You can touch my love if you want.
We love this that much. Well played.
Jenny Hval’s back and she’s gone bananas! You’ll get that shit immature gag once you’ve had a watch of her forthcoming album teaser vid above. Norway’s favourite transcendental pop artist is back though with her new album, Apocalypse Girl, which is being released through Sacred Bones, on the June 8th. Sure there’ll be some new tracks from that being released real soon, but for now if you fancy having a listen to some of her previous tunes to refresh your memory, click right HERE
She’s also starting a tour in support of the brilliant St. Vincent & the also Perfume Genius across the States next month, so if you’re one of our (probably very few) american readers or you’re off over there on your hols anytime soon, may be worth checking out.
Hiya guys, how’s the week going? Mine’s been dull. It’s been ok, but bloody dull. That was until this morning, where after another dreary grey morn, looking for a spot of escapism, I took my first listen to Junk (London producer John Dunk) and his otherworldly latest track ‘Over’. With it’s minute long intro, featuring samples of birds chirping over ambient synths and ethereal male choral backing vocals, it kind of felt like I’d been instantly transported into some lush rainforest. Definitely somewhere other than where I was currently sat, gazing out of my wonderful magnolia office’s window at the ruddy rain. By the time the beats kicked in and the next wave of synth had washed over me, closely followed by guest vocalist Amy Spencer’s (who forms one half of emerging duo Leiik with fellow Squareglass signee Bunki) soothing airy tones I felt like I was in a state of meditation. Exactly what I needed. So much so that I played the track another four times on the bounce, in a battle to try and stay in that state. And when that felt like it may have been starting to wear off, I moved onto the other two tracks that feature on his soundcloud, first with the atmospheric soundscape, ‘ELYK’ and then onto the demo of the title track to his forthcoming E.P. (which will be released on the 9th March) ‘Eyes Shut’, again featuring hazy female vocals (which may or may not be Amy Spencer’s again?) topping soothing layered electronics, looping beats & samples. The sound Junk creates, combines the atmospheric synths & vocals of scando newcomers, DNKL with some of the more downtempo, looping organic samples & beats that Four Tet have been producing for the last 10 years or so. The brilliant Oceaan‘s most recent Grip E.P. would also be another, albeit more r’n’b based, production reference.
I should also mention that ‘Over’ is currently a free download too, so if you too fancy a quick break to some exotic mental rainforest, but don’t have soundcloud access, you can nab your own copy at home, stick it on your phone/ tab/ phab/ etc and take it wherever you may wanna go. To an actual rainforest maybe?
So it may be that those Junk tunes have got me all a bit euphoric, but I’m gonna make a big statement now… and that is, that from what i’ve heard so far, Salt Ashes is the best new female pop act I’ve come across in the last few years. Know what you’re thinking, ‘whoooooaaaaaaahhhhhh there jasper, calm down, you’re just drunk on Junk’ (definitely no innuendo intended there), and you’re probably also thinking that, cos there’s been shid loads of great female pop acts bursting on the scene recently- Charli XCX for one released her second very impressive record just this week for example, but honestly, have a listen to her (by her I mean 24 year old Brighton resident Veiga Sanchez who is Salt Ashes) most recent single ‘Raided’ and tell me you disagree. I don’t think you will, and if you do you’re a liar. Combining 80′s & 90′s pop hooks with her self confessed love of Giorgio Moroder-esque Disco & House vibes, along with vocals that’ve already been compared to Madonna & Kate Bush (there’s also a touch of Kylie, a dash of Robyn and a hint of Niki & The Dove in there too), if this girl isn’t smashing up the mainstream by the end of the year I’m gonna give up this blogging lark, cos I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about (and we all know that I totally do, sort of). ‘Raided’ is Salt Ashes’ third utterly rad single following ‘Somebody’ & ‘If You Let Me Go’, both of which I thoroughly recommend you check out ASAP (soundcloud links below obvs, some great remixes too, Satin Jackets’ one is a personal fave, cos we love them too), and once you have, start telling all your buddies about her too so that they instantly fall in love as we have, so she becomes massive super fast and I don’t look like a dick at the end of the year for making outlandish statements…
Sorry about that, I’m getting a little bit over excited aren’t I, I just ate a Marathon and had a Red Bull too so that ain’t gonna help is it. What I really need are some smooth jazzed up lounge vibes now to chill me the funk out yeah. Good job earlier this week I got an email from Tayps then, introducing me to their debut track ‘Wednesday’, innit. Not got a great amount to tell you about Tayps apart from that they’re a duo, Charlie Tappin & Will Taylor, who reside in Surrey and that they’re buddies with another of our fave new artist/ producers around at the moment and previous NMT, Jason Nolan- talented bunch of lads that group hey. Sound-wise, as I said earlier, this is uber smooth and uber chilled late night stuff with laid back vocals drifting over r’n’b & jazz riffs. I’m struggling for really good references for ya, but for me they come across somewhere between several other newcomers we’ve also featured here (not to blow my own trumpet- see what I did? With the jazz link?! Didn’t work did it). Imagine Whilk & Misky without the rootsy bluesy guitars or Tom Misch minus the folky leanings. A chilled version Ben Westbeech or Breach as you may know him, might also be a half decent comparison if you’re still in need of one, or you could always give it a few spins and come up with some yourselves if you’re that bov’d? Will leave that up to you guys…
Latest vid from audiovisual pioneers Addictive TV here. They have been around a fair while, but if you’ve not heard of ‘em as yet then my explanation of what they do ain’t gonna do these guys justice, essentially though they remix and sample tunes from artists the world over to films and tv series and stuff. It’s fucking cool.
Told ya. More where that came from over on their website, and they’re also playing Rich Mix in Shoreditch tomorrow night, where they’re playing stuff from their ‘Orchestra of Samples’ project with a live accompaniment for the first time, which’ll be a bit good I can tell ya. Last week’s NMT Kizzy Crawford‘s playing there too, so it’ll be double good.
Dutch Uncles – O Shudder
Seems to be getting harder and harder to actually decide on a favourite release each week at the moment. It’s either down to the amount of great stuff that’s pumping out of the meat grinder that is today’s music industry or it’s just cos I’m getting double indecisive in my old age. The first one, definitely the first one. It’s a tough old job this, you should feel very sorry for me having to make these incredibly tough decisions every tuesday. Seems like each week for the past few months (not including december obvs, cos that’s always a shit month for new releases) I could easily pick one of three, four or sometimes five albums as the tip of the tops, and the pressure’s almost unbearable, knowing that my decision could be the difference between a band/ artist either gaining or losing one or two extra record sales. It’s make or break stuff. Luckily, I am man enough to still put my neck on the block and make that decision. I do it all for you. And this week I’ve gone for the fourth album from Manc four piece, Dutch Uncles, O Shudder, despite ferocious competition from fantastic records from Champs, Sea Change & Dan Deacon (also luckily for you and those bands/ acts, they don’t lose out completely, as all three are still featured below as the ‘Best Of The Rest’ and you should defo still check that shid out).
So the Dutch Uncles and O Shudder, why’d it win this week? Simple answer is cos it’s close to faultless. You could say it perhaps doesn’t have as many obvious hooks as the others, it may not have the standout singles or be as instant as them either, but invest a bit of time in it, and you’ll discover an album that actually doesn’t have any weak tracks. A formidable achievement I’m sure you’ll agree. Where their previous records have been a bit more on the upbeat side of indie pop, this one takes things down a notch, and in doing so completely smooths out any previous rough edges to create a gorgeous synth based pop sound similar but topping that of All We Are’s debut of a few week’s back (that also claimed my POTW, so if this is better you knows it must be good). With lead singer Duncan Wallis‘ fragile yet soothing falsetto pitching somewhere between Kate Bush & Alexis Taylor, topping laid back disco, funk & math rock grooves, if you imagined Wild Beasts’ brilliant Smother without the occasional over theatrics, or Foals ditching the stadium ambitions for a more intimate sound you’d be getting close. It’s thoughtful, intelligent & perfectly crafted pop for those who don’t normally like pop.
BEST OF THE REST
Champs – Vamala
Last year Isle Of Wight brothers Champs released their gorgeous folk pop debut, Down Like Gold which having been released on the same day as Elbow’s last record shared the that POTW crown. This year they’re back with second album Vamala which if it wasn’t for the brilliance of the Dutch Uncles record very very slightly shading them, would have repeated the trick. But that’s just my opinion, a fair few of you may see this as the better album, and I could not blame you in the slightest if you did, as Vamala is a truly outstanding piece of work. Going a bit more pop and a bit less folk than on it’s predecessor, tracks like ‘Desire’, ’3000 Miles’, ‘Blood’ & title track ‘Vamela’ are all incredibly beautiful. If the distinctive vocals and gorgeous pop hooks don’t instantly grab you, then after a couple more spins the sheer quality of the songwriting most definitely will.
Sea Change – Breakage
If you’ve been following this blog at all over the last few months you’ll recognise the name Sea Change (aka Norwegian Musician/ Producer Ellen A. W. Sunde), from the numerous times we’ve featured her glacial synth pop, first as one of my New Music Takeaway’s and then in loads of Pick ‘n’ Mixes since, covering the release of each of her wondrous singles. So in case you haven’t already guessed, we love her. And now, after a long and patient wait, the week is finally upon us where we excitedly get to lay our hands on her full debut Breakage. And it don’t disappoint oh no. Sounding like she’s cherry picked all of the best aspects of Fever Ray, Lykke Li, Zola Jesus before adding her own sprinkling of scando coolness to create nine stark & incredibly powerful tracks. An extremely impressive debut.
Dan Deacon – Gliss Ritter
Almost last up for this week is the latest from electro weirdo (his words not mine) Dan Deacon, Gliss Ritter. Any idea what that album title means? Nah I didn’t either until I used my vast intellect to logically work it out (I typed it into google). Turns out it’s Dan’s very own phrase as far as I can tell, and it means the manipulation of loops of layered glissando (rapid ascending and/or descending streams of sequential notes). Know what that means? Me neither, but instead of using google this time I decided that it must refer to the sounds on the album, so I just stuck that on, and now it all makes perfect sense. However, given that I still lack the intellect to really explain it any clearer to you guys, I’d suggest you just do the same. And once you do, you’ll realise, that on top of the record eductaing us on the topic of glissando, it’s also great fun, combining those trance inducing layered loops in percussion, vocals & synths with pop hooks to create a sound that’s both experimental and incredibly infectious.
Negash Ali – Collage E.P.
Normally I don’t really pop E.P.’s into my POTW’s but I’m happy to make an exception this week for our favourite Eritrean artist Negash Ali, who as with Sea Change above, if you follow this blog at all, you’d surely already know about, via our New Music Takeaway & Pick ‘n’ Mix segments. Alternatively, you may well have heard of him elsewhere, as his tracks have graced the likes of BBC 1xtra, Huffington Post, MTV UK, and SBTV too, but I doubt it cos you I imagine you only ever come here to YHM for your new music right? And who the hell are those nobodies anyways? Back to Negash though, his dazzling debut (alliteration’s fun innit) E.P. Collage, got it’s full release via iTunes and Spotify (you can also stream it on soundcloud now) this very week, and it’s is completely and utterly brilliant. If you’re into guys like Kanye, Drake & The Weeknd, you’re gonna wanna check it out.