Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Lazy Day - With My Mind

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Lazy Day might be a new name to you but perhaps Tilly Scantlebury and Hella Better Dancer are not, they certainly aren't new to me with HBD being a band I've supported on this blog for almost three years now with the relationship leading to my little label Beautiful Strange releasing a physical version of their (and with that knowledge you maybe aware that a biased opinion awaits) stunning single "Sleeptalking" late last year (the band also played for Beautiful Strange live shows on a couple of occasions, yes I'm lucky).

So with that in mind, it's with great pleasure that I got a sneaky early listen to the track I'm going to try and refrain from painting with too many superlatives today. "With My Mind" is most fully realised track that Tilly has released thus far under her Lazy Day pseudonym. Earlier tracks shared on her Soundcloud suited the band name (currently just Tilly, with hopefully a live band and dates to follow) perfectly, full of plaintive daydreams and spacious, echoed vocals. "With My Mind" takes that further with a brooding intensity and a hypnotic guitar riff that will embed itself in your brain, couple it with Tilly's magnetic voice, her sumptuous, soothing tones wrap around you and soon your lost deep within. Quite brilliant.

Fear of Men #11 - Decent / America

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I'm so slow on the uptake / behind on my emails (I'm still working from the backlog that comes with year-end at work and going on a mini-holiday) that one new track from Fear of Men has become two. With their debut full-length Loom almost with us (due next week via Kanine Records), I was already pretty excited for its release after following the band for about three years and hearing its opening tracks "Alta / Waterfall" and first single "Loom", now these new tracks confirm it's guaranteed placing amongst the years finest LP's so far.

On the surface "Descent" seems to a beautifully sweet, surging pop nugget with blossoming string instrumentation and Jess' honey-toned vocals, however, a darker tone is never too far away and the intimate lyrics hint at troubles from the result of over-reliance on one person. The other new one "America" is perhaps the biggest indication of the bands transformation, from an a cappella introduction to a flawless multi-textured gem which brings together the bands infinite charm, fragile emotions and engulfing beauty. I'm off to see the band tonight at Birthdays - it should be a belter.


Fickle Friends - Play

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I'm happy to swallow my words when I'm wrong (after all, it doesn't happen too often) and that's exactly what I'm doing here... A few months back Brighton quintet Fickle Friends appeared from nowhere with a bubble of blog hype (possibly the first real one of 2014) with their debut track "Swim", a ready made anthem with glorious synths and guitar combining with happy-go-lucky vocals. For some reason it never quite connected with me, it's probably the clinking rhythms in at the start. Anyway, it doesn't matter, a few weeks back they returned with their second track "Play" and now here I am, a fully subscribed member of their fan club (or the 2014 equivalent at least, a follower on Facebook).

"Play" combines the same radio friendly charm as "Swim" but gives more freedom to the irresistible voice of Natassja Shine, her swooning words rise to power-pop choruses amongst giddy instrumentation and a chorus so catchy it's going to embed itself in your head from the very first listen.

The band are due to play next months Great Escape festival and I'm definitely interested to see how their sound transfers to a live show.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Meadowlark - New Music "Introducing"

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I'm forever posting 'slow, melancholic, beautiful' music here and whilst this track, "Family Tree" by new Plymouth / Bristol trio Meadowlark can certainly be allocated those words, it's also so much more than that...

"Family Tree" is a rich, expansive track that grows from sparse beginnings, where a delicate piano guides Kate McGill's stunning vocals to increasingly gorgeous highs as flourishes of sweeping, cinematic strings and guitar swirls build to a joyously uplifting climax that pulls firmly at your emotions.

They've got a debut EP called Three Six Five due via Believe Recordings next month with a supporting UK tour which includes a date at London's Sebright Arms on May 27th. The EP can be pre-ordered via Bandcamp now.

Iris & Hedvig - New Music "Introducing"

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From one Scandinavian duo to another today, moving to Sweden now for the debut single by Iris & Hedvig and their track "The Watcher And The Mind" (released via Loud Attic Records).

I'm hearing lots of things that I like here as you are immediately introduced to the girls' luscious vocals, rising amongst a swelling percussive beat that climaxes with a big, bombastic chorus that recalls Oh Land's finest pop moments around swooning strings. It's both darkly dramatic and beautiful - characteristics that are pretty much guaranteed to have me jumping to press the post button...

Mona & Maria - My Sun

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I meant to post about Mona & Maria last year when I discovered them with the 60's inspired "Babyflowers", a luscious, swooning string drenched track which will be perfect to soundtrack any bbq you are thinking of having over the elongated Easter Holidays (if the glorious UK weather holds for a bank holiday of course). A glorious, harmony led beauty influenced by the likes of The Mama's and Papa's with fantastic voices and shining, nostalgic dreams.

The reason for this post though is another track, "My Sun", the title track from the Norwegian duo's debut album (out now via Jansen Plateproduksjon), a track that (again) sounds like it could have been made at any time in the last fifty years, here more ethereal, psyche-folk that contrasts between light and shade, mellow vocals and dramatic, fuzzed-up guitars. Heavenly stuff.