Fieu – Running

If you’ll allow me, for a moment, to indulge in discussion of the pointlessness of tags and genre descriptions…

These days I seem to be a partially lapsed indie kid with a penchant for music variously described as “synthpop” or “electropop”. Quite where the boundary lies between these I’m not sure, but I tend to feel a softness in synths, and an energy to electro. Because alliteration is awesome (also, appropriate). But even so, two things called or calling themselves synthpop did not necessarily fall from the same tree and you’ll find yourself jarred and jolted should you compile a playlist solely on the basis of one tag. This will not be news to anyone who’s let an algorithm choose the background music for their latest society soiree.

Case in point: “Running”, the new single from Australian singer Fieu. It’s the first fruit (enough with the analogies already!) of a collaboration with Eskimo Joe’s guitarist and Western Australian based producer Joel Quartermain. Calls itself synthpop, but don’t let that lull you into looking forward to a quiet evening in – “Running” is fizzing with electropop sparkle. Synths shoot up and down, meeting stunning vocals coming the other way, and occasionally some huge bass leaps out grabs you by the shoulders, shakes you up then calmly lets you go, picks a speck of fluff from your jacket and sends you on your way again.

To celebrate the release of “Running”, Fieu has announced an east coast tour, including two showcases at this year’s Australian Music Week in Sydney.

Live Dates

Nov 18th – The Pier, Port Macquarie
Nov 19th – Australian Music Week Showcase, Sydney
Nov 20th – Australian Music Week Showcase, Sydney
Nov 22nd – Element Bar, Coffs Harbour

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Ski Lodge – Heaven is Now

In the past Ski Lodge vocalist Andrew Marr has declared his love for The Queen is Dead (his tour bus album of choice), and gone all Morrissey on “Our Love Is Over Now”. For “Heaven is Now” he and Ski Lodge make the transition from mid-to-late 80s indie pop to a slightly earlier new wave period in the same decade. While the guitar owners union might gently weep at such a move, in reality it’s a gentle, subtle shift – a differently shaded polo neck perhaps. Lyrically, it speaks of similar human emotions, and the guitar/synth swap is the difference between a shy kid telling his bedroom wall his woes and his more grown up, outwardly mature equivalent speaking to the object of his affections.

By the way, guitar-men – those strings on The Queen is Dead? Totally synthed.

“Heaven is Now” will appear on Ski Lodge’s next EP, due out in 2016 on Old Flame Records.

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Naives – No Way

At the end of a year of festival slots and tour support, and ahead of their debut EP due out next year, Anglo-French synth pop trio Naives have revealed their latest single, “No Way”. Essentially, you could classify it as funky feelgood synthpop. You might, if you don’t think it’s too spoilery, mention how it seems to wryly nod to Guns ‘N Roses a couple of times, but maybe you’d rather focus on the overall feel: smooth and slinky.

Naives are: Marc Jacc (vocals/multi-insrumentalist); Lapo Frost (bass); Benji Huntrods (drums)

“No Way” is out on 27th November and will be available to purchase on iTunes and Spotify.

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Super Subs Week #3

We’re already just over / just under the half-way mark in Super Subs Week, depending on whether you count the weekend as a subset of or adjunct to the week. Either way the prime music submissions just keep on coming.

Split Feed

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Split Feed are a trio from Newcastle, Australia. Their new single, Vanilla, rocks in the uncomplicated full-barrel way of the best three-pieces and you can can grab it for whatever price you deem fit and appropriate from the band’s Bandcamp page. While you’re there, why not also grab the Googolplex EP?


Harriet Little

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With the absolutely entrancing “America” already out, Harriet Little offers more evidence that her debut EP, due out in 2016, will be a sound touching in its majestic use of control and gentle emotive shifts.


The Chancers

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There’s something familiar in the opening bars of My Love: familiar places, eras, and sounds. And then a much bigger bass than you were probably expect rolls in underneath suddenly there’s something new AND something old, and you’re thinking that if it works for Richard Hawley or Allah-Las, this kind of through-the-ages jangle can work for The Chancers, too.


Nice Place

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It’s so easy, too easy maybe, to listen to a new single today and say how ’80s it sounds. Which is why, every now and then, it’s nice to be able to say it, and not be referencing neon, new wave and new romantics. Recovering harks back to another side of that time, the one with a hint of reverb, perhaps a little storytelling, and a melody that started life as a bedsit composition and ended on an indie-pop compilation.

“Recovering” is out on 27th November, via Matrix Promo Music.


PLGRMS

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I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that I’ll probably only get contacted by bands with a handful of followers or streams behind them. And then I see something like this: “Pieces”, the debut single by Sydney/London duo PLGRMS, has over 29K plays on Soundcloud. It is a large number and a very small one at the same time. The only difference is whether you’re looking at it from the perspective of an artist starting out, or one who’s already part of the scene.

As for the track, well, Pieces is mournful and uplifting, glitchy and smooth as you like. With every beat, it finds ways to sever a distance between disparate halves, before pulling together for a closing triumph.


Audionauta

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Sure, there’s a lot of ambient, orchestral, chilled post-rock, post-wave around these days, but I don’t recall that being a problem for genres and movements already more casually accepted into the cultural mainstream. Besides, Audionauta are the first Argentinian band I’ve come across who are creating this sort of sound, and the melodies and atmosphere are as rich as any I’ve heard.

HÔN – Honeydream

It’s essential to my music and my definition of HÔN that only the strongest of melodies survive. I want it to move you and to stick to your brainJesper Lidang

At the center of HÔN lies Jesper Lidang, frontman and songwriter of The Rumour Said Fire. In steady orbit around his conscious and subconscious mind lie tender lyrics allied with liquid melodies: richly layered, Honeydream sweeps you up and onto its wing, sending you gliding through a world of soft cascading vocals and a truly wonderful chorus.

I have no notion of what is most true or most me, I just notice that I have these feelings, and then I start the beat and hope to vanishJesper Lidang

Written by Lidang, Honeydream was produced and mixed by Lidang and Nis Bysted (Iceage, Cancer, Lower, and Liss).

http://www.honmusic.dk/
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Scam Avenue – Mercury

“Mercury” is the title track from the debut EP by dark electropop trio Scam Avenue. Fast cuts, silhouetted figures, negatives, and doubly exposed figures mix with Super Hexagon meets child’s Kaleidoscope visuals in the song’s mostly black and white video. The dark and intriguing track, meanwhile, has vocal echoes of Sarah Cracknell (St Etienne), and a quietly developing menace that flowers into a brief moment of guitar and drum activity before settling back into a descending single-note pattern in its final phase.

Scam Avenue are Devery Doleman (lead vocal), Tara Chacón (backing vocal, synths) and Lawrence Kim (guitar). Nate Smith joins them on drums for “Mercury”.

On the EP’s creation, song-writer Kim says:

I wasn’t consciously going for a certain type of sound with these songs, but I think there is a certain moodiness that comes from New Order or Section 25 or Factory Records in general. I was also listening to a lot of Brian Eno at the time and I think there’s a sense of space in these recordings that may have been influenced by that as well.

Mercury was released on June 23rd, and is available from Scam Avenue’s Bandcamp page – follow the links from the media section, below.

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Intertwine – We Are Fools For Singing This Song

“We Are Fools For Singing This Song”, released on June 26th, is the debut single from Intertwine, the project of Norwegian artist and architect Tarjei Zakarias Ekelund. It is, as Ekelund explains, “an anxious song about distance -the kind of distance that slowly tears a relationship to pieces”. On this occasion the knife that tears is subtle; Ekelund’s sweet vocals and the soft cries, together with the softly undulating synths and rhythmic bass, provide such warm comfort that you could be forgiven for missing the song’s crushing message.

“We Are Fools For Singing This Song” is the first release from Intertwine’s debut album Goraikoo. The name derives from a Japanese term meaning “coming of light”, specifically the light of the sunrise over Mount Fuji that would be your reward after a night climb. Goraikoo will be released on November 6th, via Brilliance Records.

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Philco Fiction – June 17

Don’t judge a book by its cover, as the saying goes. Nonsense, of course, but not the point. Do, however, always listen to Norwegian duos dressed in white, holding a cat.

“This is not the summer of 1992”, sings Turid Alida on “June 17”, the new single by Philco Fiction, wishing for days gone by, days of better weather, better raves, deep house and good times. And while we would caution against romanticising the past, it’s impossible not to get swept up in the moment:

To me, it’s bright, big and beautiful. The music, the preachers, the wars, the vibrations, the illusions, the summers were different. I try to remember one single rainy day from my childhood, but I just can’t. Summer never cheated on the 90s, I promise. Like I would ever lie about such things as the weather.

I’m sure it must have rained at some point in the ’90s, even if only on Fran Healy, Shirley Manson and unjust fellows everywhere. Again, not the point.

The real point here is that “June 17” is a magnificent slow-burning electropop song – lazy verses interrupted by brief military drum rolls, choruses punctuated by stabs of brass, in its entirety a slowly melting ice-cube under a cocktail umbrella on a freshly sprinklered lawn.

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CAPPA – This is Love

Released as a single at the end of May, “This is Love” is the fifth and final track from the self-titled debut EP from CAPPA. It’s the kind of lush, cinematic synthpop that retains an air of effortless cool while handing you its mainstream pop business card. These are boom times for fans of CAPPA’s brand of breathy female vocal-led pulsating beats; long may they last.

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Empathy Test and Vivien Glass Jura Demons tour

Long-time RRP favourites Empathy Test have joined forces with Vivien Glass for the Jura Demons tour. With a couple of dates already under their belts, June and July will see the two bands criss-crossing the UK, with support from local acts.

As well as the tour, Empathy Test have announced a remix EP, to be released on August 18 via Stars & Letters Records. They hope to release their debut album, Demons, later this year.

Listen to the Thomas Datt remix of Here is The Place from the EP:

Vivien Glass will release their second album, Jura, on September 1st. Listen to a teaser for the album here:

https://soundcloud.com/vivienglass/jura-album-teaser-part-1

The band’s effortless style seeps through into all aspects of their creativity. Whether it be their direction of their own romantic, film noir tinged music video for lead single “Julius”, or their exciting live performances, complete with; strobes, smoke machines and dramatic stage costumes.
Rhythym and Booze

JUNE 19: 24 Kitchen Street – LIVERPOOL – with TBC
JUNE 20: Kraak – MANCHESTER- with Factory Acts + Berlyn Trilogy
JULY 10: The Rocking Chair – SHEFFIELD- w/ SOFT RIOT + DRAG Radio Show DJs
JULY 11: The Fenton – LEEDS – with Sidewalks and Skeletons + Ravens
JULY 18: Sebright Arms – LONDON – with Eyeshadows + Automatic Writing
JULY 25: Chameleon Arts Cafe – NOTTINGHAM- with I Am Lono
AUGUST 15: The Hope & Ruin – BRIGHTON – with Vile Electrodes

For full details and to buy tickets, CDs and other merch, visit the tour page at www.jurademons.com.

And finally… listen to a playlist featuring Empathy Test, Vivien Glass, and some of the acts who will be supporting them through the tour.

https://soundcloud.com/empathytest/sets/empathy-test-vivien-glass-jura

NÉONHÈART – Comatose

I love that feeling when I know someone is about to hear something for the first time, and, having already heard it, I know that their mind is about to be curled into a ball in the closed fist of a magician. With a simultaneous exhalation and flourish, the hand will open, but what escapes will be nothing but solid air.

NÉONHÈART are a two piece electronic group from Los Angeles, formed when Canadian singer/songwriter, Christina O’Connor and Chinese songwriter/producer HAOO. Their debut single is called “Comatose”. It’s a brief, delicate but emphatically bold three minutes of slow-rising synthpop. You don’t know it yet, you’re about to fall deeply in love.

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Tessera Skies – Out of Sight

The members of Tessera Skies have backgrounds in speech, sound, science, classical music and jazz. On their latest single Out of Sight they whip delicate peaks out of those ingredients, creating a deliciously smooth piece of alt-pop. Soft and smooth vocals sidle up alongside gentle synths. Everything’s in perfect balance: mellow and easy. Beautiful.

“Out of Sight” will be released with b-Side Dreaming/Sleeping on June 1st, on North Base Records in conjunction with Amazing Radio Co.

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