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Fresher Sounds - The best new music - 18/08/2017

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It's exactly a week until Christmas!

And now we've had the snow, it's time to get serious: finish off present shopping and find those last minute stocking fillers for your uncles and grandparents, fit in festive drinks with friends AND try your best not to eat all the Christmas food your mom has bought but won't let you touch (we've all been guilty of that one). Give yourself a well-deserved break and unwrap some lovely new gems on this week's Fresher Sounds - you may well discover a new artist to discover in perfect time for 2018!

She Takes Her Time - SPINN

SPINN’s latest single ‘She Takes Her Time’ is a refreshing slice of summer in this cold December weather.  With a bolshy delivery and their Scouse accents shining through to give the song a certain Northern authenticity, the track is upbeat and has an almost hazy quality to it. With the lyrics centring on an unattainable yet fascinating love interest, coupled with the dream pop-esque guitar riffs, it is the perfect thing to listen to when clinging onto those August beach memories. In certain parts, the lead singer’s vocals are strikingly similar to Saint Raymond, with the summery beach vibe of the track eliciting bittersweet memories of Viola Beach.

S.A.D. - Norma 

‘S.A.D.’ is the latest effort from Swedish Kraut-rock group Norma, almost as an elegy to Seasonal Affective Disorder. The lyrics are particularly deep and spooky, talking about an inner demon named ‘Neil’ who, according to the band, ‘appears during the darkest season. We probably all have our personal demons, [whether] we want them or not, it’s just about learning how to live with them.’ The group’s affected vocal delivery is almost robotic and alien in tone, imposing an imbalance on the track when coupled with the heavy yet ethereal guitars that are present throughout. The track is the first of many to come before their third album is released next year.

Velvet 4 Sale - U.S. Girls

With second album, In A Poem Unlimited, due in February next year, Meg Remy’s project U.S. Girls has released ‘Velvet 4 Sale’ in anticipation. The second single from the album, the track is smooth with almost-whispered, breathy vocals bringing a racy tone, ironically given that the song’s lyrics focus on taking revenge on abusive men. In fact, the experimental artist uses her own recorded breaths as percussive elements on the track, bringing an ethereally unnerving emphasis to the line ‘It’s all just friction / But don’t forget the revenge’. Remy insists that despite the more violent edge to the track, she ‘disagrees that violence is ever effective, this very idea was ripe for a song’.

Hard To Be Myself (Acoustic) - Fickle Friends

Brighton-based indie pop band Fickle Friends are fast on the rise to becoming one of 2018’s brightest and best acts, with a fusion of indie pop and ‘80s electronica creating an upbeat, sun-kissed vibe on each of their tracks. Their latest release, an acoustic rendition of ‘Hard To Be Myself’, is a new gem in their wheelhouse. With the song’s lyrics focused on the anxieties and uncomfortable feeling in new situations, that urge to become someone else in that particular situation, the acoustic version emphasises the vulnerable quality of the song’s subject and really showcases lead singer Natti’s strong vocal range.

Mona - Indigo Velvet

Upbeat, high-octane guitars and harmonious vocals sum up Indigo Velvet’s ‘Mona’. The huge chorus is a particular highlight, with the line ‘I know you don’t want me around’ producing a particular gravity with each repetition. Sunny melodies and a confident delivery give the track a colourful quality, and is perhaps the track on this week’s Fresher Sounds that would come across best in a live festival setting - think beers in hand, chanting crowds and a heck of jumping around, and that’s the vibe you get with this one. Featured on their new EP Vol. 1, Indigo Velvet are set to reach higher heights in no time.

Fight For Life - El Perro Del Mar

Opening with organs and a heck of reverb, there is a spook-tinged vibe to El Perro Del Mar’s latest track, ‘Fight For Life’. Her arresting, vulnerable vocals draw out this unnerving quality on the track, with whispered lines and tribal drum beats helping to build a well-crafted, layered sound. With this being the first track on her new EP, We Are History which is set for release in February 2018, it sets the tone for what else we are to expect from her. When announcing her EP, she alluded to the Trump era we are now in: ‘The ongoings in the world brought me to think a lot about medieval times, how we once became civilized and what being civilized really is. How easy it is to demolish it along with human rights and values generations before us fought so hard for.’

Double Denim - Bad Mannequins

Glasgow-based duo Bad Mannequins have released their latest track ‘Double Denim’ and boy, does it scream Franz Ferdinand. The track is in keeping with the duo’s unabashedly raucous style, combining thrashing guitars, affected vocals and a high octane pace throughout. It certainly wouldn’t go amiss at your local Propaganda nights out, head banging to the max. 

Talk To Me - Bloom Twins

The most recent offering from Bloom Twins is another slice of dark, driving pop. Combining synths with haunted, electronic vocals makes the track an effortlessly powerful piece of music, certainly one to be stuck in your head for hours on end. The video for the track, directed by Serve Vane, is particularly poignant. Set in Japan, the city with the highest suicide rate in the world, it hints towards more open dialogue and, in the sisters’ own words: ‘music has the power to change the conversation on mental health.’

They Won’t Ever Leave Us Alone - Broken Records

Perhaps mostly known for one of their songs making it onto the Skins soundtrack way back when, Edinburgh-based band Broken Records are back with their new single ‘They Won’t Ever Leave Us Alone’. With Springsteen-inspired guitar and a thrashing drum beat accompanying it, the track is a hark back to the chaotic nature of their first EPs and with the constant repetition of the title throughout, it is going to be hard to forget in a hurry.

 

HIGHER - HUMAN

‘HIGHER’ is a force to be reckoned with. Combining choral elements with rap and electronica, and even featuring some orchestral and brass components too, the track is an amalgamation of all that has been popular on the music scene this year. ‘HIGHER’ packs a punch and acts like a call to arms, mixing pop with politics in a combination that is particularly prevalent right now. The collective, created by Grammy Award-winning Daniel Adams-Ray, sounds like it knows just what its doing, in a particularly clever and rousing fashion. 

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