Friday, 5 February 2016

New Music: Introducing - Joy Crookes

You can always tell when a contemporary artist has got it right and managed to carve out their own unique space within the crowded online world of pop music when they get name checked against the latest new kid on the block wanting their own bit of space. Lana Del Rey is undoubtedly one such artist and the latest fresh faced upstart to draw out the comparisons is Joy Crookes.

On the evidence of her official debut single this seventeen year old South Londoner is making music that sounds deeply nostalgic. For New Manhattan wallows in sumptuous smoky strings and Wild West guitars; you can almost feel the heat haze emanating from the music. If David Lynch wanted a soundtrack for his Twin Peaks reboot, and Lana wasn't available (probably because she's still too busy putting on that red dress) this could well be it. A wonderful torch song. 

Joy Crookes - New Manhattan

Monday, 1 February 2016

New Music: Introducing - Thyla

It’s no wonder that Europe’s leading new music festival, the Great Escape, locates itself in Brighton. There seems to be some sort of creative energy that emanates from the place, giving the south coast central town a strong argument for being, outside of London, one of the hottest locations for emerging talent. 

Its latest export is Thyla, a four piece consisting of Millie on vocals and guitar, Elis on electric guitar, Danny on drums and Dan on bass. And the name? Well according to our good old friend Google (where would we be without it?) the word Thyla can be found in the fictitious language of Vulcan, although none of the band lay any claim to being Trekkies or sourcing the name from that.

Thyla’s sound has occasion to aim for the stars though, being both both ethereal and big riffing; there’s reference points to dream pop, 80’s and 90’s alt-rock and even a hint of Sonya Madden from Echobelly in the vocal delivery. New single Car Crash, streaming below, is a slice of guitar heavy indie from the chamber of atmospherics that ducks and dives to ensure you’re never quite sure what it’s going to do next. Millie’s yowl is both savage and beautiful and the guitars full bloodied and stomach churning, in a good way. Alongside previous tune Us And Them it puts down a promising start for Thyla. Another point to Brighton.

Thyla - Car Crash

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

New Music: Introducing - Elle Watson

Right now marketing new pop music is a complicated old business. But if you look in the Rules of Pop 2016, (Hardcover) edition Chapter 8, section 2.3, you’ll see that not putting out your biggest song first is still one of the best ways to go. You need to get the ‘tastemakers’ with their latest iphones, Nutribullets and beautiful clothes on board. For these people their whole raison d'ĂȘtre is to be 'on it' earlier than everyone else, so that they can claim to be influential and bang up their Klout scores. The tastemakers can help the new artist by giving them credibility and that way the artist can build popularity gradually without early mainstream over exposure. Even better, if you're the 'tastemaker' that premieres the song on line then you can claim bigger bragging rights than all the other tastemakers in the war of the cool.

So what you do is let the tastemakers secretly hear a number of songs by the new artist, so that they are convinced that there is something worth backing. Then when the artist puts out the first song and it’s kind of OK, but not exactly going to set the world on fire, the tastemakers can all pretend they can hear potential and justify jumping on the track, because in reality they’ve already heard the better songs that are coming.

So here’s a new artist, with her first song. Her name is Elle Watson and the track is called Body. The blurb with the email that came accompanying the tune tells us that it was written in Stockholm and influenced by the novel You by Caroline Kepnes, with Elle singing from the perspective of being stalked and confined, only to fall in love with the captor. 

It’s actually a half decent song (honestly); it's a bit of a grower, taking a couple of listens to really sink in. Basically it's sort of thing that tastemakers might love. I can see some potential with this artist….

Elle Watson - Body

New Music: Wyldest - Stalking Moon

One of the problems with dream-pop is that sometimes, rather like a learner driver, it seems a little scared of putting its foot down and going above 2nd gear. Thankfully, after a cautious start, the latest tune from Wyldest rips off the L Plates and puts its foot to the floor. As a result Stalking Moon manages to combine the band’s shadowy softness, with something that holds a dynamic purpose and intent. It’s a tune that gets under the skin in more ways than just sonically too, with the lyrics questioning what secrets we hold. “Is there something more to you than this?” lead singer Zoe repeats. 

Press play and find a few minutes to lose yourself in their pretty melodies and hauntingly strong magic. You won't regret it.

Wyldest - Stalking Moon