Wild Balbina #2 - Stay Alive

Facebook

Another catch-up with a band I've not featured for two years. Spanish quartet Wild Balbina originally came to my attention on their ramshackle garage pop debut Eat Tacos, something I called a glorious mix of all things fuzzy. They return with "Stay Alive" a single taken from a mini-LP Sisters Before Misters which unbeknown to me, came out earlier this year via the ever great Elefant Records.

Time constraints mean I'll focus on the digital single, "Stay Alive" is more harmonic and polished than their 2012 debut with 60's girl group syrupy vocals meeting early 90's Breeders-esque surf rock, full of nostalgic, dreamy energy, rip-roaring guitar distortion and an infectious chorus. Fans of Best Coast et al should definitely take note.  "Such a Jerk"  is similarly straightforward and catchy but is more Veronica Falls than BC, darker with sprawling bass, consistent drum rhythms and jagged guitar hooks combining with soon to be inside your brain choruses. It's simply ace.

The EP is available now (order here) and instantly goes on my 'want list' for pay day. I'm perhaps a little late in letting you know this but the band play in Cardiff tonight before hitting London's Lexington tomorrow - details.

To The Wedding #3 - Set Fire

Facebook

To The Wedding, San Francisco's Lauren Grubb, has already cemented herself as one of 2014's stand-out artists with just three tracks. Previous singles "Silver Currents" and "Come On" introduced an immersive, unhurried songcraft and now "Set Fire" has come along and trumped them both...

Bigger, larger, even better, "Set Fire" beings similarly restrained, with Lauren's smoky vocals intoxicating softly strummed guitar before enveloping you slowly within a hazy, cinematic monster as skyscraper rhythms build and build into a crescendo of Hope of the States esque instrumental sound. A huge drip feed of emotion awaits.

"Set Fire", like the aforementioned tracks are taken from To The Wedding's forthcoming EP Silver Currents released next week - order via Bandcamp now.

Tashaki Miyaki #9 - The Beautiful Ones

Facebook

Covering Prince is a tricky thing to do, especially in the eyes of an uber fan like myself. In fact I can only think of a few decent attempts; Alicia Keys did a splendid job on "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore", Gazelle Twin's rendition of "I Wonder U" is great and perhaps you can add Mariah Carey's OTT cover of the track I'll be talking about today (then there's Chaka Khan of course, and TLC too but their cover of the phenomenal "If I Was Your Girlfriend" isn't so much a cover as a copy). Usually though when an artist covers Prince (who himself likes the odd cover version), it manages to sound like someone down your local after a few pints...

LA's Tashaki Miyaki, never a pair to shy away from covers (see this post or this or this) are the latest to throw their hat into the ring with a bubbling cover of Purple Rain's "The Beautiful Ones". Now a hazy, nostalgic sweet love song in which twinkling keys and hazy guitars gently lull softening vocals with pretty wonderful results. Then instead of growing to the original's orgasmic finale, Tashaki Miyaki slow things down further, changing the words "I want you, I want you, I want you, yes I do, yes I do, yes I do" from desperate, yearning cries to an intimate and soft beauty. It gets the thumbs up from me.

The track is available to stream / download below - a Covers EP (I'm not sure if that's more new covers, details are as yet unannounced) is promised soon.

S - Vampires

Facebook

Unsearchable band names don't come any more so than S, the new project of Carissa's Wierd's Jenn Ghetto who released her fourth solo record Cool Choices via the ever-reliable Hardly Art last month.

It's the nearly released video for "Vampires" however that serves as my intro, a fully-formed indie-pop sound is soon found with raw emotive songs clashing with warm, nostalgic melody. "Brunch" continues with the theme of break-up and heartache lyrically but bright, chiming guitar solos and Jenn's breathy vocals do a good job at hiding the subject matter within neatly packaged fuzz-pop gems. The sort that I cannot helpbut adore.

An album to investigate further is found. Something that can be done with Cool Choices out now - order via Norman Records or your favourite store.

White Fever #2 - Shadows

Facebook

Since I last caught with London's White Fever on Spring's "Introducing" post the quartet have played a handful of shows in the capital and recorded what forms their official debut EP Beating Of Wings, from which the undulating "Shadows" is the first track to be heard - the EP is due next week, October 27th and celebrated with a free entry gig at the Old Blue Last on the same day - details.

"Shadows" exemplifies and furthers their richly seductive, gloriously moreish craft, their most urgent and addictive moment so far with layers of glistening, chugging guitars and rhythmic drums propelling Ida's ever passionate vocals, enchanting and delicious, it's one powerful beast.

Promise and the Monster #2 - Feed The Fire

Facebook

Two years have passed since my discovery of Promise and the Monster (that I wrote about here), the album Red Tide of the same year remaining the last music to be heard from the Stockholm based artist until "Feed The Fire" cropped up on her soundcloud page the other day, it comes from a set entitled (in Swedish and thanks to Google translate) 'some new songs, not mixed, not mastered', if this is the quality of the demos, we are soon in for a treat...

"Feed The Fire" continues to bathe in the same haunting, noir-folk realms, with Billie's hushed, hunting vocals softly floating over beautifully restrained instrumentation. The result is enchanting, with her rich, organic sounds coming across like a mystical fairy tale, one that like any good fairy tale has a hint of darkness about it. 

Elizabeth Vince - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook

Thanks to my good friend Phill at Tru Luv for this discovery. Manchester's Elizabeth Vince who has just released her debut solo EP, Our Loving Cage (available now via Bandcamp and iTunes).

I'll start with the track that Phill put me on to, "I Was All I Was", a sparse, spellbinding beauty in the dark that murmurs with a similar sense of eeriness to Chelsea Wolfe's "Movie Screen". A gorgeously hypnotic listen full of chilled, haunted atmosphere, trip hop-esque beats and a soft and forlorn vocals. EP Opener "Keep A Light Doubt" similarly creeps around dark, ambient textures, twinkling electronics and ghost-like, spectral wanderings.

The melancholic, emotive vibe of "Alone" brings Portishead thoughts to mind with layers of vocals and pared-down beats whilst the EP closes on the title track, where a brooding build-up of choral harmony and rhythmic beats climax with soaring emotion that inspires the heart and soul.

Our Loving Cage is the sort of EP that begs to be heard on a good pair of headphones with the lights out. Go and do that now...

Gaps #2 - She Bears A Flower

Facebook

I can't believe it's as long ago as February 2013 that I last mentioned Brighton duo GAPS here after a handful of delicious demos introduced their minimalist and ethereal soundscapes to a growing number of plaudits and fans.

They return with "She Bears A Flower", an enchanting rediscovery of their subtle, natural sounding magnetism, weaving a never rushed tapestry of beautiful, mystical instrumentation and sensual vocals together with sumptuous, intoxicating results.

"She Bears A Flower" is released on 1st December via Sexbeat Records. Watch the similarly otherworldly video accompaniment below: