Tag Archives: Transviolet

What’s in the Box? – #14

18 Jul

What's In The Box

It has, let’s be honest, been quite some time since we posted with anything approaching regularity. In the weeks and months since our last flurry, many many wonderful songs have been released. A great number of which we thought to ourselves, ‘we’ll write about that’. Time passed and still no writing came. Though we remained determined, ‘we’ll get to them, eventually’ we thought.

Well, it looks like eventually has finally come. There’s no time like the present they say, so here we go with a series of What’s In The Box? specials as we play catch up with some of our favourites from the last few months.


Leon Else – “The City Don’t Care”

First on our look at what we’ve missed is an eighties synth-dream courtesy of Leon Else and Oliver from about four months ago.

It’s been ages since we last featured Else, back when he was looking at the world through broken glass with his dark debut. Now his specs appear to have neon lenses as “The City Don’t Care” is a brightly lit, leather jacket sleeves rolled up, shoulder pads wearing blast of colour, keys and beats. It’s much more poppy and danceable than when we last featured him, and fantastically so. It’s groovy and danceable without ever being brash or overwhelming. It’s a Fab ice-lolly of a track, bright colours, lots of fun and enjoyable enough to make you want another.


Get to know Leon Else: Website / Facebook / Twitter


Transviolet – “The Hamptons”

Next up is possibly the most infectious and catchy tune we’ve heard all year. It is certainly the one we have been entertaining the other occupants of ABHQ with the most by playing it on repeat the last few days.

We’ve loved Transviolet since their debut back in 2015 and they’ve just got better and better ever since. Taken from their latest EP, Kaleidoscopes, “The Hamptons” is a remarkably contagious little pop delight, getting under your skin and giving you a severe case of the ‘hook-hums’ while you find yourself absent-mindedly dancing from side-to-side in the kitchen.



Get to know Transviolet: Facebook / Twitter


Roma Ocean – “About You”

Something altogether more dark and twisted that Leon Else and Transviolet now, courtesy of the debut track from Roma Ocean.

Hailing from the Ukraine, Roma’s obsession with sound and music began at the age of three when he smashed his parent’s fridge because he was hungry and liked the noise it made. “About You” showcases a dark and sinewy electronica that creeps menacingly along. His voice are low and coarse, laced with foreboding and a danger that comes to life as a high pitched, terrified, vocal rears up. The beat continuing its death march atop a twisted synth line, moving stealthily along to its, and your, end.


Get to know Roma Ocean: Website / Facebook / Twitter


SHE Major – “Je Ne Sais Quoi”

The second single from SHE Major was released much more recently, just last week in fact, and already it has us lost in a whirl of soft and sumptuous vocals and mellifluous melodies.

“Je Ne Sais Quoi” is elegant and beautiful. From the piano opening to the subtle insistence of the synth swirl that accompanies it. From the unquantifiably Prince like vocal lines to the utterly compelling and gorgeous use of a bi-lingual chorus. The whole thing is divine. The strings soar and twist to the sky above this stunning monochromatic soundscape that is as majestic as it is picturesque.


Get to know SHE Major: Website / Facebook / Twitter


MXMS – “I Revenge”

Back to the darkness now, a place where we tend to find some of the best pop music, and here, lurking under a lace veil of black is where we find MXMS. It stands for ‘Me and My Shadow’ which is how Ariel and Jeremy see each other as they make music from the twisted underbelly of the soul, or ‘funeral pop’ as they call it.

Their most recent track, “I Revenge”, is a tumultuous storm of drums and piano, throwing the ships of transgressors against the rocks of retribution. It’s a boiling fury in musical form.

Ariel’s voice drifts delightfully between the light and dark, at times siren-esque, floaty and hypnotic but mostly dripping with malice and threat. This is not the voice of someone who will go quietly into the night, this is a voice of strength, of uprising and freedom. It’s rousing and iron-willed, moving from a place of pain to a place of anguished satisfaction.


Get to know MXMS: Website / Facebook / Twitter


2016 Tracks of the Year

1 Jan

tracks-of-the-year

Over the last few years we have shown complete disdain for the idea of consistency in how we approach end of year listing. We’ve done a brief synopsis of a collection of our favourites, single posts per entry and even a mega one year in review round-up post. So it should come as no surprise to learn that once again we are mixing it up, focusing just on our favourite tracks and albums, nothing more.

This post will list our nine (top tens are so passé) favourite tracks (in no particular order). These are the ones we’ve loved the most, played the most, sung along with, nodded our head to, air drummed to, inflicted on our friends and colleagues and generally embraced and indulged in the most over the last year.

We’ll be back later with our fave five albums and after that, it will be on with the new Alphabet and posts a-go-go as we set out to make 2017 our personal musical love slave. Or something.

We’ll stick to our top ten tracks of 2016 for now though.


The one that came out of nowhere to knock our socks off

HEZEN – “The Girl You Want”

There were a lot of tracks from acts old and new last year that were incredible but without doubt, the one that just completely blew us away was the formal debut from Sarah Hezen. Even now, listening again, it still hits us smack between the eyes with its intricate, entwining melody and rhythms. It is utterly, stunningly beautiful whilst at the same time viscerally dark and menacing. Her soft vocal is intoxicating as it envelops this sense of foreboding as a dark spirit wisps around its prey seductively.

We could go on and on, and we did when we wrote about “The Girl You Want’ previously. Trust us though, you’ll be hearing a lot more from HEZEN in the future, not least because we will be waxing lyrical about her again very shortly.



The one that reaffirmed the thought that this guy is incredible and deserves to be a huge success

Rag’N’Bone Man – “Human”

The release of “Human” felt like something of a watershed moment for Rag’N’Bone Man last year. He was already critically acclaimed, selling out shows here there and everywhere with a growing legion of fans and blog support – he has featured on ours and others pages many, many times. Yet it is “Human”, its video and the announcement of an album later this year that looks set to send him to the heights we all anticipated he’d be reaching.

The beat behooves movement, the lyrics demand crowd accompaniment and Rory’s vocal is as powerful as it has ever been. It’s no wonder that an appearance on Jools Holland came about, or that it was number one in Germany for weeks and weeks, or that it was chosen as a contestant’s song on The X Factor. In fact, the only surprise is that it didn’t quite grab the Christmas Number One slot, finishing second. With the critics choice Brit already been bagged and a top 5 slot in the BBC Sound of poll assured, “Human” will stand as the final piece in the puzzle for Rag’N’Bone Man. Global success is surely on the way now.


The one that makes you swear inappropriately loudly when singing along

The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – “Starboy”

Confession time. Despite all the buzz and hype a few years back, The Weeknd was never really an artist we’d paid too much attention too. There is only so much time in the day after all and not everything gets listened too, no matter how much we’d like to. When a lot of our friends started going doolally over “Starboy” though we thought we should check it out. When we heard it was a collaboration with Daft Punk we resolved to get on it and soon enough we were telling everyone and anyone who would listen (and a fair few who wouldn’t) that we were a motherfuckin’ Starboy.

It’s been said elsewhere, and in more accomplished ways, but this does almost feel like a reanimation of a late 80’s MJ given a devilish electronic twist. Infectious doesn’t even begin to describe how ridiculously catchy this tune is, especially the chorus, and it has been a real job to not play this to total and utter death (or around the kids). Like organised crime, every time we think we are out, we hear it again and are pulled back in. It’s everything modern pop should be and it’s such a shame the rest of the album doesn’t really live up to it. Still, we’ll always be a motherfuckin’ Starboy.


The one with the incredible Nixon sample

TV Girl – “Taking What’s Not Yours”

We’ve said it a number of times, but we don’t think there will ever come a time when we don’t like TV Girl or get excited for new music from them. 2016 was the same with the release of Who Really Cares and the brilliant lead single, “Taking What’s Not Yours”.

We said it before, but it’s worth re-stating, ”“Taking What’s Not Yours” is everything we love about TV Girl. Deliciously, ridiculously infectious, it is bright and playful while dealing with a lesser spoken consequence of a failed relationship.


The whole track is just wonderful, there’s a Nixon sample in there that is so deft you might miss it but it is genius, trust us. It is lyrically dry, sardonic and clever. It is completely and utterly perfectly TV Girl.”


The one that could be an anthem for a teenage uprising

Transviolet – “New Bohemia”

Another act we’ve loved and predicted great things for since first hearing them is Transviolet. Technically “New Bohemia” was released in 2015 but the video came out in February and that is more than enough justification for us to include it in this list.

We still can’t hear the military drumbeat towards the end of the track without thinking of Les Mis, without imagining an uprising and revolution against the rising tide of hate and fearmongering, something we need more than ever.

It remains rousing and invigorating, a movement in song form. Conveying power, emotion, defiance and attitude. It is a superb piece of anthemic pop that still gets played to death at Alphabet Bands HQ.


The one that could be an anthem for teenage indestructibility and hedonism

Chløë Black – “Death Proof”

The flip side to “New Bohemia” came from the brilliant and effortlessly cool Chløë Black and “Death Proof”. Another piece of fabulous, socially aware and catchy as all hell, dark pop; it’s a teen anthem for the hedonistic, indestructible youth and their ‘give no fucks’ attitude.

It’s pounding beat is relentless, a reckless death march into the future while a warped guitar line grinds in the background. Chløë’s gorgeously intoxicating voice melts over the attitude and swagger of the melody making you love it even more.

It’s play it again and again and again fantastic and but for all the swears would surely have been everywhere in the late summer months. Seriously, someone give this woman a deal and get an album out pronto.


The one that gives us goosebumps AKA The one we wish they’d done on Jools Holland

Let’s Eat Grandma – “Rapunzel”

It doesn’t matter how many times we hear it, the opening piano line of “Rapunzel” always sends a shiver down our neck and brings goosebumps to our arm. That this moment of innocence, of purity and of calm beauty then gives way to a cold and dark lyrical reality only serves to make it even more poignant.

Based in part on a true story and in part on a well loved fairytale, “Rapunzel” is (for our money) the most remarkable track on an incredible debut album. It perfectly encapsulates everything about them, the creativity, the musicality, the marbling of reality and imagination and the intricate and intelligence of their composition and lyricism.

It is also surprisingly easy to sing along with, even if you do have some explaining to do when your kids randomly start singing it in public.


The one that we always sing along to and that makes us happy

Shura – “What’s It Gonna Be?”

Possibly the most earworm-tastic tune of the whole year, Shura’s “What’s It Gonna Be?” was superb 80s inspired pop fare – channelling her inner Madonna and mixing it with a dash of SAW era Kylie. Then the video came out.

It’s hard to say if it is the brilliance of the song that makes us love the video so much, or vice versa, but it is safe to say this combination of audio and visual is one of the best and most enjoyable seen in 2016. Certainly this track was one of the most played on our summer holiday in France and most sung along to by the kids as we drove around the countryside.

Sentimental, heartfelt, bittersweet and oh-so danceable and catchy, “What’s It Gonna Be?” is a dazzlingly warm and wonderful piece of retro-modern pop music.



The one that made us realise we’d been wrong all along

Birds of Hell – “Astronomy Programmes”

Back in April we held our hands up and said, yep, we were wrong. Birds of Hell had always been an act that we’ve just never got, and then he released “Astronomy Programmes” and our mind was changed. It is, as we said so eloquently at the time, ”quite frankly, fucking brilliant”.

A little more evocatively, we also said it is “A swirling, cosmic spirituality as well as a wonderful lyrical dexterity are on show. It is utterly charming and really rather beautiful. This electronic, galaxial mist of sound drifts and caresses while Pete Murdoch’s light gravelly voice bounces off the softer swoon of producer Iain Lowery’s backing vocal. The beat snaps and skips gently as shooting stars of melody sweep by above and the lyrics ponder the great unknowns and reminisce for a simpler time”.

It still sounds as swirlsomely gorgeous now.

Transviolet – “New Bohemia” (video)

2 Feb

Transviolet

Transviolet first came to our attention last summer with the wonderfully, sinewy pop of ”Girls Your Age”. They then blew our metaphorical roof off with the huge anthemic sound of ”New Bohemia”, a tune that still gives us goosebumps and now has a fantastically rousing video to accompany it.

At the time of the track’s release we said that ”It’s got that edge to it, that sensibility and power that soundtracks and conveys the magnitude of something, hell if you wanted to remake Les Miserables with modern pop songs, this is your rousing battle cry right here.”

Not only does this still ring true but with the video it feels even more so. There’s this moment, just as Sarah sings “join the revolution”, that figures appear behind her, army like, and they all run at us through the forest. It is a perfect embodiment of the song, of its power, defiance and attitude that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It also has a rather wonderful (and we presume unintentional) Cocoon-esque moment as well which we love.

We said when they first appeared that world domination could beckon, we’re even more convinced now.

”New Bohemia” is taken from the ‘Transviolet EP’ which is out now on Epic Records and available from iTunes.


Stalk Transviolet: Facebook / Twitter

2016 Preview: Artists to Listen out for Part Five

24 Dec

Listen Out For... (4)

After a short unscheduled pause, we conclude our look ahead to next year with our top three Artists to Listen Out for in 2016. We’ve already talked about 12 of our favourite bands right now (old and new) who we are excited to hear more from in the coming months, and these three are the ones who have us most hyped up.

Should you want to re-acquaint yourselves with the previous 12, the links to our previous posts are below. Otherwise, let’s crack on.

Part One (here)
Part Two (here)
Part Three (here)
Part Four (here)


#3 – Seyr

Seyr

We first heard enigmatic London duo seyr just a few short weeks ago when we were asked to write about them for The Tipping Point. Instantly we felt foolish for not having heard of them before and simultaneously very excited for their blend of smooth, soulful r&b infused electronica was right up our proverbial street.

Talking about their divine “a love” we said;

”It’s late night emotional turmoil made into something gorgeous. Heavy with emotion it’s a bold marbling of style, anguish and the tumultuous seas of heartache into a state of aural dreaminess. As couples sway almost imperceptibly with the beat, they will find their grip on one another tightening and an unexplainable longing for their partner swelling up within.”

They’ve been about for a couple of years now, putting out a release here and doing a show there, and they seem to be getting better and better. Hopefully, 2016 will see us hearing much more of the pair.


Stalk Seyr: Website / Twitter


#2 – Transviolet

Transviolet

Transviolet were one of those new acts that appeared seemingly fully formed in 2015. With a solid team and label support behind them and an EP for release, the group came, saw and pretty much conquered in a very short space of time.

Their debut track, “Girls Your Age” went over huge with the blog world and likewise did the follow ups from their eponymous debut EP. Our favourite was probably the anthemic and rousing “New Bohemia” which stirred something within that makes you want to get up and stand for something.

Standing at the opposite end of the grand spectrum to the creeping beauty of “Girls Your Age”, it represented a rather stunning debut from this new young band and one that we hope to see built on in the coming year.


Stalk Transviolet: Facebook / Twitter


#1 – Loyle Carner

Loyle Carner

While he has been pretty much synonymous with new artist tipping in the last few weeks, appearing on the BBC Sound Of and Blog Sound Of polls as well as countless other online publications 2016 preview lists, it may be a surprise to some to see Loyle Carner top our list of acts for next year.

This is because this is actually his debut appearance on Alphabet Bands. Although us not posting about someone is not an indication of a lack of love on our part, more our somewhat slack approach to writing over the last few months.

Some may be put off by the excessive amount of swearing in some of his tracks, but this is not profanity for the sake of it look-at-me-and-my-bling-in-the-club-with-some-bitches rap; this is honest, raw and powerful hip-hop / spoken word. It’s brutally open and refreshing, confessional and laidback like Gil Scott-Heron atop Jurassic5 style beats. It’s magnificent and refreshing and we look forward to hearing much much more in the coming years.


Stalk Loyle Carner: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Transviolet – “New Bohemia

22 Sep

TV FACES

Taken from Transviolet’s eponymous debut EP, “New Bohemia” is the third track from this remarkable young pop act (following on from the stunning “Girls Your Age” and “Bloodstream”) and is perhaps the best of the lot.

Anthemic. We’ve thought about and if we had to use just one word to describe it we’d use anthemic. Except we’d also want to use rousing, stirring, invigorating and other such synonyms. One word is not enough, it’s too darn big. Thankfully we don’t have to choose just one word.

It’s a bit Lorde like in the verse but the chorus stirs something else.  Something primitively patriotic. It could easily be used as the backdrop of some sporting montage. Something like when Tinie Tempah’s “Written In The Stars” was used to sell the (relative) importance and grand theatrics of Wrestlemania a few years ago. It’s got that edge to it, that sensibility and power that soundtracks and conveys the magnitude of something, hell if you wanted to remake Les Miserables with modern pop songs, this is your rousing battle cry right here.

As we’ve already used all options from our thesaurus we now turn to the band to offer some context; they explain “New Bohemia is a mindset. It’s the belief that each individual has the power to change the world”, which is spot on. It conveys power, emotion, defiance and attitude. Like we said, It’s anthemic and just a superb pop song.

”New Bohemia” is taken from the ‘Transviolet EP’ which is out now on Epic Records and available from iTunes.

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