Young Summer – Siren

Credit:  Eric Mooney Photography
© Eric Mooney Photography

Washington, DC based musician Bobbie Allen AKA Young Summer is back with her first full-length album, Siren, following the success of her 2013 Fever Dream EP. While the record features a couple of known quantities such as Waves That Rolled You Under, it also boasts a whole lot of shiny new synth-laden surprises, including Leave Your Love which has received rave reviews from the likes of Nylon Magazine, and Taken which isn’t about the Liam Neeson movie of the same name.

Allen herself has described the whole album as “haunting, but specifically the title track.” She’s certainly onto something there and, as was her intention, the song really does call you in, daring you to resist the rest of the album. Of course, the whole thing meanders along to its final destination before you really want it to, ending in with an uptempo yet cool-sounding track called Classless Kids with more than a hint of Lana Del Rey style gloominess. As the last notes fade, it’s hard not to want more, to find out where she’s going next.

Having already soundtracked TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars with her cover of The Human League’s Don’t You Want Me, played SXSW, toured the UK and garnered a notable US following, I’d happily put money on the fact that wherever she’s going will involve even bigger and better things.

You can pick up/download your own copy of Siren as of midnight tonight or, if you’re still not convinced, head over to her site for a free download to help persuade you.

Bora York – Let Loose

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Minneapolis duo Bora York AKA of Chris Bartels and his wife Rebekkah are two mavericks who – now with a brand new baby – record and produce a every single one of their dreamy tracks in their two-bedroom apartment, before mixing, pressing and distributing then via Chris’ own independent label, Anthem Falls Music.  The follow-up to their debut LP Dreaming Free is another sunny yet less folk-driven offering in the shape of their new single, Let Loose. It’s a thing of synthesized beauty and one that is currently – and happily – receiving a lot of much-deserved praise. A couple of their tracks have also been featured on some high-profile television shows recently, including CBS’ Criminal Minds and ABC’s The Middle.

Oblivious Pop described the new track as “a pop track that’s laced with crystalline synths to chill your body as the chorus blasts in like a heavy heat wave.  There’s no doubt you’ll be blasting and dancing to this track all through the summer months.” While Indie Shuffle claim “it’s impossible not to get swept up in the excitement, especially by the time the chorus comes around.” In short, it’s a pleasantly infectious four minutes and five seconds you’ll want to re-live over and over again.

Anyway, listen to this and then go and buy it/stream the crap out of it on Spotify.

KLP – Decide

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I heard Decide by KLP (an acronym of Kirsty Lee Peters, FYI) on the radio this morning and have more or less had it on repeat ever since. I also picked up my very exciting new headphones earlier and this track is essentially soft porn of the aural variety. And now I want to go to a disco. Late though I may be to this particular party, I think I might be a little bit in love.

The Sydney-based DJ, vocalist, producer and probable wizard is currently doing the rounds at this year’s SXSW festival after a recent writing trip to LA. After such exploits, it’s fairly safe to say her past, present and upcoming projects (including one with Diplo) will be much talked about and, more importantly, listened to (read: broadcast) a lot in the coming months.

Hailed as one of Australia’s brightest industry talents, it’s likely to be one hell of a year for this lady.

September Girls – Irish girls, bass guitars and a lot of sexy noise

535008_503392349734891_224490345_nDublin-based quintet September Girls might just be one bass guitar split into five sections, sprinkled with some other instruments and deposited into a recording studio but that’s ok. There’s something very listenable about them, despite or perhaps because of the fuzzy, post-punk style vocals.

Maybe it’s the pounding bass and noisy, repetitive drum patterns but, judging by their recent single, Ships – via Haus of Pins – it’s a sound worth hearing. The B side, Flesh, isn’t too shabby (or flabby) either.

If you want something loud, unpolished and just a little bit on the sexy side of things, September Girls could be just what you’re after.

Hell, Ships is even available on cassette! After a week where the new iphone made headline news and the iPod classic was quietly discontinued, that’s a rather lovely thing to hear about.

FYI, they’re also working on their debut album after signing with Fortuna Pop and it should be availble sometime in January.

After a long hiatus…

If you look at the date on the post below you’ll see that it’s been a while since I published anything on here and, just in case anyone had ever cared enough to want me to post, I’m awfully sorry and it won’t happen again.

My day job just involves doing something not altogether dissimilar – insomuch as I’m in front of a screen and I type out paragraphs all day long – and I’ve been a little busy outside in the real world so I haven’t put as much, or any, time and effort into this little beauty as I have been known to in the past.

Anyway, excuses, excuses. I’m all out, the 2013 Mercury Prize shortlist has even been announced in the time I’ve let this site fester! So, I’d better find something interesting to write about pretty soon before it dies a most non-eventful death.

If you want a laugh while you wait, you might as well raise an eyebrow at the fact I decided to teach myself guitar… and then start a tumblr about it.

So now you know, my head has been up my arse all this time…

Mary Cassidy & Jon Lawless – Carolina

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After taking a little break from blogging it was nice to get an email from Canadian singer Mary Cassidy about a song called Carolina that she had done with a guy called Jon Lawless. Not only is it a lovely, sunny track, it’s also available to download for free right here.

Seeing as the weather has finally begun to shift slightly towards the summer, the breezy feel of Carolina couldn’t have come along at a better time.

The clarity and warmth of Mary’s voice was also a rather lovely surprise. Naturally, this prompted me to have a good root around in her Soundcloud account where I found another little gem called Blotted Ink:

Strip away everything but her guitar and her voice commands attention. There’s a certain conviction in her voice that sells the story in her songs, particularly with Blotted Ink above. This girl is clearly a gifted songwriter, citing influences such as Joni Mitchell and “everything else I have been lucky enough to overhear from my brothers’ stereos growing up”, all of which seem to have encouraged something quite enchanting within her own work.

Keep your eyes peeled for more from Mary Cassidy in the near future. Who knows, maybe it’s time for a Canadian invasion after Feist and Martha Wainwright…

UPDATE: Jon and Mary just had their latest track Crowded House premiered over on Under The Radar. Check it out below, if you aren’t as chilled as doped up penguin already, you will be after this…

Old English – Prose & Kahns

537344_514531515246001_491013725_nIf Arcade Fire aren’t doing it for you anymore and you think there’s something inherently sexy about synthesisers , Toronto-based  Old English might be just what you’re looking for. Their debut album, Prose & Kahns, is a triumphant record, full of tracks which build quite gently into a fountain of trumpets, choppy percussion and dreamy synths.

For an album that has – as I recently mentioned on Twitter and can’t better with any other description – more layers than Donkey and an onion combined, it’s surprisingly clear-cut. With such a rich, polished sound, it’s easy to tell that a lot of time and effort went into the mastering, something that is quite often more necessary than a lot of people ever realise.

The echoey vocals and odd tambourine make it very easy just to stick Prose & Kahns on repeat for hours on end and weighing in at nearly 50 minutes for 11 tracks, that’s not to be sniffed at. As dream-pop albums go, this is definitely one not to miss.

A particular highlight for me is We’ve Been Here Before. I just can’t get enough of the way the happy trumpet solo in the middle shakes off the melancholia of the first half of the song, giving way to a calp-tastic beat and some delicate synths layered over the aforementioned trumpet. It’s so hopeful that it’s impossible to dislike.

The same can be said for the rest of the album to be honest but the only way you’ll ever believe me is if you listen to it yourselves, which you can do below. The album is available in it’s entirety for just $7 on Bandcamp.