Earlier this year, London’s Real Lies dropped the house influenced North Circular – a song which beautifully captured the contradictory mood of late night city life, with it’s clear sense of possibility… but also a deep unwavering loneliness. There is a rich, almost romantic lyricism to be found here, delivered in such evocative fashion that you can’t help feeling you are there with them, looking back but always moving forwards. Interestingly Local Hero produced the original version of North Circular, so this remix unveiled today, is actually a self-remix.
It’s fair to say Mancunian outfit Doves played a huge role in moving my musical tastes away from the mainstream and into the alternative. I still love early albums Lost Souls and The Last Broadcast as much as I did when I was younger, and later albums Some Cities and Kingdom of Rust solidified Doves status as one of the best bands around, containing songs of great maturity and beauty. Having all been on official hibernation for the past few years, it was a pleasure to once again hear the warm tones of Jimi Goodwin’s voice on his debut solo album Odludek, a touching and deeply personal record with complex arrangements and a panoramic landscape. Twin brothers Jez and Andy Williams have also returned with new project Black Rivers… and if the carefree euphoria of Voyager 1 is any indication of what’s to come, then I am very much excited. The song is a glistening and ambitious effort, displaying a wonderful sense of freedom and escapism… but wrapped up in that familiar and melancholy Doves DNA. Artist Alden Volney has created an animated treasure to accompany the track.
Jake Shields raps with venom. Hailing from Kodiak in the U.S. state of Alaska and recording under the moniker of Lucid, Jake’s aggressive rapping style, stacked vocals, rapid-fire phrasing and clear enunciation suggest the influence of MCs like Eminem. His lyrics are personal and clever. There’s an edginess and a sense of self-belief in his performance, like Hip-Hop is a release for him – something he creates because he’s compelled to.
Made For Me sounds like catharsis – an educated Hip-Hop acid trip. Beats grind out awash with stark samples on a hypnotic loop. Jake’s metaphysical and occasionally violent lyrical imagery is delivered with a dark sense of humour and a healthy dose of attitude. As comfortable waxing lyrical about revenge and paralysing self-doubt as he is aliens, spaceships and Greek philosophers – Jake throws it all at the wall on Made For Me and asks, “Are you feeling it?”
I’ve admittedly been feeling fairly uninspired lately, and in turn my writing… and love of music has suffered. It often takes a special kind of band to bring me out of this spell, and I’m happy to say Faenimal Arm were able to do it. Based in Helsinki, this electronica duo consisting of Mia Ojapalo and Emil Järnefelt remind me a little of Manchester’s Bernard & Edith; experimental electronica but retaining a pop sensibility within their sound. Début track Industrial Sex (released via Vild Recordings) has this hypnotic and sensual rhythm that playfully dances around Emil’s shoegazer vocals. The video, created by artist Nick Tulinen, mirrors the feeling the song creates beautifully…
I first met producer Kwes Darko at Midi Festival in Hyères a few years ago. I was singing with Christian AIDS, Kwes was playing with Psychologist. I was immediately struck by his effervescent personality… this was a man full of hunger, his brain literally overflowing with enthusiasm and ideas.
Building his reputation under the Blue Daisy moniker, his previous work is certainly worth discovering… from the reverb-laden electronica of ‘Bedroom Stories’ to the heavy and fractured hip hop of his dark alter ego Black Dahlia. As for the now, latest EP release Mermaids is a work of pure genius… the lines between his separate projects are starting to blur into one beautiful creation. With reference points to the alternative rap of SpaceGhostPurrp and Burial’s minimalist and industrial beats, Darko’s tortured soul can be found spread across a trio of tracks, balanced out by the introduction of Lizbet Sempa, a new voice to me.. like an angel calling out for hope in the midst of war.
Lancaster’s Lake Komo appeared to me like a speck of sunlight breaking through the clouds. Although only in demo form, Ritual is a beautiful piece of work; folk music with an experimental edge. Vocally it starts off earthy and wounded before becoming something more synthetic.. a clear hint that they don’t want to be confined by the restrictions of organic instrumentation. Fans of Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver will find much to admire in their musicianship… rich and layered arrangements which carefully balance these alternative urges with pop sensibility. You get the feeling they could go ‘big’ if they really wanted to… the emotion is certainly there for them to work with; full of frustration and longing right up until it’s conclusion.
It’s always dangerous to fall in love so easily… but in this case I think it’s going to work out just fine.