“Love’s a fucking bitch,” proclaims Karen O on her new solo effort “Rapt”, from Crush Songs. A harsh statement for a song so sonically calm, with muffled acoustics and a hazy aesthetic. It’s something of a testament to the love/hate nature of love itself, an emotional rollercoaster where you can’t see the next turn. With this in mind, “Rapt” is a liberating, evocative record that’s short, sweet and sentimental.
Demons of Ruby Mae: Website | Soundcloud | Facebook
Jonny Gavin and Adam Rowley are the two halves of Leicester duo Demons of Ruby Mae, whose début release “Beneath the Surface” drifts in with a moonlight melancholy. The subtle instrumentals are evocative and lingering, reminding me of a certain “Spanish Sahara”. It uses moments of space and haunting riffs to great effect, leaving a lasting impression like ripples in a pond. Demons of Ruby Mae is a menacing moniker, but don’t be deceived, for they offer a slow, sublime ambience.
Raury: Website | Soundcloud | Facebook
Rising talent Raury has dropped “Cigarette Song” from his forthcoming Indigo Child EP. Beginning with barebones acoustic, it soon blossoms into a soaring, bitter melody before petering out with echoing vocals. This talented prodigy steals the show (his Anti-Tour does just that), boasting a seething charm that’s unseen in newcomers. He’s generating the kind of buzz last seen when The Weeknd dropped his initial mixtapes, which only spells promise. “Cigarette Song” is the next rung on the ladder.
Lifted from his second LP Wonder Where We Land (the follow up to 2011’s excellent eponymous début), SBTRKT teams up with Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig for the disjointed, strutting “New Dorp, New York”. With a throbbing bassline, clanging percussion and Ezra’s line-spitting prowess, it’s a surprising single with a hefty dose of swagger – that’ll transport you to the concrete jungle itself.
Jane Tyrrell: Website | Soundcloud | Facebook
Melbourne’s Jane Tyrrell impresses on her haunting début effort “Wild Waters”, a river of solemn keys and skimming beats. The refined production is matched by Tyrrell’s equally arresting tones, further adding to the song’s shady, simmering sound. Australia is a supersoaker of impressive newcomers, and Tyrrell is next out of the cannon.
Mt. Si.: Bandcamp | Soundcloud | YouTube
Music takes us places, whether it be familiar or exotic, through vivid instrumentals or common sentiments – and if both of those are present, you’ve just found yourself a new favourite song. With shimmering drums that roll like grains of sand and the hazy tones of the featherweight vocal, LA’s Mt. Si. take us to the desert on “Oh”.
“Oh”‘s elements combine to create something open and vast, as if it were just you, the sand and the sky. In this cooking weather, Mt. Si. deliver a soundtrack of blissful electronica. On a side note: if you’d like all of Mt. Si.’s recordings, you’ll need some technical expertise and a thousand dollars.
Vaults: Website | Soundcloud | Facebook
Following on from the stellar “Premonitions“, Vaults deliver “Lifespan” – a majestic production that twinkles with bells and beats, driven by an imposing vocal that rivals genre pros Bat for Lashes and Florence & The Machine. Sticking with their eerie, sprawling sound in a comfortable structure – to cut to the chase, it’s superb.
Vaults evoke a feeling of being in a vast, echoing space, bells and synths gently bouncing from surfaces. Their music sounds built to be realised in grandiose settings, as sonically it bears the intricacy and detail of a grand cathedral. “Lifespan” is impressive, but I’m eager to see if the trio’s production will reach magnificent, epic heights.
Following a 2006 breakup and 2011 reunion, Death From Above 1979 return with their first new material in ten years, “Trainwreck 1979″. It’s a bonafide stomper that blows the speakers ten times over, with furious vocals, relentless guitars and bulldozing drums. The eleventh number on the volume dial was made for songs like this.
The explosive hook screams with nostalgia of late nineties / early noughties punk rock, with an undeniable energy that doesn’t cease until the runtime runs out. Angrily anthemic, Death From Above 1979’s comeback has fulfilled expectation, and then some. Spin the record and crank it up – just hope that your neighbours like this song.
Slow Magic: Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter
Continuing with some feel-good dance music, Slow Magic present “Girls” – an ethereal, twilight slice of coastal electronica fit for after dark moods. Also continuing the trend of producers being elusive and downright mysterious, this artist is self-described as “the sound made by an unknown imaginary friend”. One can only presume that this absorbing instrumental is that sound. Maybe.
Slow Magic embarks on some reverberating, dusky electronica on this one, vocal samples skimming the surface like pebbles on water. It perfectly matches the aesthetic deployed by the artist, of silhouetted mask-donning figures that evoke senses of curiosity and wanderlust. “Girls” is for when the sun goes down.
astronomyy: Soundcloud | Twitter | Facebook
When it comes to minimalist rhythm and blues, no one’s done it quite as well as newcomer astronomyy in the past year. His trio of standalone music drops wove their way into every written corner of the blogosphere, with an ambiguity and spontaneousness that made the wait worthwhile. Enough with the hit-and-run releases; astronomyy’s gearing up to take the industry by storm.
“Nothin On My Mind”, the first cut from his first “There For U EP”, collects surf guitar licks and sudden beats in a minimalistic production that sprawls outwards for the cut-to-the-chase hook. It’s all driven by a soulful, delicate vocal that carries the song’s weight when the instrumental drifts into an echoing silence.
astronomyy was one of last year’s hottest new talents, generating thousands of fans merely through the act of releasing music and letting it speak for itself, without overblown promotion. The “There For U EP” should see the artist reaching stratospheric levels of recognition. Stay tuned for live dates.