Tag: Manchester UK

Deriving their name from the tittle of 1993’s “Chemical Beats,” a single which helped establish their sound, the acclaimed Manchester UK-based electronic duo The Chemical Brothers — Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons — can trace their origins back to 1989, when they initially formed as The Dust Brothers. And although they were forced to change their name `in 1995, when they discovered that another act existed with the same name, the Manchester-based electronic duo are considered pioneers of big beat electronica, along with The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim and The Crystal Method.

The British duo’s debut, 1995’s Exit Planet Dust, which features the aforementioned “Chemical Beats” went on to sell over a million copies globally. They caught the attention of Virgin Records, who signed the act and released their sophomore album, Dig Your Own Hole, which topped the UK charts. In their native England, the duo have six #1 albums, 13 Top 20 singles — and two #1 hits.

Here in the States, the duo have won six Grammy Awards including Best Rock Instrumental Performance, Best Dance Recording and Best Dance/Electronic Album of the Year, which they’ve won three times in the category’s Grammy history, including as recently as 2020.

With the forced hiatus in touring, the acclaimed Manchester- based duo have managed to remain busy: they have their own Sonos Radio HD station Radio Chemical. The station features some mixtapes that the pair have expertly and loving curated, including their latest “Early Rap and Beyond Mix.” (The mix is available both on Sonos Radio and Mixcloud, which allows anyone to listen to it.)

“In this ‘Early Rap and Beyond” mix we celebrate the moments disco met rap. All mixed from the original 12” records we take you all around the 5 boroughs whilst also finding the space to throw down some other essential b boy curveballs,” the duo explain.

Featuring some deep crate digging obscurities for even the most ardent hip-hop head, like Super 3’s “When You’re Standing on Top of the World,” Pied Piper of Funkingham’s “Clap Song,” Sweaty G’s “We Want to Get Down” and a lengthy list of others (which you can see below), the mix captures a unique moment in the beloved genre’s history: it’s pioneering first decade or so, when it was brand new, and still centered around local block parties. And as a result, each song is a dance floor banger, built around the big breakbeats meant to get the b-boys and b-girls off the wall, and popping and locking.

Playlist:

Super 3 – “When You’re Standing on Top of the World”

Count Coolout- “Here to Stay” (Instrumental)

Sugar Baby Weet – “Ah Bam Bam Just Jam”

Fantasy 3 – “It’s Your Rock”

TJ Swann – “Get Fly”

Jackson 2 – “Oh Yeah”

2001 Kazoos “Mr. Magic”

Harlem World Crew -“Let’s Rock”

TJ Swann – “Maximus Party”

Sweaty G – “We Want To Get Down”

Grandmaster Chilly T- “Rock The Message Rap”

Time Zone – “Wild Style”

The Chemical Brothers – “Go”

The Last Poets – “Mean Machine Chant”

Can – “Vitamin C”

Take Two – “The People’s Message”

Pied Piper of Funkingham – “Clap Song”

Xanadu – “Sure Shot”


Stack – “Win Jesse Win”

Troy Rainey “Trouble Tee Rap”

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The KVB Offers a Glimpse Into Our Dystopian Future

Currently based out of Manchester, UK, the acclaimed shoegazers and JOVM mainstay outfit The KVB initially started in 2010 as the solo recording project of founder, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood. Wood released a series of limited cassette an vinyl releases as a solo recording project; but by 2011, vocalist, keyboardist and visual artist Kat Day joined the project.

In the decade since Day joined the project, The KVB have released several critically applauded albums and EPs through a number of different labels before signing to Geoff Barrow‘s Invada Records,who released 2018’s Only Now Forever. Interestingly, each of the duo’s acclaimed releases saw them crafting a sound simultaneously inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain and Cabaret Voltaire; however, with each subsequent effort, the band has managed to streamline their sound.

Through extensive touring across the European Union, the UK, China, Russia and Japan, the duo have amassed a devoted fanbase globally. Now, as you may recall during the pandemic, Day and Wood relocated from Berlin to Manchester to work on their sixth album, the Andy Savors-produced Unity. Slated for a November 26, 2021 release through Invada Records, the duo’s sixth album will reportedly represent a new and exciting development in their sonic development: Through the album’s ten songs, the duo pull together their trademark components, radiant guitars, textured synths and an near for a moody, brooding melody paired with a renewed dynamism.

Interestingly, the initial writing sessions for their forthcoming album took place in Spain during early 2019, where the duo found influence from the “half built luxury villas, still unfinished from the crash in 2008. There was something eerie and beautiful about the desolate landscapes and concrete in the sunshine,” the band says in press notes. While their sound and approach has always been informed by what seems like our inevitable dystopian future, there is also more of a rapturous release to the material. Thematically, the album combines double meanings and there’s a sleight of hand present.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “World on Fire,” a single that found the duo continuing to refine their sound: Starting with burst of drum machine, the song was centered around buzzing and slashing power chords, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a relentless motorik groove and a euphoric hook paired with the duo’s breathy boy-girl harmonies. Sonically, the track — to my ears, at least — found the duo pushing the boundaries of shoegaze in a similar fashion to Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and others while giving their sound a gauzy, New Order-like sheen. 

“Unité,” Unity‘s latest single may arguably be their most dance floor friendly track of their growing catalog: Centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, and a relentlessly hypnotic, motorik groove paired with Kat Day’s ethereal deadpan delivery, “Unité” sounds as though it could have easily been part of the Trans Europe Express or Man Machine sessions. The duo explains that the new single is “a homage to our time living in Berlin, with the pounding kick drum and grinding electronics.” Te song is a perfect example of the Manchester-based duo meshing dark and light sensibilities in a seamless fashion: while being a euphoric club banger, the song references urbanization and its dystopian potential.

The recently released video is set in a dystopian future, much like that in Minority Report, in which the viewer is inundated by advertisements and screens.

New Video: The Orielles’ Henry Carlyle’s Gorgeous Solo Debut

Halifax, UK-born, Manchester-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Henry Carlyle is best known for his work in acclaimed JOVM mainstay act The Orielles. Carlyle steps into the spotlight as a solo artist with the release of his debut single “The Ground.”

Clocking in at a smidge under six minutes, “The Ground” which features guest spots from Julia Bardo, (backing vocals, bass, sax) and Jake Bogacki (drums), is centered around Carlyle’s world weary and heartbroken delivery, wiry guitars, bursts of twinkling glockenspiel, and an intimate and dusty, lo-fi like production. Although the “The Ground” possesses an expansive song structure, it’s a decided sonic departure from Carlyle’s primary gig, the song finds The Orielles co-founder eschewing the strobe lights of the disco for thoughtful and lived-in lyricism and earthy arrangements — while sounding a bit like Daman Albarn’s solo work.

Described by Carlyle as “a song about displacement,” the song’s origins can be traced back to a winter day in which the Halifax-born, Manchester-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began writing down his fractious thoughts of his unanchored passing through time and space. “It was inspired by floating through the universe and through time bouncing off events and other humans, never really knowing where you should be or what you should be doing anyway” Carlyle explains.

New Video: The Legendary Johnny Marr Releases a Trippy Visual for Rousingly Anthemic “Spirit, Power And Soul”

Manchester-born and-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Johnny Marr first rose to fame as the guitarist and co-songwriter of The Smiths between 1982 and 1987. Since The Smiths split up in 1987, Marr has been extremely busy: he has played in number of different projects and has collaborated with a who’s who of acclaimed artists including the likes of The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse, The Cribs, The Pretenders, Talking Heads, The Avalanches, Billie Eilish and Hans Zimmer.

The Manchester-born and-based artist’s highly anticipated fourth album Fever Dreams Pts. 1-4 is a double album, with the first segment, Fever Dreams Pt. 1 being released through BMG on October 15, 2021. Reportedly fusing the language of soul music with his roots as a self-described “Mancunian glam rocker,” the four-song EP features lyrics that could be seen as simultaneously personal and universal — paired with an high energy electronic sound. The end result is an EP worth of material that reflects and is informed by Marr’s legendary and multifaceted past but while seeing him push his sound to a new direction.

Fever Dreams Pt. 1’s first single is the rousingly anthemic, “Spirit, Power And Soul.” Centered around heavily arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, shimmering guitars, Marr’s plaintive vocals and an enormous hook, “Spirit Power And Soul” manages to bring Movement and Power, Corruption and Lies era New Order to mind while subtly hinting at Marr’s past, beloved work.

“‘Spirit, Power And Soul’ is a kind of mission statement. I had an idea about an electro sound with gospel feeling, in my own words… an electro soul anthem,” Marr says of the new single.

The recently released video or “Spirit, Power And Soul” features the legendary Marr in series of trippy set ups, where he’s seen floating serenely through the cosmos and through repeating geometric shapes — sometimes playing his guitar, sometimes rocking out to the song or just with a Buddha-like zen calm.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Piroshka Releases a Delicate Meditation on Love

Deriving their name from the Hungarian version of Little Red Riding Hood, the acclaimed indie rock All-Star fact Piroshka — Lush’s Miki Berenyi (vocals, guitar) Moose’s KJ “Moose” McKillop (guitar), Modern English’s Mick Conroy (bass) and Elastica’s Justin Welch (drums) — features members, best known for their individual work with some of the most acclaimed and beloved indie acts of the past 30 years or so. The JOVM mainstay act can trace its origins to the completed web of connections between its acclaimed members: Individually, Piroshka’s Berenyi and McKillop are considered shoegazer pioneers with their own respective bands, releasing a number of critically applauded albums before they got married and started a family. With their critically appalled and commercially successful 1995 self-titled, full-length debut Elastica exploded into the international scene as Brit Pop megastars — and as admirers, Berenyi and McKillop were familiar with Welch and his work with the band. Conroy joined Moose after Modern English split up for the second time. Welch eventually joined the reunited Lush in 2015. And when Lush needed a bassist for their final show in Manchester, Conroy filled in.

Lush’s final Manchester show laid the foundations for Piroshka’s foundation — but I need to add some much-needed and complicated background: Life is complicated and knotty after all. After Lush’s Chris Acland committed suicide in 1997, his grieving bandmates felt it was impossible to continue as a band without him. The band split up. Berenyi was so heartbroken by Acland’s death that she quit music and spent the next 20 years as a working mother. Because of a variety of personal and professional obligations, Berenyi didn’t agree to a Lush reunion and to touring until 2015. Welch, who coincidentally was a close friend of Acland’s was a logical choice to lovingly fill in.

At some point during the lead up to Lush’s finally show together, Welch asked Berenyi if she’d be up to something new once things ended. As Berenyi recalled in press notes, up until that point in her life, she hadn’t made music outside of Lush and solo work never had much appeal to her. “I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case it was Justin. He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough.’ When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards — I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun.” “We sounded great!” Welch added in press notes. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Conroy agreed, adding “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed and it was good fun, too. And with Moose available, we thought, ‘let’s all have a bash, see what happens.’”

Now, as I said before life is often complicated and knotty — and with Piroshka there are some additional layers of entangled personal, professional and creative connections that are at the heart of the band: Bella Union’s label head Simon Raymonde was among the first people to hear the Brickbat demos and he quickly signed the band to the label. Raymonde’s former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album. And Raymonde’s current Lost Horizons bandmate Richie Thomas was a former member of Moose.

Building upon the attention they received after the release of 2019’s full length debut Brickbat, the band just released their highly-anticipated sophomore album Love Drips and Gathers today. Deriving its title from a line of a Dylan Thomas poem, Piroshka’s sophomore album is a deeply introspective effort, that thematically focuses on the ties that bind us — in particular as lovers, parents, children and friends. Berenyi and McKillop split lyric writing duties, and as a result the album features songs about Berenyi’s and McKillop’s relationship and family, the deaths of McKillop’s mother and father, and the death of longtime friend and 4AD in-house art director Vaughan Oliver, who died suddenly at the end of 2019.

Sonically, Love Drips and Gathers finds the quartet employing more of an ethereal ound than its predecessor while still reveling in energy and drama. “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips And Gathers is shoegaze!” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.” Mick Conroy adds “Brickbat was a classic first album; noisy and raucous. On Love Drips And Gathers, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I managed to write about two of the album’s singles:

“Scratching at the Lid,” a shimmering and ethereal pop anthem centered around Berenyi’s imitable vocals, twinkling keys, a rousingly anthemic hook and a forceful motorik groove. But underneath the big hooks and breakneck gallop, the song is a deeply conflicted meditation focusing on McKillop’s relationship with his father and one’s relationships with their parents. 
“V.O.,” a heartbreaking and brooding mediation on heartache and inconsolable loss. dedicated to their friend and longtime collaborator Vaughan Oliver. Centered around heavily arpeggiated synths, shimmering guitars, Berenyi’s wispy delivery, a propulsive rhythm section and soaring strings, “V.O.” is a fittingly a 4AD Records/Cocteau Twins-like track that focuses on the funeral of a loved one in an impressionistic fashion.

“Loveable,” Love Drips and Gathers’ third and latest single is a swooning love song centered around Berernyi’s plaintive vocals and a delicate arrangement featuring shimmering guitars, a sumptuous bass line and gently rolling percussion. The song focuses on something that in my 42 years I’ve learned is extremely rare: stumbling across, true, deeply fulfilling love with another person.

I thought it was finally time to write an out and out love song! It was written very simply – led by the vocals and then finding the chords to meander around the melody,” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “Justin’s percussion, Moose’s accent notes… there’s a lovely delicacy to the embellishments. I am getting very sentimental in my old age because when I first heard Mick’s bass (one of the last things to be added) my eyes started welling up.”

Continuing their ongoing collaboration with Conor Kinsey, the recently released video for “Loveable” features the central romanic couple of the “V.O.” video. We see the couple of on a beautiful sunny day, sharing the sort of intimacy and comfort held between those madly in love. And yet, there’s a sense that the visual is an achingly bittersweet flashback on the days and moments we can never get back.

New Video: The KVB Releases a Hallucinogenic Visual for Euphoric “World on Fire”

Currently based in Manchester, the acclaimed shoegazer duo The KVB initially was started back in 2010 as the solo recording project of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood. Wood had a series of limited cassette and vinyl releases. In 2011, vocalist, keyboardist and visual artist Kat Day joined the project. And over the next decade, the duo released several critically applauded albums and EPs through a several different labels before signing to Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records, who released 2018’s Only Now Forever.

Each of the duo’s acclaimed releases found them blending the reverb soaked shoegaze with minimalist electronic production simultaneously inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain and Cabaret Voltaire — but while increasingly streamlining their sound with each subsequent effort.

Having toured extensively across the European Union, the UK, China, Russia and Japan, the Manchester-based duo have amassed a devoted fanbase globally. And during the pandemic, the duo relocated from Berlin to Manchester to work on new material with Andy Savours. The duo’s latest single “World on Fire” is the first single from those sessions and interestingly enough, the track finds the duo further refining their sound: Starting with burst of drum machine, the song is centered around buzzing and slashing power chords, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a relentless motorik groove and a euphoric hook paired with the duo’s breathy boy-girl harmonies. Sonically, the track finds the Wood and Day pushing the boundaries of shoegaze in a similar fashion to Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and others while giving their sound a gauzy, New Order-like sheen.

World On Fire’ was written in late 2019 and at its core it’s about duality and how a phrase like ‘set the world on fire’ which sounds so destructive, is also about doing something remarkable,” the members of The KVB explain. “We wanted it to be a phrase that is deliberately open to interpretation in this song.” They add, “Over time we have all become desensitised to bad news and horrific events through television and social media. In much the same way as people slow down to look at a car crash, it feels like we’ve all become more and more obsessed with watching the world on fire.”

wer of Babel comprised of TVs. Eventually, we see the background burst into flames and other signs of the apocalypse.

New Video: Piroshka Releases a Brooding Meditation on Loss

ustin Welch (drums) — features members, best known for their work with some of the most acclaimed and beloved indie acts of the past 30 years. Their collaboration together can trace its origins to the knotted and complicated web connections between each of the band’s members: Individually Berenyi and McKillop are considered shoegaze pioneers with their own respective bands, releasing a number of applauded albums before getting married and starting a family. With 1995’s acclaimed self-titled debut, Elastica quickly became internationally recognized Brit Pop stars — and as a result Berenyi and McKillop were intimately familiar with Welch’s work. Conroy joined McKillop’s band Moose after Modern English broke up the second time. Welch eventually joined the reunited Lush in 2015. And when Lush needed a bassist for their final show in Manchester, Conroy filled in.

As it turned out, the rehearsals for the Manchester show are what laid the foundations for Pirsohka to happen — but I must add some much needed background: After Lush’s Chris Acland committed suicide in 1997, his grieving and devastated bandmates felt that it was impossible to continue as a band. The band split up. Berenyi was so heartbroken by Acland’s death that she quit music and spent the next 20 years as a working mother. Because of personal and professional obligations, Berenyi didn’t agree to a Lush reunion and touring until 2015. Welch, who coincidentally was a close friend of Acland was a logical choice to lovingly fill in. And as the story goes, at some point Welch asked Berenyi if she’d be up to doing something new after the final Lush show. As Berenyi recalled in press notes up until that point in eh life, she hadn’t made music outside of Lush and solo work never really appealed to her. “I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case it was Justin. He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough.’ When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards — I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun.”

“We sounded great!” Welch added in press notes. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Conroy agreed, adding “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed and it was good fun, too. And with Moose available, we thought, ‘let’s all have a bash, see what happens.’”

There are several more layers of that entangled and complicated web of personal, professional and creative connections at the heart of Piroshka, of course: Bella Union’s label head Simon Raymonde was among the first people to hear the Brickbat demos and he quickly signed the band to the label. Raymonde’s former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album. And Raymonde’s current Lost Horizons bandmate Richie Thomas was a former member of Moose.

Brickbat managed to have a deeper symbolic meaning for the band: the title also hit upon the fact that the album was a marked departure from the individual members’ best known work. Written through the anxious prism of parenthood in a world gone made, the album lyrically and thematically touches upon the fear, loathing, envy and strife at the heart of our current — and ongoing — sociopolitical moment. 

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Love Drips and Gathers derives its title from a line of a Dylan Thomas poem. Slated for a July 23, 2021 release through Bella Union, Love Drips and Gathers reportedly follows a more introspective line, with the album thematically focusing on the ties that bind us — in particular, as a lovers, parents, children, friends. Berenyi and McKillop split lyric writing duties, and the album features songs about Berenyi and McKillop’s relationship, their family, the deaths of McKillop’s mother and father and the death of longtime friend and 4AD in-house art director Vaughan Oliver, who died suddenly at the end of 2019. Sonically, the album finds the indie rock legends employing a much more ethereal sound while still reveling in energy and drama. “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips And Gathers is shoegaze!” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.” The band’s Mick Conroy adds “Brickbat was a classic first album; noisy and raucous. On Love Drips And Gathers, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Scratching at the Lid,” a shimmering and ethereal pop anthem centered around Berenyi’s imitable vocals, twinkling keys, a rousingly anthemic hook and a forceful motorik groove. But underneath the big hooks and breakneck gallop, the song is a deeply conflicted meditation focusing on McKillop’s relationship with his father and one’s relationships with their parents. Love Drips and Gathers’ second and latest single, the brooding “V.O.” is dedicated to the band’s longtime friend and collaborator Vaughan Oliver. Centered around arpeggiated synths, shimmering guitars, Berenyi’s wisps of smoke-like delivery, a propulsive rhythm section and soaring strings, “V.O.” fittingly is a Cocteau Twins-like track full of heartache and unfathomable loss delivered in an impressionistic fashion.

put a vocal on it,” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi explains in press notes. “The lyrics are snapshot snippets of Vaughan Oliver’s funeral in January 2020 – lines from the speeches, fleeting impressions of the day. I’m getting to the age where the people I grew up with are dying and I find funerals a comfort in the sadness, formal but emotional, a celebration of a life, a space for the living to reconnect.” 

The recently released video continues Piroshka’s ongoing collaboration with director Conor Kinsey. The video follows an ominous and shadowy being and its relationship with a woman. Throughout the video there’s love, sacrifice, dedication, heartbreaking loss and fear. “We wanted to put this ominous-being centre frame and allow the viewer to reflect on fear and loss whilst also embracing hope and futurity through its life experiences,” Conor Kinsey explains. “Giving the subject no recognisable features meant that it’s emotional journey through the different timelines felt more relatable to a wider audience.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Pastel Coast Return with a Shimmering and Nostalgia-Inducing Bop

The rising French dream pop act Pastel Coast, led by  Boulogne-sur-Mer, France-based creative mastermind Quentin Isidore (vocals, guitar) and featuring Benjamin Fiorini (drums), Ingrid Letourneau (keys), Marion Plouviez (guitar, vocals) and Renaud Retaux (bass) have received attention both nationally and internationally for developing and honing a breezy yet melancholic sound indebted to the early 90s developing and honing a melancholic sound deeply indebted to the early 90s Manchester scene and to acclaimed French indie act Phoenix.

2019 proved to be an enormous year for Pastel Coast: their full-length debut Hovercraft landed on Dream Pop Magazine‘s Top 100. And the band wound up landing a slot at last year’s Inouïs du Printemps de Bourges, which was unfortunately cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing upon that momentum, the French dream pop JOVM mainstays sophomore album Sun officially dropped today — and if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that the album features the following singles:

The attention grabbing “Rendezvous”
“Dial” a breezy synths of New Order and Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix-era Phoenix that evoked the swooning euphoria of new love. 
“Sunset,” a glistening and breezy number that’s a carefully crafted synthesis of New Zealand jangle pop and Phoenix that thematically focused on lovelorn folks racing against time to try to find love before sunset.
“Distance” one of the album’s more synth-driven numbers featuring angular guitar bursts, gently Autoned vocals and a euphoric club and beach friendly hook.

“Funeral,” Sun’s fifth and latest single begins with an atmospheric intro before quickly morphing into a euphoric bop centered around twinkling synths, jangling guitars, Isidore’s plaintive vocals and a motorik groove that sounds like synthesis of early 80s New Order and Phoenix but imbued with an achingly wistful nostalgia for simpler times and the proverbial “one that got away.”

New Video: French JOVM Mainstays Pastel Coast Return with a Cinematic Visual for Breezy “Distance”

Led by their Boulogne-sur-Mer, France-based creative mastermind Quentin Isidore (vocals, guitar) and featuring Benjamin Fiorini (drums), Ingrid Letourneau (keys), Marion Plouviez (guitar, vocals) and Renaud Retaux (bass), the rising French dream pop act Pastel Coast has received attention both nationally and internationally for developing and honing a melancholic sound deeply indebted to the early 90s Manchester scene. 

2019 was an enormous year for the French indie act: their full-length debut Hovercraft landed on Dream Pop Magazine‘s Top 100. And adding to a the growing buzz surrounding them, the band wound up landing a slot at last year’s Inouïs du Printemps de Bourges, which was unfortunately cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continuing that momentum, the French dream pop act and JOVM mainstays will be releasing their highly anticipated full-length debut Sun is slated for a June 4, 2021 release. The album will feature two previously released — and attention grabbing — singles “Rendezvous” and “Dial” a breezy synths of New Order and Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix-era Phoenix that evoked the swooning euphoria of new love.

Earlier this year, the band released “Sunset,” a glistening and breezy number that’s a carefully crafted synthesis of New Zealand jangle pop and Phoenix that thematically focused on lovelorn folks racing against time to try to find love before sunset. The album’s fourth and latest single “Distance” continues a run of shimmering and infectious pop — but interestingly enough, it’s more of a synth-driven number with angular guitar bursts, gently Autotuned vocals and a euphoric hook that’s perfect for the club and for the beach.

Directed by the band’s Quentin Isidore and filmed by David Sagot, the recently released video for “Distance” continues a run of incredibly cinematic visuals — this one seemingly indebted to French New Wave, thanks to the use of subtitles with the song’s lyrics as we follow a man who’s blocked by flowing fabrics and flags in front of him.

New Video: indie Rock All Star act Piroshka Follows An Adorable Little Girl on a Big Day Off in Visual for “Scratching at the Lid”

Deriving their name from the Hungarian version of Little Red Riding Hood, the acclaimed All-Star act Piroshka — Lush’s Miki Berenyi (vocals, guitar) Moose’s KJ “Moose” McKillop (guitar), Modern English’s Mick Conroy (bass) and Elastica’s Justin Welch (drums) — features members, best known for their work with some of the most acclaimed indie acts of the past 30 years. And their latest project together can trace its origins to the knotted web of connections between them: Berenyi and McKillop are considered shoegaze pioneers, who have released a number of applauded releases before getting married and starting a family. With the release of 1995’s self-titled debut, Elastica quickly became internationally recognized Brit Pop stars — and as a result. Berenyi and McKillop were intimately familiar with Welch and his work. Conroy joined McKillop’s band Moose after Modern English broke up for the second time. Welch eventually joined the reunited Lush in 2015. When Lush needed a bassist for their final show in Manchester, Conroy filled in.

As it turned out, the Manchester show rehearsals are what laid the foundations for Piroshka to exist — but admittedly, I need to add some background here: After Lush’s Chris Acland committed suicide in 1997, his grieving and devastated bandmates felt it was impossible to continue as a band. The band eventually broke up. Berenyi was so heartbroken by Acland’s death that she quit music and spent the next 20 years as a working mother. Because of personal and personal obligations, Berenyi didn’t agree to reunite Lush and tour again until 2015. Welch, who coincidentally was a close friend of Acland was a logical choice to lovingly fill in. At some point, Welch asked Berenyi if she’d be up to doing something new after the final Manchester show. And as Berenyi recalled in press noters, up until that point in her life, she hadn’t made music outside of Lush and solo work never really appealed to her. “I need someone else to motivate me, and in this case it was Justin. He sent drum tracks with guitar parts and odd words, so I wrote some vocals and lyrics, which became ‘This Must Be Bedlam’ and ‘Never Enough.’ When Mick added bass, it sounded great. When Moose added guitar and keyboards — I’d never written like that before, it was such good fun.”

“We sounded great!” Welch added in press notes. “Like a proper punk band. Mick brings a huge amount of enthusiasm and livens up the room, and I thought this is the kind of band I want to be in again.” Conroy agreed, adding “I’d seen Lush so many times, it was like playing with old friends. Miki agreed and it was good fun, too. And with Moose available, we thought, ‘let’s all have a bash, see what happens.’”

Of course, there are several more layers to the entangled and complicated web of personal, professional and creative connections at the heart of Piroshka: Bella Union’s label head Simon Raymonde was among the first people to hear the Brickbat demos and he quickly signed the band to the label. Plus, I should add that Raymonde’s former Cocteau Twins bandmate Robin Guthrie produced Lush’s debut album. And Raymonde’s current Lost Horizons bandmate Richie Thomas was a former member of Moose. In any case, Raymonde introduced Piroshka to Lanterns on the Lake‘s Paul Gregory, who mixed all but one track on the album. Lastly,  Fiona Brice, who was once a Bella Union recording artist, wrote string arrangements while The Higsons and Blockhead‘s Terry Edwards, who played on Lush’s final album played brass.

Deriving its name for a slang term for missile, the band’s 2019 full-length debut Brickbat managed to have a deeper symbolic meaning for the band: the title also hit upon the fact that the album was a marked departure from the individual members’ best known work. Written through the anxious prism of parenthood in a world gone made, the album lyrically and thematically touches upon the fear, loathing, envy and strife at the heart of our current — and ongoing — sociopolitical moment.

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Love Drips and Gathers derives its title from a line of a Dylan Thomas poem. Slated for a July 23, 2021 release through Bella Union, Love Drips and Gathers reportedly follows a more introspective line, with the album thematically focusing on the ties that bind us — in particular, as a lovers, parents, children, friends. Berenyi and McKillop split lyric writing duties, and the album features songs about Berenyi and McKillop’s relationship, their family, the deaths of McKillop’s mother and father and the death of longtime friend and 4AD in-house art director Vaughan Oliver, who died suddenly at the end of 2019. Sonically, the album finds the indie rock legends employing a much more ethereal sound while still reveling in energy and drama. “If Brickbat was our Britpop album, then Love Drips And Gathers is shoegaze!” Piroshka’s Miki Berenyi says in press notes. “It wasn’t intentional; we just wanted a different focus. I’ve always seen debut albums as capturing a band’s first moments, when you really have momentum, and then the second album is the chance for a more thoughtful approach.” The band’s Mick Conroy adds “Brickbat was a classic first album; noisy and raucous. On Love Drips And Gathers, we’ve calmed down and explored sounds, and space.”

“Scratching at the Lid,” Love Drips and Gathers is a shimmering and ethereal pop anthem centered around Berenyi’s imitable vocals, twinkling keys, a rousingly anthemic hook and a motorik groove. But underneath the euphoria inducing hooks and breakneck gallop, the song is a conflicted meditation on McKillop’s father and one’s relationship to their parents that sonically sounds a bit like a synthesis of Brit Pop, indie rock and shoegaze.

Directed by Connor Kingsley at Home Picture Films, the recently released video for “Scratching at the Lid” follows a rambunctious and energetic little girl, who’s one of the best things a kid can heart — there’s no school today. Throughout her day, she does all the things that kids do: running around the house causing chaos; plays with her dog, puts on makeup and pretend she’s an adult singing star. And in this girl’s world, we rarely see an adult, which probably allows her to be even more of a kid. The main thing for me is that the girl is adorable — and in some way, a reminder of our own childhood and childhood dreams.