TRACK OF THE WEEK: Marsicans – Too Good

There’s so much good stuff arriving into our inbox just at the moment so it’s no easy task picking this week’s TOTW. By virtue of our inability to get this tune out of our heads, this beauty from Marsicans is our big one however.

We’ve been banging on about the Leeds-based four-piece for a good long while now and its great to see them making some great progress and continuing to develop their sound. They also have a great support slot coming up in the autumn when they’re on the road with Clean Cut Kid during October which we can’t wait for.

Too Good is a strong piece of upbeat indie-pop which will doubtless have been sounding great on the band’s various festival appearances this summer – and there’s several more of those to come too including appearances at this weekend’s 110 Above, Greenbelt, Redcar Rocks and Manchester’s Neighbourhood Festival.

Marsicans – Too Good

LIVE: Declan McKenna, Rough Trade East, London, 27/7/17

DSC_0112Less than a week since releasing his debut album What Do You Think Of The Car?, it came as little surprise to find that Declan McKenna‘s fans knew all of the words to each of the songs he performed during this sold out in-store set at London’s Rough Trade.

Kicking off with Isombard, the 18-year-old singer-songwriter rattled through a host of songs from the new album, including singles Brazil, Bethlehem, ParacetamolThe Kids Don’t Wanna Go Home, and Humongous. In a generously long set for an in-store show, he included album tracks Make Me Your Queen and Listen To Your Friends, as well as earlier song Brew from the Stains EP.

He then showed no less enthusiasm during the course of an hour-long signing and photo session with fans. His on-stage persona is somehow both confident and slightly awkward at the same time but make no mistake, McKenna’s highly impressive debut album is backed up with his equally strong live showing, suggesting that this prodigious talent will be making waves for the long term.

Tora – Blame

We’ve been huge fans of the blissfully laid-back sound of Australian indie-dance outfit Tora for a while now, and this latest release is nicely seeing us through that always-difficult middle part of the week.

Blame is taken from the band’s debut album Take A Rest which is out now. Watch out for them live too as they’re embarking on an extensive European tour in the autumn, including stops in Manchester (7 October), London (9) and Brighton (10).

Tora – Blame

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Skott – Mermaid

Heading up our latest Sync List, the new song from Swedish singer-songwriter Skott has all the ethereal beauty of her earlier songs Porcelain and Glitter & Gloss, building delicately to something of altogether epic proportions. There’s a hint of Lana Del Ray to start with, some Kate Bush-esque magic too, but really, Mermaid signifies more of a confirmation in earnest of Skott’s very own distinctive style.

Hearing her live is believing – those high notes really are that flawless when she performs. Shortly heading to the US for a couple of support slots with the mighty Phantogram, her next UK headline show in London on 13 September is sold out but fans can track her down supporting on her autumn tour dates in Bristol (23 October), Glasgow (24), Manchester (25), London (27), Norwich (28), and Birmingham (29).

Skott – Mermaid

The Penelopes – Roses

New from Parisian art-pop duo The Penelopes is Roses, a nostalgic, electro-pop track from their new EP Leave Them All Behind. The London-based pair – Axel Basquiat and Vincent T – have been busy remixing work by the likes of Alt-J and Lana Del Ray but are now focusing on their own material.

The single is accompanied by a striking video by acclaimed Ukrainian director Alina Gordiyenko.

The Penelopes – Roses

Lots Holloway – Stay A Little Longer

Lots Holloway 2Follow-up to her debut single World’s On Fire, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lots Holloway has unveiled new tune Stay A Little Longer.

It’s a track that combines pop appeal with real substance and thought-provoking lyrics, this time on the topic of ‘manipulative people’ as she explains: “Be it in relationships, friendships, or even in politics. Those that are controlling, possessive and power thirsty – with charm and an ability to hypnotise you.”

Born in Cornwall but now London-based, Holloway not only writes her own songs but is also responsible for most of the instrumentation, production, and programming of her music, as well as the accompanying visuals and video.

She plans to continue recording throughout 2017 for her debut EP and, with a string of UK dates are set to be announced in the near future, we’re looking forward to catching her live soon.

Lots Holloway – Stay A Little Longer

TAKE 5: Hope & Glory Festival, Liverpool, 5-6/8/17

Hope & Glory 2017With a little less than a fortnight until the brand new Hope & Glory Festival rolls into Liverpool, many are no doubt already preparing their Victoriana attire for the £1,000 prize fancy dress competition. But even if you’re not going to be able to prime your handlebar moustache in time, there are still many reasons to head along, not least a musical line-up that can only be described as eclectic.

Taking place in the city’s St George’s Quarter, the bill includes Reverend and the Makers, The Fratellis, Saturday headliners James, and what promises to be a truly memorable Sunday headline slot featuring Hacienda Classical and guests Shaun Ryder and Bez from the Happy Mondays. But throughout the list of bands performing, there are plenty of other Sync ‘must-sees’. We picked out five that are not to be missed if you’re heading along…  Continue reading

Neo Noir – Violet (ft. Brooke Williams)

We fell totally and utterly in love with recent Neo Noir track Colours, but this one has done much to wrestle for top spot in our affections. Featuring incredible other-worldly vocals from Brooke Williams, this reinvention of the 1995 song by Courtney Love’s Hole is a multi-dimensional thing of beauty that ebbs and flows, taking you on a real musical journey that you really don’t want to end.

Neo Noir are an LA-based producer/DJ collective made up of Bradley Allan and Greg Ogan. They have that knack of creating EDM tunes of real substance as well as style and we look forward to hearing a lot more from them in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you like Violet, check out When I Was Young, which also features Williams’ wonderful vocals and is super-special.

Neo Noir – Violet (ft. Brooke Williams)

Fassine – Palio

Fassine 03London trio Fassine have unveiled a new video for their latest track Palio, taken from their soon-to-be-released second album Gourami which is out on 28 July.

Lyrically dark and musically complex, Fassine’s sound has a hint of Trent Reznor’s influence and sits alongside the cinematic, lyrical qualities of UNKLE and the minimalistic tone of Berlin-era Bowie. Their aesthetic encompasses the oppressive, cold and austere atmosphere of 1970’s and 80’s British TV drama, inviting the listener to enter the group’s stark, cold world.

Theirs is very much a cinematic sound, so it’s not surprising their songs have featured on a number of high-profile American TV drama’s including Sky Atlantic’s The Following, Fox’s Lucifer, and Sony’s The Art Of More. And if you like this kind of complex, beautifully-crafted stuff, check out previous track Gold too.

Catch Fassine today and tomorrow when they perform live at Manchester’s Night & Day (21 July) and at the Sebright Arms in London (22).

Fassine – Palio

DISCOVER… CROOX

Croox2

We caught sight of CROOX during the Bristol leg of the early summer Dot To Dot Festival back in May and must admit to being more than a little taken aback by the energy and front shown by this four-strong group’s live show. They hail from the south coast musical powerhouse that is Brighton, and we decided to find out more about this enigmatic electronic/hip-hop/R&B-infused crew.

We sent them questions, and they built up the suspense brilliantly by making us wait a while! But it was worth it…  Continue reading

ALBUM: Declan McKenna – What Do You Think About The Car?

DeclanMcKenna album coverCertain things in life can make you feel very old indeed… [cliché alert!!] like the seemingly ever-youthful police officers on the streets, or teachers that look young enough to still be at school themselves. The effect Declan McKenna can have on someone like me is on an altogether different scale however. It’s not just that the Hertfordshire-born singer-songwriter is a mere 18-years-old, it’s much more the fact that his songs are so full of depth and meaning that it’s hard to comprehend they are the handiwork of someone of such tender years.

Throughout, the album is full of great, catchy hooks, backed with polished arrangements and sung with consummate ease. Album opener Humongous sets the tone with its big, bold chorus. Brazil – a song about FIFA corruption around the World Cup in the South American country – then leads-in to a track that’s probably brought him more airplay than any other; the superb Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home, which packs arguably the best chorus of the album.  Continue reading

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Swimming Tapes – What’s On Your Mind

More wonderfully dreamy stuff from London band Swimming Tapes. Released today, What’s On Your Mind is characteristically breezy, and crafted with a real lightness of touch that gives their sound such a distinctive edge. The track is taken from the forthcoming EP The Soft Sea Blue, out on 15 September.

Don’t miss the chance to catch these guys live at London’s lovely Lexington on 20 September. Tickets here.

Swimming Tapes – What’s On Your Mind

Olly Chamberlain – Fear

The debut EP from promising young pop singer-songwriter Olly Chamberlain is out now, with lead and title track Fear a particular stand-out. With a blend of smooth electronica and R&B, his falsetto voice sounds pure and effortless, suggesting a talent whose profile will be growing strongly over the coming months. The singer from Harrow, North London, is one to watch for sure.

Olly Chamberlain – Fear

Luxia – Me, My Selfie and I

Now here’s one that will divide opinion! Me, My Selfie and I is a tongue-in-cheek debut from Swedish pop artist Luxia whose Instagram-obsessed alter-ego delivers a bouncing bubblegum pop tune with a dark undercurrent.

Once you get through the difficult first listen and come back to give it another go, it may well get stuck in your brain for good. It’s brilliantly weird, and if this kind of brave, offbeat and outlandish stuff is a flavour of what’s to come from the Malmö-based artist, then bring it on.

Luxia – Me, My Selfie and I

Halo – Top of the World

LA-based DJ and songwriter Halo (aka. Danielle Tambellini) has dropped new tune Top of the World and it’s a catchy one. Her profile is steadily growing in the States following a series of support shows for a number of acts including Alessia Cara as well as DJ slots at The City nightclub in Cancun.

If you like what you hear, also check out Halo’s Love You So.

Halo – Top of the World