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

Grace Mitchell – “Now”

10 Apr

After some glorious weather over the last few days, normal service has been resumed and so far this Monday morning has been a bit grey and dull. As a result, there is a bit of a metaphorical fog hanging over Alphabet Bands HQ and we are currently zombie-ing around in a lethargic daze. Mainlining caffeine isn’t helping so we find ourselves in need of another kind of pick me up. Enter Grace Mitchell with a rousing and invigorating pop-banger to help wake the day.

Having risen to prominence last year when the frankly bonkers and incredible “Jitter” was unleashed as a Zane Lowe ‘World Record’, the 19 year old Portland native has quickly gone on to become a must watch artist. On the back of 2015’s infectious as anything Raceday EP and this year’s thunderous “Kids (Ain’t All Right)” comes “Now”, 4 minutes of pulsating beats and frenetic guitar lines.

A gentle piano intro is soon overtaken by the tumble of 80s drums and we’re off, the retro theme continuing as “Now” explodes into neon lights and video game samples. It’s so energetic that Mitchell kindly gives us a couple of piano breaks to catch our breath, before it’s back to laser-sharp electronics and much jumping up and down with delight.

“Now” is a multi-layered high-tempo pop blast that will have you dancing like a loon. If you need to blast off the cobwebs at the start of the week, this is the track for you.

Get to know Grace Mitchell: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Oh Wonder – “Lifetimes”

7 Apr

Way back in 1984, as it was about to reach its burnt marshmallow conclusion, Ghostbusters described a fairly terrifying picture of a forthcoming apocalypse. Religion too has taught for centuries that there are signs to look for that will indicate the end of days. Now, we’re not saying that Oh Wonder are the harbingers of doom, but having had a rigid modus operandi of releasing one track a month for a year, that they have now given us two new songs in seven days is surely an indication that the time of ”dogs and cats living together” is nearly upon us. Thankfully they are giving us some cracking tunes to go out on.

Following on from last month’s week’s “Ultralife”, “Lifetimes” is the second song to be taken from their forthcoming new album, also called Ultralife.

Aside from the head-spinning revision of their release strategy, listening, it’s almost as if they haven’t been away at all. The dual vocals still sound as lovely as ever, the melody is uplifting and dreamy and the hook is as catchy and sing-along as ever.

In essence, “Lifetimes” sounds very much like Oh Wonder while sounding not like Oh Wonder at all. All the elements are there but the beat is bigger and there is a piano line that to our (extremely odd) mind makes us think of late 80’s New York based business based movies (we’re thinking Trading Places and Working Girl, that sort of thing). It even features Anthony showing off his flow and getting his rap game on.

That it sounds more overtly hip-hop influenced than previous releases shouldn’t really be that surprising though, there were always undercurrents within their debut album and anyone who has seen them live will have heard how those undercurrents are made more prominent and energetic. It also continues to show off the pair’s social conscience (something that was very evident on their eponymous debut album) as it looks at climate change, its impact and even its deniers.

Oh Wonder are back and it’s brilliant. Now excuse us while we sing along happily while checking outside to see if the dead have started rising from their graves.

Oh Wonder’s new album ‘Ultralife’ is due for release on 16 June via Island Records and can be pre-ordered here

Get to know Oh Wonder: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Iyes – “Feelings”

6 Apr

Spring has well and truly sprung and as well as the re-emergence of flowers, greenery and even some sunshine, the last few weeks have brought about the return of a number of bands and artists. One band in particular has awoken from a hibernation that lasted much longer than the winter months.

It’s been over a year since we heard from Iyes, a year in which they have embarked on other projects. Josh’s Weirdo & Co are going from strength to strength and the little we’ve heard of Melis’ solo material has us salivating for more. So for the duo to come back together is a very welcome and unexpected treat.

We can only presume that the weather in Berlin has been significantly better than here in the UK. There is no way the few blissful hours of warmth we have had would have been sufficient to inspire the deliriously bright and bouncy floorfiller that is “Feelings”. It is positively tropical, sounding like the musical embodiment of gleeful, sunglasses wearing, poolside shape cutting delight. The beat is crazy infectious while the synths and electronics dazzle and shimmer as they reflect on the water.

Spring may have only just sprung, but it already feels like summer is here.

Get to know IYES: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Vérité – “When You’re Gone”

5 Apr

Each year since 2014 we have been treated to a new EP of incredible, intelligent and oh-so danceable pop music from one of the most exciting new acts around. Since her debut single, “Weekend” (our 2014 track of the year) Vérité has had us enraptured. So far this year she has shared two wonderful tracks that only further serve to enhance her reputation. History would suggest that another EP is on the way but this year she is taking things up a level. Yes, at last there is an album coming and we (amongst many, many others) are utterly delighted.

Alongside the announcement that her debut LP, Somewhere In Between, is coming out on 23 June (that’s less than three months) we have been treated to another gem of a pop tune, “When You’re Gone”.

The opening track from Somewhere In Between, “When You’re Gone” is yet another example of why Vérité is so damn good. Lyrically dextrous, heartfelt and so ridiculously catchy, it weaves its emotional thread through the sharp beats and pulsing electronics with consummate ease and to maximum effect.

We’ve said before that if we had the technology to Weird Science up our perfect popstar, we’d make Vérité and that sentiment still stands. She really is the Queen of the uptempo pop banger laced with deep emotional resonance. You can dance euphorically or you can sing along earnestly while a tear winds its way down your cheek. You can even do both at the same time. Whichever way you go, you will enjoy it and you will press play again once it is done.

The debut Vérité album, ‘Somewhere In Between’, is out on 23 June and can be pre-ordered here.

Get to know Vérité: Facebook / Twitter