Nightdubbing – Frontline
I’ll be honest, ever since I first heard this track last week I’ve been excited about posting it.
With perhaps my favourite – and funkiest – bass part of 2017 driving this track along, Frontline meanders between elements of house and disco to create what – to my ear – would be the perfect soundtrack to a day out in the sun. It’ll certainly work on the dance floor, but there’s enough to make this an excellent listen on headphones or – ideally -at a house party or barbecue.
There’s not a huge amount on the internet about Nightdubbing beyond them being ‘Manchester based DJs and Producers’ and it being the first release from Liverpool record shop Dig Vinyl’s new label.
Frontline comes from Nightdubbing’s EP of the same name which came out in January. You can find all eight tracks from that EP on Spotify or on their Soundcloud.
Daniel Trakell – Paradise
Australian singer-songwriter Daniel Trakell is releasing his debut EP this month, and Paradise is the third single from that EP. It’s one of those tracks that you really need to give a few listens to.
Paradise falls somewhere on the country music/folk border, perhaps slightly inland on the latter. Underpinned by acoustic guitar with room for some slide guitar and horns, the Paradise it conjures up is one of hills and vast landscapes.
Yet it’s a slightly uncomfortable feeling listening to Paradise, for all it’s Simon & Garfunkel splendour, there remains an apprehension. It is perhaps best described using the impressive dual quality of the vocals, they are both beautiful and eerie at the same time. The song is both speaking of a paradise that is tangible and truly beautiful in the present, but also of a place that has yet to come in the afterlife. As he sings:
While I dream
I dream of when the days of holding back
And all this talk can cease
Oh I dream
About a place where time it goes to rest
And we can be at peace
You can follow Daniel here. Let me know what you think of Paradise (email@example.com)
Jacob Banks – Unholy War
Trends in popular music tend to repeat themselves; guitar music is ‘in fashion’ for a eighteen months or so before being replaced by hip hop, or boy bands, or whichever style it is we’ve been missing without realising.
At the moment the retro soul/gospel sound is back with a bang. Rag’n’Bone Man has been leading the charge, but here Birmingham-born R’n’B singer Jacob Banks provides his own contribution, and it’s rather good.
With a rich, deep and powerful vocal performance, excellent production and a more modern, electronic-laced chorus, Unholy War ticks all sorts of pleasurable boxes. On first listen this stood out, and it gets better with every listen.
Blogging has been frustratingly light this week (from me at least, George and Antonia delivered awesome columns) but work somewhat overtook my life and I never got the chance to post the four tracks that were intended to be our Tracks of the Day. This is particularly annoying as they’re pretty damn good this week.
By way of apology, please find them here:
Pumarosa – Dragonfly
Pumarosa have generated a wave of hype in the past twelve months and – to be honest – it’s not hard to work out why. Creating etherial music with elements of pop, indie and dance, there’s a mystique to their work that few acts achieve. Dragonfly was released on the same day the band announced their debut album – The Witch – will be out in May. I’ve seen them live a few times now and highly recommend you catch them now; these guys – and gals – are unlikely to be playing smaller shows for much longer.
Code Walk, Smerz – Guess What
This track is a collaboration between two Scandinavian duos, Norwegian pair Code Walk and Copenhagen couple Smerz. Its a track that revolves around shimmering techno beats and top line percussion. Everything about this track is ice cold. Simple and yet highly effective.
Brutus – Drive 3/4s
Belgiun post-hardcore trio Brutus started life as a Refused tribute act, before starting to write their own material. They’re led by Stefanie Mannaerts, who acts as both vocalist and drummer. Drive 3/4s is a stunningly good rock track; its impressive in its ambition alone, but the delivery of intricate melodies, shifts in style and epic chorus makes this track an absolute monster. Easily my favourite track of the week.
Vnusamr – Runnin
A debut single from Miami-based Vnusamr, and she’s immediately grasped my attention with a track rooted in modern r’n’b, but brave enough to incorporate touches of rock and pop. The sensual vocals are great, it’s superbly produced and I love her teasing melodies throughout. More like this please.
Fionn Regan – The Meetings of the Waters
Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan recently featured on Bon Iver’s album and has his own LP – of the same name as this single – due for release in April.
Meetings of the Waters is not a revolutionary recreation of the indie folk genre, but it is a rather pretty and delicate tale of love, tenderness and contentment. In the second verse he sings:
Your skin tastes of gorse flowers, as we lie in the dark
Mouth is of sapphires, when you speak there’s a spark across the room
It’s a gentle poetic ripple as two streams entwine. Elegant in its simplicity, and fragile in its construction, its long fade out only adds to the sensation that if you move too quickly, you could break this rather enchanting spell.
Ibeyi – Lost In My Mind
French-Cuban sisters Ibeyi made waves in 2015 with their self-titled debut album. Their sound was certainly different; often combining hip hop style beats and production with gorgeous soulful vocals and harmonies. I had the pleasure of seeing them in London back in November 2015 there were moments of spellbinding beauty that evening.
Now they’re back with Lost In My Mind; a sparse, beautiful and affecting track that speaks of loneliness and isolation. “My pockets are empty, I’ve been robbed by the streets, That shine gold, busy, and cold when I’ll be there, I feel so alone in this city, Looking for your heart when the streets are empty” goes the second verse, mirrored by a minimalist backing track of infrequent piano and stripped back beats.
It’s a track that lingers with you. It ends with a more positive – or is it pleading? – feel, but throughout you feel there’s a deep sadness that inspired it. It’s great to have Ibeyi back and here’s hoping for more material in 2017.
High Contrast – Shotgun Mouthwash
Welsh electronic producer High Contrast has returned with a new track for the Trainspotting T2 soundtrack, and its a bit of a monster.
Shotgun Mouthwash is a corking piece of electro punk. It’s full on from the get-go and is stacked full of attitude. “A shotgun is a good substitute for mouthwash” adds the vocalist, in a sarcastic and witty addition to a track that feels like it owes a debt to Iggy Pop.
It seems like a new album is on the way from High Contrast and, if it has other tracks with the energy and mind-blowing qualities of Shotgun Mouthwash, then it could be one of the best releases of 2017.
You can follow High Contrast here and let me know what you think of Shotgun Mouthwash (firstname.lastname@example.org)