Grrl Pal - Seeing Anything


The success of moment of Oh Wonder's 'one track a month' exposure has led to their recent signing to Island Records, a deserved move of course. Another band that have been adopting a similar approach this year is Grrl Pal, a bedroom synth-pop act from Perth, Australia and their latest track, the gossamer pretty "Seeing Anything" is perhaps their best yet (it certainly is in my ears).

Soft fluttering synths, looping beats and a dream-like vocal that transcends beauty combine on the minimal track, the sort of haunting carousel atmosphere that you can fully lose yourself within.  Go and do that below.

You can currently download a selection of Grrl Pal's tracks for free via Soundcloud.

Adria #2 - Falling


Adria's debut "Pull Me Under" was one of those rare new tracks that whilst listening to, you could tangibly feel the formation of a future star. Beguiling with a smoldering, darkly hued melody and richly controlled vocals (I'll glad to say I'm not the only one who thought so, the track now has over 100k plays on Spotify). The eagerness for more instantly followed.

This week more is what we got. Adria announced the release of Shell, her debut EP (due out next week, March 31st and available on iTunes) and shared the first track "Falling". The most restrained and elegant of the four tracks that make up the EP - I've been lucky enough to have a little preview and am happy to say it doesn't disappoint; a sparkling, sophisticated pop record that leaves a tangible mark on your emotions. 

Back to "Falling", from the sadly muted piano keys and the lyrics hopeless beginning "your love is impossible" you know it's going to be a tearful journey, it doesn't disappoint, throbbing despair and vulnerability that you can almost reach out and touch thanks to Adria's soul-bearing vocal, powerful, intimate and oh so beautiful. The piano and voice ballad is latterly joined by strings and drums as the track grows in stature to reach the most rich and dramatic of conclusions. The sweet longing, the painful attraction, it's all here. Utterly captivating.

Torres #5 - Sprinter


If you thought "Strange Hellos" was good, just wait until you give Torres' new track a spin. "Sprinter" is the title track to her second album (due in the UK May 18th via Partisan) and is absolutely wonderful. 

Incrementally more wild and fiery than her debut, "Sprinter" is full of unwinding guitar hooks, big, beefy drums and direct, straight in the gut vocals. It sees Mackenzie Scott releasing, or at least attempting to release some of the shackles of her youth, full of equal parts aggression and fearless spirit, it's a brilliant and compelling listen. Now, how long until May...

Belle Mare #2 - Cicada


Well Belle Mare snuck this one out didn't they?!  It's been a little over two years since I posted about the project that began as the Brooklyn based duo of Amelia Bushell and Thomas Servidone and is now expanded to a quintet with their spacious, sparse and overwhelming beautiful debut The Boat of The Fragile Mind.  

Their first track since "Cicada" was shared last month but came to my attention the other night when the band popped up on my Facebook. It still, despite hitting about 5% of your audience has some use it seems. As soon as I saw there was a new song I pressed play and was immediately smitten. What awaits is their most complete, compelling offering to date. 

"Cicada" is a slowly seducing five minute epic that marriages those early traits with a new expansive, dramatic palette. Amelia's haunting, soulful vocals will still immediately weaken your knees and the instrumentation remains as darkly hued and unhurried as ever, gently and woozily eking into your soul before wham, at three minutes there's a quite unexpected explosion of noise, crashing drums and expansive guitarscapes colliding at odds with  the indescribable emotions on display throughout.  It's just wonderful. There's an album promised later in the year, I can't wait.

Jagaara #4 - In The Dark


One of my 'fifteen for '15Jagaara welcome in Spring with their first new music of the year, "In The Dark" is due for release April 18th on 7" as part of *cough* Record Store Day. 

The track sees the trio, siblings if you didn't already know, extend the formula used to smouldering effect on their impeccable debut "Faultline". slow-motion soundscapes that rise with brooding intent amongst gorgeously tight harmonies and backed by darkly atmospheric percussion. It's simply to-die-for.

I'm looking forward to seeing the girls as part of the Lock Tavern Festival next week, the first of many festivals in their calendar already, others such as The Great Escape, Field Day and Bestival seem set to heighten their reputation further. 

Dios Mio #4 - Body



A very belated posting for the latest Dios Mio track, I think it came out during 'list season' and I promptly forgot to cover it before re-discovering the track last week. The song, "Body", is bloody glorious of course, everything we've heard from the London based quartet to date has been so.

It bursts straight into life with intoxicating energy, combining a powerful rhythm section, dreamy guitar swirls and gorgeously soft vocal to exquisite effect, propelling itself forward with shimmers and soars, the result leaves you gasping for more.

The track is available on iTunes. I promise I won't leave it so long next time.

Shana Cleveland & The Sandcastles - Golden Days

I'm familiar with Shana Cleveland as the songwriter of the wonderful La Luz, a band I've featured here a trio of times and lastly described their sound as 'a combination of classic doo-wop backing vocals and surf-rock cool with a dusty, Widowspeak-esque dreamlike atmosphere'.  Now standing under her own name with a 'rotating batch of musicians tagged as The Sandcastles we're treated to "Golden Days", the first track taken from Shana's debut album Oh Man, Cover The Ground! released 26th May via Suicide Squeeze Records.

Immediately you know things are different, drenched in haunting reverb-heavy mood is a sound more akin to the beautifully-crafted recent Marika Hackman debut LP,  combining eerie, choral instrumentation with a soft, ethereal vocal that draws you into its mellow, sedate mood, it makes me wish it was Sunday. Quietly magical.

Ainslie Wills - Drive


Melbourne's Ainslie Wills is a new name to me, "Drive" the lead track to a forthcoming EP introduces a sound that's much denser and rocking than the haunting melodic folk that led her 2013 debut LP (from which I'll testify I've only had a quick stream of with thanks to Bandcamp - it initially impresses greatly with spacious, entrancing melodies and arresting vocals).

I'll focus on the present and future now and "Drive", a track which if you had to compare you'd possibly say Epic era Van Etten, is armed with a rollicking rhythm and ever increasing intensity that ratchet's up amongst layers of shimmering guitarscapes, crystal-clear harmonies and Ainslie's wonderfully compelling voice, the synth finale is just the icing on the cake. 

"Drive" is available now via Bandcamp, an EP is due to follow later in the year.