Manchester-based art-pop foursome Everything Everything have dropped the first track from their forthcoming fourth album, and it’s an absolute banger.
Just as they made a big impact with the start of the campaign for their previous album with Distant Past setting the tone for a more urgent, feisty Get To Heaven than its predecessor LP Arc, Can’t Do certainly bodes well for what’s to come when A Fever Dream is released on 18 August.
The Sync-favourites are currently previewing a large slice of the new material at a series of intimate dates around the UK. They then perform a support slot for Foals at Cornwall’s Eden Project before hitting several festivals over the summer including Reading and Leeds and By The Sea in Margate. A full tour in support of A Fever Dream is expected in the Autumn.
Everything Everything – Can’t Do
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
Bristol-based singer/producer Tamu Massif has revealed new track Animals, taken from his second EP Bala which is out now.
“I approach writing songs as collages” explains the Bristol-based artist, whose real name is Dave Dixon. “I usually layer up different sections and then connect them. On Bala, sampling my own voice became integral to the songwriting process and I started recording tracks purely to lay down vocals I could manipulate elsewhere.”
The places in which Bala was conceived find their way into the music, both in the lyrics and through field recordings. “Recording clips on my phone in various locations and moments over the past few years has allowed me to add a personal context to the music,” explains Dixon. “It documents where I’ve been, both mentally and physically.”
Tamu Massif has recently completed a tour support slot with The Japanese House, and can be seen performing live again at London’s Citadel Festival on 16 July. Tickets here.
Tamu Massif – Animals
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
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
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
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
Dark Blue is a new track from Welsh band Nineteen Fifty Eight. The female-fronted five piece group have been earning a fair bit of radio airplay and steadily building appreciation over the past couple of years for their engaging brand of alt-rock.
Dark Blue is the title song from their forthcoming 6-track EP due for release on 19 May. Catch the songs in person too on 23 May when they visit Nottingham’s Bodega for a live show supporting As December Falls – tickets here.
Nineteen Fifty Eight – Dark Blue
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.
Tsar B – Golddigger
It was as recent as November that New York duo Phantogram were last in London as one of a few dates on a UK tour. This time, their stopover was even more brief as it was the only UK show of their European tour. Last time they packed out the ‘under the arches’ venue Heaven, but this time around were in the somewhat more spacious environs of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire… not that it felt especially spacious, with a close-to-sell-out crowd packing out the stalls.
Their particular brand of bombastic beats, rock riffs and swirling synths puts the band in a fairly unique place – too dark to be considered pop, yet not really a natural fit for the rock, electronic or indie tags either. Lyrically, the tone is certainly on the bleak side, but that’s counterbalanced with a fierce, high octane sound that makes their live show such a compelling one.
A little late to the stage – as seems to be their style – Phantogram rattled through a 75-minute set that was full of energy and volume. Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter manage to keep the between-song chatter to a minimum. Sometimes, this can create a sense of aloofness from a band but somehow, they still seem to manage a strong connection with fans old and new. The setlist kept fans from both camps happy too. There were tracks from the early days such as Mouthful of Diamonds and When I’m Small from 2009 debut album Eyelid Movies, as well as a generous helping of new material from most recent album Three, including Same Old Blues, Destroyer, and Run Run Blood.
They saved the best for last though with a three-song encore that capped the evening superbly. Firstly, Carter took up the vocal duties for the intense and mesmerising Barking Dog, before what was perhaps Barthel’s peak moment of the night with the wonderfully-sung Cruel World. They wrapped up with their uptempo anthem You Don’t Get Me High Anymore, performed with the kind of bounce and swagger that’s only possible when a band knows it has a seriously great song to end with.
This piece of atmospheric dream pop caught out attention this week. Cyborg Girl is by Scottish group L-space and is a beautifully-crafted track that combines immersive electronic sounds with ethereal vocals.
The band comprises Lily Higham, Gordon Johnstone, Dickson Telfer and Maggie Tam. The quartet record most of the music themselves and do all of their own art, videos and graphic design. To further explore the mesmerising sonic world that they create, check out their new EP Sol 0.
L-Space – Cyborg Girl
Just days after the launch of their self-titled debut album, Scottish rock outfit Vukovi brought their high octane live show to Tufnell Park’s Boston Music Room for a hot and sweaty evening of energy and plenty of noise.
Kicking off with latest single La Di Da, they pretty much showcased the entire album during a set of around 50 minutes or so. Weirdo, And He Lost His Mind, Bouncy Castle, I’m Wired and Prey were all strong highlights, with singer Janine Shilstone proving herself to be a highly accomplished frontwoman for the hotly-tipped four-piece.
The album has been receiving rave reviews – not least by us – but the key measure is always how the material stacks up live, and it was a test they passed with flying colours. They clearly won’t be playing venues this small for much longer, especially after more music-loving punters clock on to them this summer during their many festival slots.
Vukovi saved the best until last though, with an encore of Animal and Boy George to send the punters home on a high and with their ears no doubt ringing.
Photos: Jessica Piochon