Tag Archives: Pop

‘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

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

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

‘K’ is for Mikaela Kahn

4 Mar

Mikaela Kahn

A few weeks ago we happened upon a gorgeous new voice wrapped around smooth R&B beats and melodies online. We loved it but before we had time to fully get into the tunes and find out more, they were gone. Yet that glimpse stayed with us and, investigating hat upon our head, we went searching. Eventually, with a little help, we found that those soft sultry vocals belonged to Mikaela Kahn and so, after a long absence, a new Alphabet Band was found.

Based out of Austin, Texas, Kahn last year released her debut EP, Fall With You and is about to share her first album, the seven track delight that is Milk & Honey. In the short time between these two releases her music has evolved and developed. Fall With You had more of a folky, country feel to it whereas Milk & Honey is full on smooth jams and late night beats blended with pop and electronica. It was tracks from this full length that we accidently heard, loved and that had set us off on our investigatory path.

Still in her early twenties, Kahn has had an interesting musical journey thus far, including getting a college education in Jazz, being a backing vocalist for an Elvis impersonator (award winning impersonator we must say) and also for Chrisette Michele. As any good press release will tell you, these experiences have helped shape the person Kahn has become and the music she makes. What they won’t have done per se is give her the drop dead gorgeous voice she has been blessed with and it is that which helps her stand out from her contemporaries.

For example, on “Losing You” (a stripped back version of which you can watch below) the arrangement seems deliberately understated to give centre stage to a rich vocal that feels part Mariah, part Aguilera, part Alicia Keys. Full of heartbreak and emotional torment, its powerful yet vulnerable at the same time. There are Mariah moments on “I Want You” as well and “Where You Are” is a stunningly simple guitar and voice song that suits her perfectly.

Our focus on Kahn’s voice is not to denigrate the production or composition of the songs, far from it, as both are fantastic, it’s just that those baby smooth vocals are so enchanting and beguiling that it’s hard to focus on anything else. But we must, and we shall.

The aforementioned “I Want You” is a brooding, shadowy ripple of electronica and slow burning intensity. “Chemical Attraction” has a gorgeously soulful and laidback groove, perfect for some slow cheek-to-cheek swaying as candles flicker in the background and wine waits patiently to be enjoyed. Alongside opener, “Fire & Lace”, it is a gorgeous blend of pop and R&B that should be platinum selling.

Across its seven songs, Milk & Honey serves up late evening sultriness, cold light of day heartbreak, and middle of the night seductions. All the while delivered by one of the sweetest, smoothest and sultry voices we’ve heard in a long time. We’re in love, but we suspect you’d already worked that out…

’Milk & Honey’ is due for release on 14 April.

Stalk Mikaela Kahn: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Invader Girl – “Stuck On Me”

23 Feb

Invader Girl

Once upon a time there was a girl who was made of cinnamon, a cinnamon girl if you will. How this condition came about we have no idea, she may have been born with it, and she may have been cursed or blessed with it. All we know for sure is that Camilla Roholm got over it and is now a full on Invader Girl.

Roholm debuted her new persona with a MS MR remix of “Starting Fires” in the middle of last year (and let’s face it, there aren’t many better ways of launching yourself than with the help of the Addams Family of pop) but then went quiet. Presumably she was either hibernating throughout the winter months or ensconced in a secret underground lair concocting plans for an incursion deep into the ears of music lovers. We’re guessing it was the latter as late last week Invader Girl returned with “Stuck On Me” and it’s neon blast of infectious retro pop.

A self-styled cyber pop wizard, she conjures images of Robyn and Madonna with her synth-magic. Shafts of basslines, electronic shapes and swirls emanate from her fingers and out into the sky like an electro-pop Dr. Strange putting on an audio visual extravaganza. It zips and explodes, awash with colour and energy and while you stand dazzled, it slides in and embeds itself in your brain where it will remain for the foreseeable. Your mind has been invaded; resistance is futile, just go with it and enjoy it. You won’t be disappointed.

Stalk Invader Girl: Website / Facebook / Twitter