Archive by Author

‘E’ is for Eckoes

13 Sep

Hypnotic, infectious and stunning; the music of Eckoes sounds as if it comes from another world. Her deep, soulful electronica combines with pop hooks, dance beats and glorious vocals to entrance and enthrall.

London based Eckoes is an artist you may have heard of already. If not, she is someone you will definitely be hearing more of in the future. A successful songwriter for other artists, she has recently been scouted by Grammy Award winning producer Naughty Boy. This is in addition to being a FAC Advocate Artist who helps and advise other up and coming artists. Oh, and then of course there is her own music, which is incredible and has received support from 6Music and BBC Introducing as well as a slew of glowing and effusive posts from legitimate tastemakers.

Eckoes’ music has evolved over the years; her pop skin has been stripped back, exposing her bare electro endoskeleton to the world. In so doing, Eckoes has revealed a sound that is altogether darker, more intense and bewitching.

Taken from her forthcoming EP, Eckoes’ latest single “Black & Red” is a stark and seductively dangerous slice of electronica. Dystopian in its sensibility, it could easily be the soundtrack to a dark sci-fi opera (think Blade Runner meets Event Horizon). It is absolutely perfect for that moment where we focus entirely on the protagonist and blur the surroundings. It feels like being being isolated and alone whilst surrounded by the incessant noise and hubbub of a densely populated megalopolis. The layered, almost choral, vocal is utterly captivating. A thing of pristine beauty in this otherwise dark and twisted world.

The melody glows and hums like vast neon signs while the sparse, crisp electronic beats pulse like beacons in deep space. At times claustrophobic and intense, at others cinematic and boundless, “Black & Red” is one of those incredible pieces that offers the listener something new on each listen.

Earlier single “S.B.F” has a driving intensity to it. It throbs and pounds with a bristling menace, whilst rippling and undulating with a sensual intoxicity. Startlingly open and honest, it is a track that stirs the emotions, that simultaneously gives in and fights back, standing tall in defiant submission.

Travel further through the back catalogue and you will find the deep rooted pop aesthetic becomes more overt. “Nobody Else” has a delightfully subtle 90s dance feel to it, while “Pieces” is a gorgeously deep soulful cut, complete with an infectious, eyes closed and sing along chorus. Keep travelling back, past the multi-layered “Human”, past the sorrowful beauty of “Blue Deep”, keep going and eventually you will find a remarkable, and swoonsome, cover of Mr. Mister’s 1985 classic, “Broken Wings”. Trust us, it’s fantastic.

Her music is something we can get lost in. As she takes us to other worlds, to darker places and to the intimate recesses of her soul, the sounds hypnotise and captivate. Hairs stand up on the back of our neck, goose bumps tingle on our arm and our feet tap along incessantly. It is only fitting that an artist as incredible as Eckoes be part of our Alphabet.

Eckoes is playing Birthdays on Friday 14 September with fellow Alphabet Bands favourites, HEZEN and Hydra Lerna.
“Black & Red” is out now and available to buy or stream here.

Get to know Eckoes: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Swimming Girls – “Asking For It”

26 Jul

Being a music blog, we often get to hear music that most people haven’t heard of yet. It is also often presumed that we have heard all the music that people haven’t heard of yet, which is absolutely not the case. Being a part time music blog as we have been of late, it is more often the case that we may have heard of a band, but not actually heard their music. Such was the case with Bristol’s Swimming Girls over the last few months.

They were a band we were aware of because a lot of people whose opinion we trust were getting very excited by them, but we just hadn’t got the chance to listen to them yet. All that changed one spring Monday when we pootled off to see Fickle Friends and Swimming Girls were the main support. Suddenly we knew what all the fuss was about and immediately cursed our metal bodies for not acting sooner.

Their latest single, “Asking For It” is a fairly huge, festival ready piece of pop music. People much more educated in these matters will point to the indie surf rock nature of it but our weird ears are (whisper it) detecting traces of Katy Perry in there. The chorus is, to put it politely, fucking massive. You know the kind, the ones that get sung back to the band by a huge adoring crowd in a field as the sun starts to dip beyond the horizon.

The guitars simultaneously jangle and sparkle (no mean feat) as the rhythm kicks along with infectious ease. Vanessa’s vocals are warm and welcoming, which is doubly fantastic as “Asking For It” is a break up song. It was, she explains, “Written at the bitter end of a relationship, it explores the distinct lack of sympathy you feel after being hurt over and over again.” If only at least one the break ups we’ve experienced was as wonderful and as joyous as this. The whole thing is ridiculously catchy and a sure fire earworm that you won’t want to get out of your head.

We may be late to the party but what a party it is.

Get to know Swimming Girls: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

Chløë Black – “Spaceman”

13 Jul

It’s that time again. Months after we last pricked our typing finger and fell fast asleep, Chløë Black has once more hacked her way through the foliage around Castle Alphabet Bands to plant the kiss of true musical love on our forehead and awoken us from our slumber. This time she’s in a silver lamé jumpsuit and has come armed with ray guns, tin foil and plastic flying saucers.

Black’s seductive vocals and her deliciously, subtly infectious melodies have always taken us to infinity and beyond and now we’re flying higher than ever. Co-written with Ferras, “Spaceman” is about the sometimes unrealistic expectations we place on romantic partners to be entirely extraordinary and almost infallible. It is also as good as anything she has done to date; lyrically dextrous, inventive and quick witted. It trips and swirls around the cosmos as synth stars go supernova around her. The beat pops and crackles like a firework powered rocket as a wistful piano line drifts beneath.

Her vocal undulates and cavorts delicately with the melody as she sings of this otherworldly being, this near mythical creature she craves to bring love and desire. It’s enticing, dreamy and incredibly real and relatable. Her noir-ish electropop sounds continues to enthrall and evolve, and those hooks continue to enslave even the most resistant of minds.

Musically speaking, Chløë Black is our Spaceman.

Styling and art by Brooke Candy

Get to know Chløë Black: Facebook / Twitter

Chløë Black – “Good Times”

9 Mar

If there is one thing guaranteed to get us writing again after a gap of any length of time (days, weeks, months) it’s a new Chløë Black tune. Having last grabbed us for “Waterbed” based shenanigans in October, she has now stirred us once more to engage in some “Good Times”. As ever, we’re all in.

Where “Waterbed” dripped with the seductive menace of melted wax onto a restrained torso, “Good Times” trips along with the giddy frivolity of an amphetamine fueled friday night. It’s more poppy than we’re used to from Chløë but it is no less infectious, just one listen was enough to have the hook whizzing through our skull like a pilled up pacman.

Like the mundanity of everyday life giving way to a chemically induced psychedelic world, the melancholic and wistful piano line opening soon ceedes to a tropical beat that brings vibrant colour and euphoria. It is, as ever, a gloriously inviting track about a darker side of life. “Everything hurts when I’m sober” sings Chløë as she dives headfirst into another world, escaping reality and floating high above the pain of the real world.

There is a depth to the track, a mania within the lyrics and sing-a-long chorus. This is an anti-anthem that both eulogises and takes down the use and reliance of pharmaceutical stimulation. It is, of course, as addictive as its subject matter and one we are going to be regularly dosing ourselves with for sometime.

Get to know Chløë Black:Facebook / Twitter

10 Records in 10 Days: Day Ten

20 Feb

Welcome back to 10 Records in 10 Days. A Facebook chain-turned 10 day blog series. The concept is simple. ”Post an album a day covering your 10 all time favourite albums. What really made an impact and is still on your rotation list, even if only now and then? Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same”.

We’ve been nominated but rather than post without explanation, we thought it would be more fun to provide a little context. That is just the first of the rules we plan to break in this series. We are also not nominating anyone else (if you want to join in, you are more than welcome to do so) and we are also not adhering to any of the other implied rules either.

For the purpose of this series, we’ll be posting in the first person.

Day 10 brings me to the end of this series and an opportunity to break all of the rules, both explicit and implied.

Various – All The Albums

Let’s be honest. There was no way I was ever going to keep this list down to a solid 10 records. There are just far too many that I adore and that mean so much to me that I could never willingly exclude some. In fact, I think I did pretty well just pulling this down to a solid nine records and only going crazy at the end.

Here then are a bunch of other records that have to feature in my list of favourites and those that really made an impact and remain on my rotation list.

Avec Sans – Heartbreak Hi The debut album from one of my favourite bands. I absolutely adore this record, play it regularly and it will forever be special as it marks the first time my name appeared in the liner notes for genuine reasons (i.e. without it being part of a pledgemusic campaign or similar).

John Grant – Queen of Denmark Just a beautiful album that introduced me to the incredible talent, lyricism and raw honesty of John Grant. His music is powerful, emotional and stunning.

Lyla Foy – Mirrors The Sky Another album that is just divine. Foy’s vocals are utterly gorgeous and the arrangements are heavenly. I seemingly hear something new on each listen and it just gets better and better.

Spring Offensive – Young Animal Hearts Another of my favourite bands and an album that I waited years and years for. It turned out to be everything I had hoped and more. That it also marked the end of the band only serves to make it more special.

Lo Fidelity Allstars – How To Operate With A Blown Mind An album I discovered in my late teens and that really fed my love and appreciation for leftfield electronica and big beats. I can’t help thinking of my university days when I listen to this and the assertion from a friend that it was weird, and very me.

Morcheeba – Big Calm Another album from my university days and one that makes me think of a certain group of friends and of a play I was in that another friend had written. Like Moon Safari it is a beautiful laidback and soothing delight. It also, randomly, introduced me to the work of poet Murray Lachlan Young (as he was featured on a special edition version of the album, interviewing the band).

Diana Ross – Diana Ross As a kid I knew Diana Ross for the sparkly campness of “Chain Reaction” and being unable to kick a ball in a straight line at the 1994 World Cup opening ceremony. As an adult I discovered why she was so revered and so important. The cover images of this album alone mark the beginning of her transition from shy, elfin talent, to sequined showstopper. It reawoke my love of motown and soul and has inspired many a session of crate digging at the local second hand record stores.

Guns N’ Roses – Use Your Illusion Part II Part of my musical sponge period and a massive contributor to my my love of attitude fueled, swaggering rock. This was one of those albums that got passed around by my friends and was listened to secretly on walkmans in class.

Roxette – Joyride A stonking pop album from a superb pop band that was released smack bang in the middle of my youthful pop loving phase. They’ve sold billions of albums yet still Roxette seem to be massively underrated. I still love them.

TLC – Crazy Sexy Cool Another record that I associate with friends. This didn’t really feel like a hip hop album to me, more like a super funky pop record. It’s sensual, soulful, sexy and infectious. It’s full of passion and romance as well as hooks that you just cannot escape. Another that I still listen to today and that still sounds as good now as it did back then.

Bon Jovi – Bon Jovi An album that I had by accident. My aunt and uncle gave me a walkman and had clearly tested it with one of my cousin’s C60’s, which they had forgotten to remove. It felt illicit listening to it, especially as I would often sneakily listen after I was supposed to have gone to bed. From the opening synths of “Runaway” and that sliding guitar, I was enthralled. And so it was that I was introduced to hair metal and the early seeds that would become the staple of every wedding I would go to in my adult life. Jumping up and down and shouting along to classic rock. I wouldn’t have it any other way.