When you have your roots in two of the coolest cities on the planet, namely Berlin and San Francisco, it follows that something musically interesting is on the cards, just by virtue of having soaked up a certain creative vibe which hangs in the air of such cities. Golden Heart is a wonderful mix of slick 80’s pop and a modern hazy indie sound which seems to channel those past musical glories.
It is built on a wave of beautiful understatement and elegant strings, funky beats and gorgeously ethereal vocals which seem often to be happy just to punctuate the music rather than dominate it. If music ever summed up the places it inhabits then White Night are the perfect example, the classical grandeur of the old world meeting the exploratory nature of the new, the tight, electro-pop of the German musical story meeting the looser spirit of the American west coast. But this isn’t music which in anyway sounds retro because of its influences, if anything it is more forward thinking than any of its contemporaries and that is the perfect evolution for pop music.
Hailing from Perth, Australia, Ah Trees set out to create an interesting blend of new wave and indie-pop, with psychedelic overtones. They learned lessons from their fellow Aussies, Tame Impala, but also from timeless acts such as INXS (another legendary band from the land down under), The Police or Tears For Fears.
Ah Trees set out to offer their own special twist on such influences, transposing the aesthetics of new wave music into the modern indie-rock format with excellent result. Do It All Wrong also features a collaboration with Moody Beach, bringing a distinctive twist to the track.
The track is the first single taken from their upcoming sophomore release! Find out more here
The front cover of “Crown” by The Broken Island, is probably the first thing that really attracted me to this release. The crashing waves of the ocean seem to pose a threatening message to those who dare facing them, representing the stunning duality of nature. It’s all so beautiful and majestic, yet it also feels dangerous and somewhat mysterious.
The Broken Islands managed to create a sound that’s just as equally endearing as their artwork. “Crown” begins with big, lush piano chords, and the vocals come into the mix gently, yet soaring right at the front. The production is crisp, elegant and bright, going for a clear and direct edge, yet retaining a certain warm tone with a bit of a vintage twist.
NewWaves, with their vibrant energy, strong melodic phrases, and a rhythmic drive which is precisely on point, are an alternative rock band from Sweden who have a captivating presence evident in their music along with a very distinctive sound. Right after the first few seconds of listening to the song you can immediately tell this should be a radio hit and a song that everyone will be singing and dancing to in live events. As the chorus of the song hits, it is very difficult to resist moving along to the groove, and its catchy melody is something which you will definitely find yourself singing or humming after first listening to the track.
One thing that is so striking about these guys is their ability to play with rhythm and use it creatively in their work, which gives their song structure a lot of drive and stylish sense of variation. This is not the only thing which makes them sound so authentic, though. “In The Clouds,” with its strong rhythm and melody along with a very particular vocal tone colour and use of digital effects is definitely a song which captures NewWave’s cool energy and artistic vision, making them a band which you should keep an eye out for.
With their high energy, driving rhythms and dark tones Small Planets present their new track “Drowning” which features woven melodies, an expressive vocal and a rich blend of effects in a captivating atmosphere. With a vocal melody that is simplistic, yet strong, and a set of deep and thought provoking lyrics, this song skilfully expresses a place of darkness through a sound which is actually captivating and sonorous with flowing harmonies and guitar effects. Apart from its vibrant and communicative performance element the music also features an interesting blend between atmospheric synthesiser sounds, a steady driving beat and an element of diluted rock blending in convincingly.
Apart from it’s strong character, the song truly shows Small Planet’s potential as a very creative group with a clear vision. These guys know how to enhance their music with the right amount of effects and create a sonic environment which suits the mood for the lyrics through a distinctive sound. Although very conscious of the dark subject matter Small Planets manage to mould their sound to remain exciting and driving throughout with an element of etherial melodies which truly enhance the meaning behind the song.
Sammy’s Cult Nights just released a brand new single titled “Tear Me Down”, taken from the project’s recent release, “Haunted House Party”.
This single will most certainly take you by surprise with its haunting atmosphere, deep textures and lush melodies – The genre is hard to classify. Is it indie-pop? electro-rock? Industrial? New Wave? Perhaps a little bit of all of the above, or maybe none of them at all, but it doesn’t really matter – the sound is what’s worth focusing on. On “Tear Me Down’, Sammy’s Cult Nights managed to create a truly huge sound based on remarkably simple elements. The drums are present, yet very essential, while the synth sweeps have a nice retro vibe. The guitar lines bring presence to the mix, waving in and out of the picture with a ghostly feel. The vocals are tastefully produced and arranged, with lots of reverb and pleasant saturation. You’ll certainly enjoy getting lost in this surprising track.
I love the fact that this single is particularly ambitious, yet it remains quite down to earth. In spite of the higher stakes in this production, Sammy’s Cult Nights remained refreshingly direct and intuitive in his songwriting approach.
The wonderfully named The Disappointment Choir is one of those bands that show you exactly why pigeonholes don’t work. They are pop but much cleverer that the usual production line stuff meticulously design for a brief chart outing and they are also indie, but without the fashion rulebook adherence. They have an almost 80’s new-pop feel about them but are anything but pedlars of nostalgia, they are fun but far from frivolous and they write perfect pop songs using Day-Glo musical hues and utterly infectious choruses.
Sophisticated pop such as this seems to largely have been resigned to the musical bargain bin of history where old Bible and Liberty Horses records have been buried under a mountain of boy band dross and also ran indie but it looks like The Disappointment Choir are on a mission to put the ultimate musical juxtaposition of throw away pop and unforgettable tunes back on the menu. And that is anything but a disappointment.
While production has advanced in notable ways in recent memory, the art of composition is something that should never disappear from music making. Every now and then, we need a track that reminds us that a properly orchestrated series of layered tracks is all we really need for a classic to be born. Qualia wobbles through a fanciful trip of pop and psychedelia in a musical space that truly feels like anything can happen in the track Time Laughs. Boasting remarkable structural similarities to gentle giants of the music world like the Magnetic Fields, Time Laughs will get in your head to the point of lapses in memory and a feeling of unexplainable ease of self.
This track feels like a truly unique culmination of styles that vary from Latin percussion to random bits of bluesy guitar to pitchy soundscapes created by vocal wails that seem unnaturally expressive. These all somehow come together in a way that isn’t unnerving, nor is it perfectly together. This sort of detuned emotion is reminiscent of some Avant Gard titans that would make St. Vincent herself turn her head and smile at the pleasant motions of Qualia. Whatever spell is cast on those who listen to this track; you may wish to try it for yourself. If time indeed laughs, we may as well be in on the joke and laugh along.
Refractions are an indie rock band with a very special approach to melody. Their swirly guitar acrobatics, floaty rhythm sections and understated vocals make me think of bands such as Transit, American Football or This Town Needs Guns, but with a more upbeat attitude.
“Anna” is a song that showcases the band’s approach at its most eclectic, combining intimate indie atmospheres with energetic grooves and guitar chops that almost blink an eye to funk. In terms of guitar arrangement, these guys certainly learned a few valuable lessons from bands such as Maps & Atlases or Minus The Bear, going for a catchy, yet sophisticated approach.
The song is not just edgy drums and cool guitar: the vocal harmonies also play a really important mix in this particular arrangements – adding air and width to the lead vocals, which has a mellow and direct vibe.
If you haven’t heard of Jack Found you should definitely remember this name. Upon first listening to “Sundown” it is immediately noticeable that these guys know what they’re doing, have a very precise artistic vision and can stand out from the rest of the bands. With his unique ensemble Jack Found manages to make music which is both really fun to listen to and skilfully accomplished in arrangement and performance.
“Sundown” itself is an explosion of uptempo groove, tuneful catchy melodies, which are expressive in dynamic range, tone colour and register, a tight arrangement featuring punchy trombone lines and electronic synth sounds, and creative digital use of effects. Apart from this, the production aspect for the song is also outstandingly well crafted. When it comes to the visual aspect, the music video is quite impressive, capturing the character of “Sundown” as well as the energy that these guys have while performing, which confirms that they are great for live concerts. Apart from having a technically brilliant and confident performance quality level these guys definitely show a clear artistic vision, which they know how to craft well, and a professional approach to music, making them a band to keep an eye out for.