Edinburgh Electronic/Alt. R&B artist Rachel Johnson has released her debut single ‘S/he’ under the moniker Kohla . A fine arts graduate Kohla was writing rock music until last year where she suffered a vocal injury and in turn listened to a lot of hip hop, alt R&B and rap while she was recovering. ‘Kohla’ is a debut of alternative R&B, influenced by Banks, FKA Twigs and James Blake among others, with ‘S/he’ being thematically about jealously, disdain and pride. The artwork was also drawn by Kohla.
‘S/he’ is a molten R&B hued number laced with tension as Kohla unfolds her carefully crafted fierce yet vulnerable sound over a gripping backdrop. Her gentle voice coos through the soft melody with her warm lower range or sweet frail and breathy falsetto creating a delicate easy on the ears seduction . The steady sticky beat is constant through the fluid haunting backing vocals and all round eerie dreamy atmosphere. It’s elegant, sassy and filled with refined class as Kohla announces herself with this steamy darkly coated track.
Washington Electro Rock/Synth Pop band Color Palette have released their new single ‘Dark Days’. Expanding into the darker facet of their musical prism Color Palette dive deep into electronic rock to create a gripping cinematic number. Flickering electronics flutter and rush about a steady beat while the smooth vocals hold all the instrumental bluster together with its chilled effortless grasp. The bitter guitars sting and soar over the gritty electronic riff creating that ethereal vibe this band do superbly however the winding keys and sinister atmosphere pull the track into its darker shades maintaining an ominous tone. Filled with dramatic bursts the track drives through keeping climactic paced momentum throughout. Each element is perfectly paced from blistering guitar moments to flashes of dazzling electronics and meaty drums creating intense highs in the track with Jay Nemeyes velvety vocals contrasting this whirlwind with his sweet coos and gentle laid back tone. Doused in dreamy bleak vibes it’s a hair raising gem. Exuding a gripping sense of adrenaline this is a captivating track from Color Palette.
London based solo artist GORILLABRAIN has released his new single ‘The Sliced Bread Conundrum’. This chilling number lurks in the shadows ready to pounce on you when you are alone and vulnerable. It’s filled with menace as the deranged head spinning electronics swirl around a slicing guitar massacre that lacerates through the hypnotic beat. The layers of vocals growling and wailing over whining dizzying electronics, clattering beats and blustering distortion will send shivers down your spine. Humorous lyrics are mangled between the dark, heavy mania making this track one creepy thrill. It fills you with that eerie fear ( like meeting an insane clown in a dark alley dancing frantically toward you ) while packing in enough meaty frenzy to make you want to dance along too. This is the brilliant stuff of crazed nightmares.
Watch the video for ‘The Sliced Bread Conundrum’ below
The LA-based duo Magdalena Bay visit a darker side of synth pop on their latest single ‘Ghost’. The pop duo are 22-year-old Mica Tenenbaum (songwriting, vocals) and 23-year-old Matthew Lewin (songwriting, vocals, production). The lyrics to the new track are inspired by the iconic 80’s film Mr. Vampire, which Mica had just watched in a Chinese film class.Following the success of recent singles Neon and Waking Up, Magdalena Bay have an arsenal of finished music that they plan on unleashing on the world now that they’re settled in LA. Ghost is the second of these to be released, and is sure to show listeners a new side to the band who write and produce all of their music from their home studio.
‘Ghost’ is a silken, lustrous pop number tightly bound in laser precision electronics. This track wriggles and weaves its way through rich, pulsing beats slapping against shimmering synths while the glossy pop melody smooths on top with a dreamy luxurious texture that oozes class and swagger. The dazzling soundscapes flash with eerie dark stomps throughout creating a haunting atmosphere to this luscious pop number. Magdalena Bay have created a clean, dance-able and infectious number that moves with grace and elegance while a bubbling groove steers the track to something more sinister.
“We wanted to try something new when we started writing Ghost” explains the band. “We had just finished a string of really bubblegum pop songs. Then, this spooky beat came out of nowhere. The song is darker than our previous releases– but it’s still fun and totally dancy. To us, Ghost is what would happen if Britney Spears and MGMT collaborated on a track..”
Bristol garage rock band The Rupees have released their new single ‘Terror Lover’. Ryan Tucker (Vocals, Guitar) ,Seamus Daley Dee (Drums), Jacob Chambers (Synths) and Tom Phillips (Bass) make up the four piece and their music has already been showcased on BBC Radio 1 (Huw Stephens), BBC Radio 6 (Steve Lamacq), and Sky TV and have played Reading Festival, supporting bands such as Blossoms and The Growlers and selling out their own headline shows.
‘Terror Lover’ displays The Rupees blustery synth driven sound at its dazzling grizzly best. With distortion galore and a punchy backdrop immersed in searing guitars this track is mighty and mesmerising. The all encompassing light flashy synths weave their mind dissolving soundscapes around this animated number. Its catchy and dance floor ready as disco vibes swarm the track in glistening bedazzlement while snarling vocals snap out the infectious lyrics. Brimming in intense rock energy these guys blend their blinding synth rock meticulously to have you compelled to dance mindlessly to its thundering upbeat thrill.
Electronic duo All Tvvins have released their new single ‘Infinite Swim’ from their second album ‘Just To Exist’ which is due for release early 2019 and produced by James Vincent McMorrow. All Tvvins enjoyed a phenomenal start to their career. Their debut album ‘IIVV’ shot into the Irish charts at #2, earned a Choice Music Prize nomination for Irish Album of the Year and smashed the 15 million streams landmark. Meanwhile, gigs in the UK and Ireland included a life-affirming sold-out show at Dublin’s historic Olympia Theatre as well as a tour as guests to Metric. All Tvvins, who consist of Conor Adams (The Cast Of Cheers) and Lar Kaye (Adebisi Shank) spent January and February of this year recording the new album and the album’s title ‘Just To Exist’ comes from a line in their new single ‘Infinite Swim’.
‘Infinite Swim’ is a funky flex of rich textures weaved through luscious melodies and pristine production. It’s swagger soaked panache strides and glides upon slinky guitars, groove infested bass and dazzling electronic whirls while it’s chic exterior smoothly drifts along with an effortless chilled tone and laid back vibe. The sweet creamy vocals caress and float upon the infectious velvety melody as it magnificently swoons it way comfortably into your mind.The track is rooted with a meaty funk foundation that adds a strut ready danceable shuffle while the electronics slide and glissade with an ethereal soul tinged elegance. A vapourous guitar solo brings this 80’s disco tinged track to slick glorious heights, All Tvvins present us with a first rate glossy number to sink our teeth into.
To celebrate the album’s release, the duo have announced their biggest Dublin headline show to date at The National Stadium on April 13th 2019.
Contemporary R&B three piece Little Grace have recently released their third single ‘My Bed’. Taking inspiration from Tracey Emin’s art installation, the single proves how connected all art forms are whilst also exploring themes of mental health. With a percentage of all earnings from the single going towards men’s mental health charity CALM, the boys become transparent through their music and hope to encourage the removal of the stigma. Based in North West England, Little Grace have worked with some notable names, including Bristol based drum & bass producer TC, German producer and DJ Robin Schulz (James Blunt, Nick Jonas) and Liverpool based XamVolo. My Bed was written in a day after a surge of inspiration after visiting The Tate Museum, written about the peril of getting lost in your own worries and struggles the track explores daily battles. The accompanying video, created by Spanish animators Eira Ramos and Guillem Guarro, reverses half way through, representing the vicious cycle sufferers of mental health can get caught up in.
‘My Bed’ is a rich full bodied number that sweetly blends electronic and R&B through gripping soundscapes and moving lyrics. Smooth vocals caress the catchy riveting melody with a delicate tenderness while swirling electronics whirl and sweep in the background churning with hair raising emotion and subtle little burst of adrenaline throughout. A sticky gloopy beat slaps and crawls its way around delicate twinkling synths for the verses building the track to its infectious magnetic chorus. This richly produced track glides and simmers around dark tones and eerie soundscapes while the synth pop flavours and velvety vocals sweeten the track and make for a captivating listen.
Our Worth A Listen Track This Week Comes From Lycio
Birmingham Alternative Electronic band Lycio have released their new single ‘Up Down’.Lycio are a contemporary 3-piece bringing a uniquely authentic take on electronic/hybrid music. Having started in 2016, the band have supported notable acts such as Rae Morris, Yonaka, Gurr, Low Island and Stevie Parker on their headline tours. Live highlights have also included a Richer Unsigned session, Chris Evans’ Carfest for BBC Children in Need 2017 & 2018, BBC Introducing acoustic session, Project Soundlounge at Birmingham Town Hall, and an exclusive in store Selfridges ‘Live + Loud’ session.Mastered at Metropolis Studios by Stuart Hawkes (Ed Sheeran, Lorde, Fickle Friends, Rudimental, Amy Winehouse), Lycio’s fourth offering ‘Up Down’ continues the up-beat momentum gathered by their previous release ‘Evil People’.
‘Up Down’ is a richly textured electronic composition of elation. Infectious rhythms whack and weave their groovy way throughout this gripping gem as a smooth vibrant melody ensures the band have a firm grip on your ears. Staccato synths surge the track with little kinetic bursts of vitality which pulse and divulge darkly hued energy into every flicker and hop while Genie Mendez’s vocals float and glide with lush soulful tones over the sublime melody. Elegant piano twinkles throughout creating glorious magical qualities through the enchanting swirls of electronics. This dynamic buoyant gem surges with energy, sultriness and danceable bliss. It’s intense and animated with a slapping beat driving through the smoggy mystery filled, dark soundscapes and lyrical theme as Lycio present a wholly satisfying intoxicating number.
On the subject of the track, front woman Genie Mendez explains “Up Down is loosely based around my fluctuation in mood and emotions; hence the title and lyrics ’Up Down’. The chorus is a cry for help, and an expression of the loneliness that comes with mental illness”.
Meath Electronic Artist Jamie Adam has released his new single ‘Last Ones Down’ taken off his debut album ‘Melodic Electronic’, scheduled for release in early 2019.This release follows Adam’s two previous single releases, ‘The Power’ in February 2018 and ‘Cool Blood’ in July 2018, the latter of which was picked up by 8radio, 98fm, 2fm and Wandsworth Radio London on it’s release. The new single chronicles the nights out Adam experienced while still in College. Written in 2016,the song is a recount of his ability to stay up all night, the magic of the afterparty and those moments where he found himself alone when the fun had surpassed him in the early hours of the morning.
‘Last Ones Down’ is an exhilarating electronic number that twists and turns, merging ethereal synths with sticky beats and rooted bass lines. The swirling synths playfully wisp about the track creating a breath-taking flourishing soundscape between the sweetly delicate melody as smooth vocals coo over a glistening guitar feature and slapping beats. The protruding bass sets a groove laced foundation for the invigorating atmosphere to rebound and excel off. The track builds becoming more dynamic and gripping as it swirls into its crescendo, perfectly creating the heightened emotions a night out produces. The twinkling keys sprinkle special little moments of magic throughout the track as its blossoms into a danceable refreshing slice of electronic indie bliss.
Jamie Adam will be supporting the release of his latest single with a headline show upstairs at Whelans on tonight, Thursday 18th of October. The show is entitled ‘NOCTURNAL NIGHTS VOL II: ‘Last Ones Down Single Launch’ with support from Sonif.
Little Red songwriter Ian Mitchell has released his debut solo album under the nom de guerre Master of None. The eponymous 10 track album takes influence from artists such as Ween, PJ Harvey, Tom Waits and Nick Cave. Although some of these artists also inspire Ian’s Little Red work, these influences are displayed more fiercely on Master of None. However this album doesn’t adhere to one genre, the common thread is the songs’ lyrical darkness, dealing explicitly with alcoholism, substance abuse, sex, debt, death and mental illness.
From the electronic slapping opening track ‘S.R.I.’ Mitchell takes us on a unique journey into his world which is quite the step away from Little Red’s style. ‘Let’s get fucked up’ and ‘Hunter’s Quarry’ twinkle through with delicate acoustic guitar, or piano for ‘Hunter’s Quarry’ and eerie vocals. His stripped back approach is chilling and quite ominous with some tender tones swirled throughout. It’s an experimental album with a lot of vocal personalities weaving between each track as Mitchell ventures down the Lo-fi avenue with his production. ‘Fluffy Bunnies and Unicorns’ makes good use of sticky electronics and pulsing beats concocting dark atmospheres between the obscure lyrics and spoken vocals. This electronic flow builds and progresses with each track on the album sometimes appearing tribal like in ‘Big Boots’ which also feature a traditional string element giving a Celtic jingle of warmth to the track .’Francis Bacon’s Bae’ and ‘Master of Nones’ are perhaps the most melodic tracks on the album with a waltz like string in the former and an elegant piano feature between trip hop beats and sorrowful vocals featuring in both tracks. The album takes a menacing turn with ‘Prick’. This heavy track is head-bang ready and a bit of a rush. With distorted guitars crashing and slicing through flashing electronics as repetitive lyrics attempt to hypnotize you through spoken vocals. There is a Marilyn Manson feel about ‘Husk’ while ‘The Gallows’ closes the album on a contrasting melancholic, bittersweet tone of delicacy.
It’s an obscure album which blends the eclectic, erratic and often sinister side of Mitchell’s musicianship. From elegant to mind crushing, each track takes you on a unique journey into the dark. With most of the tracks coming in at around the 2 minute mark they are brief haunting encounters filled with mystery, sinister themes and boozy ballads. Fantastic.
Stream ‘Francis Bacon’s Bae’ below
Indie: (n) an obscure form of rock which you only learn about from someone slightly more hip than yourself.