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Fresher Sounds - The best new music - 24/09/18

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Term one is well and truly underway with introductions aplenty, stationary shopping and timetable woes.

The academic year holds many challenges ahead, but at least we’ve got Brexit to look forward to, right? Like Theresa May, our fate is being decided in a room from which we’re excluded and yet, like Theresa May, we hobble on. In the month of the dissertation proposal is it too much to ask for a sensible (or even modest) one? 

May I suggest, in such an absence, these new tracks for your consideration... 

Chain Wallet – Ride  

Hailing from Bergen, Norway, Chain Wallet follow up their self-titled debut album with a bright, shiny single in the vein of the War on Drugs shoegazer material. The full instrumentation is washed out with phaser guitar while still sounding distinct and clean, and its vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Fleet Foxes. 

Tilian – Ghost Town

If you like your radio-friendly pop song with a slightly alternative tinge, then look no further than Tilian Pearson’s earworm ‘Ghost Town’. Taken from his forthcoming album The Skeptic due out this Friday, 'Ghost Town' is driven by chorused guitar and showcases the Dance Gavin Dance singer’s impressive vocal range with a post-hardcore context.

Hush Moss – Fallback 

Hush Moss have a sound all of their own. A collective of seven formed in Berlin, they bring together a rich musical palette that draws together flutes, strings and sax, working this into a unique combination of psychedelic soul suffused with a touch of Daft Punk. It’s an appealingly dense composition that begins in bossa nova, throws in some vocoder, before going off on a tangent around the three-minute mark where we’re treated to some spacy, honky-tonk piano and ethereal synth arpeggios. 

Kero Kero Bonito  Make Believe 

Keeping in the melancholy, ambiguous vein of ‘Time Today’, this new single from Kero Kero Bonito departs from 2016’s Bonito Generation’s post-ironic satire and replaces glossy saccharine with a slower-acting carbohydrate‘Make Believe’ is the second track from the forthcoming album from the London-based trioOn the one hand, it’s a sweet celebration of the fertility of childhood imagination, but therein lies also a tale of a coping mechanism to deal with traumatic circumstances.

Lupa J – Drift 

Originating from Sydney, Lupa J is the mastermind behind a distinctly dark brand of analogue synth-pop that evokes contemporaries such as Arca and Crystal CastlesIndeed, she has toured with Alice Glass of the former along with artists such as Grimes. This icy sound has more than a flavour of the gothic in its queasy tones and abrasive drum loops. The off-kilter ‘Drift’ is taken from her debut album Swallow Me Whole.  

Marvin’s Revenge – Overlook 

Derbyshire band Marvin’s Revenge take a lot of familiar sounds but reconfigure them to create something fresh. A healthy obsession with 90s alternative music seems to have set them in good stead to combine the best elements of the decade. They sound quite like Nirvana in a quieter moment but with the instrumental sophistication of the Stone Roses and can really push it in the choruses. The delay-laced guitar in the verse shows how they make more out of less in the softer sections.

Petite Noir – Beach  

Yannick Ilunga was born in Belgium and grew up in South Africa. His debut album La vie est belle/Life is Beautiful was released in 2015 to critical acclaim and the follow-up La Maison Noire/The Black House is due out on 5 October. This new track, the second of singles from the record, features collaborators Danny Brown and Nukubi NukubiIt’s highly expressive with columnar airy synths serving as a backdrop to Ilunga’s breath-taking baritone voice. Brown’s rap represents quite a tonal change partway through, but soon we’re pulled back into this serene spacy soundscape through till the close.  

Charly Bliss – Heaven

Already pricking the ears of bands such as Sleater Kinney who invited them to be their support act, and with only a single album under their belt, Charly Bliss could be ones to watch out for in the post-grunge world. ‘Heaven’, the latest single, is slathered in the thickest distortion and satirises the notion of the domestic idyll as lead vocalist Eva Hendricks sings, “I’m gonna buy a house and fill it with daughters”.

Rukhsana Merrise  Sober 

West London based Rukhsana Merrise brings a stripped back sound on her new single ‘Sober’. Far from the overblown theatrics of today’s chart-toppers, Merrise allows space for the melody to speak for itself. Backed by delayed guitar, she weaves a conflicted story of emotion only accessible through intoxication. 

Sneaks – Beliefs 

Sneaks originate from the US capital and have thus far sported a minimalist post-punk aesthetic consisting primarily of raw bass guitar and drum machine. ‘Beliefs’ sees a divergence from this sound and what emerges from this is a diverse and uncanny soundscape that has more in common with M.I.A. than its does with Joy Division. A reverberating voice repeats over and over, “All I want to do is start again”. 

Vulfpeck – Soft Parade 

Vulfpeck is a strange beast. Go on their YouTube channel and you’ll find several videos dedicated to the tambourine in popular music; in 2014 they released a silent album on Spotify, using the revenue to fund their tourthey have a lengthy tutorial on how to make salad. Vulpeck is what happens when music students get together to make musicians’ music. Here we have a masterful showcase of the Fender Rhodes, of course, backed by a fantastically tight rhythm section featuring the gnarly bass tone of Joe Dart. 

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