Thursday, 24 April 2014

Vaults - Premonitions

We know music shouldn’t be a tick box exercise. It should be about passion, emotion, finding something that you can utterly immerse yourself in, but let’s be honest with you, we’re big fans of the sort of music that contains female vocals, electronic instrumentation and is pop but not necessarily the sort of pop that is going to be played on constant rotation on daytime UK radio and finding itself nestling up to the likes of Katy Perry and Rihanna. Sometimes of course this type of pop does cross over (hi Lorde, hi Ellie Goulding), but usually it dances in the shadows rather than the spotlight. 

Here’s a fine example of that sort of pop that ticks all our boxes gets us pretty excited. Vaults first cropped up as New Wave on these pages last September and received a surge of blog praise for their debut song Cry No More. Since then they’ve been laying pretty low, just cropping up on a Rob Da Bank’s session on Radio 1 and announcing that they’ll be playing at Latitude and Festival No.6 later this year. Now they’re beginning to show that they do have more than one song with this - Premonitions - which is out on one of our favourite singles labels National Anthem on the 9th June (although available to stream right here right now). In case you forget National Anthem has been responsible for early single releases by acts such as Haim, CHVRCHES and Brolin. Apparently National Anthem begged Haim to let them release their first single in the UK and then thought 'oh we don't have a label, we'd better start one.' That's what we call passion, not planning.

Even if lyrically Premonitions seems to be dealing with the concept of disappointment it doesn’t do so musically. 

As yet we haven't been told that much about Vaults, and many blogs will tell you they are a 'mystery band', which is frankly lazy and untrue unless you're just reading the PR guff, because with just three minutes of Google searching we found out that lead singer Blythe was born in Herefordshire, has been making music for some time, (look up Bizali and her solo work under the name Blythe Pepino), that on Rob da Bank’s session they played an instrument that we've never heard of before called an aluphone, and they’re not to be confused with shaggy haired  rockers The Vaults from Suffolk, last heard of about 10 years ago, even although two of Valuts have spent time in the same neck of the woods geographically. Oh and despite a press shot that makes them look all moody (here), they seem to be pretty normal and even dare we say it smiley in 'real life' (here). Mind you, we reckon even Van Morrison would raise a smile at Da Bank being dressed like that.

Anyway, for now we’ll forgive them for the lack of information (we seem to be saying this a lot recently, it started with rule 14 here), it’s all about not giving too much away whilst creating buzz isn’t it? Don’t let buzz put you off though, Premonitions is brooding magnificent shadow pop at its best and worth your undivided attention. 

Vaults - Premonitions

Mononoke - Barefoot And Broken (Video)

She’s still doing a relatively good job of keeping her real name secret (even if certain bloggers who have worked it out have been hiding secret clues on the internet for those who are prepared to look into the bigger picture and get the answer) but now the music is flowing again as Mononoke has uploaded her third song Barefoot and Broken for your listening pleasure.

An understated piano based ballad, with a modernist pop production, Barefoot and Broken doesn’t sound like a straight to radio chart-friendly hit, but that's not a criticism. There’s a gentler subtlety at play here, but one which pays dividends on repeated listens. It’s a song to drift away to, her soft but strong vocal encased in the musical equivalent of a floating cloud.

Finally a minor moan; does anyone else (apart from ourselves) really dislike the typeface used in the logo above image ? Is it wrong that we actually hate it? Poverty, injustice, war and the crimes of the world and we’re getting angry about a typeface. Save us.

Mononoke - Barefoot and Broken (Video)

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Young War - Black Diamond

Ooooh, Young War’s gone all kind of Chet Faker; oozing it up with a slow motion, softly sung organ led piece of soul / r 'n' b, quite possibly smoothing the way for a few babies to be made during or after playing. That is unless you listen to the lyrics, which don’t really say ‘let’s get it on.’ Because the words are about lies and the death of love rather than the sweaty, sticky, flushed face start or middle part of relationships. No, this one is all about the end. Shame, because bang goes the latest track on the 'Breaking More Waves Gets Down And Dirty' compilation then.

Rather like Public Service Broadcasting (although completely different in terms of musical genre) Young War takes an old fashioned vocal sample to embellish the track further. It's from Rev. A. W. Nix (who was known as one of the great singing preachers) about the Black Diamond, a passenger train that ran from New York to Buffalo from 1896 until 1959. We’ve no idea what this has to do with the lyrics of the rest of the song, but it all sounds good together, so frankly who cares?

It's available to download for free.

Young War - Black Diamond

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Paper Boats - New Waves

"Ladies and gentlemen this is your captain speaking. On behalf of the flight crew let me welcome you aboard Breaking More Waves post number 2116 to destination music. We should touch down in two minutes and fifty seven seconds and are expecting a fairly lively flight. I’ve turned off the fasten seatbelt signs so please feel free to have a dance in the aisles whilst your cabin crew serve you complimentary cocktails in their swimwear as we head for the sun. Don’t forget to appreciate the good time vibes, have a smile on your face and as the lyrics of the song say “feel so high” that you’ll never want to come down. The weather at our destination is hot and humid, just like this frothy, danceable summertime pop from this new Surrey (Guildford to be exact) based band. Once again we thank you for choosing to fly with us today. Get your shades on, and we'll see you on the beach. Enjoy Paper Boats. Enjoy Holidays." 

Paper Boats touch down at Guildford Boiler Room on April 25th alongside Fickle Friends. 

Paper Boats - Holidays