Steadily gaining profile, Avante Black have been on our radar for a good long while now. Former tracks Drug Money and Make A Mess have both featured on past Sync Lists and it’ll come as no surprise to know that latest single Acid Love will be appearing on the next one when our latest playlist is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world next week.
This four-piece London-based collective – fronted by Swede Ottilia Zimmerman Kjulsten – clearly have that knack when it comes to catchy yet slightly leftfield pop, and they’ve struck gold again with this one. It’s delicately and neatly produced, with smooth, confident vocals, and strong earworm-quality hooks.
Don’t miss the chance to catch them for an intimate show at London’s Servant Jazz Quarters on 11 December – tickets here.
Avante Black – Acid Love
Caswell has released new tune Dance Sober today. The track is taken from her forthcoming EP The Shadow Aspect, which is available for pre-order ahead of its release on 26 October.
Dance Sober follows Caswell’s previous single Animal. Showing a sonically lighter side to Caswell’s music, the track is a fresh slice of brooding pop though remains juxtaposed with her characteristically darker lyrics. The track is built on a slow burning groove that really gets under the skin.
Caswell grew up in Tulse Hill, South London, surrounded by music. Armed with her first microphone at just two years old, she subsequently taught herself the piano and began to formally study music. Drawing from influences as wide as Kate Bush, Jeff Buckley and Nina Simone, to Bjork and Erykah Badu, the singer-songwriter has honed a signature sound that is a cool blend of downtempo electronic soul and pop mixed with a hint of jazz.
Caswell – Dance Sober
The second track from the forthcoming EP Concrete (out 29 September) is the beautiful Everyone’s Got Their Price from London band White Fever.
The EP’s closing track, the song is a great example of this group’s dark, stylish brand of pop. Their passion for bygone musical eras and cinema gets re-invented with a contemporary twist and sprinkled with elements of post punk. Coupled with singer Ida Jacobsson-Wells’ haunting vocals, their music brings to mind the likes of Daughter and Cocteau Twins.
White Fever are Jacobsson-Wells (vocals/guitar), Seán O’Reilly (guitar), Joe Donaldson (bass/backing vocals) and Josh Williams (drums). You can catch them live in Camden, North London, this coming Saturday (23 September) as they celebrate the launch of their EP at The Lock Tavern. Entry is free but you need to sign up for a ticket – details here.
White Fever – Everyone’s Got Their Price
New from Asha is the cracking tune Say My Name, the first from her forthcoming new EP. The Croydon-born singer has been on hiatus for a while, taking a break following her earlier singles We Can Do This, Chapter, and Record Straight.
Of her new song, Asha says: “Say my Name is about a new love I’ve found and had in my life for two years now, it represents his power and strength and the unconditional love he seems to have for me. You don’t always have to go looking for love, sometimes it just makes its way to you on a night out.”
Asha – Say My Name
The sun shone strongly for this year’s SW4, headlined by Pendulum and Deadmau5 across the two day event at the end of last month. Here’s a little flavour of a bass-filled weekend, including shots from sets by Example, Disciples, Laidback Luke, Knife Party and Sub-Focus…
You wait ages for a Backtrack on Sync and then two come along in the same week! But forgive me, this one is here today for a very special, and very personal reason, writes Martin Allen. I’ve always been a big fan of London band Athlete (please come back from your hiatus lads…. please!) but this song has particular meaning. It came out around five years after the birth of my first daughter and struck a chord for me from the very first time I heard it.
Written by Athlete frontman Joel Pott about the difficult start to his prematurely-born daughter’s life, it mirrored the same emotions and experiences I went though when my own little girl was born and had to spend her first 10 days in special care with breathing issues. The song begins with a sense of despair and hopelessness, a fear that gives way to the fatherly instinct that all will be well. It was a sentiment that a few years before had been hard for me to believe but important to hope for when watching my tiny girl – who I’d really only just met but not yet had a chance to get to know – laying in an incubator attached to various machines and monitors.
But the line that still makes me unravel every single time comes right at the very end: ‘Looking at you now, you would never know’. That resonates more strongly for me right now than ever, because today my beautiful, clever, funny, kind and much loved eldest daughter turns 18… Happy birthday Daisy!
Athlete – Wires (Live)
Probably our favourite producer/DJ right now, Dimension – aka London-based Robert Etheridge – absolutely smashed his Saturday night set at South West Four Festival at the end of last month, and new tune Black Church is a slick slice of the raw, pared-back drum & bass that he is becoming known for. The track has also been given the full music video treatment – Dimension’s first full visual.
If you like this, you have to hear his incredibly atmospheric and energetic pair Automatik and Generator… although please promise us you’ll do so in the dark. And on the loudest speakers/headphones you can find.
Dimension – Black Church
Every now and then an artist comes along that just has that certain ability to create a real buzz. Finnish pop-punk singer Alma only has four songs on Spotify to her name but has already achieved top 10 tracks around Europe, and more than 56 million streams for single Chasing Highs.
For this London show, what she lacked in established material she made up for with an energetic performance and a host of unreleased songs which managed to catch the crowd’s imagination, with many of those present singing along to the choruses by the end of each song.
Her style is pop, but there is a ‘techno’ edge to Alma, added to by the robot-esque voice-over that introduced her and entertained the audience while she was off-stage for a costume change. And yet there is no aloofness here – at one point she took a beer from a fan and took a swig before handing it back, which got everyone laughing.
Among the set highlights were the tracks Dye My Hair and Chasing Highs, and things were further livened up on stage when Alma was accompanied by twin-sister Anna-Livia who also sported neon yellow hair… albeit significantly shorter than Alma’s.
With strong vocals and a high tempo throughout, Alma wrapped things up nicely by unexpectedly crowd-surfing, underlining the characterful one-off nature of a singer who is doubtless set for much bigger things in the very near future.
Review & Photos: Becca Egerstrom
New from North London electronic duo Deeds is this beauty of a track. The work of Rollo Smallcombe and Kiri Inglis, Faze is a trippy, atmospheric piece accompanied by a similarly enveloping video.
The pair make their own visuals and have been seen playing live alongside the likes of Pantha Du Prince, The Orb and recently at Visions Festival in East London. Their debut EP, Disorder, was released in March.
Deeds – Faze
London trio Jaded have been earning rave reviews for this track which is fast becoming something of a summer anthem.
The producers – Nari Man, Jordan Park, and Teo Cretella – met in London from Iran, Italy and London respectively and have been picking up plenty of airplay since last year’s track 4000Hz hit the nation’s ears. In The Morning is their latest brash and highly infections effort and, for us, is infinitely better. And you can catch the guys live on 25 August at London’s KOKO.
As for the video, well, we’ve all found ourselves out late when an attack of the munchies strikes so there’s a lesson to be learned here: if you’re out tonight or over the weekend, be prepared – take snacks. Lots of snacks.
Jaded – In The Morning
Less 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, Paracetamol, The 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.
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
London 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
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
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