Melis – “Love Song Idea”

24 Apr

We’ve all been there, hours and hours spent on a piece of work and then boom, the computer crashes, we hadn’t pressed save and the whole thing is lost. Losing a draft of a post or something very important for the day job can be maddening and result in a multitude of expletives being uttered. We can’t begin to imagine how devastating it must be to pour your heart and soul into a piece of music, only to lose practically everything through a catastrophic hard drive malfunction. This is exactly what happened to Melis though and while we expect there was many a creative use of profanity, she has (thankfully) dusted herself down and moved on.

Left with only the stems of her track, “Love Song”, Melis has not so much salvaged something, more delicately crafted and polished a thing of beauty. The original track may not remain but the concept around it does and that is what she has given us, a “Love Song Idea”. It’s an idea that is ethereal and haunting in its simple, elegant and enchanting way.

It’s the kind of song that commands silence and rapt attention from an audience. We can imagine it being played in a church, reverence being paid by her audience as Melis’ jewellery box vocal floats and drifts above the candle light to the spire above. There are flourishes within, delightful fleeting flourishes, that bring a smile to your face as you listen. The soft-focus sax line is a particular favourite for example.

Primarily though, this is a song of poignancy and beauty. There is space in the track for the emotion behind it to resonate and crack with the burden of realisation. It’s the kind of song that ends with a bowed head and a single tear. It is just gorgeous.

There are whisperings of an EP to be released later in the year and as an introduction, this is a truly wonderful idea.

Get to know Melis: Facebook / Twitter

All We Are – “Burn It All Out”

13 Apr

Back in February last year, Norwich treated us to a blog-dream bill of All We Are supporting Public Service Broadcasting. Hot on the heels of naming their Latitude set as being our favourite gig of 2015, we were particularly excited to be seeing the Liverpool-based trio again. Our excitement levels rose still further when they announced they’d be playing new tracks and then hit fever pitch when these massive, aggressively powerful tunes burst forth. Fast forward to now (well, a couple of weeks back to be fair) and Guro, Luis and Richard have shared something new online.

“Burn It All Out” feels like it could well act as a bridge from the laid back, psychedelic grooves of their eponymous debut album to the harder edged, more thunderous sounds that were trailed live. The opening guitar lines are gentle and swirly like a kaleidoscopic rainbow, then the beat and bass join in and that wonderfully familiar All We Are vibe begins to permeate your soul. Your shoulders move, your feet tap and your head bops as the compulsion to move and boogie along becomes overwhelming. The vocal floats like an intoxicating and heady aroma, hypnotising all who hear it before suddenly, the guitar has become harder, the rhythm more frantic and the bass heavier. Without you even realising, everything around you has been lain to waste and as you stand, amongst the rubble and ruin, you can only applaud and cry out for more.

A follow up album is on the way, so that more we crave so much will hopefully be with us soon.

Get to know All We Are: Facebook / Twitter

Le Tropix – “Hold Me Down”

12 Apr

We’ve made no secret of our love for a good string section here at Alphabet Bands. Nor have we kept to ourselves how much we adore electro-pop, big dramatic sounds, and building intensity throughout a song as it grows. We’ve never had to convey an opinion about the use of audio from an aggressive late-night argument between two drunk parties filmed on a mobile-phone as a sample in a song before though. Le Tropix’s debut track, “Hold Me Down”, contains all of above so we guess that’s about to change.

A bluesy-electro-pop duo hailing from both South Wales (Antony Smith – vocals and lyrics) and South East London (James Woodville – composer/producer) the pair have created a superbly intense and powerful, radio ready track that is as challenging as it is infectious. The strings, as they often do, add a fantastic sense of urgency that will have your knuckles turning white as you cling on for the ride. From the off you can feel the intensity and then, as the drums, vocals and keys crash and explode into it, “Hold Me Down” will have your pulse rising and your adrenalin firing. It’s a huge tune, like walking away from an explosion huge.

And then there is the sample. Let’s be clear, it fits perfectly with the tone and sensibility of the song. Were it not for the swearing you could easily imagine it to have been sourced from one of the more conflict heavy episodes of Eastenders. But it’s not, and the source material is a difficult watch, though it’s not quite as bad as we expected and we’re (sadly) sure similar events occur on any number of last-train-home-at-the-weekend journeys. It is most important to note that it’s use is not gratuitous or superfluous, nor is it in anyway seeking to glamourise or even ridicule the situation. It is simply there to add another layer to an already powerful and thrilling track. It’s just, it does come from mobile-phone footage of a girl so drunk she is offering out pretty much everyone in her path before remorsefully apologising to a couple and trying to make friends with them. We’re pretty sure they didn’t need to schmooze the BFI for permission to use it, that’s for sure.

There is probably a comment waiting to be made somewhere about how society has now got so meta that we are taking samples from phone-filmed footage of real life to use in music, but then we remembered the craze for auto-tuning news footage a few years back so it’s probably moot now anyway.

In short, while the sample may be from an unusual source and is a challenging listen, it does work. Most importantly “Hold Me Down” is a track full of so many elements we absolutely love in music and is one that is fantastically rousing, intense and exciting. It is also the first of what the band say will be a new track each month so note it down and listen out for more from Le Tropix in the future.

Get to know Le Tropix: Facebook

Chelsea Jade – “Life of the Party”

11 Apr

Since 2014’s Beacons EP, we’ve not heard that much of Chelsea Jade and her sublime dream-pop. There were a couple of gorgeous tracks posted online about a year ago but nothing more. Today though the silence was broken, well not so much broken and gently put to one side on a bed of cushions, such is the delicate caress of “Life of the Party”.

Like that feeling you get when you walk into a pristine white room, the beginning is crisp and clean. The electronics gently rise up, like furnishings coming through the floor to add decoration to this immaculate scene. The vocals bring more, softer elements to the room, welcoming you in and making you feel relaxed as the beat pulses gently in the corner. As more layers are woven through, the track becomes more and more gentille, more serene. Like a pop-lullaby helping you relax after a long day.

It’s delightfully, subtly joyous and uplifting while simultaneously soothing and calming. Like a so-tilted-she’s-horizontal Christine and the Queens, there is an infectious and devilish groove winding throughout this oh-so soft and heavenly pop tune that we can’t help but get lost in and sway too time and time again.

Interestingly, according to her twitter, “Life of the Party” ”hints at a larger body of work [she] hasn’t officially announced yet”. Could we be about to get a long awaited album? If so, it could turn out to be the most sumptuous and gorgeous of the whole year. Fingers crossed.

Get to know Chelsea Jade: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Lia Lia – “OLYMP” (video)

11 Apr

In our youth, as part of our education, we were taught a bit about poetry. We were taught how to find symbolism and meaning in the most mundane aspects, to search for the hidden subtext the author had secreted away. Often we would argue against this notion, this idea that there had to be something deep and meaningful behind every aspect of a poem. ‘Why’, we would exclaim, ‘can’t a curtain just be a curtain? Why must it signify the hiding of his true self and love? Why must we empathise with his inner need to draw back this veil and unleash his unfettered being into the world when clearly it just goes with the sofa?’ Our teachers would just scoff and move on to the subconscious importance of a chaise lounge or similar.

This feeling came to mind earlier when listening to the debut of 19 year old, Berlin-based Lia Lia for the first dozen or so times. There is quite probably some deep, hidden meaning behind each aspect of her Pringle thieving at Nerf-gunpoint, booze guzzling, karaoke singing and rollerblading video. It’s possible there is some symbolism behind her choosing to literally sing “T dot dot” for the lyric ”It’s a T..” but we’re buggered if we can find it. We’re just going to revel in the brilliant absurdity of it all and the absolute wonder that is her name (Lia Lia stands for Live Impact Area Legacy Interface Adapter).

We’re also revelling in the brilliance of the song itself, for “OLYMP” is a chilled out electro-pop dream. To be fair, the subtext of the track is actually fairly straightforward, recalling the last moments before the onset of heartbreak, but it is packaged up so wonderfully. The vocals are ice smooth and just as beautiful to behold. The electronics are razor sharp as they ping enticingly off the crisp digital beats and the 80s inspired synth lines glide up and down on a wave of a gentle melody. The chorus too is maddeningly catchy and you will find it running through your head later in the day. It’s a good feeling.

So, search for hidden symbolism in the video or take it as it is. Either way, you’ll enjoy “OLYMPA” and be adding Lia Lia to your artists to keep an eye on list.

Get to know Lia Lia: Facebook / Twitter