Slated for a February 1, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings, the acclaimed London-based indie trio White Lies, comprised of Harry McVeigh (lead vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass, backing vocals) and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums) will be marking their tenth anniversary as a band — and interestingly, the album reportedly finds the band pushing their sound and aesthetic in new directions with the addition of personal, and at times deeply intimate lyrics written by the band’s Charles Cave. Unlike the preceding albums, the writing and recording process was a Transatlantic one that included a trip to Los Angeles, where they worked on new material with Ed Bueller, who produced the band’s chart-topping debut To Lose My Life and their third album Big TV. Throughout the process, the band enlisted past associates and collaborators to assist on the proceedings including engineer James Brown, who has worked with Arctic Monkeys and Foo Fighters; the renowned producer Flood, who contributes synths and keys on a couple of tracks; and Grammy Award-winning Alan Moulder, who has worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and The Killers to mix the album.
Clocking in at a little over 7 and a half minutes, the album’s latest single “Time to Give” may arguably be among the most ambitious songs the band has released, as the track is centered around a lush yet moody arrangement of shimmering synths, a sinuous bass line that’s part of a propulsive, motorik groove and soaring, arena rock-friendly hooks paired with McVeigh’s sonorous baritone. And while nodding a bit at Snow Patrol and others, the song seems to focus on a dysfunctional and abusive relationship from a real an lived-in place; in fact, it’s so real that as a result, the song bristles with bitterness, confusion and hurt.
Last month, I wrote about Evalyn, an up-and-coming Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter whose soon-to-be released Salvation EP thematically explores the seven deadly sins, while also being centered around the concept of trying to find something to save you from yourself and the world — whether it be a religion or a cult or anything else you might worship. Now, as you may recall, EP single “Big Bad City” featured an arena rock-like production consisting of thumping beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line and a soaring hook. And while possessing the emotional heft of an old school spiritual, the song was one examination of pride — in particular, an unapologetic passion for a sinful, greedy and vapid way of life.
Interestingly, the EP’s latest single “A Pill to Crush” reveals an artist who readily experiments with her sound and songwriting as the track manages to subtly hint at 60s psych pop as its centered around a trippy production of bubbling and wobbling synths, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar chords paired with the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter’s dreamily distracted vocals (which are distorted at various points). And while the song is arguably the most expansive and mind-altering of the up-and-coming artist’s growing catalog, the song lyrically finds its narrator bitterly describing a relationship in which the other person treats you like a pill they can crush and eventually discard — and the feelings of wrath that being rejected and treated poorly can engender.
Last month, I wrote about the Sudbury, Ontario, Canada-based punk act Tommy and the Commies, and as you may recall, the band, which is comprised of Jeff Houle, best known as the creative master mind of Strange Attractor; Jeff’s brother Mitch, with whom he’s played in power pop act STATUES; and frontman Tommy Commy can trace their origins to when Commy dragged Jeff Houle into a punk rock venue bathroom stall to play an inaudible demo on his phone. And as the story goes. the Houles decided to collaborate with Commy, after being impressed by his vocals.
The trio’s full-length debut, Here Come . . . is slated for release later this month through Slovenly Records, and “Devices,” the album’s first single revealed a band that specializes in a furious and blistering mod punk that recalls power pop and The Ramones on speed, while centered by an incisive criticism of our addictive obsessions with our electronic devices. “Suckin’ In Your 20s” the Canadian trio’s latest single off their full-length debut continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as its an angular bit of breakneck power pop-influenced punk with enormous, rousing hooks that manages to be reminiscent of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO-era DEVO; in fact, the song seems underpinned by an anxious nihilism that evokes our socioeconomic moment.
Always Never is an up-and-coming Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based electro pop production and artist duo, comprised of Patrick Kirschner (vocals) and Dean Guilbault (production) — and with the release of “Millions,” “No Good,” “Morgan Freeman” and “Dangerous,” off their recently released self-titled debut, the Canadian duo have been compared to the likes of Majid Jordan, Miguel and The Weeknd among others — although with the attention grabbing single “Wylin,” the duo’s sound strikes me as bearing a closer resemblance to For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon, as Kirschner’s soulful yet tender vocals are paired with gauzy, atmospheric and yet super modern productions featuring stuttering beats, tweeter and woofer rocking low end and infectious hooks; in fact, much like Beacon, the duo’s sound possesses a pensive, late night vibe, full of regret, confusion and longing.
Liam Brown is an up-and-coming, Liverpool, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and electro pop artist, best known as Pizzagirl — and with the release of his debut EP An Extended Play earlier this year, Brown was championed by the likes of Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and Lauren Laverne, and received praise from DIY, Highsnobiety, Wonderland, The Line of Best Fit and others for an 80s synth pop inspired sound. And adding to a growing profile, Brown opened for acclaimed British act Her’s during their most recent UK tour.
Building upon a growing profile, Brown’s sophomore Pizzagirl effort season 2 is slated for a November release, and the EP’s latest single “highschool,” will further cement Brown’s reputation for crafting achingly wistful and pensive, synth pop centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and sinuous hooks — while recalling Washed Out, St. Lucia and classic 80s synth pop, complete with enormous, painfully sincere teenaged sentiment, as the song’s narrator is worried about losing his cool over someone he digs immensely.
Josie Bolvin is a Quebec-based, classically trained pianist and opera vocalist, as well as an electronic pop producer, singer/songwriter and artist, best known as MUNYA — and as the story goes Bolvin had only written one song when she was asked to perform at last year’s Pop Montreal. Ironically, at the time, Bolvin had never intended to pursue music full-time but after playing at the festival, she quickly realized that what she was meant to do — be a musician. So Bolvin quit her day job, moved in with her sister and turned their kitchen into a home recording studio where she wrote every day. These recordings would eventually become part of an EP trilogy — with each EP comprised of three songs — named after a significant place in Bolvin’s life. Her self-released debut North Hatley derives its name from one of Bolvin’s favorite little villages in Quebec. Her forthcoming second EP, Delmano is slated for an October 5, 2018 release through Fat Possum Records and derives its name from Williamsburg Brooklyn’s Hotel Delmano.
Delmano‘s first single ”Hotel Delmano” is a breezy and mischevious, shimmering synth-based tale of melancholy surrealism, centered by Bolvin’s ethereal vocals singing completely in her native French. And as Bolvin explains in press notes, the song is largely inspired by a dream Bolvin had that was inspired by the video for Vendredi sur Mer‘s “La Femme à la Peau Bleue.” As Bolvin says in press notes, “I watched it so many times that she entered my dreams once we were having a drink at Hotel Delmano. The song is about that dream.” Sonically, the song sounds as though it should be a part of the soundtrack of a Michel Gondry film in which its sad protagonist gets thrown into a whimsical and colorful world while recalling La Femme, Polo & Pan, and others.
With the release of her critically applauded full-length debut ABYSS, the Oakland, CA-born, Austin, TX-based electronic music producer and artist Pastel Ghost quickly received attention for an ethereal, genre-defying sound that meshes elements of dream pop, post-punk, EDM and electronica, Building upon a growing profile, the Oakland-born, Austin, TX-based electronic music producer and artist’s sophomore album Ethereality is slated for an October 5, 2018 release through Cleopatra Records and the album’s latest single “Mercury” will further cement Pastel Ghost’s growing reputation for crafting gauzy, shoegazer-like club music that possesses a deeply cinematic bent.
Comprised of Lucy Jowett (vocals), Joe Clarke (guitar) and Jacob Marston (drums), the up-and-coming Leeds, UK-based art punk trio Dead Naked Hippies formed back in 2016 and since their formation they’ve received praise from BBC Introducing, KCRW, DIY, Clash, DORK Magazine, Metro and PRS Magazine for a face melting take on art rock and art punk centered. Adding to a growing profile, the Leeds-based trio have shared stages with Dream Wife, IDLES, Queen Zee and DZ Deathrays, and have played at Live at Leeds and last year’s Leeds Festival.
The trio’s latest single “Rare” will further cement their growing reputation for crafting blistering and furious punk rock centered around a pummeling and angular guitar line, thumping and forceful four-on-the-floor drumming, and a shout along in a sweaty mosh pit worthy hook; but at the core of the song is a rebellious and cathartic rallying yell. As the band’s Jowett explains in press notes, “It is a song about self love. I think we’re quick to judge the term & deem it laughable or irrelevant in fear of being arrogant, or weird. But if you take a hard look at the society we live in, it’s clear to see why so many people struggle to feel content in their own minds and their own bodies. I’ve always struggled with myself and it sickens me to think that so many other people feel the same. It needs to change.
“We’re used by advertising companies, so they can make money out of our discontentment. Bombarded with images of fake realities, only to make us feel like ours isn’t enough. We’re made to feel like our creativity and passion will never be as important as serving a functional purpose in society. It’s dull, boring and I’m fucking mad about it. Most importantly, I want people to know that they’re not alone.”
With the release of recent singles “Holding On” and “Let’s Go Outside” receiving attention across the blogosphere, opening slots with Her’s, Indoor Pets, and whenyoung, and a forthcoming set this month’s Leeds Festival, the up-and-coming Leeds, UK-based trio Far Caspian, comprised of Irish-born, Leeds-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Joel Johnson, Leeds-born and-based drummer and backing vocalist Jof Cabedeo and Leeds-born and-based bassist and backing vocalist Alessio Scozarro have developed a reputation for crafting material centered around Johnson’s transition to life in a new country and the upheavals that ensue paired with their unique take on atmospheric pop, influenced by Real Estate, Grizzly Bear and Band of Horses.
“The Place” off the up-and-coming Leeds-based trio’s forthcoming debut EP slated for release this fall through Dance To The Radio is a jangling and atmospheric track, rooted to percussive and angular drumming, shimmering guitar chords and sinuous hooks — and in some way, the song sounds as though it draws from Vampire Weekend and others but with a breezier, summertime vibe. As the band says in press notes, “We wanted to have a track on the EP that was based more on intricate rhythms but instead we went for a pretty stripped back arrangement so it made sense alongside our other tracks. The song itself is about overthinking things in social situations and feeling like you aren’t contributing enough to conversation because you’re feeling awkward.”