GLOWS, the London-based electronic duo of GG Skips and Felix BH have announced their debut mixtape LA, 1620 set to be released in September via Slow Dance Records.
Gaining acclaim for their live shows, GLOWS’ capture the magic of the dance floor on new track “Chaser”. From its slow rising chords to the groove-inducing beat you can’t help but become lost in the hypnotic world that GLOWS inhabit; letting you in for a few minutes of downtempo bliss.
Speaking about the single founding member GG Skips said:
“Chaser feels like the axiom on which Glows was based, the first song I made that people took seriously,” skips says of the single. ‘It’s about chasing the night, about addiction seeping through friendship, about supporting each other through all falling down.’
PVA have returned with their first new music since their 2020 debut EP Toner. The new single comes with a self-directed minimalistic music video.
The multiplying groove of the synthesisers feel like they could burst out at any moment. Constantly twisting and turning, almost trying to escape for a sound of their own. But it’s all held together with Ella Harris’ cool and composed vocal delivery. It’s industrial indie at its most freeing, making you want to grab your florescent mini-pouches and throw your body in every direction.
Speaking on the single, the band says, “Untethered is a song about release. It’s our current set opener and an introduction to our industrial arm. We wrote it in one session in a burst of chaotic catharsis. The lyrics follow a character being freed from imaginary tethers and experiencing the earth under their feet again.”
Listen to the new single below!
The band have also announced a new live date in London headline show to take place at Corsica Studios on 9th July. Tickets will only be available on pre-sale via the PVA mailing list until 11am on Friday, which people can sign up to via PVA.band. General sale will then be available HERE.
Chartreuse have released new single “Only You”, the second single from their upcoming EP Is It Autumn Already?, set to be released on November 19th. This follows on from “Things Are Changing Too Quickly” released earlier in the year.
Chartreuse continue to be utterly entrancing in every aspect. The darkness that lies within their songs is something truly haunting and captivating at the same time. With melodies that roll over of crooning piano lines and cinematic violin sweeps, Chartreuse capture desperation and intoxication at its core. Fleeting from upbeat breakdowns to melancholic passages, you can never tell where they will shift to next. “Only You” is like driving a winding road down a dark lane at night, the hidden unknowns are lurking waiting to be uncovered by the beams of sound that pass over them.
Francesca Brierley aka heka exists in a world of her own. A place that borders between gently plucked guitars one moment, gliding synthetic harmonies the next and then landing back down on a subtly immersive bed of beats. There’s not a moment that you’re listening and you don’t feel lost in the soundscapes and rich sonic palettes that seem to dance and twirl around the melodic mountains she creates. She’s now returning with her latest project since 2019’s Other Drugs EP, in the form of (a) EP, released today via Ballon Machine Records. We caught up with heka to learn where she draws sonic influence from, the story behind the EP and her parallel growth with Bon Iver.
Over what time and whereabouts was the EP recorded?
Mostly in my bedroom over there! (Points to desk) I had some demos of the songs that were from different times but I started recording the new versions in October. I was doing uni stuff as well so I was pretty much just in front of my laptop all the time haha. It was during the lockdown, so pretty boring just me and the old laptop.
So the songs on the EP are older songs that you re-recorded?
“(a) dab” is probably the oldest one at 4 or years old and “(a) mask” and “(a) wall” are about two years old. So they weren’t the newest things that I’d written but they were songs that I’d been wanting to record as a bunch for a while and finally it happened! I always feel like with everything I do I plan something and then two years later it finally gets done.
Going back over them after so long did you change anything drastically? Or are they fairly true to their original form?
I think the one that changed the most was “(a) wall”. Mostly because it wasn’t just me working on it, I collaborated with Ed Tullet on the arrangement. So the way he interpreted it was different and I thought “Oh that’s really cool, let’s take it into this direction”. I was a bit scared at the beginning about going back into having to figure out these songs again, as I had them in my head as what i’d recorded in the demos. You have to deconstruct that a bit to think “What is good to keep and what is just my lazy brain thinking that this is the only way this can be done”. So I was a bit scared that I wouldn’t understand them anymore and I wouldn’t understand the version of me that had written those at the time. I think the fact that I was recording alone in the dark like a vampire probably helped recreate that connection of intimacy with the songs even though it felt distant at the beginning.
With the main theme of the songs being about relationships, was it weird looking back and seeing how you viewed those situations then?
It’s definitely always that sense of “Oh god” haha. A lot of the stuff I write is personal and it’s a snapshot of a very specific time that I write in. It’s like looking back at old pictures and thinking “Oh god what are you wearing!”. It’s a very funny thing, but I didn’t feel too far away from them that I couldn’t relate to them anymore. That was a worry a little bit.
Is your songwriting more diaristic or therapeutic?
Definitely therapeutic for me to write in general. I think it’s probably a survival situation where I would be insane if I didn’t write haha. But it is also diaristic in the sense that it’s conversations that I’ve had in my head or things that I want to say and I can’t. It just comes from my everyday life I guess.
What was the story behind “(a) dab”?
It’s mostly about when you’re in love with someone and it’s unrequited, so you fall into this pattern of addiction to that person and addiction to the situation and it’s this whole toxic thing going on. I had this very visual idea of the lyrics. I had this scene in my head and I wrote it down which is not something I do very often so I don’t know where it came from. But it was just trying to express that feeling of helplessness and also wanting to be helpless which is what’s the most fucked up about those situations haha.
The song structures for the EP begin with electronic samples and field recordings and then transition into the ‘folky’ ballads. What’s it about those combination of sounds that draws you to them?
I think that’s partly the fact that I went and revisited the songs that were initially very folky and I wanted to create this tapestry of sound that’s a bit more current for me in what I like to listen to and what I like to make. So it was me trying to make those songs more contemporary to how I felt and what I liked. I don’t know if it’s something I accomplished but I really love when there’s a collection of songs, whether it’s an EP or an album and you feel like you’re on this journey where all of the tracks are connected. It’s like a mini symphony. I remember when 22, A Million by Bon Iver came out, that completely changed my life. I remember thinking “Oh my god, this is exactly what I want!”. I want the tracks to feel cohesive and part of something organic and fall into one another. Which is probably the conscious part of why there’s an ambient connection between the songs.
Did Bon Iver influence the folk side of your sound as well?
I have this really funny relationship with Bon Iver where I feel like we’ve grown up together. We haven’t though haha! But I feel like the stages that I found myself at within songwriting were the same as his. When he was doing the more folky side of things I was definitely doing more folky sounding things. And then I gradually evolved into something a bit more hybrid, which was the same with him. He definitely influenced me, but I feel like I was ready to be influenced by him in that specific time. I was like “Yeah you get it! This is what I’ve been trying to say”. So that’s why I love him so much as I have this ‘in my mind’ connection to him in a way.
Are there any other artists who also inspire, even just for the sound?
I’m always really bad at this question. I really like Feist, James Blake and Alt-J. I was really obsessed with Laura Marling at a certain point. But at the same time I don’t say “Oh I’m really inspired by this person I’m gonna do the same thing that they’re doing”. I just really appreciate what they’re doing. It almost feels like we’re contemporaries and we like the same things and I think “Oh you get it”. I don’t know to what extent they influence me, I think I’m influenced by all sorts of stuff. I listen to a lot of different genres and my discover weekly on Spotify tries to keep up but I can tell that they’re struggling haha. There’s house music and then classical, hip-hop or folk or rock. I really like a lot of different things so I can never say for certain what exactly goes into what I make.
It’s interesting you said Laura Marling because especially with her latest album the key part I took away from it was there’s a lot of harmonies. With quite a few of your tracks harmonies play a key part, is that something you try to build in or just the way you write?
So I feel that doing harmonies is probably the most natural thing that I think of when i record. I think it comes from early days of trying to figure out Logic for the first time and what can actually make a song sound better. Just having more voices because it’s the only thing I know how to do haha! At the beginning you play with your voice as a singer and think “Okay this is how I can enrich this sound and this is what I can do”. It’s just kind of stayed I guess. I like to use the voice not just as a vocal. It’s corrupting it haha. So the sound of the voice and making into something that isn’t the voice. In “(a) wall” there’s a line of a really high pitched sound. I don’t know that it’s immediately obvious that it’s a voice, I mean I know. But I thought “How can I make this sound like some weird synth that you don’t know what it is?” but it’s actually a vocal. I think that’s really interesting to play around with the vocals and sound because they just make everything better.
Is that manipulation of sound something you try to achieve in each song? Are there any more easter eggs hidden throughout?
I like to manipulate the sound into something a bit weird. Sometimes when I’ve recorded with other people I’ll be like “Make it darker!” and they’ll say “You can’t hear this now!”. So I have a bit of a weird idea of how things sound and I’ve certainly learnt how not to make everything dark and weird, but I do enjoy it.
There’s a moment in “(a) mask” with this eerie synthesiser that takes a turn from the rest of the song, do you try and hide those eerie moments in there?
I feel like the eeriness comes naturally to me. I don’t necessarily try and be eerie but it just happens. I don’t know that I always love it but I definitely recognise that it happens. It wasn’t on purpose, I think I found these sounds that are cool then afterwards looked at it and thought “Oh that’s really eerie”.
Is there a reason you chose to use the simplistic title of (a)? Or is it from the songs?
It’s from the songs. I like patterns where “Oh these three things are the same and that’s not” so let’s just call it that. So it’s really just a joke.
Your music has been described as entering VR. Do you agree with that? And does virtual reality influence your music at all?
I don’t necessarily write with VR in mind. I’m just about to finish my degree which is in computational art so I do think about that stuff a bit as I do it at uni and enjoy that aesthetic of it a bit. But I definitely think my songwriting is personal intimate stuff rather than technology. I think it comes from trying to explain the idea behind why I don’t necessarily love being pigeonholed in one genre. I like the hybridity of producing music that sounds a bit in-between things. So I guess the relationship between VR and reality being in-between worlds maybe has something to do with that.
With shows hopefully on the horizon, what’s it been like releasing this music without shows to back it up?
It’s been a bit strange. I’ve been quite lucky that a few people have asked me to play in June out of the blue but I don’t have a release gig booked which is usually what I’ll do so that’s strange. I don’t mind having gigs that aren’t necessarily release gigs and just playing the stuff. Hopefully it happens now, I’m itching to play now!
What’s your usual live set up?
It’s usually just me and my loop pedal. I had really wanted to put together a small band for this project and in general I feel like it’s a lot more fun and you’re not alone. You get to share music ideas for arrangement and I think it would sound really cool so I’ve been wanting to do that. It hasn’t been the ideal time though yet, but it will be. I decided to release an EP on the last year of uni and this is my last month of uni so up until now I haven’t even been able to think about what I want to do in a live setting. But I would definitely like to have at least another one or two people to just balance it out.
Thinking back to Bon Iver’s live set up, is that electronic set up of thousands of pedals something you’d want to have?
Yeah! I went to see him in Edinburgh on the tour of 22, A Million and it was so cool. He had this tiny stage above the main stage where he had all his equipment. And all the other musicians were surrounded by equipment and they all work like cyborgs where they’ve got one instrument with 200 keys. So that’s definitely the 10 year plan. For now I quite like simple set ups. I get a bit apprehensive with having too many things to move around. I like to have that connection with the audience which isn’t just me frantically trying to figure out what button to press. I want to look at people and sing with them so that’s my priority, to have the time to connect. And have the mental capacity to focus on that. I like that loop pedal because of that because it’s really intuitive and adds that bit of atmosphere and that minimal arrangement lets me be in the room. And that’s why it would also be amazing to have other people play as it would mean then I can delegate some stuff, the sound would be rich but I wouldn’t have to think about all of it.
If anything, what would be something you’d like to change about the music industry?
There’s so many things. I was just talking to someone about this the other day and I was saying “How is it even legal to not pay musicians when you have live gigs”. Maybe their could be someone who says that’s actually illegal. I’ve been feeling this a lot recently, that we’re such a huge industry but there isn’t that class consciousness of musicians in the same way there is for other employments. Where you have rights and you fight for the rights of that specific job for example. It feels very disconnected. It’s a network but it’s hard to unionise and mobilise in the same way that other industries do.
So for example the whole thing with Spotify is absolutely insane if you think about it. It’s this illusion that we’ve all bought into. Don’t get me wrong I actually really love Spotify and it lets me find loads of music and it’s an easy to use app etc. But they have the money to pay everyone better, and they don’t. And we haven’t been able to do anything about it. It’s insane if you think about it. I would hope for a stronger class consciousness, for a stronger union of people that say “We’re not going to have this anymore”. And big acts saying “I’m gonna take all my music off my service if you don’t make changes”. If hundreds of big acts do that then it’s gonna get to the point where Spotify’s gonna say “Okay, you called my bluff!”. So why isn’t that happening? There’s really rich musicians that can afford to not be on Spotify and help make the change for the little guy. It’s not going to make a difference to them if i’m not on it. But for me it would mean less people get to listen to the music.
Aught aka Stephen Deehan has today announced their debut single “Oversight” set to be released on April 9th via Relic Records. This is the third release from Relic Records following on from Soba’s And Then They Run and Clifford’s New Turf.
Oversight explores depths of space, vocals echo seeking response; only to find reckless rhythms and beats that respond sharply. A groove being found within the emptiness of connection. With their debut single, Aught establishes themselves as a musician seeking more than driving rhythms; purpose through connection, hope within bond. FFO of Bonobo, Caribou & Four Tet.
In a statement Aught said this about the new single:
“For those who are able to feel liquid through air, Eden is easily understood as a place with an abundance of growth. Skin to light, heat to cell; our bodies thrive here. Our existence is constantly with us and yet we feel a need to discover more.”
Saint Jude, the moniker of Jude Woodhead has released his first single of the year “Altitude”. He has also announced his second EP Bodies Of Water, set to be released on April 16th via Slow Dance Records. The new single follows on from “Molina” and “Bodies Of Water” released last year.
On the new single Jude combines jazzy chords and a driving, groove filled beat to create an atmosphere that is hypnotic, enticing and smothered in nostalgia. Reminiscing in those long gone days of spending time with those you care about, Jude gets deeply introspective through a mask of upbeat sonic landscapes.
Speaking about the new single Jude said:
“Altitude” came from a place of solitude and seems somewhat fitting to be released during these current times of widespread isolation. Referencing days ‘spent inside’ and being tormented by a ‘violent moon’ evoke how many of us experience day-to-day life in lockdown, despite being written a few years ago. At the time of writing a lot of my friends had left London, I had come out of a relationship and it seemed like I had lost a bit of the sense of community that I had for the few years before that’
PVA return with the release of two new remixes of their critically acclaimed single “Talks”. The remixes come from black midi’s DJ Dairy and Squid’s INK, and follow the band’s debut EP “Toner” which was released in late November via Ninja Tune imprint Big Dada. Revisit our review of the EP here.
Speaking about his remix DJ Dairy says,
“This remix was super fun to make and a great relief from the boredom and stress of the first lockdown last April, the original bangs absolutely and hopefully this does it justice!”
Squid’s Laurie Nankivell also commented on the INK remix saying,
“We started this just before the UK went into its first lockdown and as a result our creative process became scattered from one house to two computers. This remix is representative of that alongside a pining for the lack of a good boogy we were about to endure!”
Sam Eastgate aka Sam Dust aka LA Priest returns after nearly 5 years with the follow up to the genre bending, critically acclaimed ‘Inji’, which saw Eastgate blend elements of Pop, Electronic and Jazz music to create a truly unique sound. Since then Eastgate has been stayed fairly underground but in 2016 did collaborate with the king of genre bending himself, Connan Mockasin for their ‘Soft Hair’ project. Now Eastgate returns with another batch of electronic infused pop, jazz and folk endeavours. The center-piece of the album is an electronic drum machine named ‘GENE’, from which the album name derives, that Eastgate designed and built fully on his own (You can try a virtual version of it here) due to frustration over the limitations of other drum machines.
Theres a certain mystique about this album, through its psychedelic landscapes it never settles on one movement or idea, instead it constantly shifts and glides between the weird and wonderful. Staying true to Eastgate’s style of genre-blending, there’s influences from all over the spectrum. There’s the pop melody’s of ‘What Moves’, the freeform jazz interlude of ‘Black Smoke’ and even elements of folk on ‘Open My Eyes’. What ties all these sounds together is Eastgate’s classic woozy psychedelic textures; be it through heavily phased guitars or glistening synthesisers. As the album progresses these sounds become familiar and connected yet constantly shifting, with tracks flowing seamlessly into one another. Like ‘Peace Lily’ which acts as the instrumental progression from ‘What Moves’, keeping the same beat and chorus heavy guitars but instead takes the sound into a more funky landscape, slowly adding some groovy synth bass lines. The connections don’t just end at the instrumentation, because Eastgate’s voice throughout is consistently vibrant and he shows off his incredible range; from the high falsetto of ‘What Do You See’ to the flowing polyrhythm of opener ‘Beginning’.
Eastgate excels at the psych pop ballad and there’s some stand out examples of those sown throughout. The track ‘What Moves’ has a flowing chorus melody that’ll be spinning around your head for days. It’s beat is simple but driving and the phaser heavy guitar allows the sound to float around the free-forming landscape. And the vocal melodies ‘Beginning’ are so hypnotic that they could easily carry you away to sleep. But Eastgate also knows how to create a harsher and more experimental soundscape, like on the track ‘Monochrome’. Featuring some heavy tribal drums and distant rain sounds that morph into the electronic beats and dirty synth lines that build to a truly eerie soundscape.
The production and instrumentation of this album follows on from ‘Inji’ in that it only uses what it needs to, keeping the minimalistic sound of closed in sounds throughout. As promised the clicks and pops of GENE are present throughout, providing as a constant within each song. Not that the palette strays too far from the phaser guitar or synth bass, but even as more experimental sounds are introduced like in the acid trip induced ‘Kissing Of The Weeds’ the glitchy beat patterns remain sustained. It’s been said of Eastgate the he “lives an analogue life, not even having a phone” and this certainly comes through as every sound is raw and untampered, almost like you’re sat in the studio watching Eastgate slowly add the layers to each song.
For all the layered harmonies and intricate textures the moment that lets this down is the ending track ‘Ain’t No Love Affair’ which starts with glitchy breathes of “Ain’t no love affair”, western guitars and wailing synths. It then slowly descends into some really loose melodies and vague synth lines until everything fades out, almost as if the albums giving up. After putting so much detail into the rest of the album it just feels like a bit of an underwhelming ending.
A long time coming, and worth the long wait. There’s so many layers of intricacy to this album it will demand repeat listens to try and unpack it all and hear every shifting sound. Eastgate has further solidified his place as a master of psych-pop and everything in between, and enhanced his technical ability within the studio.
Manchester based 3 piece PINS return with their latest offering of pop hooks, punk riffs and electro grooves. It’s been 5 years since their last full length album ‘Wild Nights’ and nearly 3 years since they released their single ‘Aggrophobe’ featuring punk and rock icon Iggy Pop. On ‘Hot Slick’ the riffs are tight, the rolling bass lines are compact and the chorus’ pop.
Throughout the production is dense and compact and every instrument pop’s out. There’s moments that make you feel as though you’re squeezed into a tiny club venue as the band plays meters away. Like opener ‘Hot Slick’ which features some very tight marching rhythm drumming, a grinding chorus guitar riff and compressed vocal harmonies. There’s a great blend of punk, pop and electronic instrumentation throughout, with some moments reminiscing in the electro-pop stylings of a St. Vincent album. This especially comes through on ‘Ponytail’ with its scratching sub bass, eerie guitar riffs and glitchy synth melodies.
One of PINS’ forte’s is creating a big catchy chorus. These come out in full swing on tracks like ‘Bad Girls Forever’ as they sing “Daddy’s eyes, you’ve got your Daddy’s eyes”. And the track ‘Read My Eyes’ as the anthemic “Don’t make me say it again” creates a big climax from the build up frustration the verse lyrics of just trying to live their life without the judgement and downplays of others.
Throughout the album there’s some strong feminist themes and anthemic messages that hit hard through the punchy instrumentation. Like on the track ‘After Hours’ which is almost like a call to arms through its lyrics .”Doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter how, do something and do it now”. The chorus then plays like a parody of a stereotypical women. “I’m just a women in the world, inexplicable, despicable, your very very typical girl”. Which is backed up by these soft “ooh, ooh’s” as if to taunt the people who aren’t letting them express themselves.
For all the punchy moments on the album there are a few that feel a bit lacklustre in comparison. The track ‘Set Me Off’ has a bit more of a looser groove to it, with its disjointed bass line and occasional synth flairs it feels a bit underwhelmed and stripped back too far, leaving just the bare minimum of the track left. Although repetition on a chorus line features heavily throughout this album, on the track ‘Love You To Death’ this is pushed to it’s limits. Nearly the entire 3 and a half minutes is spent repeating the same verse and the line “Don’t forget, I love you to death”, either from the feature of Leather Party and there’s barely any progression beyond this.
A strong comeback for the 3-piece girl band. They still know how to right a killer riff and catchy melodies. There may be moments that aren’t as potent as the rest but there’s still some bangers laced throughout.
It’s been 3 years since the release of Four Tets last full length album ‘New Energy’ which saw Kieran Hebden become a household favourite for many hardcore and casual electronic fans. With its dense and easily absorbed blends of house, techno and world music it became a staple of any ‘Indie music to chill to’ playlists. It also saw the Four Tet live experience become grander and reach new heights in terms of what an interactive live experience could be through the lighting instalment collaboration with Squidsoup
That doesn’t mean Hebden has been quiet in the studio. Last year he released the three track EP ‘Anna Painting’, a collaboration with painter Anna Liber Lewis in which the music and artwork were an inspiration for each other. A small teaser for what was to come.
On Kieran Hebdens 10th album under the Four Tet name, the club banger is often dropped in favour of a rich exploration of sound, taking elements of the world around him and creating one of his own.
The first quarter of the album is a flow of techno infused, beat heavy cuts that lean towards the more sample based and club orientated sounds that fans have come to know and love from Hebden. Opener ‘School’ clicks into action with the lo-fi beat favourite 808 drum machine, slowly adding layers of melodic synths, ambient textures and arpeggiated keys. It’s a classic Four Tet sound that ends as quickly as it started.
Lead single ‘Baby’, featuring a low-key vocal performance from Ellie Goulding, transitions through various stages, the simple beat and layered vocals that are found on many Four Tet cuts. Then gliding seamlessly into the ambient samples of birdsongs and drawn out synths, eventually grouping back together to fuse into a layered groove of melodies. The layers are taken away on ‘Harpsichord’ as the lead instrument from the tracks title takes centre stage, focusing more on the simple melodies and synth patterns.
The 3 track run of ‘Romantics’, ‘Love Salad’ and ‘Insect Near Piha Beach’ are shining examples of what makes Hebden a renowned producer. A Picasso of sound.
Each track reaches a euphoric high as each sound and movement is carefully picked and placed. A mixture of beats, clicks, samples, synths, disconnected voices and bird songs all flow gently through the air one after another as if racing to see which sounds can take the track in the next direction. ‘Romantics’ and ‘Insect Near Piha Beach’ bring back those bright and elegant dulcimer strings from ‘Two Thousand And Seventeen’ which shine through the mix like the sunlight through the trees of the cover.
The track ‘Something In The Sadness’ serves as the final flurry of techno glory before the album takes a breath and steps back. The glitchy arpeggios, pounding beat and rising synth strings don’t transition and change as much as some of their previous counterparts, keeping with a similar rhythm throughout, but offers a satisfying conclusion to the expeditious sounds of the first portion of the album.
The pounding beats and soft synths are taken away in favour of more ambient and earthly sounds as Hebden shows that he doesn’t need to rely on just the big bass to create a big sound.
Samples of birdsongs and water movements make their way back into the scene on a couple of the ‘transition’ tracks, layered with drawn out chords create a delicate infusion of the natural world and the digital sounds of modern life.
‘This Is For You’ and ‘Mama Teaches Sanskrit’ have a very Brian Eno essence around them as the slow gentle chords reach out into the world around them. It’s the album coming to the end of a journey and settling down after the frantic beats and dancehall grooves of the first few tracks.
In a time where we may all be feeling left very isolated, this album is the company that we all need. Calm, full of hope and full of the world around us. It may have not been intentional but Sixteen Oceans is a reminder there’s beauty out there waiting for us, when we’re ready to return.