Tag Archives: Garnets

2013 EPs of the Year: The Full List

15 Dec

EPs of 2013 - Full List

We know that some of you out there like to have everything in one place so, like we did with our 2014 Previews and Tracks of 2013, we’ve collated our EPs of the Year into one post as well. And there’s a lovely Soundcloud playlist of tracks from each EP at the end as well.

We hope you find something you like.


#10 Wooden Arms – Wooden Arms

”It’s full of gentle, ebbing melodies that drift and glide like birds on a breeze; this eponymous release is often balletic in feel. Ambient sounds; be they deep cello or light violin, music box light or portentous dark piano, ripple and flow like a mountain stream.”

#9 Sivu – I Lost Myself

”[It] is a wonderful collection of elegant, rousing songwriting, sublime melodies and deceptively intricate arrangements. We’ve said it before and will continue to do so until such time as his debut full length is released, we can’t wait for the album.”

#8 White Prism – White Prism

”Her eponymous debut EP is full of cool, futuristic electronica and melodious vocals that float along in a cool reverie of compulsive beats and 80’s inspired synths. It’s soft, subtle, delicate, sultry (in places) and gorgeous.”

#7 MYPET – Reflex

”It is exciting, vibrant and full of life. Sinewy electro noodles wind their way around grand, cacophonic beats as vocals rise up, like an arm bursting forth from the grave, seeking liberty from its earthen prison.”

#6 Garnets – Towns

”Ethereal vocals, barely there percussion, muted piano sounds, hushed and haunting murmurings and melodies are juxtaposed with vibrant and choppy waters of riff based pop and crashing rhythms. Almost as if they want to stir our body as well as our mind.”

#5 Annie – A&R

”The result is just fantastic pop, notably the outstandingly catchy and hook laden sounds of “Back Together” and “Ralph Macchio”. Her vocals sound as lovely and disarming as ever and the result is five tracks of brilliance. If she keeps making pop as good as this, we won’t mind the long waits between releases so much.”

#4 TV Girl – Lonely Women

”Lyrics are whimsical but real, observational, humorous but touching and the tunes are full of throwback indie-pop, lo-fi hip-hop beats and cascading piano melodies. The EP sounds fantastic and stands up to multiple and repeated listening, as have all TV Girl EPs so far, and they really are an act that are growing and improving with every release.”

#3 Us Baby Bear Bones – What Starts With a U Ends With an I

“The trick that they are so adept at pulling off is that in amongst the layers of sound, the spiralling electronic rhythms, the world of ice and the creeping shadows, damn fine pop songs are to be found. They are emotional and evocative as well as being catchy and very easy on the ear. They swirl like a galaxy, magnificent and seemingly infinite, growling and bursting with each note and vocal.

#2 Gems – Medusa

”This is a blissful listen of style, grace and soft focus dreaminess. Their tracks are like billowing lace curtains by an open window with gentle undulations reaching softly into the room, touching your ears like a kiss from a butterfly.”

#1 Brooke Annibale – Words In Your Eyes

”That folky, country background is apparent in her voice; her dreamy, dreamy voice. We could quite easily get lost in her vocals. At times light and breathy, such as on “Tragically Beautiful”, it skips along playfully. At other times it drops, the emotion it conveys is that much deeper, more heartfelt perhaps, but despite this strength of tone, it never loses its warmth or gentleness.

…One of the major elements within the whole EP is the orchestration, the gorgeous, sumptuous orchestration.

We’re suckers for a good string section and Brooke Annibale uses hers fabulously. From small, subtle inflections to big, dramatic emotions, the strings add so much to each of the six tracks on Words In Your Eyes. Violins soar, lifting the melodies high upon their wings while cellos rumble darkly underneath. The emotional resonance of her songs is enhanced exponentially as the strings glide alongside her vocals; undulating with the pitch of her voice and the sentiment of her lyrics.”



2013 EPs of the Year: #10 – 6

12 Dec

EPs of 2013 10-6

After looking ahead to 2014 and the artists we are most excited about, we this week began our review of 2013 with a countdown of our favourite tracks of the year. Now it is the turn of our favourite EPs from the last 12 months and, as with 2012, the standard has been crazy high. There have been so many amazing and varied EPs out this year that whittling them down to just 10 was extremely difficult, but we gave it a shot and today we share those that we placed in numbers 10 – 6.

Enjoy.


#10 Wooden Arms – Wooden Arms

Wooden Arms

Norwich’s Wooden Arms released their debut, eponymous EP back in July, but it only found its way into our stereo and hearts in October. It’s full of gentle, ebbing melodies that drift and glide like birds on a breeze; this eponymous release is often balletic in feel. Ambient sounds; be they deep cello or light violin, music box light or portentous dark piano, ripple and flow like a mountain stream. “Chariclia” in particular is an evocative and fantastical tune. Like crawling through a tiny gap in a bramble laden hedgerow to discover a hidden and wondrous world beyond. A world that opens out and up, where trees reach beyond the sky to the stars above and snowfall drifts down slowly to enchanting woodland floor.


Buy it from: Wooden Arms


#9 Sivu – I Lost Myself

Sivu I Lost Myself

We’ve already written about Sivu a fair bit in the last week or so (here and here for example) so his inclusion here should come as no surprise. As such we won’t dwell too much longer on his undoubted brilliance, suffice to say that I Lost Myself (as well as his earlier EP this year, Bodies) is a wonderful collection of elegant, rousing songwriting, sublime melodies and deceptively intricate arrangements. We’ve said it before and will continue to do so until such time as his debut full length is released, we can’t wait for the album.


Buy it from: iTunes


#8 White Prism – White Prism

White Prism

White Prism ticks so many of our boxes, it’s almost as if Joanna Cranitch has seen the ‘If Alphabet Bands Ever Works Out How To Make Weird Science A Reality, This Is What We’d Include’ notebook we may have hidden under our pillow. Her eponymous debut EP is full of cool, futuristic electronica and melodious vocals that float along in a cool reverie of compulsive beats and 80’s inspired synths. It’s soft, subtle, delicate, sultry (in places) and gorgeous.


Buy it from: iTunes


#7 MYPET – Reflex

MYPET

Comprising bold and compelling rhythms, glitchy electronica and lyrics that are delivered with (bordering on maniacal) relish by singer Amy, MYPET have a sound that feels tribal and animalistic in places. It is exciting, vibrant and full of life. Sinewy electro noodles wind their way around grand, cacophonic beats as vocals rise up, like an arm bursting forth from the grave, seeking liberty from its earthen prison. The high points on their debut EP, Reflex, are numerous and varied. There’s the old Commodore 64 shoot ‘em up style sounds of “Pays To Know”, the skittish and chilling tone of “Bodysnatcher” and the way “Move It Or Lose It” embraces even more glitchiness as it undulates and cavorts salaciously, just to name a few. Each track has three or four moments of their own and each has an addictive pulse at its core.


Buy it from: MYPET


#6 Garnets – Towns

Garnets Towns

Garnets are one of those acts that are blessed with an ability to blend the most delicate of sounds with the most raw, the highly polished and the rough and ready. On Towns they give us wistful, elegant beauty, both intimate and expansive, but they also allow us a moment to rock out and get our juices going. Ethereal vocals, barely there percussion, muted piano sounds, hushed and haunting murmurings and melodies are juxtaposed with vibrant and choppy waters of riff based pop and crashing rhythms. Almost as if they want to stir our body as well as our mind.


Buy it from: Garnets


Come back tomorrow when we unveil the EPs that made our Top 5.

Review: Garnets – Towns EP

12 Aug

Garnets Towns

It seems to be that, for whatever reason, when we come to write about Garnets, it is usually a few months (at least) after we originally intended to. So it is that here we are in August, talking about their debut studio EP, Towns, which came out in May. As is always the case with Garnets though, the quality of the music is so high that frankly it doesn’t matter when you get to them, just as long as you do.

We begin with previous single “Fruit”. Five minutes of fragile beauty, with Sam J Delves’ ethereal vocal floating like a feather on the breeze over delicate piano strokes and hushed electronic murmurings. Made from the finest and thinnest porcelain, were you to try and hold it, it would shatter in your hands. The simple toy-box-sounding piano outro is sublime, so effortless and evocative it feels like a flash of colour in a monochrome world.

“Mother and the Daughter” too blends muted piano with haunting, minimalist melodies that brush over the beatless rhythm like snow being blown across the arctic plains. Here the vocals take greater prominence, giving the track an ever-so-slightly more traditional pop song feel, but still they float and swirl within the misty music.

“Arches” on the other hand is a couple of minutes of barely-there-fragility. Sporadic keys dwell amongst almost imperceptible sounds of static, or ocean waves and the occasional sound of doors opening and closing. This is juxtaposed with the altogether more explosive finale of the title track.

Of each of the four tracks “Towns” feels the most like a pop song. The vocals act as much more of a focal point, an anchor for the melody which is then raised as the ship sets sail for more vibrant waters. These waters are of very real, very energetic guitar riffs which swell and crash against the rocky shores of drums and cymbals. It is entirely unlike anything else on the EP, splashing life and realism into an otherwise mystical world of aural fantasy and splendour.

That is Garnets though, able to blend the most delicate of sounds with the most raw. On Towns they give us wistful, elegant beauty, both intimate and expansive, but they also allow us a moment to rock out and get our juices going. Almost as if they want to stir our body as well as our mind.

’Towns’ is out now and available either digitally or on limited edition CD from the Garnets bandcamp site.


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‘G’ is for Garnets

20 Mar

Garnets

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while may well recall an interview that we did with The Guardian for their Blog Jam series. In it we identified Leeds based noodlers, Garnets as our soon-to-be-inducted ‘G’ band.

That was in May last year. A lot has changed since then, but our desire to feature Garnets as an Alphabet Band never abated so we are delighted that, after the best part of a year, we are finally welcoming them to the family.

When we say a lot has changed, we mean for Garnets. They first came to our attention when our friends over at Rarity In form featured their beautiful, intricate and atmospheric track, “Dance Of The Chloroplasts”. We were captivated by the minimalist and haunting melodies, the sparseness and use of wide open spaces as well as pin-prick precise electronic sounds.

We soon engaged the band in conversation by email but while we spoke on and off for the remainder of the year, publically they dropped off the radar. Newly relocated to London from Leeds and making music once again, we grabbed a cuppa with Sam and Ed recently and the first thing we wanted to know was, where have they been?

”We graduated” says Sam. It’s a short answer but one that actually explains an awful lot. The band as was in Leeds has largely relocated to disparate corners of the country and that has made getting together quite difficult. The band as it was hasn’t got together and rehearsed for some time but Sam himself has shipped all his recording equipment down to London and is currently ”making up for lost time”. The band hasn’t broken up but, as Ed explains, if they waited for everyone to be available at the same time, they could end up waiting forever. ”It’s been pretty much impossible with everyone in different places”, he admits. ”If we hadn’t started doing stuff just as a two piece, there’s no telling how long it would have been before we started recording stuff again”.


Sam has not stopped writing mind you and the band recently released “Fruit”, a super chilled piece of looped electronica with a graceful, music box piano outro as their debut, you can actually buy this, single. While Sam is keen to stress that they are seeing how it goes, there are a few more tracks waiting in the wings to be released, maybe an EP in the not too distant future as well. Good news for those amongst us who were lamenting their apparent disappearance.

Having previously recorded with the wider band, tracks are now written and produced in Sam’s home studio, aka his bedroom. “I don’t have much to go with really, equipment wise”, he admits. ”One good microphone and whatever I have to hand really”, which is quite impressive when you consider the fragility and intricacy of the tunes they are producing. Not that having more or better kit would make a difference, ”I like limitations, I think it adds a lot” says Sam and Ed agrees, ”I think it forces you to work harder on the intricacies”, he says. ”I think if you’ve got too much you become lazy”. ”It doesn’t have any character” adds Sam.

Their influences are not quite as surprising, Sigor Rós and James Blake for example, though Sam is also a big Springsteen fan, which doesn’t come through quite as strongly in their sound but may well translate to live performances. Perhaps jeans and white t-shirts could be the band uniform. Joking aside, live is not really on their mind at the moment, the focus is on writing and recording and what happens next. It feels like they are almost starting from scratch, they say. There is, says Ed, a bit of a launch pad with their previous releases and the fanbase they had already built up but with the wider band spread out around the country it is Sam and Ed who are taking it forward and what happens next is very much dependant on how they and the others feel.

One thing is clear though, it is great to have them back recording and releasing music again, and with more tracks on the way they should be able to take off from that launch pad and hit new heights. It may have taken us nearly a year to welcome them to the Alphabet Bands family, but it was certainly worth the wait.


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