London Grammar return to Manchester’s O2 Apollo for a second sold out show this week and the atmosphere is already electric as the trio head on to stage.
Throughout their set they have a perfect balance of tracks from their debut and recent album Truth Is A Beautiful Thing. But judging by this crowd you wouldn’t think it was released just over four months ago, because they know every single world. Frontwoman Hannah Reid herself notes that Manchester has been the loudest of the tour so far and it’s believable.
They play a stunning version of the album’s title track which sees Reid head to the piano and showcase her huge vocal range in an emotional performance before playing fan favourite Hey Now, which sees the group visibly impressed by how loud the audience are. Continue reading
The law of averages suggests that Ardyn eventually have to put out something we don’t absolutely love. Well, the Gloucestershire brother-sister duo are clearly not aware of any such rule, having today unveiled yet another beauty.
Finely-crafted pop tune Life Happens is just the latest addition to a wonderfully evolving, maturing sound that is seeing their material seemingly explore new directions on each new song. We initially heard it during their set at the Dot To Dot Festival back in May but the finished version is next level. Life affirming stuff.
Ardyn – Life Happens
Petrie‘s new tune Late Night is another cracker from alt-pop duo George and Better Laurence. The Hertfordshire pair released debut EP Slurs back in March, and this new track demonstrates their ability to combine genres to intriguing effect.
It mixes the raw sounds of hip-hop and grunge with startling components the Top 40, while brash guitars and lurching beats combine with synth melodies and sugary vocal hooks.
Petrie – Late Night
Debut track from MMODE – sibling duo Lucy and Thomas Gaffney – is the superb Waiting in the Desert. The pair are from Belfast and their sound brings to mind a whole host of potential influences – not least Lucy’s vocals which remind us of The Cardigans‘ Nina Persson – and yet at the same time manages to capture a fresh and unique edge too. We’ve got it on repeat… and respectfully recommend you do too!
MMODE – Waiting In The Desert
One of the things we’re most pleased about typing whenever we get the chance is the phrase ‘new music from Ardyn‘, so naturally we’re rather excited about this post.
New tune Throwing Stones is a further twist in the evolution of the sound of Katy and Rob Pearson, a brother/sister duo from Gloucestershire. Speaking of the song, Katy said: “The song was inspired by feeling very disillusioned, in particular with the current state of politics and unrest in the world. With everything seemingly going a bit haywire, I felt I needed to put that into words. We’d also recently watched The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock which definitely stuck with me, so the song party draws from that film.” Continue reading
No stranger to the pixels of Sync – largely thanks to last year’s track Second Chances – New Zealand singer Nakita is back with new tune In The Water.
The lead single from her forthcoming Vision EP, it has a tropical vibe and presents an evolved version of Nakita; an 18-year-old channelling the growing pains of leaving home, now-distant friendships, moving to the big city and maturing as an artist. She recently performed as support for LANY at their Auckland show at the end of last month.
Nakita – In The Water
Twin Kidd release their new alt-pop single Retrograde today.
The Nottingham trio (Stef Williamson, Sam Davies and Rich Lyon) gained national interest with radio play on BBC 6 Music and Radio X from their self-produced debut EP Fold last year. The new single sees them expand their horizons by working with producer Kris Harris, known for his work with acts such as Bears Den, Ghostpoet and Get Inuit.
Twin Kidd – Retrograde
Follow-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
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
Gravity is the new track from Danish experimental pop songstress Kill J. It has all the ingredients we love – it’s leftfield, quirky and wonderfully multi-layered. Very much looking forward to hearing and seeing more from her over the coming months.
Kill J – Gravity
It’s been a good long while since a song as beautiful as this floated into our ears. The Feeling is the work of Australian singer-songwriter Eilish Gilligan.
Although pop in essence, it’s hard to find the descriptive words to do the song justice, so take a listen, and welcome this unique track into your life.
This track appears on The Sync List 11 – listen to the full playlist on Soundcloud here.
Eilish Gilligan – The Feeling
New from Liverpool-based band – and Sync favourites – Haarm is Endangered Species, an absolute beauty of a song that solved a dilemma for us this week. You see, we were stuck between a choice of two great songs for this week’s Track of the Week… then this one came along and blew both of them out of the water!
The band says: “Endangered Species is about how unforgiving a year 2016 was in terms of losing extremely talented people. It was talked about a lot at the time so it was obviously on our minds a great deal and it just seemed so relentless. I guess the song is about learning to treasure and appreciate those who are still with us and not taking anybody for granted.”
Haarm – Endangered Species
The best thing about live music is that it doesn’t matter if the crowd is 20,000 or 200 – if the music’s right you get the same feeling every single time… well, I do anyway! French duo Her have been making incredible music for a while now, but seemingly dong so underground in a way that means only a select few seem to know too much about them.
For their show at London’s Borderline – where even the hallway to the toilets (pictured right) was Instagram-worthy! – Victor Solf and Simon Carpentier were joined by their full live band, enabling their lush sound to be performed with the richness that was always intended.
Support act Alxndr London sublimely set the tone with some awesome deep, bassy tracks and got everyone pumped for Her. Then the main act kept things bubbling throughout with their blend of soul, funk and at times fairly avante-garde music. The noise and excitement for the main act belied the modest size of the venue – particularly the reaction to the first few notes of perhaps their most recognisable track Five Minutes.
Her – Five Minutes (Live for Deezer)
Their stage presence was strong, with stylish colour-coordinated outfits, but none of the over-stylised aloofness that sometimes come across with some bands. And they were smiling with each other the whole time, seemingly enjoying their evening as much as the rest of us.
As well as Five Minutes, other highlights of their set included Quite Like, Jeanie J and most recent track Swim – all of which should go down well during their extensive festival slots across Europe and beyond (ticket details here).
There are plenty of bands that build up a strong following elsewhere in Europe but, for some reason, have to work particularly hard to break it in to the London music scene. Judging by the reaction from the crowd at this show, it seems likely that we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more about Her at some of London’s bigger venues in the near future.
Words and photos: Chelsea Kostrey
Her – Swim (ft. Zefire)
Sync favourites Ardyn have been hiding themselves away in the studio for a while, pretty much ever since we caught them live during their last UK tour late last year in fact.
Now, they’ve unveiled the first fruits of their production time. Together is a cracking tune that has somewhat wrong-footed fans of the band such as ourselves in that although it’s still very much their sound, it’s also really quite different! It’s upbeat, pop in style – and we love it. Hoping there’s plenty more where this came from.
Catch them at a host of summer festival dates, including Dot To Dot in Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham (26-28 May).
Ardyn – Together
These are exciting times for Icelandic band Vök. Not only will they figure prominently on the upcoming 10th edition of our Sync List (an honour that, let’s face it, any band would be excited about!), but they are also about to release their new album Figure on 28 April which, if there’s any justice in the world, will see them come to far greater prominence.
Since forming in 2013, their indie-electronica style has drawn comparisons with a whole host of luminaries such as The xx and Portishead, and the sound is broadly mellow, reflective, but above all, totally atmospheric. For full effect, they need to be seen and heard live – and the UK dates on their extensive month-long European tour include stop-offs in London (17 May), Salford (18) and Bristol (19) – buy tickets here.
Given how their music has been captivating us over the past few months, we were keen to catch up with saxophonist Andri Már ahead of their tour, and find out more about the band, its inspirations, and the forthcoming live dates…
SYNC: So please tell us a bit of the background to Vök, how you guys got together etc, and who’s who in the band.
ANDRI: The beginning for us was a fluke! We started the band to try out playing live and we got hooked! Me and Margrét have been friends for the last 10 years and her and Óli grew up together. We got to know Einar about the same time we started the band but it took a couple years for us to start working together! Margrét and I write most of the music and Einar being a sound tech polishes with us and then Óli is the social media expert! We are all very different individuals but we find that it works to our advantage.
Vök – Show Me
SYNC: Although of course there have been a couple of EPs, you must be very excited about the imminent album release! How long has Figure been in the planning/making?
ANDRI: Oh yes! We are ecstatic! Figure has been in the making basically since we first started playing music. We had a very steep learning curve and had to experiment with a lot of things before we felt we were able to make this album the way we wanted to make it. But I feel it has worked in our favour, as we’ve been able to lay a good foundation for this release.
SYNC: Although there are a few obvious comparisons with the likes of The xx, the album is a way more complex package than any such simple generalisation suggests.
ANDRI: Thank you! It is always fun to hear the comparisons but you are right, I don’t think that generalisation really works anymore. Our influences range from The xx and Portishead to the Arctic Monkeys and all the way back to Frank Sinatra! So it’s a very wide range of influences. There are for instance some books that have had an influence on our lyric writing, i.e. the Discworld series and Grass for His Pillow to name some.
Vök – Waiting
SYNC: You’re about to hit the road for an extensive European tour. What can fans expect from your live shows, and what are the challenges in bringing certain elements of your studio sound to the live performance?
ANDRI: We want to bring out our and your emotions and try and take you on a journey through the concert. There are very powerful chapters and there are some downlow as well so there is hopefully something for everyone.
We have always been a band that is more about the live performing than the studio and so far we have translated the live element more into the studio than vice versa. There are definitely challenges to overcome but I personally like it when musicians have the courage to deviate from the album and make some sort of unique atmosphere for those that have gone along to the shows.
Vök – Breaking Bones