Avec Sans – “Resonate”

27 Apr

Avec Sans

You know when you’ve been eagerly waiting ages for something and finally it arrives and you’re a little scared? What if it isn’t as good as you’d hoped? What if it’s a disappointment? We waited years and years for The Phantom Menace and it was rubbish. We’d waited ages for Age of Ultron and, as good as it was, it felt like something was missing. Thankfully, sometimes when that thing you’ve been waiting ages for finally arrives it more than delivers. It excites and makes you punch the air with glee proclaiming ‘fuck yeah’.

We’ve been waiting quite a while for some new music from Avec Sans and now “Resonate” is here and wonderfully, it is no Phantom Menace. This is an air punch moment.

There’s something here, something thrilling that isn’t just our delight at their return. There’s more, much more. They’ve been about for a while but this feels new. This, this feels like a beginning, the start of something special. It’s a grand proclamation that the landscape is about to change for the better. It is pop music and it is gloriously exhilarating.

The opening synth lines and heart beat rhythms are bold and confident. Alice’s vocals mystical and whisperingly seductive, their softness beautifully juxtaposed with the stirring, rousing pulse of keys and beats. Like Avec Sans themselves rising from their public hibernation, “Resonate” stirs and intensifies as it progresses. It shakes off the slumber and awakes with a dramatic synth-pop roar of intent that we just adore.

At the end of 2013 both we and Popjustice stated that Avec Sans could unleash the most exciting synth-pop album of the year. We meant 2014 but frankly, if “Resonate” is any indication, the statement will hold true whenever they finally release their debut long player. Avec Sans are back, be excited.

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Chløë Black – “Professional”

22 Apr

Chloe Black

April has been a fun month for pop culture hasn’t it? Not least we’ve seen previews of a raptor squad in action and a glimpse of Han and Chewie going home. Those two things alone would have been enough to keep us going but there was also a less impressive but still exciting teaser of a showdown of the ages, Marvel continue to do no wrong oh, and a little show on Sky Atlantic returned.

Musically it’s been pretty great too. Amongst many cracking offerings we’ve posted superb new tunes from the likes of Oh Wonder, Ms Mr, Lyza Jane and Axel Flóvent.

The first track we posted in April came from the wonderful pop culture loving Chløë Black whose track ”Cruel intentions” was inspired by Killing Zoe. As the month draws towards its denouement Chløë has returned with another killer song which once again draws on 90s cinema as its stimulus, specifically the Luc Besson classic, Léon.

“Professional” wonderfully conveys a sense of a paradoxically dysfunctional relationship that completely works. There is a dark sexiness to it; a love in squalor and against all odds kind of feeling that runs throughout it and that perfectly reflects its source.

Of course, it’s entirely logical that Black would so expertly craft an aural equivalent to the film as she’s explained that like Mathilda, she too has been ”fatalistically romantic from a young age”. A feeling that has resonated within all of her tracks to date and one that we cannot help but be enthralled by. This bleak optimism, this shaft of light in the darkest of places is deliciously enticing and is woven within her music to wonderful effect.

As an aside, when we wrote about ”Cruel intentions”, we remarked that it had not featured in the live set we had seen a few weeks previously. It is worth noting that “Professional” did not feature either, which just means you have even more cracking music to look forward to from Chløë and which continues to bode well for a very successful future for her.

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Saltwater Sun – “Habit On My Mind”

21 Apr

Saltwater Sun

One of the many things we enjoy about the arrival of an exciting new band, especially one with guitars, is the inevitable rush to compare them to that which has gone before. It is standard fare for bloggers and critics to identify ‘bands that this band sounds a bit like’ and / or ‘bands who share the same influences as this band’. It’s pretty easy to do and gives listeners a reference point or three to help them decide if a new band is going to be their cup of tea or not (it’s also a pretty good way of filling paragraphs).

Take new London five-piece Saltwater Sun for example. They’ve already been likened to Best Coast, Alvvays, Honeyblood, Wye Oak, The Strokes and Karen O, which is not bad considering they only burst onto the scene yesterday. Never ones to shy away from overused journalistic tropes and clichés we thought we’d add another act into the comparison mix.

They sound a bit like a sun-drenched Vuvuvultures. Less in love with the digital granted, but there is a similarity in the rich layers of sound, the feeling of otherworldliness and its punchiness and vibrancy. Given how we felt about the VVV clan, you know this can only be a good thing, and it is.

The guitar on “Habit On My Mind” is heat haze woozy as the bassline rumbles into view on the horizon. It’s a beaten up and fashionably distressed pick-up truck of indie pop laden with beer, BBQ and band in the back. It’s good times and a great debut. More please (and not just so we can think of other bands to compare them to, honest).

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Ghosts In Daylight – “Golden and Green” (video)

17 Apr

Ghosts In Daylight

A year ago we brought you a deliciously dark, ominous and wonderfully odd video from electro pairing Ghosts In Daylight. Since the release of “Paper Heart” the duo has become a trio and the boards that covered the windows of their musical house have been taken down, not all of them mind you, and light is beginning to stream in. Rather than recoil from the brightness that new member Rich has let in, Tim and Meme are embracing it somewhat and “Golden and Green” shows what can happen to your creativity when your Vitamin D intake increases.

The title track from their new EP, “Golden and Green” is an upbeat and infectious ode to happiness. It’s a bit Queen, a bit Mika in feeling and very arms wide and spinning smiles in the sunshine sort of thing. It feels like the title, the grass is green, the sun is golden and bright, everything is good and the world is all right. It’s a lovely summer tune and even the video (which you can see below) is more conventional and warm than its warped (in a very good way) predecessor from last year.

We did say that not all the boards from the windows have been taken down yet and while it is lovely to see that Rich has been letting in the light, we love that Meme and Tim have clearly taken him down into their basement as well.

Darkness still exists within Ghosts In Daylight and on EP track “Null Hymn” in particular (also streaming below) the shadows are reaching out. Gone is the sunshine, the grass has withered and died and instead there is a stark, cold landscape before us. The digital percussion is your steps, barefoot on the crisp dead ground and the swirl of synths is the cool, sterile breeze around you.

The contrast with “Golden and Green” is immense and magnificent. If one will have you up and dancing full of joie de vivre, the other will have you shrinking back into a contemplative world of post-apocalyptic emptiness.

We love that Ghosts In Daylight have let in the sunshine but we are thankful that they are still bathed in darkness.

The ‘Golden and Green’ EP is out now and available to buy from the Ghosts In Daylight Bandcamp page.

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Aquilo – “Better Off Without You”

16 Apr


Aquilo is one of those bands that we’ve been following since they debuted and one of those bands that keep surprising us and keep sounding better and better. Which makes the announcement of their new EP, their third, an intriguing one as it is named after and will feature their first ever track, “Calling Me”.

Can they keep on getting better and better by releasing their first ever song again? We could be on the cusp of some wibbly wobbly, timey wimey paradoxical stuff that could bring about the end of the universe here. Or it could be a re-worked, re-mastered version of the song that made us fall in love with them in the first place.

In the meantime (while the space-time continuum steels itself against the coming confusion) Tom and Ben have treated us to “Better Of Without You”. It’s not a Summer Camp cover (though that would be awesome) but a surprising (told you) soulful, R&B infused track that is more Sade than they’ve given us previously. It is a bit more pop than before too with a gorgeous falsetto chorus that is made for hand-clenching and emoting as you sing along in the shower.

As you would expect, it is fantastic and if they are about to bring forth the collapse of the universe, it’s a pretty good way to go.

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