We’re back! (hello?) After a fun, voodoo-filled family holiday in N’awlins (what?), we’ve been busy sifting through our inbox for treasure. One such shiny bauble comes from new (to us) band Crooked Teeth, formed three years or so ago in Glasgow and now hq’d in London. Following on last year’s excellent “Mirrors”, the trio’s forthcoming new single is called “Mountain Song”.
“Mountain Song” is a euphoric mix of dancefloor friendly indie pop and spiky electro. The press release accompanying the track describes it as a mix of Underworld, Doves and Chemical Brothers – I might add sprinkles of Architecture and Morality-era OMD in the plonkier synth notes and flashes of britpop pomp in the stormy chorus, with vocal tones reminiscent of Lee Mavers. (Maybe if M. Mavers had done ‘Setting Sun’ instead of Noel G.?Perchance, to dream).The overall effect is of half-light, the track’s widescreen glimmer hooded, ever so slightly, by a gauzy shade of effects.True to it’s name, the track’s resounding chorus would sound truly majestic echoing over clifftops or reverberating through valleys.
“Mountain Song” will be released, together with fellow a-side, “The American Dream”, on Lost in the Manor records in the UK.Crooked Teeth have lined up a slot at The Great Escape festival in Brighton, UK, so catch them there, if you can. You can also virtually stalk the band on fbook and the twitt.
Hailing from Leeds, UK, Galaxians are Jed Skinner (synthesizers, programming) and Matt Woodward (acoustic drums, more programming), together with vocalist Emma Mason. They’ve been releasing records since 2012, and I feel a bit disappointed in myself, to be honest, to have only just discovered them, courtesy of storming new joint, “Street Level”.
Released as part of a collaboration between Leeds-based label, Youth Club Sounds, and promoters, Super Friendz, “Street Level” is a movin’, groovin’, burning 80s throwback r&b/electro-disco jam. Like a riposte to the classic D-Train track, “You’re the One for Me”, Mason roars the opposite while standing on the shoulders of greats like Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King and Teena Marie (the group’s site also references Gwen Guthrie…we can dig it). Behind and all around her, a driving beat, slippery bass and squishy leads – the arrangement is fantastically dense. It’ll put a smile on your face after a hard day, even if you’re a weekend girl or guy (look it up, young’uns). Get up and dance…dance, I said.
“Street Level”, as well as other Galaxians cuts, can be found on the Super Friendz/Youth Club Sounds “Collaborationz” (so many zeds!) mixtape, which can listen to here and purchase on the Galaxians’ bandcamp page (where you can also check they’re upcoming live dates). Hail Galaxians on fbook and the twitt.
Australian duo Luke Zahnleiter and Michael Whitney make music as Glitter Veils. Their album, Figures in Sight, is due this Friday (2/10) from Flexible Records (an imprint of Terrible), who have been kind enough to provide teasers in the form of “Gossamer Folds” and “Soft Touch”.
A pleasantly disorienting, almost vertiginous, feel wafts from these tracks. Like a liquid motion toy’s suspended, colored drops fusing, detaching, and reforming in slightly different ways, familiar threads – the Guthrie-esque guitar wash in ‘Gossamer Folds’; the early industrial heft to the programmed beats underpinning the peyote-fueled western glitter ball of ‘Soft Touch’; a dream pop feel here, a bit of JAMC menace there; whispered, droning vocals reminiscent of Spacemen 3 or Massive Attack – blend, separate and reconvene in novel ways. “Gossamer” is my personal favorite, its bent guitar lines, slightly ooky fun house-style synths and lurching beat tracing lazy arcs in the sky. Definitely looking forward to hearing the rest.
(Note: headline borrows from the poem High Flight, by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.)
“Cascais” (which may or may not be named in honor of the Portuguese town of the same name) serves as a taster for Gnoomes’ forthcoming full-length, Tschak! (just the snare, then?).
According to the background note for the new album, its tracks were conceived amidst turmoil, both for the band’s members as well their hometown of Perm, Russia. On this evidence, it would seem that Gnoomes’ focus was to make sense of these issues from a great height. “Cascais”‘s interstellar techno meets drone vibe emits a narcotic effect during lift-off, a clear-headed guitar line slinging shards of light through the haze, racing towards a gorgeous, astral break at the 3 minute mark. Like pulses through warp speed, it’s flashing lights and colors, a bit like Wire circa Ideal Copy and/or A Bell Is a Cup…Until It Is Struck (vocalist Alex Pyankov’s tone reminds of Colin Newman), mixed with Hot Chip. From Russia with blurp.
G-funk maestro DâM-FunK (Damon Riddink) and new romantic Nite Jewel (Ramona Gonzalez) collaborate as Nite-Funk [see what they did there?]. Last year, the duo let loose “Can U Read Me” into the world, then fell silent. Now, they’ve announced plans to release a self-titled ep on July 1. “Let Me Be Me” is a taster track from that release, and it’s great.
Where “Can U” veritably oozed 80s electro quiet storm romance – think Loose Ends, SOS Band and the Gap Band in full mack mode – “Let Me Be Me” bumps. It’s a perfect twining of early 80s, electro-disco and g-funk hooks – new wave ch-chang guitars and glassy synth chords, a doggedly atomic bassline and funky keyboard solos that would make Roger drool. Like Control-era Janet riding a D-Train groove. The bright neon lights, big mauve city vibes given off by the ep’s cover (below) perfectly suit the track’s mood.
Nite-Funk’s self-titled ep will be released on Riddink’s Glydezone Recordings label. Get down on it – the soul train line forms here.
Preview: Lust For Youth, “Better Looking Brother”; “Stardom” (Sacred Bones)
Two new tracks – “Better Looking Brother” and “Stardom” – were released this month from Compassion, the forthcoming album from Danish three-piece Lust for Youth. Since the band’s 2014 release, International, was a particularly favorite ‘round these parts, it seemed like a good idea to have a listen. Each track erects skyscrapers upon International’‘s lush new wave/electro bedrock, without sacrificing a certain intimacy.
The first, “Better Looking Brother”, swings and swirls, harkening back to Introspective-era Pet Shop Boys and other late 80s new wave/house music hybrids – as well as bands like Camouflage and Propaganda – as Hannes Norrvide sings of said brother’s “part to play, tonight/in whatever is to come”. “Stardom” is, quite simply, epic. Like the imperial phase of OMD (think Pacific Age), the track’s squelchy bass lines and chorale, glassy synths would have fit in nicely at the moment of romantic awakening in an 80s teen drama (yes, this is a good thing, you cynic). Triumphal, hook-laden gorgeousness for “all you lovers out there”.
Compassion is released March 18 on Sacred Bones, but is available for pre-order here. The band has a (very) few US dates set on their upcoming tour, so check them out if you’re able – all dates can be found on the band’s fbook page.