Blessa - Between Times
Despite being around since 2012 it's taken Sheffield five- piece Blessa until now to release their official début single. However, good things come to those who wait and 'Between Times’ sees their early promise bear fruit with a wonderfully engaging slice of shoegazy dream pop. In singer/songwriter Olivia Neller, they have somebody whose voice drips with melancholic beauty fusing the vulnerability of Harriet Wheeler with the soulful pop sensibility of Hannah Reid. The band have said that a "first official release always needs to be a statement" and this is definitely the sound of a band who could make 2014 very much their own.
Velcro Hooks- Tickle Me Sick
Bristol's Velcro Hooks first caught our attention with their début EP ‘Gymnophoria,’ a snarling, swaggering beast of an EP and a huge assertion of intent. Comparisons to The Pixies in terms of the band’s sound and vocal delivery are perhaps difficult to avoid. Obviously not the shit Kim Deal-lite piss poor travesty that has recently lumbered into view wailing and rattling its chains with nothing to say other than “will debase legacy for bacon.” No, we are talking classic Pixies. Velcro Hooks latest offering ‘Tickle Me Sick’ starts off with a screeching wall of discordant guitars until the impassioned vocals kick in and it sounds far more vibrant, far more vital and far more excitingly visceral than the unfortunate self pasquinade that Uncle Frank is peddling these days. Velcro Hooks are the future, embrace it.
Coves - Beatings
2013 has proved to be a pivotal year for the Leamington Spa duo Coves. They’ve been showered with critical acclaim; they’ve played the Latitude Festival garnering rave reviews, recorded a fabulous session at Maida Vale for the BBC, and have recently signed a major record deal. The futures certainly looking bright for this exceptionally talented duo, whose music is centred around John Ridgrad’s reverbing, coruscating guitars and Beck Wood’s beguiling, seductive vocals. Their latest single ‘Beatings,‘ and their first for Nettwerk is another shimmering slice of wide-screen otherworldly beauty from a band who we hope will soon became bigger than Dawn French’s Christmas pantry!
Emily Jane White - Keeley
Emily Jane White's wonderful new single ‘Keeley’ is a perfect introduction to her new album 'Blood/Lines.' It's a song strewn with Gothic imagery, a world where Belladonna, Devils Tongue, vials of poison, and the dead eyes of the moon are all referenced creating an atmosphere that’s foreboding, dark, and mysterious. ‘Keeley’ is imbued with a poignant elegiac grace and infused with a dark yet fulgent beauty, which disturbs and comforts in equal measure.
Liverpool based bands that don’t sound like Liverpool based bands are quite possibly our favourite type of Liverpool based band. Etches are five individuals who hail from different corners of England and are purveyors of dark understated electronica. ‘Let’s Move In’ is the groups first offering and features a sombre yet melodic stentorian vocal which at times makes incongruous bassoon voiced Editors front man Tom Smith sound rather like a young Aled Jones overdosing on helium. It’s a promising and compelling start from a band that seem refreshingly free of the hideous jangling mutton fingered “Merseybeat” sound that has haunted the Liverpool scene for far too long.
Honeyblood - Bud
Honeyblood are a Glasgow-based two-piece consisting of Shona McVicar on drums alongside Stina Marie Claire Tweeddale on lead vocals and guitar, and their début single ‘Bud’ has just been released via Fat Cat Records on rather splendid pink vinyl. Their lo fi, rough hewn melodic groove has been steadily accumulating praise, adoration and a scared avowal of allegiance from those who recognise a good thing when they hear it. Indeed the girls have already supported the likes of Sleigh Bells, Crocodiles, Palma Violets, and Deep Valley.
‘Bud’ is much cleaner sounding than their previous bandcamp offering, which dates back to April 2012 and was quite literally “bathroom rock” having apparently been recorded in a bathroom on a 4-track-tape-deck . Despite the somewhat rudimentary nature of that early recording, it did demonstrate the band had an ear for engaging bittersweet melodies, which is evident on both ‘Bud’ and the equally captivating B-side ‘Kissing On You.’ The duo describe themselves simply as ‘ Noisy Scottish Girls’ and claim to influenced by Czech New Wave surrealist cinema ….well aren't we all!
Haerts - Hemiplegia
The soaring, atmospheric but peculiarly titled ‘ Hemiplegia’ is the lead track from German/Brooklyn collective Haerts; Peculiar in the sense that Hemiplegia is a condition that causes paralysis or severe weakness of the limbs on one side of the body and perhaps isn’t the most obvious title for a pop song. However, singer Nini Fabi’s rich emotive vocal performance could certainly induce weakness of the knees on a tune that begins as a torch song, but then morphs into a towering cinematic electro pop anthem.
Perhaps if you imagined Nicole Atkins fronting Chvrches (another electro pop band who can’t spell) then it may give some indication of the kind of vibe Haerts create.