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singles/eps - april 2016


 

Swoons - 'Mono'

Bluesy indie guitar rock from a London trio with a lot to say for themselves, and that guitar echoes with the sort of qualities that indicate Swoons are leading lights of what appears to be a crop of equally talented bands emerging just now - names like Honeyblood, The Bohicas, VANT and others. The time seems right for credible sounding indie chancers just now and Swoons are exactly that.

JG



Fields Of The Nephilim - 'Prophecy'

The who of the what, I hear you ask? Only a genuinely underrated metal band whose roots are in the post punk world of the early 80s and that are Stevenage's most significant contribution to popular culture since, well, look up the relevant Wiki page and make your own mind up. The actual song is a mid paced growler slightly reminiscent of the Fields Of The Nephilim's more famous cousins The Cult and it fairly canters along in a slightly doomy sort of way.

JG


The Bay Rays - 'Four Walls'

About to go on tour with Slaves whom I just heard are in the process of splitting up (or is that 'revolting') the Bay Rays are probably wondering how that show in Maidstone is going to go off if their spiky, rockabilly infused three chord mayhem is inadvertently the headline act. Probably alright, the Bay Rays.

JG


Those Unfortunates - 'Those Unfortunates We Are'

I had to think a bit about when it was, or how rarely bands use their names in songs, and in singles, a precedent set by the Monkees (as in Hey Hey We're The Monkees) although they weren't exactly the epitome of indie punk which Those Unfortunates are. To celebrate the single release all of the three or is it four unfortunates are visiting Margate for the day although they aren't playing a gig there, according to the PR. They're probably lying.
http://www.midnightbell.net/

JG


Jim Wellman – ‘Probably Good’

Jim Wellman, a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and one of the founding members of the Brand New Heavies, released his new jazz/soul/funk/disco album, Dawn To Dusk, last month and on it he explores the social contrast of our modern world where, despite cultural and technological progress, we still live in the Dark Ages as far as most governmental institutions go. His lyrics on Dawn To Dusk are an expression of his dissent against propaganda and his view that mass communication via an uncensored Internet is the only way to keep us connected and current about the world we live in.

The aurally pleasant, narrative-driven lead single ‘Probably Good’ plies a smooth, mellow groove with Tara from Studiopros.com on vocals, but the topic at hand is sharply trenchant – that our flawed leaders and laws build, produce, and deregulate what they want in their own best interests while using the “expendable” working (wo)man to implement their schemes. Smoky sax and the low bounce of bass introduce the track, while Tara’s light vocals are shadowed by mild male vocals. Shaken percussion and short bleats of horns accent the biting lyrics that pit the institutional elite against the hard-working individual.
https://soundcloud.com/user-768190110/probably-goodradio-edit
https://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Wellman/100010882127031

Jen Dan


Robert Nix – ‘Won’t Go With The Flow’

Canadian DIY alternative artist Robert Nix dropped his 5th full-length, Once In A Blue Moon, this past January and on it he runs through the classic and progressive rock and New Wave pop genres. ‘Won’t Go With The Flow’ is the lead track and it’s immersed in a retro wash of synth strings, piano, drum thump, and cymbals shimmer. Nix adds echoed layers of his own vocal phrases throughout the tune as he sings with independent spirit that “I won’t go with the flow / because if I do / I’ll end up where everybody else goes.”

“Won’t Go With The Flow” is vocals-centric, maybe even too much so as it overwhelms the gentle pull of synth strings, pretty, but emphatic piano notes, and sporadic drum beat. The song’s stop-start pace accelerates and decelerates, at first gaining traction and then losing its pop structure grip in favor of sounding like a stage performance with Nix’s voice in the spotlight. His tiered vocal fragments come in from different aural angles and bounce off each other, radiating a disorienting vibe that’s accentuated by the lurching sonic tempo. ‘Won’t Go With The Flow’ isn’t exactly a smooth ride, but it’s lyrics shine with bright individuality.
https://soundcloud.com/robert-nix-871674782/wont-go-with-the-flow
http://www.robertnixcomposer.com/

Jen Dan


Manor – ‘They’ve Come Into My Home’

The indie-pop duo Manor, composed of Caitlin Duff and Nathan Morse from Melbourne, Australia, is riding a cresting wave of critical acclaim for its spare to noisy, noir-leaning, rhythmic sonics and dreamily alluring vocals. Duff and Morse have been tinkering around the Manor for a few years and have now released their self-titled, 3-track debut EP that was crafted in their home studio named Elysian Fields. The electronic/synths-based EP was mixed by Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) in London, U.K. and mastered by Joe Lambert (Animal Collective, Unknown Mortal Orchestra) in Brooklyn, NYC.

‘They’ve Come Into My Home’ is the 3rd single from the EP and a bit of a joyful departure from the duo’s previous singles as it swims in brighter, pushy guitar lines, colliding bits of shiny percussion, and a softly loping, drum-led pace. Duff sings is a light, lilting tone, sweetly mid-range on the verses and high-in-the-clouds on the buoyant chorus sections. The upbeat marching rhythm, replete with sporadic cymbals smash, drives the song forward while Duff winsomely twists through her words, sighing airily “It’s all I want from you / Just gratitude.”
https://soundcloud.com/wearemanor/theyve-come-into-my-home
https://www.facebook.com/manorband/
http://www.mmanorr.com/

Jen Dan


Ryder – ‘Fade Away’

Add another artist to the urban, indie pop list. Her name is Ryder and the NYC/L.A. voyager is blowing up SoundCloud and HypeM with her breathy, helium-like vocal infusions and reflective, electronic pop sound. Ryder’s released a string of singles, starting with ‘Pretty Little Gangster’, continuing with ‘Ruins’, and now she’s making her mark with the drawn out delirium of ‘Fade Away’.

Ryder’s sweetly airy, processed vocals insinuate into the brain as she slowly winds through the lyrics, curving around the words “I don’t need a heart of gold / Leave your conscience at the door.” The song proceeds at a measured pace, dropping low and slow electro-notes, a gritty reverb beat, and smacked wooden hits. Ryder layers her vocals throughout the tune, singing in different registers, with the main line being at the loftiest pitch. She pins it all down with her sharper vox on the “fade away” refrain while contemplative electronics and steadily shaken percussion fill out the sound.
https://soundcloud.com/thisisryder/fade-away-1
https://www.facebook.com/ThisisRyder

Jen Dan