I got a little drunk the other night… the first time I’ve done so in a while. I’d bought some expensive vodka as a moving-in present to myself, forgot about it, and re-discovered it whilst listening to Visions, the new track by Mothica.
The musical project of New York based electronica artist McKenzie Ellis; it’s fair to say her reputation (and fanbase) have been growing rapidly ever since I first introduced her way back in January. To be honest, I would have happily written about any of the tracks she’s posted up since… but I didn’t want to come across as an obsessive. Stripped back with a minimalist production, her words seem more personal than ever before. Like most people I tend to get a bit emotional after a few drinks and Visions has really buried itself deep in my heart. It’s still there, calling to me softly before I fall asleep.
Hailing from New York, Katelyn Fay’s electronic pop packs a strong DIY aesthetic – programmed beats and retro-flavoured synth riffs merge with hip-hop style vocal raps set on an experimental spin cycle. Brimming with pop culture references, a bit like a contemporary take on Ciccone Youth’s The Whitey Album, Katelyn’s music screams attitude, imagination and wit – it’s a delicious combination.
From the edgy ecstasy and haunting grind of Can’t Change Me to I’m Not A Toy’s sample-tinged feminism and Barbie Doll frustration, “If I’m a little fucking different – good, I’m better that way.” Katelyn’s music strikes a fine balance between personal expression and cultural relevance. From relatively amateurish beginnings, Katelyn’s creations have grown more focused, accessible and fun, with a healthy lack of self-consciousness – explosive Pop Art filtered through an obsessive teenage mind.
Only a few days into the New Year and I get the feeling I’ve already discovered a future star. After trawling soundcloud into the late hours tonight, I came across McKenzie Ellis, an 18 year old singer/producer from Brooklyn with unlimited potential.
A wealth of demos are available for your listening pleasure: My favourite is probably the startlingly heartbreaking dead boy – sadgrl which has a tender lo-fi quality, led by sparse piano and vocals that share much in common with the tones of fellow New Yorker Eddi Front. I genuinely found it really difficult to resist emotionally, I imagine you might feel the same.
Remarkably its no clear indication of either her influences or future direction, as most recent track, Cnt Yr Blssngs is an Ableton produced track that might be an experiment… but if it is, its certainly been a worthwhile one. The downbeat electronica is covered in muffled atmosphere and intimacy, bringing to mind the work of Maria Minerva. I’m not sure McKenzie Ellis know who she is artistically yet but it’s going to be a joy watching her find out.
Lovable New York indie quintet Caveman mix melodic, reverb drenched atmospherics with loose, tribal rhythms and starry eyed harmonies. Imagine Other Lives in a wrestling match with Elbow and Grizzly Bear and somewhere in the thick of it all you’ll find Caveman. They ooze maturity without lacking edge and despite the moniker there’s nothing primitive about their sound. Interestingly the band play guitars crafted by their own axe man Jimmy Carbonetti – yours to own if you’ve got a few grand to spare.
Where’s The Time, a cross between a hymn and a rousing shanty, builds gradually and patiently, sweeping you up in its grace. Front man Matthew Iwanusa’s hook-laden vocals sound almost angelic. A warm, big-hearted performer in the mould of Guy Garvey, when he’s not singing and strumming away on a guitar, he’s making mincemeat out of a floor tom. Awash with keys and guitars, this music comes straight from the heart and sticks in your head.
I found myself gazing out of the bedroom window tonight, people watching as the dark set in. My only real distraction was the reverb soaked sunlight being provided by the welcome noise of Painted Zeros.
There is a beautiful subtlety in this self-recorded track by Brooklyn native Katie Lau, bringing to mind the shambling ecstasy of Broken Social scene and the blissed out bedroom pop of Beach House. With one eye on the sky, I get the impression her sound could get bigger, more explosive. This American Life is an exercise in finding freedom, escape. I can’t imagine a better song to go looking for it.
Dot Vi$ion$ is a New York based producer, rapper and songwriter that has got me VERY excited.
After an accidental soundcloud hop I found myself inadvertently listening to Like, taken from forthcoming mixtape Drastic Changes… and boy does it wet the appetite. With echoes of the r’n’b tinged electronica of The Weekend and the vocal confidence of Frank Ocean, his sparse skeletal beats are seductively expressed in nocturnal atmospherics. Its a remarkably confident way to announce yourself.