Tag Archives: Synths

Explorers – “We All Run”

12 Aug


Chesterfield’s Explorers have become something of a favourite on the blog in recent years with their big, energetic synth sounds flicking many of our oversized neon switches. While we wait patiently for their debut album we’re pleased that Jeremy Dennis and Robert Bannister are still slipping the odd tune out here and there to keep us ticking over.

Latest single “We All Run” is typically bold and bright, oozing optimism from every pore. We love how they create music that is full of vibrant energy that makes you feel like you are flying. Previous track ”Radar” was like a jet plane and “We All Run” is like we’d imagine having superpowers to be like. Turning, swooping, whooshing effortlessly through the air before dropping down to the ground and running faster than a speeding bullet, the melodious wind in our hair as our feet tap out the rhythm. The sun shines brightly on the horizon, calling us to it as we run deliriously, feeling invincible and ecstatic.

It’s a perfect summer tune and only makes us that more impatient for the album.

”We All Run” is out now and available to buy from iTunes.

Stalk Explorers: Facebook / Twitter

Escapists – “Breaking It Up” Late Night version

19 Mar


Just last month we used the release of the grinding rough edges of Escapists “Breaking It Up” to take heart from the fact that guitar music is far from dead. We eulogised over their big, ambitious rock sounds and the fact that acts like Embers, Velvet Two Stripes and Courtly Love are out there giving it some riffs as well. As much as we love all the dreamy and heady electropop, the bright glorious synthpop and the often dark digital sounds that are prominent at the moment, we do still love a good angular judder of guitar and boom of stick on skin as the drums are pounded to oblivion.

Mind you it seems that the lure of the electronic mistress is hard to resist and, judging by their latest release, even Escapists themselves have been drawn in by her seductive charms. Her binary mini-dress shows off just enough circuitry to send a tingle to your hard-drive as she entices you to join her digital fellowship.

Not that we are complaining mind you, as by re-working “Breaking It Up” into a ‘Late Night’ version, Escapists are giving us the best of both worlds. The whirling G-force of the guitars are still there, but they’ve been given a more languid feel whilst simultaneously being beefed up with a little 8-bit synthology. In fact, the whole thing seems steeped in a little retro-gaming nostalgia with digitised flourishes adding a pixelated fuzziness; a cosmic blend of galaxial colour and infinite darkness to the previously raw indie soundscapes.

With beats and bass that evoke memories of The Knife, that deep rumbling digital grind is offset by a beacon amongst the stars that is the light falsetto vocal. The chorus is still a grand stadium filler and the whole thing feels vast and expansive; a woozy swirl of guitars, synths, bass, beats and some 8 bit fun.

Guitar music isn’t dead, far from it, but we do love it when it hooks up with electronica for a dirty one-night stand like this.

”Breaking It Up late night” is available as a free download from the player below.

Stalk Escapists: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Listen: U.V. – “Receiver”

30 Jan


Juxtaposing airy wraithlike vocals and stark, mechanical synths and brooding electronica, Manchester duo U.V. have struck a smoky, foreboding kind of gold with their latest track, “Receiver”. Having apparently spent some time outside the UK for a while, hanging in Berlin no less, the pair of Zandra Klievens and Jonjo Feather has returned with something quite spectacular.

It feels like survival of an atomic relationship that has detonated, the nuclear fallout reaching far and wide leaving desolation in its wake. The vocals are willow the wisp floaty and almost reserved or shy. Like your breath on a cold morning, they are soft and elusive, dissipating gently over the increasingly urgent and bleak melody. The sky is black and red as a lone figure picks her way through the destruction and rubble. The building blocks of the relationship lay in ruin, seemingly solid foundations shattered like glass as this shared world came crashing down. The dystopian and post apocalyptic sounds grow ever powerful and the elegant and hypnotic synth lines become more prominent until “Receiver” builds to its culmination and the dark industrial portent of a coming Skynet rises to take over.

”Receiver” is available to buy on iTunes or on limited edition cassette tape with a free download.

Stalk U.V.: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Listen: Yumi Zouma – “Sålka Gets Her Hopes Up”

22 Jan

Yumi Zouma

Getting your hopes up can be a fool’s errand. Wishing on something you know deep down isn’t going to come about, like thinking the hottest girl in high school will ditch the dreamboat to go out with your geeky self just because she smiled when you held the door for her, or when an ant thinks he can to do something way beyond his limited capabilities, or that this week was going to be your week on the lottery because everything else had gone so badly this week it just had to be right? Or… well, you get the picture. Getting your hopes hope often leads to disappointment.

But not always.

The blog world went a little doolaly recently when New Zealand friends, Charlie, Kim and Josh released a new track to the world as Yumi Zouma. The track was “The Brae” and the response was universally positive. At the time we hadn’t heard it, but it was released on Cascine – a label renowned for its consistently high quality releases, and a lot of people whose opinion we trusted thought it was amazing. So with hopes high their debut EP was bought and our fingers were crossed there would be no crushing sense of disappointment.

There wasn’t.

It is fantastic, as is the newly released second track from it, “Sålka Gets Her Hopes Up”, which is a soft synthy world of light funk grooves and smooth pop vibes over programmed beats with a chilled out 80’s vibe. Like sipping a tall glass of something refreshing and intoxicating, beads of condensation running down the side and onto your fingers as the sun beats down on a cloudless afternoon sat out on the deck of your lakeside cabin. A boat drifts by and the passengers wave casually as you kick off your shoes and put your feet up. This is the life, and what a gorgeous soundtrack for it as well.

Yumi Zouma’s debut EP is out 11 February via Cascine. The limited edition 10” vinyl is sold out but you can still order the digital album here.

Stalk Yumi Zouma: Facebook / Twitter

Listen: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

7 Nov

Broken Bells

Ok, so we know that this has already been covered extensively on many sites, but to paraphrase The Cranberries, everyone else is blogging it, why can’t we? Besides, we have particular interest in the latest release from the musical Bert and Ernie that is Broken Bells as, in a previous life we stated that Brian Burton and James Mercer were made for working together. A statement we have no problem re-stating following the release of new track, “Holding On For Life”, on which they have eschewed their previous genteel meanderings through a comforting and melodious countryside for something with a little more bite.

Just listen to that swaggering blaxploitation bassline beneath a ghoulish and ghostly opening that thrusts us through rickety doors of a glow-in-the- dark Scooby-Do style ghost train, past eerie, cobweb festooned graveyards and into an old haunted 70’s discotheque. There, like a white suited John Travolta auditioning for the “thriller” video, standing atop an illuminated dancefloor and surrounded by equally decomposed revellers, we will find Mercer. Giving it the full Bee Gees falsetto and alluring Dracula stare to entice the wide-eyed (eared?) listener into this underworld of synths and supernatural sounds, we are drawn in, under the spell and soon to become one of them.

”Holding On For Life” is taken from Broken Bells’ sophomore album, ‘After the Disco’ which is due for release on 14 January 2014.

Stalk Broken Bells: Facebook / Twitter /Website