French Films remind me of a few different acts, all influenced or operating in zones extending from the one genre. There’s heavy New Wave influences here, but to be specific, you should hear some New Order, a bit of The Cure, more recent comparisons in Cut City and The Drums and even some of The Strokes. It all really comes together rather nicely in the really upbeat guitar driven opener to their EP of the same name; Golden Sea.
Bikini suffer from not doing some proper research before they chose that name. Either that or they have at least a fraction of the bravado the publicly anti-communist Hungarian band in 1982 had of the same name, who eventually broke up due to pressure from the powers that be at the time, and they just don’t give a fuck that it’s already taken. I hope it’s the latter.
They sound like a fusion of Muscles, Delphic, Daft Punk, and I could go on but if you know what you’re doing this list doesn’t need any more names on it. Here’s the Muscly American Mourning, but make sure you download ACheerlaeder for free on their website, it’s even better. Their EP, RIPJDS is out now.
Here’s another one from Young Henry, a Lo-Fi surf pop jam with the hazy vocals he loves so much called Youth Driven Love. Great for a lazy summer afternoon. Or the soundtrack to an old video of kids running through a sprinkler playing in glitchy loops.
Hammocks And Honey are an Australian act who fuse together some really interesting sounds to create their sonic identity. I’d like to talk about the opener specifically, called Simple Things.
It starts slow, with a plodding simple beat and some ethereal vocal play, but as soon as the vocals come in (reminiscent of The Golden Filter or Tamaryn) the whole thing begins to grow, the layers are added, and before you know it, you’ve got a full blown tropically Balearic beat, Memoryhouse-esque backing vocals and an irresistible feeling of elation and peace.
But better than The Golden Filter; Hammocks And Honey seem to be amazing on their own merit, rather than just through the expectation that they should be good.
Yuni In Taxco continue the vibe Beach Boys left us with in their prime. Feel good vibes, angular guitar riffs, sing-along harmonies and the beach-going memories of your youth. Their EP is up for download and the whole thing is really strong, there’s some tropical influences in these songs as well, and I can’t help but think of Coolrunnings in a way when I listen to these guys.
Netherfriends and Golden Ages teamed up for a split remix EP featuring one track from each remixed by the other. This is a remix of I’m Gonna Start that Golden Ages conjured, and it’s really cool. There’s still the infectious vocals but there’s now this really interesting exotic Lo-Fi Electronic aspect to the song now and it really adds to the song.
Teen Daze is now joining the ranks of artists like Coolrunnings and Cloud Nothings. Hit making machines that can not, and will not stop making amazing music for anyone. Here’s a new one from him a little over a week after the release of his previous EP. It’s got a more noisy, Lo-Fi feel to it than his other work, which is awesome.
And here to inform the fact is a scuzzy, rough and jangly mess in the form of a band Teen Daze made with his friends in a night called The Tosche Converters. If you don’t get the reference you will when you see the EP cover. Now I could be wrong here, because Teen Daze often reblogs other artists on his Tumblr, and with next to zero info on this overnight creation there’s no accurate way to check just yet. But i’m fairly certain it’s him. The EP is available for free from the band’s Bandcamp, and it’s really fucking awesome to be honest.
Well, this is odd and unexpected. Although, of all the members of Bloc Party to release the only solo work that isn’t awful characterisations of the band’s sound, Tong seems like the best bet. Getting a Lightspeed Champion / Jeremy Warmsley vibe from this one.
How To Dress Well recently covered R. Kelly's I Wish for Yours Truly. He dedicated it to a friend of his who had recently died and you can just feel how personal this performance is. It’s Tom Krell without the walls of noise, without the abstract, far off melodies. This almost feels too close to the man’s heart. And he basically confirms it at the end by awkwardly stating “That song’s too real though” before the final note has even been given a chance to ring out. Pretty powerful stuff here.
Sing Leaf creates poppy, almost Yeasayer-esque Chillwave. The Watch is a great song to sum up exactly what he’s about, and if you like that, head to his Bandcamp to donate a dollar to grab his latest track, Generation Ship. That dollar will go straight to Eat To Feed Liberians - a charitable organization that operates two feeding programs in the Buduburam Refugee Camp in Ghana. The song is well worth it by itself.
Young Henry's U/N is basically Witch House for most of the tracks, but then right in the middle there’s this completely different sound in the form of Paint Fumes. It’s more like downplayed Lo-Fi Chillwave and its inclusion makes me hope he’ll travel in this direction on future releases.
Seapony make bubbly, carefree Lo-Fi pop. These guys remind me of Sweet Bulbs in a big way. They also have another EP up for grabs on their Bandcamp, so if you like Dreaming, go get it while it’s still free.
When I first heard Chorus, Coolrunnings' new song, It didn't really grab me. I put it on and resumed whatever I was doing, and before I knew it the track was over and I still had no clue what it sounded like. I thought “That's a bad sign”, but then I gave it my full attention, listened again, and again, and again. It's awesome, give it, and these dudes; your full attention. It sounds like some sort of rad underwater party set in a warped dreamworld. With lasers.
The Belligerents are a band out of Australia that just got signed to Major Records. As soon as I heard the instrumentation I thought of Foals. The vocals and lyrics might not be as cool and aloof, but there’s some serious potential here.
Dreams are a girl/guy Chillwave duo making bedroom pop of the best variety. The vocals fade into the mix, rather than stand above it, and the noisy space age crescendo three quarters through is a nice touch. Look you should bloody well know by now what you’re going to get from a band called Dreams in 2010, just download it.
The Speculators remind me of a punchy, messy, Lo-Fi, inaccurate version of Born Ruffians. And I mean that in a good way. Their three track EP, which you can grab for free, is a bit of a mixed bag though. They need to focus their efforts on one sound, preferably this one, rather than trying to be everything to everyone. Until then check out Grow Old.
Alpine strike me as one of those bands that will be annoyingly popular within the self declared (but inescapably not) hipster circles, which is a shame. But that’s ok, the point is, here’s a Star Slinger remix of their most popular track called Icypoles and it’s better than the original. He did it a few months ago so you may have heard it, but maybe not.
You can also stream the two 7” tracks on their Soundcloud, which I highly recommend doing.
This release follows the same mantra of their previous release, Brink Of The Clouds, in that the physical aspect of the release isn’t ever just a vinyl or a CD. AIH002 comes with a limited edition photo print from some of their favourite local photographers for the first 30 orders. On top of that you’ll get a digital EP with more tracks from both bands and an Art Is Hard handcrafted zine. Pretty damn good for £3.75.
Ghost is a surf-pop track from Love Lake. There’s, in congruence with some very clear trends of late, an obvious Beach Boys vibe throughout this one. Their album is available on his Bandcamp for the very fair price of $8USD.
Fine Peduncle is an artist on Coolrunnings' Dracula Horse label (maybe?). Already it’s boasting a pretty diverse range of sounds, and this act is no different. There’s a very strong R&B vibe to the music here, but while bands like The xx or How To Dress Well take influences from the more restrained variety, Fine Peduncle is clearly a fan of the poppy, more sexually-charged side. For proof, you need look no further than Don’t You Fret, and this warped re-imagining of Mariah Carey's Fantasy. It’s not for everyone, but you can’t deny that it’s very unique.
Mammal Airlines is a New Zealand Lo-Fi band with who clearly understand that fuzz isn’t enough. Underneath all the distortion are catchy melodies and heartfelt lyrics that stay with you longer than you realise.
The Young Friends will unfortunately have to deal with comparisons to The Drums as long as the music industry is covered by lazy journalism. And NEO//NOIR is no different. Check out this track from their Hella EP.
Teen Daze just released a new 7” for free. It’s got two new tracks on it, and it sounds like he’s trying to go for a larger, more atmospheric vibe, especially on Everywhere. You should know by now the quality of Teen Daze’s work so just download it already.
Memory Tapes unleashed an eerie instrumental track for Halloween called Pretend The Devil Isn’t Real and I have to say I was instantly reminded of Metronomy's Pip Paine-era work. These comparisons are especially prevalent in the first half of the track. Memory Tapes is another artist that rarely gets it wrong. What are you waiting for?
I and I has a new single coming called The Hardest Part. It’s a slow burning piano driven epic possessing that ineffable quality that gives weight and drama to whatever you happen to be doing while it’s on. As if you’re in the opening credits of a movie you never knew you were staring in. It comes with some truly stellar remixes from Atlantic At Pacific and Nassau. But the biggest surprise of all is the last track, Pocahontas, which is truly strange in the best way possible. I’m reminded of Memory Tapes' cut and paste eccentricities with this one. You can get it at the Alchemist Records website. Do it.
Young Liarsare one of the more mainstream sounding acts I’ve posted on here actually. They sound like a mix between a few recently successful bands, there’s some Phoenix and some Vampire Weekend, but once you get to the chorus there’s a definite Two Door Cinema Club vibe in there too. Strangely, they don’t seem to have accrued too many listeners yet. Let’s fix that.
Tip Of Your Tongue is a dream poppy song from Porcelain Raft. The guitar work reminds me of the limited guitar you’d hear on a Memoryhouse track, but the vocals are definitely more present, less dreamlike.
The Pillars Of Creation is probably named after that rad looking nebula formation that entry level NASA photography fans seem to love. He has a few releases out currently, but this is a song called Waves is from his EP Panorama Blue. It’s an instrumental Lo-Fi Electronic track that will resonate with you if you’re into anything Chillwave, Lo-Fi, Chill-Fi, Lo-Wave and all points in between. Panorama Blue is also up for free download from his Bandcamp if you’re liking this.