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It’s not often we come across a band that formed through playing covers around the campsite at Reading Festival. BOYS, the West London 3-piece, drench the cold air in UV goodness opposed to the dreary rain we get gloomy over. Having formed back in 2012, their debut EP ‘Secrets’ weaves in and out of lo-fi chill-wave and lethargic goodness that drags us out from hibernation.

Ross Pearce’s vocals are whisper-like, giving the bedroom-recorded EP delicacy that contrasts with Mike Stothard’s hazy guitar and Daniel Heffernon’s bass in the second track ‘Heartbreaker’. The soft vocals exaggerate the bedroom-pop aspect that can be deemed similar to DIIV, Beach Fossils and other beach-related-names bands. 

The interesting aspect of the trio is the drums. Instead of having a drummer, the persistent pulse comes from a drum-machine, fooling the listener and creating an image of a devoted drummer smashing cymbals behind the frontmen.

The 3-track EP is perfect for reminiscing over the summer. ‘Secrets’ has a great 80s spin with the bass and the synth provoking the waves on a sunny beach, and Mike’s melodic guitar is tropical and tantalising, sending the listener into a swirl of sand and sea. ‘Heartbreaker’ is probably the darkest track on the EP, but instead of bringing the clouds in, it just gives the band more electricity and energy, as if the waves are starting to crash against the shore more violently. The fast-paced guitar melody is again enticing, adding a surf-tone onto the dreamy track. ‘Bad Intentions’, is more dominated by lo-fi goodness. The vocals echo, and reach a more prominent volume than a whisper. Mike’s guitar takes a more watery tone, yet still manages to hold the chill-wave sound. 

Their debut material is ace, and the timing is also spot on. My winter blues have certainly been shaken off with their tropical chill-wave sound. Their EP is up for free download here and can be streamed to the left.

Words: Cerys Kenneally

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
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There's little that can be authoritatively said about Patten. The recent warp signee doesn't do many interviews. When he does they’re cryptic and short. His bare soundcloud and YouTube pages are far from the scattered sketchbooks of other producers, eager to show the world everything they've ever made.

His brand of techno is hard to pinpoint or explain; skittering drum patterns sit sloppily over lo-fi loops, arpeggiated synth lines and melodies you might hear on classroom science videos from the 80s. Its a mix that’s familiar but brand new.

This is why he's a perfect fit for warp, a label known picking up experimental artists in their relative infancy and providing them a platform on which to present their works. Aphex twin, Boards of Canada and Squarepusher; More recently Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke and Mount Kimbie. These are all artists releasing under warp who have altered and helped build new genres. They make close, introverted music that's as suited to home listening as it is being played out at 2am.

Blue Mosaic (left) shows Patten’s production at its most playful. A constantly pitch-bending melody carries the track forward whilst an almost punk vocal mumbles over the top. It’s either shoegaze or arresting techno for dancefloor primetime. Maybe it's both; Its odd, but it makes sense.

Worlds Collided (unavailable to stream) is another stand out from 2011's well received GLAQJO XAACSSO. A buzzy, pulsating chord keeps your sense of rhythm grounded as a saturated kick drum and other out-of-place textures bounce around and keep you unsure of everything you think you know about the track. It wouldn't feel too out of place on a label like L.I.E.S.

Plurals is much less dance floor orientated than his other work, it takes all of the producer's hallmarks and re imagines them at a slower tempo. A track which can blend into the background of whatever you’re doing, although despite its lathargic pace often demands more attention.

His new EP for warp is currently available to stream over at Dazed Digital. It's clear it came from the same mind as GLAQJO XAACSSO, Patten has clearly spent his two years of silence productively as EOLIAN INSTATE offers a more cohesive and fully realised vision of his sound.

Patten also runs the Kaleidoscope imprint. Releasing all of the labels catalogue for free with extremely limited edition cassettes and vinyl also available. Kaleidescope's sound shares the same aesthetics as Patten pushes in his own music which is no bad thing.

Catch Patten, along with Hudson Mohawke, Oneohtrix Point Never and Rustie at the Tate on the 6th of December. More info here.

Words: P. Maxwell

 

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
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First formed nearly a decade ago, Blind Pilots, who are now known as Bold Things, have travelled to London to infect us with their passion filled emotive material. Following the release of their first track ‘Keep Together’ four months ago, they have proceeded to release a new offering ‘Hearts Ajar’. 

‘Keep Together’ is entwined with ghostly, soft vocals from Jim O’Donoghue and guitar melodies that pull your heart-strings sideways in a slightly unnerving manner. It’s incredible to listen to the layers of experimentation put into this track too, with samples, swirling synths and compelling drum beats that seem to come and go at exactly the right times to pursue the emotive realm of their capabilities. 

Even on their most recent track, ‘Hearts Ajar’, the Irish guys still implement their contagious sensitive abilities, with Jim’s vocals sounding more distilled and soft, whilst the guitar melodies by Ian Patterson, Gavin Murray and Jim O’Donoghue add to the fragility of the track, creating a poignant atmosphere. Ronan Mc Geough’s bass adds a concrete ground along with Gavin and Jim’s drums, slowly becoming more intense as the track progresses. 

They’re truly wonderful, ambient, uplifting and relatable. I’d give them a listen if you like dios (malos), and a more mellow side of The Doves with a more experimental twist.

Words: Cerys Kenneally 

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
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I own an album called "Good Vibes: the Jingly Jangly Sound of Summer". If they release a second edition, San Mei would make the cut. 

"My name is Emily, I'm from the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. I make music under the name San Mei and my debut single comes out on the 16th September." 

All other information is superfluous and here is why...

First heard at the turn of the year ‘Watch the Breezes’ commands your attention despite barely seeming to rise above a whisper. In fact, its very subtlety is what has you hanging on her every word. The soothing echo of the drums complimented by the never jarring but relentlessly stirring synth creates an aural canvas which sheds all context and takes you elsewhere. A place from which you reluctantly return as the song concludes. 

For a while this was all San Mei gave us but six months later her debut single ‘Brighter’ is coming up to release [26.09] having already amassed several thousand plays and numerous favourable reviews. I fear this arrived too late to become the summer anthem is was written to be: ripe for remix and best enjoyed at sunset. Nevertheless the level of progression is promising, this sounds like a single: seamlessly uniting her complex, hollow and at times haunting tones with the contrastingly simplistic, yet optimistic tune.

Listen if: 

  • you like Lyyke Li.
  • you were disappointed by how same-y Lana Del Rey’s recent single was.
  • If you want Aluna George to release another album already.

Words: Georgette MK

 

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison

SZA

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SZA, recently signed and ambitious, manages to combine R&B with a compelling production that makes her distinctive, intriguing and impossible to ignore. The St. Louis born singer achieves an unflustered tone in songs such as ‘Time Travel Undone’ and ‘Wings’, whilst still creating a sense of euphoria and exhilaration through her soft harmonies and delicate pitching. Her EP ‘S’, which is up for free download on soundcloud, shows experimentation with different soundscapes and also a weight of character in the irresistible delicacy of her vocals.

This has been noticed by others, such as TDE, who have recently signed SZA, making her label mates with the Kendrick Lamar. The fact that SZA has been singing for just over a year breaks the boundaries of her peers who have been pursuing careers for a lot longer and adds to the excitement of the ‘new girl on the block’ image. SZA’s talent in freestyling lyrics adds to her image as an uncompromising artist who might not know her own strength.

SoundCloud | Facebook | Twitter 

Words: Cerys Kenneally 

 

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
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It's not often a bands sound is founded on the basis of being a band. Broken ties with ex-bandmates and stolen equipment are all factors in the tension, love and brutality of Casimir's sound. The Bristol quartet released 'Balancing Act' earlier in the year and displayed a perfect mix of carelessness, experimentation and musical precision. They dabble in the shoegazey orientation of Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky whilst maintaining a melodic, structural tightness of Foals or Django Django. 

040313 sees the release of their 'Not Mathematics EP' on Bristol's ever growing Fear of Fiction records. The release comes hand in hand with a set at the label's 1 year birthday party on 020314. The EP in question is also streaming as we speak.

Get involved with this release. It may be born out of a broken band, but it showcases a band that can only get stronger.

Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud

Words: Duncan Harrison

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
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At the tail end of 2012, Australia's George Maple released a free download of 'Uphill' which recently got released via Justus Recordings (home to Karma Kid and Bondax). The song has a hypnotic beat and a mellow production which rests wonderfully beneath Maple's glassy vocal and smooth melody. Most recently she's toured the US and Europe with mellow party starters Flight Facilities and is currently spending studio time with label-mates, upcoming producers and Fader favourites Bondax. Maple is a part of a growing scene of vibrant, melodic electronic music and her single 'Uphill' is the perfect anthem for that movement. She's penned tracks for 2012 favourites Flume who even made the ShufSounds top 100 tracks of 2012. Watch out for George Maple and her peers as they could be building the soundtrack to dance-floors for 2013.

SoundCloud

Words: Duncan Harrison

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
ELI MARDOCK

ELI MARDOCK

Nebraska's Eli Mardock might be a known name to some because of his previous exports as frontman of US indie band Eagull Seagull. This was an outfit of the early millennium who signed to a major label which promptly closed four weeks after. This solo effort is Mardock's first musical outing since then and it's a game of two halves with his 'NE Sorrow is Born' EP out now for free and another EP expected early 2013.

It's a cinematic affair with the promo video for 'Cut Me Open' deceptively opening in a similar way to a Nivea advert but then becoming a tuneful, honest indie pop song. The debut album is being mixed by Justin Gerrish who's previous cliental include The Strokes and Vampire Weekend. It promises to be a melody driven release with this fringe front man getting a well deserved second chance. Fingers crossed the label is in tact.

Words: Duncan Harrison, Bristol, UK

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison
TRAVI$ SCOTT

TRAVI$ SCOTT

Travi$ Scott is somewhat of an anomaly within the industry, who is slowly unravelling to reveal what could be Hip Hop's next big star. The 20 year old rapper born in Houston, Texas has gained a lot of attention by seemingly sneaking onto the track 'Sin City' from one the year’s biggest albums, Cruel Summer. Comparing the limited amount of material Scott has released to the amount of attention and recognition he has received from some of the biggest names in the industry it is safe to stay Travi$ Scott has started to pave a pathway in which he could truly strive.

One of Scott's biggest draws is that he is both a rapper and producer. Scott raps on songs such as 'Lights (Love Sick)' with the arrogance of a young man living it up in New York with beautiful models and industry leaders, yet still with a very sturdy head on his shoulders. A huge amount of this assurance comes through on his production. '16 Chapels' oozes with sheer class, polish and sense of youthful adventure that no one can stop Scott as he pushes forward seemingly fazed by nothing. In addition to the success of his own work,he has also gained acclaim for his production on both 'To The World' and 'In The Morning' off the blockbuster Hip Hop album of the year Cruel Summer. Scott is honing his skills as both a rapper and producer, and is proving he can do it both on his own watch and on a bigger scale.

Many have compared Travi$'s persona and sound to that of Kanye West, even stating he sounds too much like his predecessor. But when has a comparison to Kanye ever been a bad one? How many rappers can you list who have even come close to replicating the awe or reaching the fantastical heights of the G.O.O.D music leader. Yes, he emulates his mentor, but in a short amount of time he is creating his own world around him. Scott has already had features from established heads such as King Chip, Casey Veggies, Lex Luger and even T.I. These comparisons have been made simply down to the presence, control and awe of Travi$ Scott, and for a young man of just 20 years old to be compared to an artist of such stature and power can only be a positive.

A lot can be said on Travi$ Scott without much knowledge of the man behind the name. But from what we have heard so far, his rumoured deal with G.O.O.D music and upcoming debut EP Owl Pharaoh, Travi$ Scott is a name we could become very familiar with.

Words: Jacob Roy, Bristol, UK

Posted
AuthorDuncan Harrison