Tag Archives: What’s In The Box?

What’s in the Box? – #15

22 Jul

What's In The Box

Earlier this week, we started a quick series of posts designed to catch us up with some of the fantastic tunes we’ve missed in recent weeks and months.
The first five of the (planned) 25 tracks we’ll be looking back at can be found here and the next five, such is the way a series works, can be found after the snazzy line on the page below.

Enjoy.


Penny Bridges – “For The Things”

Blessed with a gorgeously delicate voice and unconventional pronunciation, it was no surprise that we fell for Penny Bridges last year. Her distinct style and beautifully layered arrangements are soft and enchanting and her latest, “For The Things”, is no different.

Like a cool breeze on a warm summer’s day, Bridge’s vocals drifts over and soothes what ails you. The piano drips enticingly and the melody floats dreamingly and delicately. It’s beautiful, becalming and wonderful. We could, and have, listen to it for hours.

Get to know Penny Bridges: Facebook / Twitter


Yonaka – “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya”

Look to the absolute opposite end of the spectrum to Penny Bridges and you will find Yonaka.

With its immediate and sprawling intensity, “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya” is an attitude fuelled kick to the balls. It has the kind of swagger and brooding coolness that makes kids want to learn guitar and be a rock star. Jesus, it makes us want to learn guitar and be a rock star and we’re [age redacted to protect our own sense of wellbeing] and cursed with stubby fingers! Full of frenetic energy, it’s jump up and down and get entirely lost in the moment brilliant.


Get to know Yonaka: Facebook / Twitter


Luca Chesney – “Return”

When we last featured Luca Chesney, the New York based singer was soothing us with the gently beautiful “We Made A Fire”. That was a couple of years ago now and the intervening period has seen Chesney take a turn onto the road marked ‘electronica’.

Her most recent offering from this journey is the wonderfully monochromatic “Return”. A melodic and glitchy piece of electro-pop whose sparseness is perfectly juxtaposed with Chesney’s rich and alluring vocals. As the digital beats spit like a fire in the darkness, the synths purr and growl with a soft vigour to give us something mysterious and magical.

Get to know Luca Chesney: Facebook / Twitter


Painted Heathers – “Party For One”

Having got together in 2015, Norwich based Painted Heathers are now starting to get some well deserved attention thanks to airplay from the likes of Future Radio and celebrity endorsements from the likes of Elastica.

The Elastica nod is especially relevant as they, along with ‘transition period’ Blur (when they began to move away from Madchester and towards what would become brit-pop) appear to be two of the bands biggest influences. “Party For One” for example, showcases the addictiveness of the Frischmann/Matthews guitar sound and effortlessly relatable Albarn vocals. It is a heady wooze of angular mid-nineties riffs and sweet-smoke-thick melodies.

Get to know Painted Heathers: Facebook / Twitter


Ginger and the Ghost – “Kindred Spirits”

If you were to put up a checklist of things that we love to hear in pop music, Australian’s Ginger and the Ghost would hit a fair few of them with their latest, “Kindred Spirits”.

Produced by Avec Sans collaborator, Benbrick (tick) “Kindred Spirits” is a very scandi-pop (tick) song with an undulating melody (tick) that sounds like Robyn (tick) meets Oh Land (tick) meets Niki and the Dove (tick). It reaches up into the sky like a twisted beanstalk of tribal beats (tick) and soaring synths (tick) before swirling and dancing in a kaleidoscope of colour and sound.

Get to know Ginger and the Ghost: Facebook / Twitter


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


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.

What’s In The Box? – #12

21 Feb

What's In The Box

Welcome to another 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 this week. It is, we are afraid, another shortened (five tracks) What’s In The Box? this week but we can guarantee each tune is absolutely huge and incredible in its own way. Trust us, this is one of those weeks where it is unquestionably all killer and no filler.

Don’t believe us? Take a listen below and we’ll accept your apology in the comments.


Robyn Sherwell – “Tightropes”

When we featured Robyn Sherwell’s ”Pale Lung” recently, we commented that it was so beautiful, it hurt. Now she has returned with “Tightropes”, a song that is so beautiful because it hurts. Dealing with the heartache of a broken relationship, “Tightropes” is a moment of refined musical elegance. Taking the less is more approach we are treated to little more than hushed chimes, a soft swirl of atmospherics and the gentle caress of Sherwell’s tear-stained vocals. It is a song that will resonate with many and which will be (and deserves to be) absorbed in respectful and rapt silence by all who have the pleasure of hearing it performed live.



Jack Garratt – “Chemical”

Coming in from the complete opposite direction to Robyn Sherwell is the remarkable Jack Garratt who just keeps getting better and keeps on hopping genres. Having wowed us with the glacial electronica of his debut “I Couldn’t Want You Anyway”, Jack has continued to evolve his sound and experiment. A recent performance at The Roundhouse hinted at a hidden urgency and freneticism that was fighting from within and which he was struggling to contain. Now it is loose and careering through “Chemical” like an ADD suffering toddler on a sugar rush, hopping from sound to sound, from style to style, slowing momentarily to assess its surroundings before whipping off once more in a clatter of digital beats, synths, electronics, guitars and vocals.

”Chemical’ will feature on Jack’s new EP, ‘The Synesthesiac’, which is due 12 April on Island Records.



Absofacto – “Dissolve”

Prior to the email we received from Jonathan Visger this week, we were not familiar with his solo project, Absofacto. More fool us judging by his latest offering, “Dissolve”, which is a smooth and funked up electro jam that has an undercurrent of the abstract or avant garde about it. It has the feeling of a psychedelic collaboration between All We Are and Broken Bells with a French producer, there is definitely something wonderfully and perhaps unintentionally gallic about it, but we love it.



Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – “Bitter End”

Having been blown away by the (still) remarkable “Hell Yeah” last year, we have since become devotees to the church of Rag’N’Bone Man. With his soul, hip-hop and gospel influences, and his remarkably rich and raw vocals, there is something almost evangelistic about listening to Rory Graham. We could easily see him atop a pulpit, singing “Bitter End” out to his congregation of like-minded disciples. Like all good sermons, it is heartfelt and emotional, strident and rousing, thought provoking and considered. Unlike all sermons (good and bad) it sounds superb with a beat and melody that serve to hold Graham’s vocals aloft like a crowdsurfing messiah. Bet you don’t get that at Mass these days…

”Bitter End” is taken from the forthcoming ‘Disfigured’ EP, due 8 March, and is available to download instantly when you pre-order.



Pawws – “Turnaround”

We’re not sure if it is coincidence but on her Kitsuné compilation featuring “Turnaround”, Lucy Taylor aka Pawws is sounding more chic than ever before. With it’s soft retro beat and murmuring electronics beneath her wistful and honeyed vocals, “Turnaround” has a mid 80s synthpop meets early 90s Saint Etienne vibe to it and it sounds, as she always does, divine.



See? We did tell you each of the five tracks this week were amazing and we do not lie. There’s plenty more where that came from too. Join us on Monday for more blog goodness and some pretty special tunes and new artists in the week as well.

What’s In The Box? – #11

14 Feb

What's In The Box

After a couple of weeks off, What’s In The Box? is back with a pseudo-Valentine’s Day special. While some of the tracks we’ve carefully selected from the inbox (and beyond) this week have a decidedly romantic feel, others are coming at this particular day of cupidly celebration from a different angle.

Enjoy!


Elsie – “Say It Twice”

We start this week with an anti-valentine tune from blog favourite, Elsie. Ordinarily Elsie brings the seductive melodies, candlelight and musical fondue to the table, but here, with this lovely and elegant strings and piano ballad, she is bringing cold hard facts and closure. The tone may be different but her voice sounds as gorgeous as ever, heartbreak can sound great after all.



Amy & The Engine– “Last Forever”

There must be something in the air as, after Mike Evin a couple of weeks ago we now have another video featuring octogenarians dancing. This time its more of an elderly prom thing going on as Boston based Amy & The Engine get in the Valentine’s day spirit with a country twanged folk-pop ode to love and happiness.




Alphabets Heaven – “Sex You”

Electro producers Alphabets Heaven have embraced Valentine’s Day so much this year that they have just released a free EP entitled Lovers. Though this is not exactly a collection of smoochy love songs to break out the wine and whipped cream to. Take “Sex You” for example, a cold, glitchy cover/remix of the Bando Jonez ‘classic’ that is more dark dub than Barry White, which makes it a lot better than the original as a result.



Laura Welsh – “Hardest Part” feat. John Legend

Taken from her forthcoming debut album, Laura Welsh’s “Hardest Part” is a sultry and smooth blend of R&B infused pop goodness. Written with and featuring the always wonderfully soulful vocals of John Legend, it is more candlelit evenings in with a bottle of wine with its rich melody and soft textures.


Sasha Siem – “So Polite”

We originally thought about including “So Polite” due to the extremely tenuous 14 February link that is the final track on Sasha Siem’s upcoming album being called “Valentine”. Yet there is enough in the lyrics to allow a connection on its own, though perhaps not in the traditional chocs and flowers sense. Take a listen and you’ll see what we mean.
Part pop song, part performance poetry, part social commentary and avant-garde artistic creation, “So Polite” is refreshingly different to almost anything else out there at the moment and fantastically discordant and raw with emotion. Perfect for Valentine’s day.



Bonus Valentine Special Video

No idea how this got here…



See you on Monday for more blog goodness and next Saturday for another What’s In The Box? (no more Glenn Mederios, we promise).