Somewhere in a small corner of north-east London there is a small label introducing the world to big acts. In recent months Duly Noted Records have pushed the likes of blog favourites IYES and The Night VI as well as giving Black Honey and Paperwhite a nudge through the door marked ‘next buzz band’ to the waiting arms of many a blog and hype machine chart. Another act to benefit from the Duly Noted Seal of Approval (which is fast becoming a kitemark for quality) is south-east London based, Osca.
In recent months the band has burned up the blogosphere, received critical acclaim from Zane Lowe and run roughshod over Hype Machine with their two debut tracks, “Illume” and “Blood”. It is the latter which we are sharing with you today, albeit a variant version courtesy of enigmatic London based producer-artist Jonah Lisa (who until recently had three tracks up on sound cloud and YouTube but sadly, they have since been taken down).
According to frontman Jack Kenworthy, the original version of “Blood” (which you can also stream below, along with “Illume” because we’re nice like that) was about being stuck in limbo; about holding on in the hope rather than certainty that reassurance will come. It was a gradually building piano based ballad, heartfelt and emotive. With this remix, Jonah Lisa has contrived to add further layers of melancholy, to craft around it a wide glacial space dappled with the delicate snowfall of synths and electronic ambiance. It’s an exquisite re-working of a fantastic tune that further emphasises that feeling of uncertainty and forlorn hope. It swirls beautifully with the wind, blowing melodiously and gently in your face, carefully caressing those winter tears from your eyes.
Stalk Osca: Facebook / Twitter
Stalk Jonah Lisa Website / Facebook / Twitter
Regular readers will know that we are big fans of Waylayers, a band we think is one the of the best new synth-pop-combo’s out there right now, and the multi-talented Jack Robert Hardman, who is not only our ’H’ band but was also responsible for one of our favourite albums of last year.
Why are we telling you this?
Because they recently joined forces (sort of) and the result is utterly fantastic.
It was almost a year ago when Waylayer’s dropped the wonderfully huge and atmospheric ”Magnets” with its vast synths and laser guided electronic sounds sprawling out across the sky like the legion of ball-bearings in the accompanying video. Now, Jack has provided a remix and, while it too is vast, it is in a completely different manner.
The original was soaring and full of energy but Jack has managed to break down its constituent parts and create something much more sedate and magical. Here the epic nature comes from the beautiful, glacial solitude it conveys. Like you’re lost in the middle of nowhere with nothing but the infinite whiteness of the ice and snow around you as the vocals whisper in your ear like the breeze brushing past and the piano clinks like icicles falling to the ground.
Get your free download from the player below and prepare to be transported to the Arctic wastelands. Pack your winter clothes.
Waylayers’ latest EP, ‘Fault Lines’, is out now and available to buy digitally. Jack Robert Hardman’s eponymous debut album is also out now and available to buy from iTunes.
Stalk Waylayers: Website / Facebook / Twitter / SoundCloud
Stalk Jack Robert Hardman: Website / Facebook / Twitter
So there we were, at home on a normal Friday evening like any other. The junior Alphabet Bands were asleep and all was quiet but for the sounds escaping the inbox and various media players on the laptop. Then, all of a sudden Chvrches popped up with a ‘check out what we did’ type message and our ears and minds were in heaven.
Their remix of MS MR‘s “Hurricane” is something else entirely, not just thumping beats and wompah- wompah bass added to the original. Oh no, not even slightly. So taken aback were we that we had to spend the whole weekend listening to it to be sure it was truly as good as we thought. It was, so we listened to it again all Monday as well.
Like the reveal of garish technicolor in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy goes on her glitter injected, rainbow covered killing spree, the remix is a move from the darkness and into an altogether more bright and bouncy fantastical world. While the lyrics and content remain the same (if ever so slightly speeded up) the tone has shifted. Where once there was glitchy noir-pop there is now a full on 80’s disco banger. It’s sugar-rush introspection and we bloody love it.
If it is true that careers can have purple patches, then Dev Hynes must currently be in the midst of a patch so purple it has been classified as the most purple thing in the world by President Purplely Purple of Purple Land. So purple is it that Prince has been heard to exclaim ‘damn, that’s purple’ and Quality Street are thinking of rebranding their Big Purple One chocolate as it cannot compete. What we are trying to say is that he is at the top of his game right now and everything he touches turns to
He has always been crazy talented and always been equally prolific, but with under his Blood Orange guise he has reached new heights and seemingly new levels of productivity. As well as crafting his own amazing album, propelling Solange to near-superstardom by co-writing/producing/working on funky choreography, working with and writing for artists such as Sky Ferreira and Diana Vickers, he is now working with the Origibabes, or Mutya, Keisha and Siobhan as they are officially known.
He also remixes.
Sorry we should say, he also remixes brilliantly. With the vocal assistance of the Origibabes he has taken the explosion of colour and sound that was the clarion call of Phoenix’s return from the wildnerness, slowed it the funk down and sexed that groove up to 11. “Entertainment” is now full of the trademark Blood Orange bass vibes, the slightly sleazy undertones and harmonies a-go-go. We know the rest of the world has already blogged this but you know what, we don’t care. It’s worth shouting about.
Listen and download for free below.
Phoenix release their new album, Bankrupt!, on 22 April on Atlantic / Glassnote and play a special one-off (and sold out) London show at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on the same day.
When a band hails from a town called Wallop, it must be tempting to simply announce that they 'pack a real punch' and leave it at that. Who needs to actually listen to the music when you have a lazy zinger like that just waiting to be used? Such slapdashery is frowned upon here at Alphabet Bands and with good reason, packing a punch is not what Echotape are about. On "Awakening", these five guys from the south of England offer a gradual, building assault on the senses.
Already awash with melancholy, this Tokyo Night remix adds another layer of dark intensity to the track, soaring as it does over swirling, shimmering electronica then pitching back down into sombre glitchiness before rising once more to a rousing crescendo. Atmospheric doesn't do it justice.
The double A-side of "Shining" and "Awakening" is out now and available on iTunes. You can catch the band on tour in the coming weeks either on their own or supporting Mumiy Troll, dates are below.
The Macbeth - London - Sat 29th September
Kasbah - Coventry - Fri 12th October
The Garage - London - Fri 9th November
The Louisiana W/Mumiy Troll - Bristol - Sun 11th November
The Haunt W/Mumiy Troll - Brighton - Tues 13th November
The Waterfront W/Mumiy Troll - Norwich - Weds 14th November
Mello Mello W/Mumiy Troll - Liverpool - Thurs 15th November
Rainbow W/Mumiy Troll - Birmingham - Fri 16th November
Concorde 2 W/Rubylux - Brighton - Sat 24th November
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