American indie-folk rockers Band of Horses are back with their brand new track ‘Casual Party’ – a wonderfully upbeat indie track that I have had on repeat. The band’s fifth album Why Are You OK will be released in June.
As the band have not released a studio album since 2012, this new track is great news for fans. It’s made even better as the wait was definitely worth it – ‘Casual Party’ has a brilliantly tight and energetic sound. It’s a hugely catchy tune and I love the lyrics which wonderfully mock the suburban ‘American Dream’ and superficiality that often goes along with parties.
The track I have chosen for this week is from Formation, an electronic band made up of twin brothers Will and Matt Ritson from London. It is a powerful, beat-heavy and driven track called ‘Pleasure’ and I think it’s brilliant.
I featured Formation’s track ‘Hangin’ as one of my tracks of the week last year and was captured by the group’s cool take on electronic music. They bring in elements of punk, funk and pop to their music and it creates a very distinctive sound. Their latest single ‘Pleasure’ is no different and I especially love how it blends together a fun but gritty sound. Make sure to also check out their tracks ‘Back Then’ and ‘All The Rest Is Noise’.
This week I found it difficult to choose just one song, so have picked 3 of my favourite new tracks from the past week or so.
Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate
Kiwankua won the BBC Sound of 2012 poll and released his debut album Home Again the same year. Since then he has been pretty quiet so it was unexpected, but wonderful news when he announced last month that his second album Love & Hate is due to be released on May 27th. Last week Kiwanuka released the track ‘Love & Hate’, a soulful and rich 7 minute track that has got me very excited about the new album. Just like the album’s first single ‘Black Man In A White World’, it has a beautiful timeless quality to it. Everything about this song screams modern classic and I hope you fall in love with it as much as I have.
Tegan and Sara – U-Turn
I got into Tegan and Sara about 3 years ago with their catchy track ‘Closer’ and then fell in love with them even more when they collaborated with The Lonely Island for ‘Everything is Awesome’ from The Lego Movie soundtrack. Although some fans have been critical of their newer pop direction, claiming that they preferred the duo’s earlier releases, personally I think that too often the ‘pop’ genre has become tainted and misinterpreted. From their upcoming 8th album Love You to Death (released June 3rd), ‘U-Turn’ is exactly what great pop music should be. It is unbelievably catchy and addictive and I’ve had it on repeat for literally days. Before you dismiss it as just another ‘pop’ song, have a listen.
Gorgon City feat. Vaults – All Four Walls
Gorgon City are probably best known for their 2014 track ‘Ready For Your Love’ with MNEK, which is one of my favourite songs. Admittedly, I am not normally a huge dance or house fan but I do really like Gorgon City’s music. Now they are back with a new track called ‘All Four Walls’, featuring Vaults. I had high expectations for the track as I already love Vaults’ sound, especially their song ‘Premonitions’ and thankfully, ‘All Four Walls’ doesn’t disappoint. Yesterday, Gorgon City unveiled the song’s brilliant Brit-grit music video, which I think perfectly captures the energy and release that you feel by listening to the song.
On Thursday 31st March CHVRCHES played at London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of The Albert Sessions. I was equally as excited to see their support, Shura, as I was to see the band for the first time and both acts put on a brilliant show.
Shura opened with ‘Nothing’s Real’, the title track from her upcoming debut album, and her set list mixed in unreleased album tracks with single favourites including ‘Indecision’ and ‘2Shy’. Hearing new songs such as ‘What Happened To Us?’ made me even more excited for her album, which is released 8th July. As expected, it was a brilliant set, and a perfect opener for CHVRCHES. With her infectious 80s inspired synth-pop, I’m sure Shura gained many new fans that night. My highlights of her set included the gem ‘Just Once’ which was amplified into this gorgeous War On Drugs-esque stunner and of course, the flawless ‘White Light’. As her final song, it’s always good fun seeing Shura absolutely going for it during the instrumental of ‘White Light’, as you just see a blonde head of hair whizzing around. It was great to see her playing such a huge and iconic venue and you could tell she was very grateful to be there. I hope that as a result of this tour she has gained a new legion of fans and I cannot wait to see her again at her headline show at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in May.
For the main event, CHVRCHES burst onto the stage with ‘Never Ending Circles’ and immediately I was taken aback. Don’t get me wrong, I was really excited to see them playing live and knew they had been touring almost non-stop for the past few years, but I just wasn’t quite prepared for how amazing they would be. Starting with that very first song, their whole set was just a beautifully lit, pitch-perfect party.
I found myself continually being astounded by Lauren’s vocals and her stage presence, as well as her charming stand-up style stage talk. It was also great to see Martin take centre-stage as he performed ‘High Enough To Carry You Over’ and ‘Under The Tide’ (which is unbelievably awesome live). The band’s occasional pauses in between tracks to have a chat with the audience were funny and sincere, as they shared their gratitude for being able to play the venue and for the fans. And as for the fans themselves, the atmosphere was incredible. A lot of times when you go to gigs, there are people who are too loud, maybe even too aggressive and those who seem to be there just to catch up with their mates. But, there was none of that at this gig. Everyone was just having a great time and the crowd’s energy was infectious. From Shura’s opening set to ‘The Mother We Share’ finale, I was in absolute synth-pop heaven.
The whole night was just spot on and seeing thousands of people jumping around to ‘Clearest Blue’ with an awesome light display in the Royal Albert Hall was an unforgettable moment. I left the venue fully charged and immediately wanted to go and see them again. The Royal Albert Hall was already one of my favourite venues, but it was something very special indeed seeing artists such as Shura and CHVRCHES playing that iconic stage. And I have to admit it was one of the best, if not the best, gig I’ve ever been to.
At the end of last year, Pumarosa released their debut single, a hypnotic 7 minute track called ‘Priestess’, that caught the attention of pretty much every music blog and magazine going. The amount of hype that ‘Priestess’ single-handedly created for the band was something very special and since its release Pumarosa have featured in numerous ‘Ones To Watch’ lists (including my own) and have played festivals such as SXSW in Austin, Texas.
It is incredible how much excitement ‘Priestess’ created for Pumarosa and ever since I first heard it I have been eager to hear more. I was therefore very excited when their new single ‘Cecile’ was announced this week. On the first listen, I was struck by how much more concise it sounds than ‘Priestess’ but also how it still has the same captivating quality. Having listened to it countless times since, I love the slickness to ‘Cecile’, the tight vocals, the groove elements and the gorgeous jazz-infused ending. It reminds me at times of Arcade Fire and has definitely confirmed that Pumarosa are worth the hype.