The recent revival of Liverpool’s music scene has been well documented. For me, Outfit were the band that first got my attention (‘Performance’ is last year’s most underrated album) and most recently Holly Lapsley Fletcher has been making serious hype waves. Electronica duo D R O H N E (yeah that whole capital letter thing is getting pretty dull) worked with Lapsley before she got discovered and it can surely only be a matter of time before these kids do something, having spent the last few months creating beautifully dark and ambient soundscapes.
Comprising of Luke McCulloch and Richie Craddock, there is an obvious hunger there… seeing them perform live in Manchester earlier this year left me intrigued as the hoods that they were were hiding under revealed something more delicate, more anxious that I had previously imagined. This anxiety is also found in Sample Pictures, the first track taken from debut EP ‘Parasite’, produced by Espher. Don’t expect to sleep easily after listening, it’s a moody affair filled with regret and an intense sadness.
I feel a little embarrassed for the music industry sometimes… because how can someone as talented as Gavin Miller remain in the shadows? As one half of both Ghosting Season and worriedaboutsatan, Miller knows the frustration of trying to get his music heard by a wider audience. Releasing his work via self-created label This Is It Forever is one such solution. Without a huge budget behind you, the vast majority of independent musicians would be wise to learn this kind of approach. Let’s be honest, thanks in no small part to the mindless butchery of facebook and myspace, it’s difficult these days to get fans you’ve already made to hear your music, let alone reach out to potential new ones.
I guess then it came as no surprise then that I missed the initial fanfare for Gavin’s debut solo album, Somn – one of the most beautiful and compelling albums to be released so far this year. Somniloquy (N3 i) was the track that hooked me, a 7 minute dreamscape that begins with a thundering Joy Divison-esque bassline and ends swimming in a sea of electronic noise, about to wake up.
Somn is available through This Is It Forever Records. Buy it
I’m finding it difficult to express just how much I love The Way Down Leering, recently revealed by London musician Slows Down. Heavy in both ideas and instrumentation, this ambitious piece grows patiently and hypnotically, providing moments of minimalist beauty before turning into something far bigger.
The individual work of Alexander Hawthorne, you find at the heart of it, an emotional and melancholy vocal that at times feels close to giving up. Referencing both the dark psychedelica of Spiritualized and the experimental gloom of Swans, The Way Down Leering contains a sea of noise, and you should dive right in.
Towards the end of last year, a mysterious new Swedish outfit called YOUTHCULT emerged, releasing a handful of tracks that led to early WU LYF/MONEY comparisons. Artistically they certainly seemed to be nurturing a similar sound/ideology, and with such heart on sleeve influences the trick was always going to be in the execution.
A few months on and with the reveal of Bored, I’m convinced that any initial excitement was worth having. It’s the kind of music that leaves an impression, asking more questions than giving answers… both intimate and majestic at the same time. As each guitar chord chimes, hints of Explosions In The Sky-esque post-rock bloom from within, creating a passionate, expansive piece of work. Bored is a dark vision surrounded in an air of innocence, you’ll want to listen again and again to make sure it doesn’t disappear.
“Formed in Oslo in 1992 by Kristian Andersen and Fenrir Riis, Rainbow Torches were a pretty unremarkable black metal band”
If, like me, you find yourself working in an environment that slowly rots your brain… it is at least a reassurance to know moments of escapism are never far away. It’s difficult to know how to describe Rainbow Torches, a weird and wonderful project involving former WU LYF drummer Joseph Manning, but Black Metal Holiday could easily be out of the Ariel Pink canon. A menacing introduction contrasts beautifully with the unrelenting and joyous music that follows; innocent vocals that sound beamed in from another era.
One of the most consistently great new music blogs is GoldFlakePaint. Why? Instead of regurgitating the same artists pushed on other more commercial music websites, he makes genuinely beautiful discoveries and writes about them in such a way you can’t help but fall in love. Colorado based duo Gleemer are one such example, pretty much blowing me away this evening.
Taken from their new record Holyland USA, Tooms is an intense brooding affair with a Modest Mouse-esque brilliance to it. A band I’d previously heard nothing about (but seemingly with a back catalogue waiting for me to delve into) its fair to say Tooms is quite the introduction. Warped guitar effects collide with pounding drums, and that voice cutting deep beneath my skin. Simply incredible.
Young Myths are a new Manchester outfit with a beautifully direct sound, one that clearly bares resemblance to the shadowy, orchestral rock of Doves. It feels pretty refreshing actually to hear something that sounds so relentless, sparkling with motion/emotion.
Quite where they might fit into the current scene is interesting… I’m certainly not buying into the whole WU LYF mystery thing that John Robb tried to reference in this article. Debut track Not Waiting does hold a few answers though, found buried in the pounding drums and spectral landscapes is a noise reminiscent of Young British Artists (a band that never quite got the attention they deserved). With YBAs making their return imminently, it feels like the right time to be discovering a new guitar band with the same sense of ambition, romance and energy.
Regular Tru Luv readers might have noticed the lack of blog activity this past week… and with good reason, as I’ve been in Amsterdam taking a much needed break. Trying to wade through all the emails on my return was fairly overwhelming and I’ve admittedly been pretty brutal with the delete button. The thing is, I’ve come back with a reaffirmed mindset, I want Tru Luv to be a trusted independent voice, not a mouthpiece for the latest hype darlings with industry backing. I want people to know that when I write about someone… it’s because I love them. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to Manchester duo Acropolis Sound .
Part of the Murkage Cartel, producers Kee and Bad Osiris have been steadily building momentum away from the spotlight, developing an assured sound with use of clever samples and experimental beats. Taken from the recently unveiled ‘Wreaths and Roses’ EP, Close Up is a beautiful modern house track with both ambient and dance-floor reference points. Stylish and accessible but never pandering to the mainstream, Acropolis Sound can’t be too far away from breaking into it, on their own terms.
“I found you when you were sleeping… Don’t wait for me, I cannot love”
As I listened to Stars by Liverpool quartet SeaWitches for the first time, I actually felt alive inside. I could hear my heart beating faster than usual, pounding against my chest. Taken from forthcoming EP ‘Tear Back The Sky’, Jo Herring’s lovelorn vocals dance above unremitting melodies. The contrast between her personal lyrics and the soaring sounds around them is compelling and exquisite. With hints of No Shout’s No Call’s era Electrelane, SeaWitches have for me, produced the track of the year so far. Urgent, romantic and utterly beautiful. Sha Sha la la la.
Evelyn Taylor Hiatt and Nicholas Frampton make up Nashville, Tennessee based folk-wave duo Field Division. Their blissful music runs high on soulful harmonies and rapturous textures, occupying the gulf between the likes of Feist, Bon Iver, Other Lives and Rumours era Fleetwood Mac. Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, the vast natural landscape, valleys and rivers of their hometown exert a powerful influence over their sound, producing a grand and expansive effect.
Faultines is exquisite and elegantly arranged. A delicately woven tapestry of guitars, keys and tribal-esque beats carve out an off-kilter, upbeat groove, echoing the triumphant gallop of Ennio Morricone – this is prairie music of the highest order. Hiatt’s enchanting, bittersweet, hook-laden vocals float on a wave of reverb luring you in like a siren – you won’t be able to resist. A flawless opening statement from a band with far-reaching appeal.