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.

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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.

Top Tracks: Caleb Kopta – Foreign Language

My first listen of ‘Foreign Language’ was almost enough to make me do the auditory equivalent of a double take. We’ve been big fans of Caleb’s wanderlust inducing Americana, so this foray into synth driven territory marks an ambitious shift in sound. Altogether more lush and nuanced, it builds upon layered synths, expressive bass tones and atmospheric guitar textures to construct a song that feels very much like being a small figure in a big world. Walking the streets of a sprawling city aglow with neon lights in search of something real. Lyrically it seems fitting that it deals with our over-reliance on technology to form and maintain connections, almost like a nostalgic look back on his own work and the simple life of the open road. Caleb nails his new sound with real flair and conviction, but still carries with him a knack for potent hooks and addictive melodies.