As I look back across my musical life, Vancouver’s The Organ became important to me around the time I first moved to Manchester and I started to engage with artists outside of the mainstream. Those initial experiences of flicking through the records in Piccadilly were the beginning of my love for discovery and I still cherish much of that period’s collection. The Organ released only one LP ‘Grab That Gun’, seemingly due to both label and touring pressure, but it’s fair to say their recorded output deeply ingrained itself on me. I heard from a friend a while back that after taking a break from music, guitarist Debora Cohen had started a new project and have been keeping an eye on things ever since…
Taking her name from the Lars Von Trier film Dancer In The Dark (probably one of the most depressing films I’ve ever seen) Cohen is displaying all the magic that made The Organ so special. It’s certainly clear she was one of the creative forces behind their ability to write great pop melodies, along with singer Katie Sketch whose vocal ability was a driving force, but All I Ever Wanted is evidence enough that Cohen is more than capable of holding her own. At times the subtle and arresting arrangements remind me of Interpol, guiding us to a breathtakingly beautiful and melancholy conclusion.
London based Lo-Fi duo Amelia Rivas and Christian Pinchbeck make sophisticated and seductive lounge pop. Charming and instantly likeable, Elephant‘s sound is a catchy and intuitive monochrome pastiche of French new wave and disco influences; all studied cool, their music packs a stylish, cinematic punch.
It’s impossible not to be smitten with Statuesque‘s lyrically wholesome nonchalance. Rivas has a wonderfully sweet and effortless vocal delivery, each dreamy phrase cascades through a wash of Hammond style organs and the steady, soulful pulse of the rhythm section. If you’re a fan of the likes of Nouvelle Vague and Charlotte Gainsbourg you’ll be enamoured with Elephant.
Debut album Sky Swimming available from www.thisiselephant.com
You may not be aware of the C2 programme tucked away in the night-time hours of the BBC Radio Cymru schedules, but each show is a charming and warm celebration of Welsh indie and alternative bands. The number of unknown gems uncovered for me by C2 runs into double figures, and for that, I truly say diolch am fawr.
It was thanks to C2 one iPlayerd morning that I was introduced to the enigmatic and elusive W H Dyfodol. He has been part of the Welsh underground for years, and may have hit peoples collective radar under the guise of Land of Bingo, from whom Lufthansa is a beautiful highlight. Now working under the name Y Pencadlys (Welsh for The Headquarters), he is perfectly cast as the lo-fi electronica champ hidden behind shadows in publicity photographs.
The new single, released through the highly enthusiastic Peski Records, combines masked lyrics over discordant echoes and bubbling beats, as the melancholia of the title makes way for a lingering sense of release and relief. That often repeated title, Mae Pawb Yn Haeddu Glaw Yn Waeth Na Fi, is perhaps the least expected earworm of the winter, the distinctive Welsh language working well against the occasionally harsh cuts of the music below. A new album, as yet untitled, is expected in the Spring.
Photograph by Natalie Curtis