Spotlight!: Night Market

NM 1Different forms of media are better suited at evoking certain emotions. Sometimes a particular indescribable sensation arises that is almost complete unique to a specific art form. Cinema has an uncanny way of capturing these obscure emotions that we can’t quite put our fingers on, one of which is the melding of bliss and sorrow. Moments that break you and bring a tear to your eye every time, yet also so beautiful and fulfilling that it keeps bringing you back for more. Pixar are the masters at this; like saying goodbye to fading friends in Inside Out, or the remembering of lost loved ones at the end of Coco. Though it’s a phenomenon best suited to cinema, there are some rare moments where music alone can capture the same feeling, and few examples come closer than White Seasons.

Though the new EP from LA based duo Night Market is drenched in heartwarming melodies, there’s an underlying sadness that surreptitiously seeps its way through like subliminal messaging. Listening to this EP is like remembering the good times you had with someone that’s no longer a part of your life, finding joy in the sadness and sadness in the joy. A big part of its power lies in the guitar work, which is some of the finest you’ll find this year. Not by being flashy or complex, but by just hitting the right tone that resonates with you deep down. Whether its in the lush Americana of the title track, the bright folk of ‘All Eyes’, or the jaunty ‘Rome’ with its bluesy solo, Night Market really know how to strike a chord with you with this latest release.

Fans of Death Cab for Cutie, Wild Pink and Sufjan Stevens should check out Night Market’s new EP White Seasons, out now.

 

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Top Tracks: Pinero|Serene – Take My Soul

It’s one thing to make a great hook, one that stops you in your tracks and grabs your attention right away. It’s another thing entirely to craft a compelling atmosphere that seeps beneath your skin and grows on you a little more with each passing moment. It takes a lot of disparate elements working together in perfect harmony, which is something that this London based alt pop duo have nailed with their dark and stunning debut single. From the intricate and expressive bass, and the rising tension in the drums, to the stark monochrome imagery; it all comes together to build a vibe that succeeds in being both dreamy and sinister. With an air of confidence and a smoky veil of mystery, this entrancing offering is the kind of menacing, slow-burning pop record that you never knew you needed.

Top Tracks: HOAX – Could

It’s easy to get lost in the day to day. To lead a life focused on just surviving rather than thriving. Going through the motions until regret eventually hits. Not only does the new single from New York’s HOAX touch on this issue with their empathetic lyricism, but it also gives you the opportunity to thrive, for just a few minutes, in the rich sound they have created. Combining slick indie pop hooks with soulful R&B melodies, ‘Could’ pulls out all the stops. This first single from their forthcoming debut album b?,¬†boasting a striking guitar solo and a wonderfully accomplished and animated rhythm section, shows that they are ardent followers of their own advice. ‘Could’ simply oozes joie de vivre. It’s a celebration of the beauty of being that you can’t help but join in with.

Top Tracks: Ren – Spencer Street

It’s curious how memories, even the most important defining experiences, fade over time. For most of us the finer details never seem to last. The scent of spring flowers, the way her eyes sparkled in the sunlight, the feeling of her hand in yours; all doomed to disappear in time. What lingers on, the spark of a memory that refuses to fade, is the way that moment made you feel. That’s what’s captured in Ren’s nostalgic look back on a former relationship in ‘Spencer Street’. It embodies the feeling of being in love and loved in return. The warm glow of knowing that there is a place and person that makes you feel at home, that makes you feel like you belong. Close your eyes and you can lose yourself in the sensation that all is well with the world. Even when time moves on, love fades, and the finer details get lost by the wayside, that feeling remains tucked away safe and sound deep down.

Top Tracks: The Lighthouse – Cover Story

“Keep your eyes on me” seems a fitting refrain for the new single from Belgian indie pop outfit The Lighthouse, as ‘Cover Story’ is a song that demands your attention. A track that revels in stealing the spotlight with its ever present pop sensibilities. Taken from their forthcoming debut album Whatever Comes Our Way, out 27th September, it is aglow with infectious melodies and shimmering synths. It carries the pop banner proudly but does so with an air of authenticity and maturity. Channelling the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and Clean Cut Kid, this simple but striking offering is a definite earworm. All it takes is one listen and this track will be your faithful companion all day long, its melodies weaving their way through your thoughts.

Top Tracks: Copper Leaf – White Noise

The pursuit of perfection is often counterproductive. In trying to make things as polished and precise as possible, much of the humanity gets lost. There’s something about ramshackle art, the sense of something being thrown together in the heat of the moment, that adds no end of charm. Life itself is one great mess after all. ‘White Noise’ captures that feeling perfectly; not only in its message that the everyday chaos blinds us to the things that really matter, but more so in its endearingly haphazard delivery. Combining the rustic charm of Americana with reckless punk energy, the end result is so raw and invigorating. The studio chatter that bookends the song, the raucous bombastic approach and the raw untamed guitar solo at the centre speak of a band that are in it for the music, just for the sheer fun of playing. That’s the kind of band you want in your life. Let their joy become your own, just dive in to the music and ride the wave as they do.

Spotlight!: Floral Shop

floral shopSometimes the greatest artistic endeavours can come from self restraint. Instead of endless ambition where anything goes, rather challenge yourself by setting boundaries and push them to their absolute limit. That’s the impression I take away from Parasols, the debut EP from Germany’s Floral Shop. As charming as the synthpop aesthetic is, it doesn’t leave much scope to experiment. That hasn’t stopped this quartet from tackling the idea as well as, if not better, than any other examples I’ve heard. They have their own unique way of reaching outside their stylistic circle for inspiration without fully stepping over the threshold.

The eerie introduction to opening track ‘Out of Touch’ soon gives way to reveal this release’s secret weapon; the most groovy and expressive bass you will hear all year. It underpins the whole EP but is at its most potent and prominent right here. ‘Around’ stands out thanks to it’s bright riffs which manage to cut through the synths without losing their light and airy feel, contrasted sharply by the downcast tone of ‘Float’ accentuated by its skittering electronic beat and sombre vocals. There are hints of In Rainbows in ‘ISO’, but it;s closing track ‘Anyplace’ that truly steals the show. The spiralling synths, electronic beats and droning guitar feel like you’re aimlessly whirling through space, before the purposeful post punk rhythm section shifts into focus to deliver a powerful climax.

Fans of Tame Impala, Gunship, M83 and modern day Muse should check out Floral Shop’s debut EP Parasols out 7th June

Top Tracks: Bess Atwell – Harvested

They say that love is giving someone the power to destroy you and trusting them not to, and in some ways a similar principle can apply to friendships. Our friends are the ones that know us best, that we share a deep connection with. Those closest to us know all the buttons to push to bring us down as well as all the right words to say to lift us back up again. That’s the kind of friendship I picture from Bess Atwell’s new single ‘Harvested’, taken from her latest EP Big Blue. From the song’s dreamy atmosphere, thanks to Bess’ crystal clear vocals and the kind of warm, still vibe that presents the perfect soundtrack for the summer nights, I’d like to think that this is ultimately a friendship with a happy ending. One where the comfort of closeness outweighs the consequences. Even so, this is a song perfectly crafted to tug at your heartstrings. Give ‘Harvested’ the power to destroy you and it will do so gladly, and you’ll find yourself pressing play to surrender yourself to it all over again.