Release Date: Out now!
Genre: Electro-indie pop
It begins with the graceful, familiar voice of Romy Madley Croft, as it’s been so long since we have been graced with fresh material, her voice instantly brings any fan a feeling of satisfaction. This track is about grasping at the tail end of a failing love, in a desperate attempt of regaining momentum and making it work, “it could be love I think you’re too soon to call us old“. With some almost psych-pop sounds woven in, the song has very romanticized undertones while still keeping to the signature xx chilled-out sound.
In many ways, the xx have not changed, to the relief of many. With the same warm charm brought by the voices of Romy and Oliver Sim, as well as the distinct, simplistic guitar melodies and electro-ambient vibes that can only be constructed with just the right mix of elements. However, after the lyrics “when and where did we go cold, I thought I had you on hold“, there is a drop that reveals a whole new lease of life for the xx. During this energetic segment of the track, inspirations uncovered by Jamie xx during his solo projects of the past year materialise themselves, and the result is a refreshing mix of the chilled out, low-fi vibes expected from the xx, and the electro beats of the house scene Jamie often frequents. It sounds remarkable, and has also worked well live on the few recent performances of the trio on radio and US talk shows.
This long awaited new track from the London group has been met with warm welcome, and rumour has it we can expect more surprises such as this in their upcoming album ‘I See You’.
Book tickets to the 2017 headline tour
Where did you start out and how has your experience of coming from Denmark to the American and British music industry been?
I actually started Fjer in New York. This is where I came up with the name, released my first EP, found the people to work with and really started to believe in my self. It was so inspiring being here, around people speaking English, because I quickly learned the language fluently and began to get accepted in a different way. The UK audience came more recently and I’m so happy about that. England reminds me more of home – things like the weather and culture are way more similar to Denmark. I miss those things.
I’m inspired with Danish music in the sense that SO many great artists come out of there and it’s where I grew up. You can hear the cold, nordic sound in my music, I feel. The American/British music scene inspires me a lot too, because everybody does everything ALL the way, 100%. Nobody’s afraid to be an artist, and that’s something we struggle with in Denmark, where it’s kind of frowned upon to be super ambitious.
When I got into the Royal Academy, it was one of the best days of my life. It was so unexpected, because I was only 19 years old, there were hundreds of applicants and it’s just so hard to get in. Going there for the years I did, was a great experience and I learned music theory, producing and just being a better singer. But it was a very elitist school and the constant competition (especially between the guys there – it was a total ‘boys club’!) eventually broke me down. So I took a year out to go to New York and I haven’t looked back or regretted that decision for a moment. School will teach you so many valuable things, but there’s nothing like going out and trying on your own. You’ll learn everything faster.
It was lucky that I met producer and indie label-owner of Quintic, Peter Anthony Red, who believed in me from the very start. Fjer, has been us building together from day one and he released my two first EP’s with me. It can be super scary but also very freeing not being on a major label, fitting into budgets and ads. It’s like.. I have the freedom to do whatever I want. Nobody’s trying to change me or put me in a box.
Watch here and listen here:
Label: Yellow Brick Music
Genre: 80s electro-pop
Lads from Hull have been anything but complacent in their efforts to bring back the 80s and take over with their authentic electo-pop. Since meeting at university and moving their base to Manchester, they have shared the stage with the likes of Alt-J and Circa Waves in support, and produced a debut EP oozing with charm and self-assurance in their niche sound.
‘Runaway‘ is the lead single from AFFAIRS’ debut EP, ‘Stained Gold‘ (Out now, link below), this is a risky debut to release due to the seemingly uncompromising 80s-esk style and obscure synth-heavy foundations. However, it seems as though it might just pay off, especially when looking to this track. It’s no wonder AFFAIRS are gaining a respectable reputation for delivering considered lyrics and theatrical live performances harrowing the kind of fringe/indie-pop curated by The Smiths. The dreamy guitar melodies, and obscure use of synths demonstrated in ‘Runaway‘ creates an ageless 80s-esk vibes with an authenticity that is rare to find as they tell melancholy tales of the rises and falls experienced within youthful nightlife. This is then brought not to the present but to the future with electro-pop type drums and the harrowing, intriguing vocals. Although the vocal range sounds at times slightly strained, it is balanced out by the intrusive, pounding chorus vocals that would probably do very well live.
This band could be summed up as the love-child of Depeche Mode and Morrissey, born today. Is the world ready for that child to develop and grow adventurous in its endevours? Only time will tell, but AFFAIRS will likely be doing their thing either way.
Check out ‘Runaway‘ here:
Listen to the full ‘Stained Gold‘ EP here:
(Image: Clash Magazine)
Regardless of tastes and preferences, ArchiveX will prove to be one of the most intriguing and alluring artists on your radar right now. You will understand why when you listen to the anonymous artist’s most recent single (released last week), ‘Hard Times‘ (link below).
This California-based artist is a tough cookie to crack: is he a gospel angel? Is he hip-hop? Is that a bit of mowtown thrown in there? No one knows. But we want more. The most recent single, ‘Hard Times‘ is making its rounds and being picked up by people all over the place, it is the perfect introduction to the powerhouse of soul that is ArchiveX. We begin with a very old-school piano melody being set down as the foundations of this track, it’s then continuously build upon with bass bringing the depth needed to suck us in. Then all of a sudden, just when you start to fall into a daze due to the artist’s irresistibly soulful vocals, telling us heartbreaking tales we get thrown into a reverb-heavy bass drop out of nowhere as the vocals go to the next level of crazy.
On the other side of the spectrum, upcoming single ‘Drink The Water‘ is a whole different story. With classic blues vocals reminiscent of the likes of Percy Mayfield and Ray Charles, and a sharply contrasting bassy undertone to the whole affair, you begin to wonder how one artist is capable of plucking themes and sounds from a melting pot of influences to create such a varied repertoire. If these completely distinct singles are anything to go by, ArchiveX’s debut album ‘Some Ungodly Hour‘ set to be released later this summer should be something very interesting and distinct from anything else.
Give ArchiveX a listen and make up your own mind here:
Music Video of latest single ‘Hard Times‘ here
Some more ArchiveX magic:
Danish trio, Slaughter Beach are steadily making a name for themselves across Europe. With a sold debut EP, ‘Love/Venice‘ being met with delight two years ago, the boys are back, with their biggest and boldest endevour yet.
Opens with a psychadellic riff, brought down to earth with a low electro-bass line before immursing you into an intense dreamy state. The chorus is huge, with the sort of peculiar voice that would make for a memorable night at gigs and festivals. The undertones of imperfect youth that excude from the likes MGMT are pleasantly balanced out with levels of careless elation and freedom that create a sort of indie bliss.
Salughter Beach are a mysterious bunch to say the least, with singles popping up every now and then, and sporadic influences from both their homeland and the likes of Elliot Smith and Smashing Pumkins from America and the UK. ‘Glaze‘ is certainly a step up from their debut EP, but you still get the feeling from listening to it that this trio still have a few surprises up their sleeves, and we’re just going to have to wait for them. This is the sort of band that could explode on the alternative scene in no time, and this single shows that perfectly.
Listen to Slaughter Beach‘s massive new tune below:
(Feature image: Third Outing)
Following his emotional and elusive single ‘Stormy Weather‘ (out now, link below), New York artist, YELLOW SHOOTS has been experimenting, planning and exploring other musical influences. We got to hear all about it in this interview.
‘Stormy Weather‘ was a really comfortable song to write for me. I actually completed it in less than a few hours, which ultimately made the process extremely honest and personal. The overall reaction to the song has been great. People seem to connect to it and understand it.
Yes. I really do. I feel that in order to grow you need to collaborate. Collaboration isn’t easy, so it forces you to work with other people’s work styles and values.
I think the music scene here is pretty awesome from an international perspective. There are some many people here from all over the world following their dreams. That really makes NYC a place where you’ll see something out of the ordinary quite often. I really like popping into an unknown bar and seeing a band play.
Moving- no. Traveling-yes. I’ll be heading to LA to do some writing soon. I’m also planning to do some shows in the UK and Australia.
Actually most of them are non-RnB groups. Bands like Radiohead and Yes. Tame Impala has been a great influence lately. A lot of jazz influences like Wayne Shorter and Robert Glasper too.
Currently working on a few music videos and my live show. I’ll also have a new EP for you in about a month or so.
Check out and download the new single ‘Stromy Weather‘ below:
Following the release of their latest EP ‘Mainstream Propoganda‘, we got to have a chat with the previously BBC Introducing backed group, Big Zero about their music style, somewhat old-school recording process and exciting future plans!
So your latest EP, Mainstream Propaganda is now out, how does this EP differ from your earlier releases? What ideas are the EP based around?
Our last EP, “Escape from Uncanny Valley”, was our take on how humans are utilising technology in the modern world and what the future held for robotics. With ‘Mainstream Propaganda’, BIG ZERO has turned their safety-goggled attention to the way society is using communication, the media and advertising to create a conforming consumer culture; these themes are most prominently felt in ‘Buy Synthetic’ and ‘Turn Up Your Radio’. Interlaced within the EP is ‘Disco at the End of the World’, a jovial tune discussing the apocalypse as described by a mixture of scripture and thermodynamics, and ending with ‘Mental Arithmetic’, a historical look at the impact of the number 0 on human progress; as Tobias Danzig said “In the history of culture the discovery of ZERO will always stand out as one of the greatest single achievements of the human race.”
How did the recording process go? I heard you guys do something quite different when recording and shooting new material…
Here at ZERO HQ we like to resurrect dead formats. Starting with the recording process, we like to record everything played live directly into an 8-track cassette recorder. The limitations of the 8 track really work for us and force us to focus on capturing the best full band performance.
From there we transfer the recordings into the computer for extra production and mixing, but by starting on the tape it gives the tracks an extra level of analogue magic.
BIG ZERO have always concentrated their efforts on making their music videos distinct, often shot on old school VHS cameras, what got you started you off on this tradition?
We’re huge fans of old sci-fi/horror movies, and really wanted to bring some of that texture to our videos…but with no budget.
The way we see it, everyone now has access to a high quality digital video camera on their smartphones, so for us to present something different we look to obsolete technology.
Using VHS cameras and tape takes a lot longer, and we’ve suffered from tapes snapping and getting chewed up in the camera (we kept some of the damaged footage in the video for ‘Hardwired’ right at the very end) but it’s totally worth it.
The lead single ‘Tear It Up and Start Again‘ was released on Record Store Day, do you guys feel that their is a significance in the recent rise in vinyl as a form of listening to music?
As avid cassette and vinyl collectors ourselves, we believe the rise of vinyl was inevitable; humans can only handle characterless functionality and clinical ease of use for so long. There’s nothing sexy about a CD, it’s just a glorified USB stick; you can hold a piece of vinyl, you get no such comfort from a download. Art is what made us distinct from our hominid brothers and sisters, and the comfort of holding and owning something is a basic human desire. The reanimation of ‘dead’, physical formats was inevitable.
Tell us about the abstract television mini-series that is being released right now, reminds me of something out of the Mighty Boosh!
Towards the end of last year we were driving to a show and listening to ‘Please Please Me’ by The Beatles. We started talking about how great that record sounds and how quickly it was all recorded. So we challenged ourselves to write and record a BIG ZERO Rock N Roll album in three weeks (two weeks writing, one week recording). We met our deadline and the next logical step was obvious; book flights to the Spanish Tabernas Desert and shoot an episodic, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, future-western adventure series. It was just the three of us, 3 vhs cameras, a tripod, a rental car and a whole load of ideas. We stayed in a cave in the middle of nowhere and sneaked into different desert locations everyday. We didn’t realise until we arrived that the locations had been used to film scenes from Indiana Jones and Game of Thrones.
What’s in store for BIG ZERO next then?
Our new EP ‘Mainstream Propaganda’ was released on iTunes on May 20th through Do Yourself In Records, and we’ll be releasing a limited cassette shortly after on Tapeheads Recs.
In May and June we have been invited to open up at a couple of shows for one of our big influences – weirdo pop legends Bis!
- May 27th – The Deaf Institute, Manchester (with Bis)
- June 10th – Sub89, Reading (with Bis)
- July 16th – Rising Sun Arts Centre, Reading (with Bennet)
New EP ‘Mainstream Propoganda‘ is OUT NOW. Give it a listen on iTunes.
Release date: May 20 2016
We recieved a sneak peak into the booming, 80s-romantisised world of DOLLS in the form of EAT IT UP. This is an album that deserves to be heard, at least due to its background. The story behind DOLLS is an interesting one. Her journey began in Canada, after signing to Warner and gaining commercial success (even to the point of touring with Flo Rider), DOLLS decided it just wasn’t right. So she sacked it off and started from scratch in London with new-found friend and producer, Fauxplay. And it’s shaping up to be her best decision yet.
These two solo artists have united and created something distinct from anything they had done independently before. It took less then half a year for this duo to find their sound and their place in the world, and here it is: unapologetic, 80s fuzz-pop.
Vocalist and songwriter, DOLLS, is perhaps best described as the musical lovechild of Depeche Mode front-man, Dave Gahan and Gwen Stefani. After living the high-life of Warner-funded success, she is now approaching the music industry from a different perspective. In fact, DOLLS is currently completely self-funded, and running off word-of-mouth promotion which definitely involves more risk, and will hopefully end up to be more rewarding to the DIY sensation. It is really refreshing to see a strong female independent artist do her thing off her own back.
Despite having ‘commercially viable’ music that could easily be swept up and supported by the larger corporate labels, knowing this about DOLLS, this album holds an almost humble vibe throughout, while listening.
This album demonstrates the sort of confident, unrepentant lyrics that you normally see in a groups second or third album, not on their debut (even if it is her second debut). DOLLS knows what she is, she knows what she wants, and she knows how she’s going to get it. This is emphasised especially in the tracks ‘In Control‘ and ‘Doing It Correct‘. She has the sort of iconic voice that I could easily see booming off the walls of underground London clubs following its release. She glides through the album with fiesty lyrics, surrounded by hypnotic synth lines and 80s-esk beats that take you straight into a modern party vibe, but with a sinister undertone.
So get your claws around DOLLS + FAUXPLAY’s EAT IT UP this Friday, it will do exactly as its title states – Eat you up and not let you go.
Also, give Fauxplay a follow on twitter, facebook and soundcloud
“Our musical inspirations are varied, we’re inspired by alternative artists such as Radiohead but also the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club. Our guitar driven influences come from the likes of Catfish and the Bottlemen and Ben Howard – That kinda style. In terms of our image, we’ve got most of our creative ideas all from a picture of a half finished self-portrait my friend was working on (see below), and for some reason, I really liked its fragmented image so I just kind of went with it, so that idea is probably something with stick with in the future.”