Originally from Uppsala, Sweden, but now based in London, Ottilia has already received lavish praise from numerous quarters; including winning an award for best teenage Swedish singer/songwriter of 2012.
It is easy to understand why, her music sounds rather special and she is definitely a bright young talent. Her most recent release, double aside ’Heartless / I Don’t Let Myself Fall In Love’, certainly flies the flag for such an assumption. Both posses a doleful, melancholic air, with ‘Heartless’ serving as a despondent song for the hurt and wounded, mournfully crooning “If I had a heart left to love you I would do, I would do,” over haunting off-beat rhythms. ‘I Don’t Let Myself Fall In Love’ is a lone acoustic ballad, amidst the gloomy surroundings and stark strum her voice is so smooth, powerful and enchanting. I’ve been consumed by both tracks for days, the latter in particular should send a chill down your spine.
You can listen to both ‘Heartless’ & ‘I Don’t Let Myself Fall In Love’ below and make up your own mind.
Swansea born / Berlin based producer Benjamin Damage has stepped out on his own with his excellent debut solo album Heliosphere. Although this is a first album under his own name, Damage is no novice, having already released a tidy body of work in collaboration with Venom and Doc Daneeka.
Loosely speaking what we’ve got here is techno, damn fine techno at that. He does however, delve into a textural depth that goes far beyond the constraints of the genre taking in touches of dubstep, garage and rave. In doing so he’s found a cloudy space between pile-driving techno, the more minimalist delicacy of the genre and an almost ambient slumber. Although this more drowsy side to his sound is maintained throughout, these atmospheric spurts are by no means the pulse of his sound. The music is propulsive and can be dark, mysterious, yet never brutal. Even when in full flight, with rhythms twisting and turning, the momentum is never lost.
An assured and focused sound that packs as much punch as it does intrigue, Heliosphere is out now on Modeselktor’s very own 50Weapons label.
Dog Legs are London / Brighton duo of Moema Meade and Liam Bradbury, by way of Menai Bridge. The duo are fine purveyors of dirty, rough ‘n ready lo-fi garage punk, done in short bursts and wrapped with a touch of extremely catchy bubblegum pop.
There is a definite ‘don’t give a fuck’ vibe going on, furthered by their fondness for an expletive which runs throughout their latest EP, Awkward. The EP is quite fun and filled with sharp-tongued lyrical sweariness, from the high-energy blasts of ‘Beast Like Me’ and ‘Cobra Snake’ to the darker downbeat ‘Bitch Please’ or ‘Another Shit Teen Movie’. Yeah there’s a slightly juvenile aspect to the whole thing, but it’s actually one of the appealing features to Dog Legs and their EP. Instead of ‘seriousness’ they allow their sense of fun run wild, bash out a jam and enjoy it. Simply brilliant stuff and utterly infectious too.
You can check out some choice cuts from Dog Legs below or grab their Awkward EP from bandcamp.
Ah, wonderful Wales. With Ireland you can put your house on it raining but the same could be said for Wales and weirdly wonderful psychedelic bands. Following along a path laid by Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and Super Furry Animals, to name but two, are Cardiff based psych folk collective Soft Hearted Scientists.
Their psychedelic-tinged folk owes much the heady days of ’60s and ’70s too. The collective’s trippy warped out and downright weird sounds are dripping with genuinely appealing eccentricity and sugar sweet melodies, grounded, only just, by musings of everyday life. A madcap of delights that if comparisons were needed, one might arrive at something like the lyrical depth, wordplay and acerbic wit of Half Man Half Biscuit, meets the off-the-wall antics of Syd Barrett and seductive sounds of Donavan or The Byrds. All in all, it is wonderful, bizarre and seductive in equal measures. These are songs which will burrow into the inner reaches of your mind.
With three albums under their belts already, they are hardly newbies but as album number four, entitled False Lights, is on the horizon it is a timely introduction to their wonderful psych folk delights.
Chemistry Lessons are an electro duo from the Welsh Valleys, now based between Cardiff and Bristol.
The duo (of Gareth Burke & Mavis) have been involved in other musical projects for the best part of a decade, but it was in the summer of 2012 that they decided to get creative with distorted synths, drum machines and some cheap organs from eBay. The fruits of this creative spurt see a blend of big boisterous beats, flamboyant synth riffs and 8-bit electro sounds working in tandem to create something that lies between the realms of French electro, latter day Prodigy & a kid with a Gameboy. ’Kobi’ in particular, is a wonderful example of what they are all about.
Chemistry Lessons are currently putting the finishing touches to a new EP. Until then, there are a few choice cuts below (including the aforementioned ’Kobi’) which serve as a rather neat introduction to the world of Chemistry Lessons.
Drenge are a two-piece rock outfit based in Sheffield, comprised of brothers Rory and Eoin Loveless.
Taking their cue from the White Stripes/Black Keys/Sluts of Trust school of rock ‘n roll, though less downright sleazy than the latter, one batters drums and the other sings and looks after the powerhouse of a guitar riffs. Simple as that; two brothers, guitar and drums? Not so. A blob of grittiness and a clot of high-octane energy, that’s what Drenge are, and hardly anything else. Take the brutally aggressive, raw and muscular nature of latest single, ‘Bloodsports’ and you will get the idea. It sums up the duo quite perfectly, just make sure to turn it up loud. Earlier days but this sibling duo are an exciting prospect.
Drenge head out on a UK tour with Deap Vally later this month, judging by the choice cuts, it could be one hell of a show.
Policy are a four-piece band from Kilcoole, Co Wicklow who released their self-titled debut EP late last year.
Sounding like they have been influenced by a whole host of mid ’80s British indie acts (particularly The Wedding Present plus others of that ilk), their debut EP is probably best summed up as a bit indie, a bit alternative rock and a bit rough around the edges. Across the five track EP, recorded with Eoin Whitfield from Enemies in Kilcoole last year, they deliver a series of charming songs with catchy melodies, smart lyrics and played with energy. A special mention must be reserved for the vocals which are both unusual and unique, spat out with a certain sense of fragility, they increase the endearing quality of the music ten fold.
What’s on offer here isn’t perfect but that is part of the appeal, their rough around the edges approach adds to the overall appeal. Not only is there the untempered potential for more but it is far more personal and genuine.
You can download their self-titled debut EP for free here and make up your own mind.
This one’s been a long time coming to fruition. Sundernix, Kildare-born-Dublin-based musician Liam Trappe, took his time putting together an album’s worth of material over the course of a few years.
Now finally ready to go, Sundernix’s eponymous debut will be released this March. The record also features a whole host of guest musicians from Kildare including Gavin Elsted (We Are Losers / Adultrock), Stephen Fahey (Super Extra Bonus Party), Patrick Hopkins (Sive), Claire Prendergast and Niall O’ Sullivan. ‘Brasserie’ (below) is the perfect introduction to Sundernix, a bright composition of sweeping orchestral tones which are meticulously honed and expertly crafted. When one considers the intricacy and lush instrumentation of the sound, which is spread over the entire album, it is easy to see why it took the time it did.
Keep your eyes peeled for the album this March. For now, ‘Brasserie’ is available as a free download if you pay with a tweet on his site or €1 on Bandcamp.
New York City Emcee Jak Skelly has a pretty simple manifesto, aiming to “bring hip hop back home, back to the fans, and of course back to his heart”.
It is an ethic he adheres to rigidly on his two cuts ‘Just To Get By (Lalala)’ and ’1995′, reverting to a simpler time and resurrecting styles from hip-hop’s past, it is one that proves rather fruitful. He keeps things simple on both tracks, rapping over a straightforward beat and samples, to produce easy on the ear, positive and laid back hip-hop. ‘Just To Get By (Lalala)’ and ’1995′ are the stand out tracks from his Hell of a Life mixtape.
You can listen to both tracks below and the Hell of a Life mixtape here.
The Maginot Band are a Scottish 6 piece who, from a cottage in the far northerly reaches of Caithness, write music best described a ”indie organ pop psychedelia”.
Their words, but a pretty apt description. The Maginot Band released their debut EP, Peace & Quiet late last year, which has been quickly followed by double a-side, Veiled Clock/Sombre Fayre. Both tracks capture their carnival of sound, which is not unlike the quirky indie-pop eccentricities of The Maccabees or Mystery Jets. ’Sombre Fayre’ in particular, is rather spectacular. Opening tentatively it shifts in pace and mood, from the melancholic to the bright, with racey guitars and athemic keys and vocals leading toward a raucous conclusion. A thoroughly enjoyable and likeable band and collection of songs.
You can download their double a-side Veiled Clock/Sombre Fayre for free from bandcamp.
Ieuan Williams is a singer-songwriter from South Wales, who is currently based in Bristol.
Influenced by the likes of Elliott Smith, Ben Marwood, Jeffrey Lewis and The Tallest Man on Earth (there is also a certain hint of Frank Turner to his sound); alternative acoustic folk is the order of the day. There is an honesty in it’s simplicity. This one man and his guitar approach allows for a full appreciation of his intuitive songwriting and storytelling ability. Williams’ songs are both touching and stirring as his distinctive voice clamors above the acoustic strums and picks.
His music is impassioned without ever being wholly angry, something that might suit his style perfectly, if he choose to go down that road. William’s may only be finding his feet bu there is plenty on offer already to enjoy. There are a few choice cuts below but there are plenty more on soundcloud & his latest EP is available on bandcamp.
The DeadBeat are a four piece indie band from Dublin, comprised of vocalist/guitarist’s David McGorman and Gareth Fitzimons, bassist Josh Stanley and drummer Darren Fitzsimons.
The DeadBeat’s sound is firmly rooted in that classic indie sound, far from being straightforward landfill indie, of which there is already too much; this is melodic indie/alternative rock done with a swagger and poise. Vocals flickering through a haze of rocking guitars, catchy beats and often awash with shoegaze fuzz and distortion, just check ’Chase The Sun’ and ‘Phoney’, and you will get the picture. They obviously have a predilection for ’80s/’90s indie and it certainly shows, it is nice to find a band unperturbed with what’s ‘in’ and making music they have a flair for.
Throughout 2012 they’ve been busying themselves gigging around Dublin and self-releasing a host of tracks online. Judging by the tracks to date, it is an approach which is paying dividends. The DeadBeat have begun on their debut EP, which will be released sometime in the near future.