating in their 2017 debut LP.

The Australian outfit have announced their return with ‘Balmy Evening’, a nine-minute exploration of sound that strays from the sun-soaked, hooky pop of their earlier work, as they branch out in to more experimental territory. Inspired by afrobeat, the track features an intoxicating blend of arpeggiated synths, scratchy guitars and buoyant polyrhythmic grooves as we are treated to a lush and dreamy world of colourful splendour. This is simply just a magical musical treat, a sound collage of hazy tones, colourful swirls and seductive melodic grooves – it is quite the statement of intent for album number two.

Listen to ‘Balmy Evening’ below:

Simple Kid shares new tracks: ‘The Last Bus Home’ & ‘Lost in Space’

Longstanding patrons will be aware of my adoration for Simple Kid, albeit not offering many opportunities to display it regularly.

The London-based Irish artist (aka Ciaran McFeely) released two brilliant albums in the mid 00s – SK1 in 2003 and SK2 in 2006 – before entering a prolonged period of musical hibernation, disappearing off the radar, only to reappear briefly here and there with ‘The Road’ in 2011, ‘Snakes and Ladders’ in 2014 and ‘Because’ late in 2018.

However, since the latter, his YouTube account has seen something of a flurry of activity and uploads including ‘The Last Bus Home’ & ‘Lost in Space’; which coincidentally are (IMO) the pick of the new material.

‘The Last Bus Home’ is a deliciously infectious and richly melodic blend of folky indie, with country and Americana brushstrokes. A gentle acoustic strum, hand claps and harmonica coalesce in perfect harmony, with warm vocals completing the loveable, swelling, heartfelt allure. ‘Lost in Space’ is the more complex of the pair as lush layers of psych-tones, spacey sounds and cosmic textures swell and swirl to engulf the delicious piano-led melody. Mining brilliant streams of melody and heavenly harmonies it is a roving, hazy and cosmic adventure that swells to beautifully epic climax. With its gorgeous melody, irresistible chorus, blend of guitar and frazzled electronics, and swelling emotion, ‘Lost in Space’ is not easily forgotten. Two differing (but equally stunning) sides to the talents of Simple Kid bound together by an undisputed ear for melody.

While not discounting something more substantial in the future, for now Simple Kid is enjoying crafting new songs in his loft – fingers crossed this fruitful period continues to blossom.

Listen to both ‘The Last Bus Home’ & ‘Lost in Space’ below, and you can listen to the man himself chatting to Dan Hegarty here.

And credit where credit is due: H/T to Dan Hegarty’s ‘The Alternative’ on 2FM & John Barker’s ‘Totally Irish’ on 98FM.

Cotton Wolf – ‘Ofni’

Cardiff duo Cotton Wolf – Llion Robertson & Seb Goldfinch – are back with a brand new album ‘Ofni’ (‘Fear’ in Welsh), which will be released on October 4th.

Ofni is the follow up to their spellbinding debut LP, Life In Analogue in 2017, one of the year’s finest. A gorgeous marriage of epic euphoria, ethereal electronica and frosty, crisp elegance – it is spine-tingling musical cinematography at its very finest.

Set against a thematic backdrop of social uncertainty, the album’s darker material is simultaneously imbued with anxious paranoia and a hopeful positivity. The pair embrace faster tempos and purer electronic sounds, alongside hypnotic, abstract and melodic ideas that so marked to their previous work. Whilst the vast majority if the record is instrumental, latest single and title track features Adwaith’s Hollie Singer. Singer’s exquisite, ethereal vocal is set to a backdrop of a well whisked blend of lush electronics, warm tones, hypnotic beats and stabs of synth, and undulating ripples of ethereal escapism. Elegant, bewitching and altogether mesmerising – ‘Ofni’ is simply gorgeous.

Listen to ‘Ofni’ below now and keep an eye out for Cotton Wolf’s new record on October 4th.

Whyte Horses – ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’

Manchester psych-pop outfit Whyte Horses are responsible for one 2018’s most enjoyable records in Empty Words, as they whisked us off to a land of blissful, dreamy psychedelia, sounding both familiar yet fresh.

Whyte Horses make a welcome return with a surprise new single ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’; a cover of Plastic Bertrand’s seminal 1970’s track. Choosing to cover such a classic track reflects the fearless and timeless pop qualities of Whyte Horses. Retaining the playful, melodic and seductive punk-tinged pop energy of the original but is given a modern makeover with lush pop treatment, soft psych brush strokes and intoxicating, dreamy vocals and seductive harmonies. This is Whyte Horses doing what Whyte Horse do best. Their knack for borrowing from the old and creating something new and contemporary, yet simultaneously timeless, is without compare. Hopefully this studio time has also yielded further material too.

Listen to ‘Ça Plane Pour Moi’ below.