PLEXIHAVEN - "TIN"
Sometimes electronic music of this nature has the tendency to sound like a roomful of people talking over and around one another. Intersecting synthesizer melodies, bubbling bass lines and overlapping rhythmic phrasings stalking and stepping on one another’s sonic territory. Plexihaven’s IDM-centric track is anything but. All of these proclivities are marshalled and set in movement with one another creating a mass movement than independent conversations.
SHEER CALM - "FALSE COLOURS"
The earaching throb left as a physical reminder of the London / Birmingham noise-rock three-piece’s presence should be a welcome gift from the normally subdued content on this website. “False Colours” leaves it mark, like a fading purple bruise through its melodic, stuttering bass line, assaultive guitars and enough piss-and-vinegar in its vocal delivery to make Mark E. Smith sneer/smile: something “False Colours” manages to simultaneously do.
GULLS - "SHOP"
“Library? Shut down”. “Youth Club? Shut down.” “Refuge. Park. Closed” The seething rage in which Rhi Kavok uses while taking us on a tour of our culturally deteriorating city centers is shocking bit of snap back to reality if we think capitalism will save us from our worst impulses. Decrying manufactured experience, the Brighton trio are described as a combination of Bikini Kill and Sleaford Mods, perhaps with a bit of Crass politics included.
SWOOPS - "NOT MY BOSS"
“Not My Boss” is the Cincinnati-based math rock band’s latest in leading intertwining effects-laden passages through knotty rhythmic corridors with all its abrupt time signature changes and peaking crescendos. Taking the persona of a failing (and flailing) corporate shill, Swoops stare down a quarterlife crisis with the swagger of early Modest Most and the acrobatic fervor of TTNG.
DEATH HAGS - "OUBLIE MOI"
There is a slowburning sense of unease floating above the surface of French artist Lola Jean’s slinky bass line and deep, shuddering electronics and synth work. The sharp stabs of electronic guitar race towards a conclusion where everything feels like it is breaking down in some kind of tragic but triumphant explosion. Sultry synth pop that refuses to sugarcoat dissatisfaction with abandonment to the night.
SUNNSETTER - "I WILL UNDERSTAND"
There are enough common variables in human experience that at some point we will understand, in measure, what others go through. In “I Will Understand” the Toronto based multi-instrumentalist pushes against the limits of empathy in this looping, downcast-yet-shuffling-forward towards some greater personal understanding under the physics of ambient passages, busted drum kit, delicate guitars and buzzing synths.
CARRIERS - "PATIENCE"
Cincinnati based Carriers is the brainchild of Curt Kiser and features the talent of members of Afghan Whigs and The National – all of which help shade and give greater clarity to Kiser’s meditations on patience, kindness and moving through the world doing minimal damage. Fans of the War on Drugs and expansive, big-hearted/full-throated rock and roll should take note.
TARA - "SECOND GUESS"
Tara is a newly minted Brooklyn shoegaze group that create shimmering walls of sound that recall pantheon-status bands such as Bowery Electric and Drop Nineteens. Featuring veil-piercing synthesizers that cut through the floating grid of reverb-heavy guitars and staccato bass, Tara updates and pays homage to this very important facet of shoegaze.
KOLTBACH - "FRAU GOLD"
The Hamburg-based artist has created a slowly unfolding, piano-led track that blooms patiently out of necessity. Crafting intersecting rhythmic patterns, deconstructed house beats and throbbing bass lines around expanding and contracting synth arpeggios, the only place for this track to go is forward in its propulsive gait.
LYCHNIS - "PRISCILLA PRESLEY (MOON VERSION)
In writing this this spacious and glacially paced track, the Austin-based dream pop artist conjures Pricilla Presley – the forever patient patron saint of the touring artist. The track, a slow moving guitar and synth swan dive, detail the exquisite pain of loving something you can never fully possess. RIYL: Keith Canisuis, Aarktika, Rollerball.
MATTIA CUPELLI - "DIVE"
In catching up with the Italian-based neo-classical artist, we find Cupelli “diving” headfirst into digital waves of soft distortion and a throbbing house beat underneath blankets and blankets of compression. Human voices circle atop this 4-4 beat before gradually moving into greater and greater intensity when matched with feedback heavy guitars and a bit more active beat pattern. Fans of The Sight Below and Pan-American should dig this.
METHYL LILY - "UNMIXED WITH GREY"
Taking cues from artists like The Album Leaf, One Mile North or Tarantel, the phonaesthetic Menthyl Lily creates rich sound worlds out of electro-acoustic sources. Vibratto heavy strings and skittering live percussion are matched with programmed beats and the gentle pull of synthesizers imbuing everything with a muted grey palate that is easy to sink into when winter’s last stand turns the world monochromatic.
MORTI VIVENTEAR - "NO SLEEP TIL SALEM"
There is something so warm and nostalgic about the way the Montreal-based producers layers shoegazey, distortion-filled tones, vinyl samples and a lo-fi backbeat together into an unmistakable sonic masala that recalls some of the most deeply felt work by Alias and Odd Nosdam. Work that is rooted in the means of production of 90’s turntabilists but with the limitless brain of an ableton producer.
BALOJI -"SPOTLIGHT & MIROIR (FEAT. MARSHALL DIXON & POISON MOBUTU)
The Belgium-based, Congolese-born artist is back with another track that deftly combines hip-hop and traditional Congolese rhythms and guitar playing. The track is a testament to the artist’s tremendous reach and ability to seamlessly blend traditions creating music that is neither retro-futurist nor past-dependent, but rather a sound that pushing against these boundaries.
QUELCHE - "THE LEAVES FALL"
Slipping deep into the swelling violin lines, arcing tonal shifts and delicately placed piano lines that are so crystal in their recording and intention that you can hear the mechanism itself. The track eventually blooms towards the end, stepping outside of the tenderly circling melodic lines into something a bit more resolved and triumphant. An excellent coda to a long day.
WINDY & CARL - "FOREST TRAILS"
This advertising campaign of recruiting Michigan new age and ambient artists to compose songs using field recordings of locations in Michigans’s densely wooded expanses and lake shores is a stroke of brilliance. Who wouldn’t want to hear Windy and Carl compose new music with those circumstances. Beautifully placid tones with the omnipresent presence of birds, insects and light rain.