Tagged: alt-pop

Eilish Gilligan – The Feeling

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

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Haarm – Endangered Species

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

LIVE: Her, Borderline, London (26/4/17)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 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.

P1018230.JPGFor 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)


Her, London, 27/4/17 (photo: Chelsea Kostrey)

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)

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Ardyn – Together

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


Vok1.jpgThese 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?
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

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Avante Black – Make A Mess

Follow-up to Drug Money, Make A Mess is the latest track from Avante Black, the alt-pop group fronted by Ottilia Zimmerman Kjulsten. It’s an uptempo, multi-layered and neatly-produced tune that helps to justify all the hype over the past year or so about them being one to watch.

Catch them next month at Dot To Dot (Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham – 26/27/28 May).

Avante Black – Make A Mess

Oh Wonder – Ultralife

With so much in politics and the wider world to be depressed about, there seems to be a strong kick back against all the doom and gloom from many music makers right now – and we thank our lucky stars for songs like this new one from Oh Wonder.

Title track from the duo’s forthcoming album due out on 16 June, Ultralife is a bouncy and life-affirming tune from Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. Watch the vid, have a listen, and forget some of those worries for a while…

Oh Wonder – Ultralife

The Modern Strangers – Margarita

We’re rather glad to have discovered Kent-based duo The Modern Strangers and their new tune Margarita. With an air of both Foster The People and MGMT about them, it’s an upbeat, funky and summery sound that will be great to catch live if you’re in London next week when they’re supporting Passport To Stockholm and Secret Company at the Camden Assembly on 20 April (tickets here).

The Modern Strangers – Margarita

Tsar B – Golddigger

Belgium-based Tsar B creates an air of menace in this spellbinding and wonderfully dark alt-pop track. Golddigger is a total mish-mash of different sounds and styles, yet somehow it just totally works.

If you like this, track back to the equally slick Escalate from last year. You can catch Tsar B at The Great Escape in Brighton next month, and a London show is in the pipeline.

Tsar B – Golddigger

Hajk – Nothing Left To Say

Here’s a little experimental pop to enjoy on a Friday. Nothing Left To Say is the latest track from Oslo-based band Hajk and is taken from their forthcoming self-titled album which is out on 28 April.

Hajk are fronted by Preben Sælid Andersen and Sigrid Aase, who share the vocals, while Johan Nord (drums), Knut Olav Buverud Sandvik (bass) and Einar Næss Haugeth (keyboard) make up the rest of the group.

Hajk – Nothing Left To Say

Skott – Glitter & Gloss

There’s something unusual and pretty special about this alt-pop track from Swedish singer-songwriter Skott. Glitter & Gloss meanders and intrigues but the whole effect is overwhelmingly pleasing.

The track has been deservedly getting plenty of radio airplay and we expect plenty more material along these lines from her over the coming months. You can also catch her live over the coming months on a number of European and US tour dates that include London (7 March) and Brighton’s Great Escape (20 May).

Skott – Glitter & Gloss

TOP TEN TRACKS OF 2016: (2) NZCA Lines – Two Hearts

DSC_0017 (2)Second in our list of favourite tracks from this year is the sublime Two Hearts by NZCA Lines. Ok so we admit, the track itself was released right at the end of 2015, but it made its impact in 2016 and appears on the band’s superb Infinite Summer album which hit stores in January.

It is alt-pop at its very best; a wonderfully complex piece of electronic music construction paired with good old fashioned strong pop hooks. In a sense, it is probably one of the more ‘commercial-sounding’ tunes from the album, but it represents just one strand of what is a impressively varied collection of songs. In Two Hearts, Michael Lovett’s lead vocals really chime with Sarah Jones’ chorus for a slick and catchy track that builds and builds. We never tire of listening to this one, hence its placing towards the top of our list of the best tunes of the year.

NZCA Lines – Two Hearts

TOP TEN TRACKS OF 2016: (5) Pumarosa – Cecile

2016 has been a bit of a breakthrough year for Pumarosa. The alt-pop five-piece from London have been showcasing their talents on the road both with their own tour and also during some high-profile support slots for the likes of La Roux, Everything Everything and Glass Animals.

We caught the band live in London earlier this year (see photo gallery) and can testify that their live show is atmospheric and totally engaging. The debut album is still awaiting a release date, but will be emerging in 2017. In the meantime, we still rate Cecile as their best track so far, earning its place in our top 5 tracks of the year.

Pumarosa – Cecile

Everything Everything – I Believe It Now

Manchester-based band Everything Everything have just wrapped up an intense season of festival appearances (and a headline show at Somerset House which we snapped) and are about to disappear off into the studio to work on album number four, but their parting gift for now is standalone track I Believe It Now.

Used by BT Sport as the theme to its coverage of Premier League football this season, the track has already caught a bit of attention over the past couple of weeks but is now available to stream on Spotify and download from the usual digital music emporiums.

Everything Everything – I Believe It Now


Folly Rae – U

With a fresh and original style, Folly Rae is one we’ve been watching for a little while now, and it seems to us that this talented singer might just be finding her perfect sound.

She’s had a busy 2016 so far. The BBC chose her as one of eleven artists to perform out in Texas for their 2016 SXSW showcases alongside the likes of Stormzy, Låpsley, Jake Bugg and Shakka.

Her previous song Hard To Love was well-received, with a playlist spot for BBC Radio 1Xtra but we think new song U should go even further. It is the second track taken from the Money & Power EP and looks set to elevate her profile in the ranks of the darker side of pop. We think her versatile and rich vocal tone works brilliantly over the top of this moody beat.

Folly Rae – U