Rachel Sermanni #11 - Gently

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I hope you haven't got any plans for the next half an hour, if you have, call them off because I guarantee there is nothing better you can do for yourself that cut to the end of my waffling words here and press play on this beguiling new EP by Rachel Sermanni.

It's called Gently, as are three of the songs and came as something as a surprise when released late last week. I heard it for the first time last night after I'd got back from a rather wonderful gig by Liza Anne and Joseph and it hit me immediately.

Recorded with Rachel's friend Jennifer Austin in her flat and on her piano, the resulting four tracks ebb and flow with understated grace and beguiling beauty to results that touch deep inside. The opening "Gently" is pure poetry, a softly waltzing melody made up of little more than Rachel's acoustic guitar and Jen's piano chords, it leaves you with the sort of feeling that makes all your worries float away, dreamlike and devastatingly pretty with Rachel's breathy, sweetening voice and captivated words. That's a pretty accurate summation of the three "Gently" tracks which run into twenty minutes but feels half that, exquisite. 

I'm seeing Rachel next Monday in London as part of an incredible line-up of songwriters that also includes Billie Marten and Flo Morrissey, I doubt she'll play anything from this EP but if it's simply Rachel and Jen recreating this EP, I'll be a very, very happy boy indeed (or if it's anything like the gig at  No 14 Bacon St. No 14 Bacon St last summer).

Go an buy Gently now via Bandcamp.

The Holy #2 - Ramses The Evil Brother

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Let's cut straight to the chase, The Holy are one of the most exciting new bands around at the minute.  I said pretty much that in May with their stupendous track "This Will Be the Day That I Die" and last year when they were known as Holy Roman. Soon you'll be saying it too. The Helsinki quintet do not fuck around, leaving everything on the table at the end of their songs and treating you to these beautiful yet humungous soundscapes filled with soaring guitars and pummelling beats (that'll be two drummers).

Their latest instant classic is "Ramses The Evil Brother" (not sure if they've been watching Game of Thrones?!), which is typically epic in scope, brimming with ideas, darkened in colour and majestic in delivery, rushing through at breakneck speed and triumphant in its fuzzy, dramatic conclusion, a truly glorious listen to is too.

An EP More Escher and Random Notes is due to be released via Soliti in early August.

The Wrecking Queens #2 - Children Of The Sun

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I first fell for Helsinki quartet The Wrecking Queens in April with the slow motion seduction of "Pigeons", they return to these pages three months later with the similarly evocative 80's dark-disco sounds  of "Children Of The Sun". 

You'll like it if you ever purchased the Drive soundtrack, think gorgeous, ear-worm vocals lamenting around glistening guitars and rhythmic bass which finds the perfect balance of atmospheric lament and slow-burning modern electro. Love. 

“Children of the Sun” is the second single from their upcoming EP, which will be out later this year.

Arctic Lake #6 - Friend

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Undoubtedly amongst the very best new acts in the UK, Arctic Lake make it five from five with the stunning "Friend", a track which sums up what the London based trio are about, minimal, moonlit electronic-pop which breathes with meaning and restrained beauty to devastating effect. The lyrics here are the most direct and affecting we've heard from the band to date and Emma's incredible vocal is more bruised than ever, as you immerse yourself in "Friend", a story of losing a friend, you cannot help but be touched. A real wonder. Go embrace it below.

It must be time for an EP release guys?

Carol Cleveland Sings - Run to Your Bedroom

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"Run to Your Bedroom" sounds like it could have been released at anytime in the past sixty years, a serene pastel coloured daydream of a track that floats with effervescent instrumentation and sweetening harmonies, reminiscent of your favourite parts of 60's French pop and instantly brings nostalgic memories to the front of my mind.

The track is by Wilmington duo Thomas Hughes and Gretchen Lohse, aka Carol Cleveland Sings, my latest Bandcamp discovery and their most recent release, a standalone single available now via the same site.

The same location also find an earlier April 2016 EP titled Wishing Well which hits the same level of tenderness and charm, from the bubbling, luscious and undeniably cutesy pysche-pop vibes of the title track through to the gorgeous ear-candy rendition of "I Never Dreamed", both perfect for an early summer's evening walk in the park. 

Holy Now #2 - Wake Up

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I wrote about Holy Now's wonderful "Wake Up" back in April but it really is excellent (my kind of heartbreak) and is now getting a 7" released thanks to Beech Coma here in the UK on August 19th (pre-order link) so I'm going to rip off my own words and copy it again. Don't miss out!

'What you can hear below is five minutes of lo-fi pop magic bursting with romance and striking vocals packed amongst gorgeous jingly-jangly, melodic guitar hooks that recall the sound of Alvvays' marvellous 2014 LP and evoke long summer afternoons before the days when budget meetings and chargeable hours take over your life (my life!). Take me back...'

Joy Crookes - New Manhattan

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Joy Crookes is seventeen, lets start with that sickener. I'm double that in under four weeks time...  "New Manhattan" is the London artist's debut single and was released back in February but is deserving of a belated pick up thanks to the beautifully mysterious journey the track takes you on. Filed with a Lana-esque mystique "New Manhattan" resonated around Joy's soulful vocals and deep, emotive songcraft amongst perfectly placed instrumentation, strings and trippy beats, I'm smitten at once. 

It must be about time for a follow up.

Bad Fit - Strong Forever

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Well this is just lush, "Strong Forever" is the debut track from Northern Ireland's Bad Fit, a breezy, melodic number that makes you pine for a never-ending summer evening, kicking back with friends and reminiscing about the better times as you lose yourself amongst the sugar-sweet harmonies, jangly riffs and romantic daydreams on offer.

instantly accessible, winsome and guaranteed to leave you longing for more, fans of Camera Obscura and yes, Alvvays, it's time to fall in love once again...