Tag Archives: seven

What’s In The Box ? – #13

11 Apr

What's In The Box

It’s been a while since we last shared a Saturday round up of tunes from the Alphabet Bands inbox and beyond that we loved, but just didn’t have time to get to properly. As ever the last seven (or so) days have been rammed with quality music and not enough hours in the day to get to them all.

Here then is a quick, eight-track, What’s In The Box? chock full of tunes from a number of genres, each of which is fantastic and we’re sure you’ll find something you’ll enjoy. We sure did.

Kloë – “Feel”

Let’s kick things off this week with an absolute stormer from new Scottish pop superstar-to-be Kloë. “Feel” is a dark, simmering cauldron of electropop brilliance with synths that slither and glide ominously along as the vocal arrangement evokes “Blue Jeans” era Lana. It’s powerful, vibrant and exciting and surely heralds the arrival of a future star.

The Japanese House – “Teeth”

As The Japanese House, 19 year old Amber Bain has been creating quite the proverbial buzz of excitement recently. Each of her previous two releases have been met with near universal acclaim and adulation and her latest, “Teeth”, carries on that trend. It’s a slow moving cloud of electronics, melody and genderless vocals that is punctuated with fantastically discordant guitar wails and pitter patter beats.

The Japanese House release their debut EP, Pools To Bathe In on 27 April and it is available to pre-order here.

Racing Glaciers – “What I Saw”

It’s been a fair few months since we last heard from Racing Glaciers but the quintet have returned from self-imposed exile (to a barn in Glastonbury for some of it) to share the first track from their forthcoming debut album. “What I Saw” is less bombastic than their previous efforts. It’s a lighters-(camera phones)-in-the-air rock ballad that’s slow burning, broodingly emotive and very, very anthemic.

Mt. Wolf – “VIII feat. Alexa Harley”

The demise of Mt. Wolf at the end of 2013, the day after they were announced as being part of the Blog Sound Poll longlist, was as surprising as it was disappointing. Thankfully a year later and two thirds of the band were back making music together, fast forward another few months and we have the smokey and gorgeous “VIII” to get lost in. Featuring the soft and alluring vocals of Alexa Harley, it’s a stunningly elegant and dreamy tune.

Fascinator – “Showin’ Off”

This has been out for a few months now but when we heard Fascinator’s “Showin’ Off” we knew we had to share it. We love the blend of the orchestral and hip-hop. The strings and the beat play off one another superbly and the addition of the woodwind section serves to ramp up the ambition and quality. It’s a LSD loving Beatles infused mash of pop sensibilities, folk guitar licks and breaks that we just adore.

Silences – “The Sea”

After all that rambunctiousness we thought it best to calm things down a little and the new track from Silences affords us the perfect way to do just that. Here the Northern Irish quintet is getting a little bit Coldplay, a little bit Kodaline and a lotta bit great. “The Sea” is a very radio-friendly slice of emotional, brooding indie-pop; all dark skies over the cliffs and pensive looks out across the ocean.

Alphaduka – “Vision”

Hailing from South London, three piece Alphaduka claim to be part band, part bowling team and while we can’t attest to their pin clattering ability, debut song “Vision” is really rather lovely. There’s lots of ebbing, swooning guitars and vocals melding in a soft autumnal haze, all warm and orangey, that ultimately collapse into a laguid mushroomy trip of 60s psychedelica.

Vanbot – “Seven”

Finally this week we have a fantastic dance-pop blast from Sweden’s Vanbot. Given the style, sound and subject matter of “Seven”, comparisons with Robyn are inevitable and unavoidable. Rather than being seen as lazy journalism however, they should be viewed as the massive compliment they are as it would be right at home as part of Robyn’s classic and magnificent Body Talk series.

“Seven” will feature on Vanbot’s new album Perfect Storm which is due for release in May.

We hope you enjoyed that quick whizz through the inbox and beyond. Join us on Monday for more blog goodness and some pretty special tunes and new artists in the week as well.

Chew Lips – Unicorn review

24 Jan

I’m not sure where I first heard of Chew Lips. Having gathered the names of a number of new bands for the purpose of this challenge in a relatively short space of time I genuinely can’t remember where I found out about them all. All I’m sure of is I needed a ‘C’ and Chew Lips appeared to be getting some buzz for 2010 so, without knowing anything about their sound, onto the list they went.

Obviously, with the premise of this whole challenge being about finding new bands, I hadn’t previously come across debut singles Solo and Salt Air. As such I couldn’t really pass judgement on whether they are either ‘supremely confident or reckless’ as suggested by Q Magazine in their album review (Q283). What I can say is with tracks like Toro, Karen, Play Together, Slick and Eight I’m leaning heavily towards ‘supremely confident’ and justifiably so.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is album of the year material (or even album of the month, hey, it’s been a very strong month) but this is more than just a solid debut. Seemingly channelling both Karen O and Beth Orton singer Tigs’ voice has a wistful, sometime ethereal quality to it. This is particularly evident in closing track, Piano Song, which is almost A Capella with nothing but (unsurprisingly) a simple piano track with occasional electronic whirring underscoring the lyrics.

In fact, given the energy showcased in Solo and Salt Air, it’s a little surprising just how understated Unicorn is as an album. They’ve been described as minimalist electronica and I can see why; certainly the sometimes-delicate arrangements seem designed to showcase the lyrics and Tigs’ vocals. That said, there is still plenty here to get excited about and that you’ll find running through your brain hours after listening.

Unicorn is beautifully crafted, opening with the hauntingly melancholic Eight before upping the tempo into Play Together (the first single from the album) and Slick. Karen is the sort of track that sits on radio play-lists for ages and, along with Toro, shows that La Roux are not the only ones who can do intelligent, chart friendly electric pop.

As an aside, how achingly cool is the Kitsuné label? La Roux, Delphic, Two Door Cinema Club, Ficherspooner, Autokratz and now Chew Lips. Talk about tapping into the zeitgeist.

As a whole though Unicorn is more eloquent than some of Chew Lips’ contemporaries and whilst many try to create the ultimate floor-filler, this is much more of a Sunday morning, post club album. Upbeat enough to hark back to the previous nights festivities, subtle and melodic enough to nurse even the sorest of heads. Besides, you want floor-fillers? That’s what remixes are for.

Still you can’t help feeling something is missing. It’s not the length (though 33 minutes is somewhat on the short side) and as I say the album is beautifully crafted, each track complimenting each other as you journey through from Eight to closer Piano Song. Perhaps the idea was to take a relatively simple approach or maybe Unicorn is designed to leave us all wanting more. I’m certainly looking forward to hearing what Chew Lips do next, so if that is the case, job done.