It’s not often I’ll admit to it, but there’s a certain feeling I get when listening to Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’ – that romantic, jittery, butterflies-in-stomach vibe. I mention it because it’s a similar sentiment to the one evoked in the opening bars of darling new track from Helsinki group Cina Polada, ‘Face 2 Face’.
The five-piece consists of of married couple Hilla and Tatu Miettinen, Tatu’s younger brother Teemu, as well as good friends Tony Salo and Nita Mattila. The relative intimacy of the group is evidenced in that easy, woozy warmth ‘Face 2 Face’ seems to exude, all fluid, lilting guitar licks, soft synths that feel like you’re sinking into a hot bath and Hilla Miettinen’s sweet, shy vocals floating over the top, singing all too relatable lines about social anxiety.
Photo: Eve North
At this stage I have probably written about Dublin’s Meltybrains? enough times on this blog to negate them needing any introduction. Instead, let’s talk their new song, ‘New Don’.
There’s a quivering unease to the track: the intoxicating glamour of not-quite-prog sounds, the disturbing quiet of that glockenspiel and the glorious howling refrain of “why did I do that?”. Not for the faint of heart, it’s intense, eerie, weird electronic chaos and it is very very good. Plus the great (if somehow alarming) video is directed by the group along with previous collaborator Louise Gaffney, and was edited by the band’s drummer, Micheál Quinn.
The physical release of ‘New Don’ will take the form of a limited number of hand-painted Meltymasks, which come with a download code (via Little L Records). You can pre-order them here.
Also, as if you needed further proof of the delightful cult of Melty and why they are dons, their dope Bloomsday performance from earlier this year was in the related videos – check it.
I think everyone has some form of comfort music. The sort of songs that soothe and make you want to crawl into the blanket of their world, leaving everything else behind for just a little while. For me, it’s the music that is borderline celestial, with flourishes of somehow nostalgic, rich instrumentation and vocals that effortlessly pour with the sweetness of honeyed dessert wine. Think Beach House, Joanna Newsom, Julie London and, now, Kadhja Bonet.
A few days ago Complex posted a piece by Justin Charity with the somewhat inflammatory title, “Why Did Everyone Pretend To Enjoy Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly?'”. As a Kendrick fangirl at heart, I took issue with some of the writer’s arguments – in some ways, he seemed to be defaming a Holy Cow to provoke engagement. Overall, however, in discussing with a friend, I came to the conclusion that Charity had a point when it came to the differences between an album being enjoyable and it being important – and for all I think To Pimp A Butterfly is superb, it falls into the latter camp for me. More than that, in using the almost unanimous praise that TPAB was subject to more or less immediately after it leaked, Charity has raised some salient questions about how exactly the internet influences and, I would argue, pressures us to prematurely react to new music.
Primal panting over a pulse, flashes of glimmering chimes and an intricate, glitchy beat all topped with self-assured vocals that include sweet African samples: this is London singer Obenewa’s fantastic ‘Marshmallow’. It has an afro-house flavour to it, bringing some welcome, warm dance vibes to the fore. Her previous output includes ‘Solid Gold‘, a poppy R&B track with more celestial, traditional stylings and, while it was quite pretty and her vocals were powerful on it, it seemed a little like ground that had already been trodden. But this is not the case on the fantastic (if all too short) ‘Marshmallow’ or, indeed, more recent Machinedrum-produced ‘Save Me’. The latter is reminiscent of Imogen Heap, with its strangely manipulated vocal harmonies in the background and the soothing sense of cloud-like ambience that all underpin the singer’s unfaltering voice on the refrain, “Need to save me from myself”. There’s an older track ‘He‘ too, which channels Mary J. Blige with it’s squelchy, sultry swagger and charming hints of gospel.
Give her a listen, she’s pretty wonderful and there’s a lightness to her sound that’s all quite refreshing. And – as if the deal needed sweetening – ‘Marshmallow’ is free:
I interviewed the singer of OPM about life 15 years since the song that shaped a generation for Noisey.
Read it here.
[Originally published on GoldenPlec]
This weekend will see the third annual International Cassette Store Day take place. While Record Store Day has been stripped of much of its legitimacy, there remains a certain authentic charm to its cassette tape equivalent. But does anyone even still use cassettes? We spoke to the (ultimately) New York-based Robert Prisco, the founding member of Beach Moon/Peach Moon who, earlier this year, released their sweetly whimsical album Kite Without A String on cassette.
Some background information is perhaps necessary. Originally Beach Moon/Peach Moon was Prisco’s solo project, as he wrote while wandering between home and the West Coast. The name encapsulates the particularly isolated, personal subject nature of his music. “I’m from Long Island on the East Coast and I used to always sneak onto the beach at night when no one was allowed just for the solitude and time to think,” he explains, “It’s a pretty awesome and overwhelming thing going to the beach when there’s no one on it, especially because it’s super crowded during the day. And that’s the sort of imagery I like to evoke, so when I first started it was the name that I gave myself.”