Tag: London UK

New Audio: Montreal’s Bodywash Shares a Meditation on Loss and Hope

Montreal-based shoegazers Bodywash — Chris Steward and Rosie Long Dector — can trace their origins back to when the pair met while attending McGill University. But when they met, the pair didn’t immediately share a common musical language: Steward grew up in London listening to celestial dream pop while Dector grew up in Toronto listening to folk and Canadiana. The music they began writing together saw the pair bridging their influences, and with the release of 2016’s self-titled EP and 2019’s full-length debut, Comforter Steward and Rector firmly establishing slow-burning and dreamy material centered around ethereal vocals, intricate guitar lines and pulsating synths.

When touring to support their full-length debut was cut short by the pandemic, Long Decter and Steward used the unexpected hiatus to write. And they wound up writing material that was darker, more experimental and more invigorating than the material on Comforter. Last year, they took the songs into the studio with longtime drummer Ryan White and The Besnard Lakes‘ Jace Lasek, who helped record and engineer the album, which will be released through Light Organ Records.

“Kind of Light,” the forthcoming album’s first single is an expansive track that begins with a slow-burning and elegiac intro featuring glistening organs and a skittering yet propulsive kick pattern that slowly builds up and breaks into a high energy, boom bap-like breakbeat paired with scorching guitar squealing and wobbling bass synths. Front and center is Long Decter’s ethereal and achingly plaintive vocals express profound, heart-wrenching despair, and hope. The song suggests that while loss is natural and expected, there can be hope; that there are only a handful of things that in our lives that are truly permanent — and that for the most part, it can get better.

“I wrote ‘Kind of Light’ in bed,” Long Decter says. ““It was the fall of 2018 and Chris and I were both going through experiences of learning not to trust what feels like home. He sent me a plugin for a new organ sound, suggesting it might provide inspiration. I sent him back chords, a kick pattern, and some vocals about trying to pull your legs back; trying to take your energy out of the wreckage and put it into yourself. The process of deciding what’s worth keeping, what can be reworked and what gets tossed in the fire. A process that is devastating and also weirdly invigorating, because you can see new possibilities opening up in front of you. And you can start to look for light somewhere else.”

Though born in London, acclaimed singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and frontman of The Veils, Finn Andrews spent his teenaged years attending high school in Auckland. Largely disinterested in school, Andrews spent the bulk of his free time playing in several bands — and writing the material that would later comprise The Veils full-length debut, 2004’s The Runaway Found. When he was 16, a set of demos he sent to record companies created some buzz and led to invitations for him to return to London to record an album.

Andrews and The Veils were signed almost immediately to Blanco y Negro, an indie/major hybrid imprint led by Rough Trade label head Geoff Travis. The band released a handful of singles including the promo-only single “Death & Co,” their commercial single debut, “More Heat Than Light,” and “The Leavers Dance,” a single distributed exclusively at gigs. By 2003, increasing contractual disparities and creative differences between the head of Warner and Travis wound up delaying plans for the band’s full-length debut.

Blanco Y Negro closed up shop and the dispute turned into a court battle with The Veils regaining ownership of their masters from Warner. By mid-2003, Travis signed the band to Rough Trade. The band went on to record four more songs with former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, including “Guiding Light,” “Lavinia,” and “The Wild Son,” which led to the release of the band’s full-length debut, The Runaway Found. Although the album was released to rapturous critical applause, Andrews felt unhappy with the band’s creative direction — and after alleged altercations between him and the other members, The Veils’ first lineup split up two months after their debut album’s release.

In early 2005, Andrews went on a solo tour of the States and Japan, eventually returning to New Zealand, where he rehearsed with high school friends Liam Gerrard (keys) and Sophia Burn (bass) in Gerrard’s bedroom, quickly amassing an album’s worth of material. When the trio returned to London, Dan Raishbrook (guitar) and Henning Dietz (drums) joined the band, completing the band’s second lineup.

Early the following year, then-newly minted quintet started recording sessions with Nick Launay in Los Angeles, which resulted in their sophomore album, that year’s Nux Vonica. Released to critical applause, with the album landing on the Best of Year lists of both American and British journalists, Nux Vonica had a darker, heavier and much more complex sound, bolstered by string arrangements by former Lounge Lizard Jane Scarpantoni.

Over the course of the next 16 months, the band played over 250 shows across 15 countries. But during the Stateside leg of the tour, the band announced that Liam Gerrard was leaving the band to return home, due to personal reasons. The band continued onward as a quartet, and while living out of a classic garage in Oklahoma City, started recording demos at The Flaming Lips‘ studio between Stateside tour dates of the East and West coasts.

By mid-2008, they returned to London to work on their third album with Graham Sutton. The three-week session at West Point Studios resulted in 2009’s Sun Gangs, an album that continued a remarkable run of critically applauded material — with the album appearing on a number of Best of Lists that year.

2011’s Finn Andrews and Bernard Butler co-produced Troubles of the Brain EP marked several major changes for the band: They had left Rough Trade, their longtime label home of nine years and started their own label Pitch Beast Records.

2013’s Time Stays, We Go was recorded in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles and was supported with a 150-date world tour with sold shows across North America, Europe and New Zealand. Once the tour ended, Andrews told NME in an interview that the band had moved into their own studio in East London and had already begun work on a new record, slated for release in 2016. He also mentioned that he had been commissioned to write an orchestral piece to commemorate the Antipodean dead of World War I, which would be performed in Belgium.

2016’s Total Depravity was recorded in Los Angeles, London, NYC and Porto and features production by El-P, Adam Greenspan and Dean Hurley. The same month of the album’s release, David Lynch announced that Andrews would appear in the Twin Peaks reboot. The band with Andrews performed album single “Axolotl,” on episode 15.

Following the release of Total Depravity, Andrews released a solo album and supported it with a world tour. One night, while lashing out at a particularly intense moment on piano, he broke his wrist on stage. “It sounds wild and Jerry Lee Lewis-esque, but it was an absolute fucking nightmare,” Andrews says. He played on and finished the tour, but it wasn’t until after he got the wrist examined much later, that he learned that was a major mistake. “The scaphoid bone in my wrist had died, which I didn’t know was possible. My sister said that at least it was a really ‘on brand’ injury for me.”

Andrews’ convalescence necessitated a lengthy hiatus from touring, so he spent his free time at home writing songs. “I was in a cast and couldn’t use my right hand. I sang the melody lines, then recorded the right hand piano part, then the left hand part,” Andrews recalls. “It might have been an interesting, avant-garde process if it wasn’t also just profoundly annoying.” 

When his wrist had healed enough to allow him to play again, The Veils also found themselves in need of a new label, but in the meantime Andrews was determined to write and record an album regardless. Tom Healy invited Andrews to his studio, where they listened to the massive amount of songs he had written throughout the previous year. “Tom was incredibly patient. It was a really laborious process,” Andrews says. “I brought a lot of junk down there and we had to sift through it all to try and find the parts worth saving.”

During the past two years of intermittent recording between pandemic-related lockdowns, Andrews wife gave birth and he wound up writing even more songs. By the time the songs were recorded with a backing band that featured Cass Basil (bass), Joseph McCallum (drums) and longtime bandmates Liam Gerrard (piano) and Dan Raishbrook (lap steel, guitar) and guest spots from NZTrio, who play string arrangements by Victoria Kelly and Smoke Fairies, who contribute backing vocals, it was clear that the album’s material should be split into two halves to best suit such varied songs. But for a while, the overall meaning of the songs was eluded Andrews. “Then my daughter was born, and suddenly the whole record made sense to me,” he says. The music was telling a story, and somewhat strangely for The Veils, it seemed to have a happy ending.

The Veils’ forthcoming album . . . And Out of The Void Came Love is informed by and is the result of the past two-plus years of convalescence confinement, uncertainty and questioning. Structurally, the album is meant to listened in two sittings with a short break in the middle. Or as Andrews instructs us, “Make a coffee or smoke a cigarette – but don’t mow the lawn or go to the movies or something, that takes too long.”

. . . And Out of The Void Came Love‘s first single “Undertow,” is an atmospheric and brooding song centered around an arrangement of twinkling keys, reverb-drenched, guitar textures, dramatic, glistening bursts of pedal steel, padded drumming paired with Andrews’ hushed delivery. As The Veils’ frontman explains, “In the year before I started writing this album, I really didn’t think I’d ever write another album again. I was done. I’d irreparably broken my wrist on stage. Then this song came shimmying down the drainpipe, and it really seemed to be willing me to carry on. It is, embarrassingly enough, a song about writing songs, written at what I admit was a pretty low ebb for me emotionally. Both my parents are writers, and though I am grateful to it for the life it continues to afford me, it is a complex genetic inheritance.”

New Audio: Vincent Bugozi Returns with Sultry “African Fever”

Vincent Bugozi is a Tanzanian-born, London-based artist and bandleader. Along with his backing band, Bugozi specializes in a genre-defying and crowd-pleasing take on Afro Pop that meshes elements of of Afrobeat, reggae, Afro-Cuban music and pop among others. The Tanzanian-born, London-based artist and his backing band aim to combine the sounds of different cultures to connect people through music and an energetic live show — and help bring positivity and unity in a world that desperately needs it. 

Bugozi and company will be releasing their latest album AFRICAN SEBA! later this year. Inspired by Tanzanian Tinga Tinga art, AFRICAN SEBA! sees the act drawing inspiration from an eclectic array of sources and collaborating with a collection of musicians from the United Kingdom and European Union, while still deeply rooted in the sounds and styles of Africa. Thematically, the album’s material touches upon the “big themes” — love, sorrow and joy. Interestingly enough, the album will be his first multilingual album. 

So far I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:

  • Tinga Tinga,” a breezy, genre-smashing banger featuring skittering dancehall-meet-trap beats, 80s Quiet Storm soul-like saxophone and twinkling keys paired with Bugozi’s plaintive vocals and an infectious, razor sharp hook. Pulling from a variety of sounds and styles across the African Diaspora, the song manages to be a wildly accessible bop that will get a lounge or a club rocking and grooving.
  • Bossa Nova” is a slickly produced, seamlessly mesh of elements of Afro-pop, reggaeton and Bossa Nova that further cements Bugozi and company’s unerring knack for catchy hooks.

“African Fever,” the latest single off AFRICAN SEBA! continues a remarkably run of crowd-pleasing bops featuring elements of dancehall, Afropop, Afrobeats and contemporary electro pop centered around a sultry, dance floor rocking groove. If this one doesn’t make you want to get up and move, then something is very wrong with you.

London-based DJ and producer Jimmy Verschoyle, best known as Jimmy V, has developed a reputation for being “DJ’s DJ,” cutting his teeth playing the clubs and bars of the Bristol scene, before becoming a London underground scene mainstay. His highly-respected status as a tastemaker and selector gradually earned his slots across the global festival scene, including Burning Man and Glastonbury’s The Rabbit Hole, as well as clubs across the UK and States.

Jimmy V further exploded into the scene with his debut EP No Way Back. Building upon the buzz surrounding him, the London-based producer and DJ released a remix of Della Zouch‘s “Rebel” and “Lose My Mind” feat. Liz Cass.

His early releases caught the attention of San Francisco-based electronic label Smoke-n-Mirrors, who signed him and released his most recent singles “Amasonica” and “Yukon,” which have received widespread attention in the international scene: Those tracks landed on TraxSource‘s Top 40 and Beatport‘s Tech House’s Top 20.

https://open.spotify.com/track/7ikxriQICFkW0w2mDJrNZY?si=d72a652bcdb844fd

The London-based producer and DJ’s latest single “Orinoco” is a genre-defying, globalist banger that pairs tweeter and woofer rocking thump, Afro-Colombian percussion, Iberian-influenced groove and a looped horn-driven hook that sounds as though it could rock clubs from Berlin to São Paulo, Medellin to Miami, London to New York.

Acclaimed London-based post-punk act and JOVM mainstays White Lies — Harry McVeigh (vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass, vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) — released their sixth album, the Ed Bueller and Claudius Mittendorfer co-produced As I Try Not To Fall Apart earlier this year. 

Recorded over two breakneck studio sessions, As I Try Not To Fall Apart features what may arguably be White Lies’ most expansive material to date with the songs possessing elements of arena rock, electro pop, prog rock and funky grooves paired with their penchant for enormous, rousingly anthemic hooks. 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year, you might recall that I’ve written about four of As I Try Not To Fall Apart singles

  •  “As I Try Not To Fall Apart,” a rousingly anthemic yet psychologically precise character study of a desperate man, who feels hopelessly stuck in a socially prescribed “appropriate” gender role, while also trying to express his own vulnerability and weakness. 
  • I Don’t Want To Go To Mars,” one of the most mosh pit friendly, guitar-driven rippers the band has released in some time that tells a story of its main character being sent off to a new colonized Mars to live out a sterile and mundane existence. The band goes on to say: “Fundamentally the song questions the speed at which we are developing the world(s) we inhabit, and what cost it takes on our wellbeing.” 
  • Am I Really Going To Die,” a glittery, glam rocker centered that seemed inspired by Roxy Music and Duran Duran, but thematically touches upon mortality and the uneasy acceptance of the inevitable 
  • Blue Drift,” an expansive prog rock-like song centered around the rousingly anthemic hooks that White Lies has long been known for, a relentless motorik groove, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, thunderous drumming and glistening synths paired with McVeigh’s yearning delivery. The song captures a narrator, who’s a gaping wound of heartache and despair, uncertain of their footing and on the verve of a breakdown. 

Slated for an October 21, 2022 release through [PIAS], the bonus edition of As I Try Not To Fall Apart features four songs recorded during the AITNTFA sessions but were ultimately cut from the album.

Trouble In America,” the first of the four bonus singles was centered around a John Taylor-like disco-friendly bass line, glistening and squiggling synths, thunderous drumming and a bombastic cock rock-meets-arena rock chorus paired with some incisive and politically charged lyrics about the current state in America that simultaneously seem indebted to American Psycho.

“We gave up on b-sides years ago, and went into making an album with the sole aim to fit the most cohesive 40mins of music onto two sides of a 12″ that we could,” White Lies explains. “Unfortunately, that means some music is sidelined at the final hurdle. ‘Trouble In America’ was the hardest song to leave off. It was written a couple of days after ‘Am I Really Going to Die’ and lives in the same world and energy. Desperation Funk? In this song we jump between the mind of a serial killer, and his good Christian teenage daughter as she realizes who…or what her father is and always has been. ‘My old man’s making trouble in America! Oh, lord, take the weight off me!’ she pleads over a cock-rock, Todd Rundgren-esque chorus. We have a history of bonus tracks becoming live favorites, and we’re putting a bitcoin on this horse to keep up tradition.”

The second of the four bonus tracks, “Breakdown Days” is dance floor friendly bop centered around arpeggiated piano and synth stabs, thunderous boom bap-like drumming paired with the JOVM mainstays’ unerring knack for enormous, arena rock-like hooks. But under the sleek arena pop meets house facade is a tense, uneasy song that evokes being trapped with yourself and with a significant other, and desperately trying to hold it together during the height of pandemic-related lockdowns.

“’Breakdown Days’ was written in the heart of the first UK lockdown. The song reflects my mood at the time, I felt trapped in many ways not being able to tour or to work,” White Lies’ Harry McVeigh explains. “The lyrics are about yearning to reach out about your problems but because you’re living together, in close quarters, it means you can’t totally lose your shit! I always enjoy dressing up quite dark lyrics in a pop song and I love the contrast in this track. I’m sure we all dress ourselves up sometimes!”

As I Try Not To Fall Apart Tracklisting

1. Am I Really Going To Die

2. As I Try Not To Fall Apart

3. Breathe

4. I Don’t Want To Go To Mars

5. Step Outside

6. Roll December

7. Ragworm

8. Blue Drift

9. The End

10. There Is No Cure For It

11. Trouble In America*

12. Breakdown Days *

13. Staring At The Sun *

14. What If We’re Bad Together *

* Bonus tracks

London-based instrumental outfit Los Bitchos — Australian-born, Serra Petale (guitar); Uruguayan-born Agustina Ruiz (keytar); Swedish-born, Josefine Jonsson (bass) and London-born and-based Nic Crawshaw (drums) — can trace their origins to meeting at various late-night parties and through mutual friends. Inspired by their individual members’ different upbringings and backgrounds, Los Bitchos have developed a unique, genre-blurring and retro-futuristic sound blends elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf rock, as well the music each individual member grew up with: 

  • The Uruguayan-born Ruiz had a Latin-American music collection that the members of the band fell in love with. 
  • The Swedish-born Jonsson “brings a touch of out of control pop,” her bandmates often joke. 
  • Aussie-born Serra Petale is deeply inspired by her mother’s 70s Anatolian rock records. 
  • And the London-born Crawshaw played in a number of local punk bands before joining Los Bitchos.

“Coming from all these different places,” Los Bitchos’ Serra Petale says, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit when it comes to our influences.”

Los Bitchos’ Alex Kapranos-produced full-length debut,  Let The Festivities Begin! was released earlier this year. Recorded at Gallery Studios, Let The Festivities Begin! sees the London-based instrumental outfit further establishing their reputation for crafting maximalist and trippy, Technicolor, instrumental party starting jams — with a cinematic quality. 

The album’s celebratory title is something you might say while toasting dear friends, families and even strangers at a gathering — and hopefully at the of this horrible period of despair and uncertainty, as a way to usher in a period of carefree debauchery. “It’s about being together and having a really good time,” Los Bitchos say in press notes.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year, you might recall that I managed to write about four of the album’s singles:

  • Las Panteras” a funky, mind-bending jam featuring shimmering synths bongos, cowbell, cabasa and wiry post punk meets Nile Rodgers and surf rock-like guitars and a sinuous bass line. 
  • Good to Go,” another mind-bending, genre-blurring composition that begins with a decidedly Western intro with shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar twang before quickly morphing into a a trippy yet chilled out Latin funk meets Turkish psych affair with glistening synths, handclaps and a blazing guitar solo. 
  • Pista (Fresh Start),” a slick and trippy synthesis of chicha, cumbia and psych rock featuring looping guitars and dance floor friendly Latin rhythms. 
  • The Link Is About To Die,” a trippy party friendly groove featuring looping and glistening guitars, twinkling synths and shuffling rhythms.

The rapidly rising JOVM mainstays will cap off a momentous year with two singles “Los Chrismos,” their first-ever Christmas themed composition and “Tipp Tapp,” which will be released digitally and physically on November 18, 2022 on a flexi disc bundled with a red vinyl re-press of their debut album. Co-produced, by the band’s Serra Petal and Javier Weyler, the two new tracks were recorded at 5db.

The first single of the batch, the Christmas-themed “Los Chismos,” is a celebratory party, starting romp with cheers and shouts, centered around a dexterous and looping guitar line, atmospheric synths that’s one-part cumbia, one-part psych rock and 100% unadulterated joy. Here in the States, we haven’t gotten to Halloween, let alone Thanksgiving but that’s besides the point. The song is a much-needed and infectious burst of fun and hope.

“‘Los Chrismos’ is our ‘80s nostalgic Christmas dreamland. Shoop-shooping down the slopes into a cosy chalet strewn with fairy lights, join us for a glass of bubbly and a cosy Christmas party full of festivities!” The band shares. “We can’t wait to get dressed up and play this song on our Chrismos tour.” 

Los Bitchos will close out the year with a number of festival dates, along with select dates opening for Franz Ferdinand during their October and November UK tour. They also will open for Pavement in London. December will see the band playing across the UK and European Union. All tour dates are below.

Tour Dates: 

Oct 15 Leeds, UK – Live at Leeds ‘In The City’ 

Oct 19 Manchester, UK – O2 Victoria Warehouse – w/ Franz Ferdinand 

Oct 20 London, UK – Alexandra Palace – w/ Franz Ferdinand 

Oct 21 Cardiff, UK – Swn Festival Weekend 

Oct 24 London, UK – The Roundhouse w/ Pavement 

Nov 5 Brighton, UK – Mutations Festival 

Nov 10 Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro – w/ Franz Ferdinand 

Nov 12 Glasgow, UK – The Great Western Festival 

Nov 13 Kortrijk, BE – Sonic City Festival 

Dec 2 – London @ Heaven^ 

Dec 7 – Berlin @ Silent Green* 

Dec 8 – Amsterdam @ Paradiso Noord* 

Dec 9 – Luxembourg @ Rotondes* 

Dec 10 – Bern @ ISC Club* 

“Los Chrismos” Headline Tour Dates w/ support from: 

* – Takeshi’s Cashew 

^ – audiobooks

New Video: Carla dal Forno Shares Sultry “Side By Side”

Singer/songwriter, musician and Kallista Records label head Carla dal Forno has spent the better part of a decade or so moving, writing, recording and touring out our Berlin and London, before recently relocating to Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia, where she wrote and recorded her third album Come Around

Slated for November 4, 2022 release through her own Kallista Records, Come Aroundreportedly sees dal Forno grappling with ideas of home, disorder and insomnia with self-assured, enlightened songwriting and pop hooks. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about album title track “Come Around,” a narcoleptic, meandering, dub-like take on indie pop centered around reverb and delay-drenched guitar and drums paired with dal Forno’s inviting, easy-going delivery and a well-placed, infectious hook. The end result is a song that feels like an open-ended invitation to stop by and stay awhile, to make yourself at home.

Come Around‘s latest single “Side By Side” is a dreamy and slow-burning, dub-inspired take on indie pop centered around a sinuous bass line, reverb and delay-drenched beats and bursts of twinkling, buzzing and atmospheric synths paired with dal Forno’s yearning, come hither delivery. It’s a slinky and sultry song, full of nocturnal desire.

“‘Side By Side’ is about the anticipation of hooking up with someone and the feelings of inevitability, transparency and impatience,” dal Forno explains. “It’s all in the lyric, ‘Make your move / I recognise the method you use.’ I’ve been sitting on this track for a few years. The production was really slow at first, leaning towards ‘ballad’ territory but it really seemed to find its groove when I increased the tempo and leaned into the bassline hook.”

Directed by Ludovic Sauvage, the haunting accompanying video complements the track’s nocturnal longing as it features a shadowy, blue-lit dal Forno superimposed over a shot of blooming, pink tulips in a stark, black backdrop.

New Video: Pop Outfit Lynda Shares a Breezy Yet Wistful Bop

Currently split between Bristol and Paris, indie electro pop duo Lynda — Russ Harley and Youcef Khelil — can trace their origins to a writing session in London‘s Lewisham section back in 2016. With the release of a handful of singles and Lynda Tapes [2018-2020], the duo quickly established a sound influenced by Japanese synth pop outfit YMO, Hiroshi Sato, VangelisBlade Runner soundtrack and Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks soundtrack.

The duo is set to release their four-song, debut EP LEMONRIVER EP. Mixed by French touch legend Alan Braxe, the EP reportedly sees the duo crafting an ethereal synth wave sound featuring vintage 80s and 90s drum machines, vintage synths paired with Khelil’s plaintive vocal delivery. The end result is a sound that’s dreamy and cinematic and tinged with a bittersweet nostalgia.

LEMONRIVER EP‘s second and latest single “Calliope” derives its title from the Greek muse of epic poetry. Centered around a lush and dreamy soundscape featuring a strutting yet funky bass line, glistening synth arpeggios, Khelil’s achingly plaintive vocal and the duo’s penchant for infectious, razor sharp hooks. Thematically, the song is focused on a familiar scenario for most, if not all of us: That recognition that your lover has changed and become a stranger right before your eyes — and that maybe it’s time for the things to end, even if you don’t want it to end.

Directed by Ikonë Studio, the accompanying video was shot in Kosovo and follows the duo in 90s-styled suits and sneakers, driving through tree-lined suburban streets and downtown Kosovo at night in a red convertible, goofing off at a quirky Wes Anderson-like hotel and dancing on the roof of skyscraper. Underneath the stylishness and quirkiness of the visual is a bittersweet, nostalgic ache.

New Video: Alewya Returns with a Woozy Banger

Alewya is an acclaimed London-based singer/songwriter, producer and visual artist. Born in Saudi Arabia to an Egyptian-Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, Alewya has spent her life surrounded and nurtured by diaspora immigrant communities: she grew up in West London and after spending several years in New York, she returned to London. Upon returning home, the rising Saudi-British artist developed and honed her ear for music through the sounds of the Ethiopian and Arabic music of her parents and the ambient alternative rock albums of her brother. 

The Saudi-born, Egyptian-Sudanese-Ethiopian, London-based artist’s name translates from Arabic to English into “most high” or “the highest,” and interestingly enough, her work thematically concerns itself with transcendence. She sees her music as an accessible space for her and her listeners to connect on a deeply spiritual level — with her work challenging the listener to remember the last time that they felt truly connected to themselves and their emotions. “I want to move people to themselves. I want them to feel the same way that I felt when I had a taste of a higher power and felt there was a presence over me,” Alewya says. “I want people to feel that.”

Back in 2020, Alewya burst out into the scene with an attention-grabbing feature on Little Simz‘s “where’s my lighter,” which caught the attention of Because Records, who signed the rising artist and released her critically applauded debut, last year’s Panther In Mode, which featured:

 The Busy Twist-produced debut single “Sweating,” a forward-thinking Timbaland-like mesh of trap, reggae and electro pop.

“Spirit_X,” which paired elements of Timbaland, trap and drum ‘n’ bass paired with the rising British artist alternating between spitting fiery bars and sultry crooning.

The sultry and defiantly feminist anthem “Play.” 

“Channel High” a slick synthesis of grime, contemporary R&B, dancehall, electro pop and Afrobeats that’s roomy enough for the rising British artist to pull out an incredibly self-assured, Lauryn Hill-like performance. Much like its predecessors, “Channel High” is politically charged, calling for music to bring about a much-needed paradigm shift. 

The JOVM mainstay’s latest single “Let Go,” is the first bit of new material since last year’s Panther in Mode EP. Centered around skittering beats and wobbling synths paired with Alewya’s raspy delivery. But where the material on Panther in Mode saw the artist at her most poised and controlled, “Let Go” feels feral and uneasy while self-assured.

“I’m freeing myself up, getting more confident in how lost I feel,” Alewya says. “With Panther In Mode, I was coming from a more poised space. The next phase is more wild. I won’t hold back anymore.”

Directed by Rawtape x Lee Trigg, the accompanying video for “Let Go” stars the rising artist and JOVM mainstay frenetically dancing in a variety of rooms and situations, including what appears to be a mental health institution. The video also features original hieroglyphic-style artwork by Alewya.

Jonty Lovell is a Tottenham-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind the rising indie rock project common goldfish. As a musician, Lovell initially made a name for himself busking along the Hackney Wick and playing the London gig circuit. And as a producer and songwriter, under the moniker J Love, the Tottenham-based artist has been credited on songs that have received critical applause from media outlets like Mixtape MadnessNew Wave Magazine, and GRM Daily.

With common goldfish, Lovell’s sound and approach is informed by the music of his childhood. “Growing up I was exposed to a lot of music, with my family all having quite different tastes. Deciding who had control of the CD player could often lead to arguments, but as the youngest child, I seem to remember rarely getting to choose. The soundtrack of my early childhood featured the likes of The Beatles, The Police, Moby, Blur, Gorillaz, and Eminem and Dr. Dre – it was quite an eclectic mix that lured me in.”

As a teenager, The xx‘s debut album further inspired Lovell. “I was by no means a great technical guitarist, and so I think this inspired confidence to continue writing music,” he explains. As a a university graduate, he began to take music seriously, honing his craft with an old laptop his friend gave him, which had Abelton on it. At this point of his life, Floating Points, Four Tet, Nightmares on Wax, and Caribou were influences on him and his sound and approach. Lovell then took his self-taught production style, eclectic music latests and finessed live instrumentation and his vocals.

Earlier this year, I wrote about Lovell’s common goldfish debut single, “Feel The Fuzz,” an upbeat, optimistic and decidedly late 80s-early 90s Manchester-like bop featuring fuzzy guitar lines, blown out breakbeats, a funky and propulsive bass line and common goldfish’s easygoing delivery paired with a euphoric boy-girl led hook and subtly modern production sheen. If you’re a child of the 80s and 90s as I am, “Feel The Fuzz” will bring back nostalgic memories of The Stone RosesPrimal ScreamStereo MCs and the like, complete with an uplifting much-needed message to the listener. 

“The track embodies the sense of dreamer’s optimism (‘the fuzz’) and the feeling that led me to change career paths and pursue my passion in music,” the creative mastermind behind common goldfish explains in press notes. “We only lead one life, ‘Feel the Fuzz’ is about helping people see that they should value their experiences over materials and not always seek the easy options in life.”

Over the summer, Lovell released his sophomore common goldfish single “Shout Louder,” which landed praise from the likes of Backseat Mafia, CULTR, CLOUT, and Lost in The Manor among others.

Building upon the growing buzz surrounding him, the Tottenham-based artist has played a series of public shows in iconic locations across London, including Tottenham’s DIY skate park and on top of a boat, floating down Regent’s Canal.

Lovell’s third and latest single, the expansive “I Don’t Feel Today” continues a remarkable and ongoing run of Brit Pop-inspired material with the song prominently featuring twinkling keys, blown out, skittering backbeats, relentless and propulsive bass line, squiggling guitar lines paired with the Tottenham-based artist’s knack for crafting infectious, feel good hooks. Unlike its immediate predecessors, “I Don’t Feel Today” sees Lovell making a very subtle nod to 60s psych pop with bursts of spacey organ.

Interestingly, the song is rooted astutely incisive social observation, with its narrator feeling lost, confused and dispirited by modern life“We are living more and more on top of each other but for some reason we’re becoming increasingly isolated from one another. The rise of independence and individualism has been at the expense of community and a sense of belonging,” Lovell explains in press notes. “With the pace of life getting faster and faster, we’re spending more and more time in front of screens on a never-ending quest for instant gratification. I do worry that we’re losing our sense of reality and what matters most – human interaction and connection.”