Author Archives: Katie Moore

UK Artist of the Week: BARQ

Following 2016’s “Gentle Kind Of Lies” and last year’s “Optimus Prime,” Dublin band BARQ, who have previously received acclaim from The Irish Times and Hot Press, and are continuing to build a name for themselves with the release of attention-grabbing double A-side “Sassy Mouth” / “Earthquakes.”

Whilst each track is distinctive in its sound and subject matter, what remains consistent is the immense, overwhelming power of front woman Jess Kav’s vocals. Whereas “Earthquakes” is a thoughtful reflection on an explosive breakdown of a friendship and the sense of acceptance and renewal that follows, “Sassy Mouth” is a politically-influenced anthem, inspired by the courage and resilience of Ireland’s “Repeal The 8th” movement.

Flowing with funk-fused beats and booming bass lines, “Earthquakes” showcases BARQ’s self proclaimed “Agrosoul.” Oozing the soulful allure of Kav’s vocals alongside an infectious groove akin to Hiatus Kiayote or Erykah Badu, it’s a silky-smooth treat for the ears.

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UK Artist of the Week: Rebecca Lou

Having only begun writing songs in 2015, Danish artist Rebecca Lou has already been garnering a reputation for her energy-fuelled live shows across her homeland and has supported rising rockers Velvet Volume on tour. Now, she’s beginning to make her mark in the UK with her two latest singles “Bitch U Look Good” and “Under The Moon.”

A tribute to self-love and celebrating your own worth, “Bitch U Look Good” is a riotous offering, fuelled by a thrashing energy and force. With shades of Joan Jett or Riot Grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, it’s an instantly infectious and undeniably raucous slice of stimulating rock ‘n’ roll.

“Under The Moon,” on the other hand, veers into a more indie-pop sound. Inspired by poems she wrote when she was just 16 years old, it showcases the sweeping power of Rebecca’s vocals beautifully, as whirring hooks flow with an emotion-strewn splendour and twinkling musicality.

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UK Artist of the Week: Monks In The Wood

Since forming back in 2015, South London band Monks In The Wood have received acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing and When The Horn Blows, and have now released a stirring new single.

“No Love” offers an emotion-strewn grandeur as impassioned vocals are perfectly interwoven with soaring guitar hooks and sweeping layers of instrumentation.

Reflecting on the contrasting feelings that can emerge within relationships, it’s a cinematic slice of indie-pop showcasing not only the admirable musicianship, but the thought-provoking lyrical storytelling of this upcoming band. With shades of Broken Bells, it’ll tug at the heartstrings whilst uplifting one’s spirits with its unique and infectious groove.

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UK Artist of the Week: Skylar Fri

Yet again, Scandinavians have treated us to another ethereal gem. This time, it’s from Danish chill-pop princess Skylar Fri.

Skylar Fri’s latest single “Gold Rush” builds slowly, yet there is no denying the celestial beauty of the track from the offset and throughout. Fri’s soft, tranquil vocal soars over stunning synths and moving melodies to create something perfect for late night drives or long train journeys. Fans of FKA Twigs and Sky Ferreira will feel at home here.

Having already received critical acclaim for her previous single “Better” last year, 2018 is looking to be a pretty great year for Skylar Fri already. Here’s hoping a tour is on the cards soon!

“Gold Rush” is in stores now via AntiFragile Music.

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UK Artist of the Week: ARXX

Having supported the likes of PINS and Nova Twins on tour, Brighton duo ARXX are fast making a name for themselves as one of the most exciting live bands around. Now, having just released their debut EP, they’re blasting into our ears with their riotous new single.

Reflecting on the failed expectations of a relationship, “Tired Of You” races with gritty riffs and immense pounding beats as the seething power of Hannah Pidduck’s vocals soars with a raw passion. Combining catchy refrains with a fist-clenching force, it’s an instantly infectious slice of garage-rock with shades of The Coathangers or Deap Vally.

Influenced by the music that Pidduck was brought up with by her mother, “Daughters Of Daughters,” the new EP from ARXX, showcases an eclectic range of sounds with subject matter ranging from cats, misogyny, and addiction. From the intense, subversive power of “Intervention” to the country-pop romanticism of “Stuck On You,” it’s an impressive collection of tracks, making it impossible to pigeon-hole the duo by one single genre.

“Daughters Of Daughters,” the debut EP from ARXX, is in stores now.

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UK Artist of the Week: Hoshino

Having received praise from BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 1, Essex band Hoshino, who formed back in 2015, have now graced our ears with a brand new slice of luscious electro-pop.

Defined by the distinctive, rich vocals of Elloise Rosemond, “Stars (In The Night Sky)” flows with a soulful groove alongside whirring beats and delicate, sparkling refrains. Made up of many eclectic layers of sound and oozing alluring, dreamy vibes, it’s a truly innovative sonic delight.

For fans of the impassioned RnB by the likes of Erykah Badu, with this latest offering Hoshino have proved themselves capable of creating their own utterly unique, and hugely catchy, resplendent fusion of sounds.

With support for Fickle Friends, and a slot at Secret Garden Party festival already under their belts, Hoshino are set to charm listeners with their elegant, effervescent creations.

“Stars (In The Night Sky),” the new single from Hoshino, is currently in stores.

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UK Artist of the Week: Bad Mannequins

Channelling the late ‘70s CBGB’s era of New York City’s punk rock scene, Glaswegian duo Bad Mannequins continue to win the hearts (and ears) of a new generation through the release of their single “Double Denim,” and we are delighted to name them this week’s UK Artist of The Week.

Having released their debut EP, and first of a three-part trilogy “Deny ’Til U Die Part 1” in the summer of 2017, Bad Mannequins have continued to impress listeners with their high-octane brand of garage rock. Despite the simplicity and raw energy of the drum/guitar set-up, Bad Mannequins have managed to create a sound that packs a punch for just over three blistering minutes.

With tongue in cheek, lyrics such as “You wouldn’t even be here if your momma didn’t rock that double denim!” combined with hook-laden, fuzz-filled riffs, Bad Mannequins’ sound is uniquely infectious. Garnering support from the likes of BBC Radio, as well as being featured on hit US TV show Limitless, Bad Mannequins appear to be gearing up for huge year.

“Double Denim” is in stores now via Triple Denim.

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UK Artist of the Week: Hannah Epperson

Following 2016’s Upsweep, Canadian artist Hannah Epperson has now released the album’s eagerly awaited second half, Slowdown.

Armed with just her violin and a loop pedal, Epperson has created an innovative collection, with two distinct versions of each track, the “Amelia” and the “Iris.” Derived from the idea of two opposing worlds coming together to form a fictional character of a narcissistic and alienated young man, the versions of each song stand in stark contrast with each other.

Combining folk-inspired, sweeping strings alongside pulsating beats and Epperson’s twinkling crystal-clear vocals, the “Amelia” version of album opener “20-20” is a haunting slice of electro, folk-tinged pop. The “Iris,” however, is more stripped back, a gentler offering, relying simply on the power of Epperson’s impressive vocal range and delicate instrumentation for effect.

The album continues in this vein, the two opposing versions of each track contrasting and clashing, in the most effective way. As the throbbing beats and eerie, ethereal layers of sound of the Amelias are juxtaposed with the stripped-back melancholy and delicate emotion of the Iris, Epperson has created a surreal and cinematic soundscape.

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Needle Drop: HAWK, “Below” b/w “Can’t Explain”

Fast becoming known for their beguiling, ethereal creations, Berlin-based HAWK  follow the success of singles “Once Told,” “Take It Away,” “Mirror Maze,” and most recently “Sin,” with the release of a brand new AA side.

Steeped in the band’s trademark spellbinding grace, “Below” takes its inspiration from Irish history—the Catholic church and its mistreatment of women—a subject of which front-woman Julie Hawk feels passionately. Flowing with delicate, twinkling melodies and sweeping celestial vocals, gritty undertones start to surface as the track progresses, building to a sudden raging blast of fury. Of the track, Julie explains:

“… as an Irish woman, both looking back at how women were treated in the past and the desperate lack of progress today, I feel betrayed by my country. We’re still fighting for basic reproductive rights for women and seeing an embarrassing response from our government.”

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Needle Drop: Victoria Celestine, “Can You Hear The Echo?”

Not only an esteemed producer with her own recording studio, Texas-based Victoria Celestine is also quite accomplished at creating her own catchy pop delights. Following the success of her previous single “Carrying On,” she’s now released another truly uplifting offering.

“Can You Hear The Echo?” is a soaring, electro-pop soundscape flowing with catchy, honey-sweet refrains alongside twinkling hooks and joy-filled romanticism. Exploring how the echo of your past will always remain and affect the relationships in your present, this new single is a wonderfully empowering, beautifully effervescent creation with shades of Ellie Goulding.

Having already received acclaim from the likes of Clash and The Line Of Best Fit, Victoria Celestine now looks set to continue charming listeners worldwide with her latest slice of vibrant electro-pop.

“Can You Hear The Echo?” is in stores now via Yellow Brick Music.

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UK Artist of the Week: Circumnavigate

PHOTO: KARL MYRVANG | Our Artist of The Week is yet another Nordic gem. Circumnavigate has been creating utterly majestic dream-folk for a few years now and their debut album, When Worlds Collide, lands in shops on 14th December 2017.

The latest single from the album, “Secret,” is absolutely stunning and captivating from the offset. Lead singer Sigrid Zeiner-Gundersen has a voice that could melt butter—it’s warm, soft, delicate and is joined by the rest of the band’s flawless harmonies. Having already been compared to The Cinematic Orchestra and Of Monsters and Men, it’s no surprise really. Circumnavigate’s vocal performance and musicianship is ridiculously tight, infectious, and mesmerizing.

Sigrid met Carl Frederik Kontny (piano/guitar/vocals) at school in Sandvika, Norway. She then moved to London where she was joined by Ross Craib (percussion/vocals) and Charlie Fowler (bass/vocals), and the rest, as the say, is history. They’re busy bees, that’s for sure, having collectively played alongside some of London’s biggest names including Gabrielle Aplin.

Catch Circumnavigate live at The Sebright Arms, London on 18th December. When Worlds Collide is in stores on 14th December 2017.

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Needle Drop: Emily Magpie, “The Witching Hour” EP

Drawing inspiration from a trip to South America last year, Bristol-based artist Emily Magpie’s latest collection of tracks is filled with all the ethereal majesty one could ever desire. Building a reputation across Bristol and with live crowds across the country, having played Green Man Festival and a number of Sofar Sounds sessions, Emily is now ready to unleash “The Witching Hour.”

Opening the EP, the title track does just what it says on the tin; as hauntingly magical as you’d expect, “The Witching Hour” oozes a whirring, glitchy wonder as Magpie’s rich vocals soar alongside interwoven electronic soundscapes and gentle folk-inspired melodies. Inspired by a book about the witch trials, it’s a captivating reflection on the magic of simply being alive.

More traditional in sound, “Leave It To Fate” is filled with the delicate beauty of finger-picked ukulele melodies as Emily’s sweeping, impassioned vocals create a twinkling splendour. Continuing in the same vein, “Angel Face” exudes sparkling ethereal vibes as deep beats resonate, creating a celestial grandeur that’s truly enchanting. Closing the EP is the honey-sweet, fragile allure of “When We Find It.” As sunny melodies float atop driving electronics and pounding beats, it’s a haunting fusion of sounds almost reminiscent of the eerie majesty of Bjork.

Having already received support from the likes of The Line Of Best Fit, DIY, and Clash, Emily Magpie looks set to continue charming listeners with the spellbinding power of this latest offering.

Co-produced by Anuj Robin, “The Witching Hour” is in stores on 24th November.

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UK Artist of the Week: The Magic Lantern

PHOTO: KASIA WOZNIAK | Our Artist of the Week this week is the The Magic Lantern, aka Jamie Doe. Jamie has been making delicate alt-folk for quite a while now and his single, “Holding Hands” is his latest masterpiece.

“Holding Hands” builds slowly with Doe’s soft, warm vocals opening the track. As the saxophones come into play, they compliment Doe’s voice effortlessly, creating something truly mesmerizing and incredibly unique. Jamie’s ability to combine jazz and folk into something ethereal and is undeniably spellbinding. Fans of Grizzly Bear and Chet Baker will feel at home here.

Jamie is originally from Australia but moved to the UK when he was 12. He decamped to London in 2007 where he expanded The Magic Lantern into a collective, and together they’ve pushed their music to new boundaries inspired by Jamie’s keen ability to pen beautiful lyrics with lilting melodies. Since then, The Magic Lantern has gone from strength to strength and Jamie now excites fans with the anticipated release of his third album, To The Islands, from which “Holding Hands” is taken.

“Holding Hands” is in stores now via Hectic Eclectic Records.

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UK Artist of the Week: Lasse Matthiessen

No newcomer, Danish artist Lasse Matthiessen has been writing songs since he was a child, he’s supported the likes of Suzanne Vega and Anna Calvi, and now hopes to charm listeners with the cinematic grandeur of his upcoming new album.

Inspired by the nocturnal pulse of Paris in the summer, title track and lead single “When We Collided” is the perfect introduction to the heartfelt collection of songs. Filled with Matthiessen’s rich, deep vocals and smooth, twinkling melodies, it oozes a soaring, emotion-strewn splendour.

As the luscious vocal harmonies of Sara Hartman flow alongside Matthiessen’s sweeping majesty, the recording exudes a delicate, sophisticated musicality, making for a truly spellbinding slice of indie-folk. With each track on the upcoming album offering its own unique impassioned grace, reflective lyrical storytelling and subtle, haunting power, it’s bound to captivate on first listen.

With shades of the poignant emotive beauty of José González, When We Collided is in stores on 10th November via Zpektakel Records / The Orchard.

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UK Artist of the Week: Rivera

Chilean born singer-songwriter Inti Rowland, aka Rivera, migrated to the UK as a small child before developing his craft in London as an emotively stylish musician—and he’s this week’s UK Artist of The Week.

Inti’s new single “We’re Alive” was inspired by the dramatic events of a car crash that left the songwriter to reflect on how reckless events can come from a single moment of naivety. The songwriter explains, “When your confidence runs away from you and you think you’re invincible, the song is about surviving what you bring upon yourself.” Having already been compared to the likes of Grizzly Bear and Elbow, Inti’s vocals compliment his musical stylings in a visceral fashion, supplying the track with a legion of beauty and compassion.

After spending to end of 2016 in South America, Inti travelled across the Atacama Desert and the landscapes became the aesthetically pleasing visuals of Rivera. Having previously released material under Inti Rowland and receiving praise from Clash and Gold Flake Paint, his new moniker, Rivera, is now ready to capture listeners with “We’re Alive.”

“We’re Alive” by Rivera is in stores now and available to stream on Spotify.

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