After the wonderful response to the first batch of artists we shared in our debut Late To The Party feature last week, I think it’s safe to say we’re on a roll with this second instalment. Get your teeth into some of the exceptional music below and prepare to ask yourself, where have these artists been all my life?
Big Soda » Windows! Sealed!
The entire concept of Big Soda’s newest EP ‘Songs for Rich People!’ certainly captivated my imagination with its ironic take on deluxe marketing and branding as a way to make people spend money on meaningless crap (I think I’ve interpreted that correctly…?). Aside from the tickled concept, it’s Big Soda’s relentless talent and musical wizardry that really got me hooked on ‘Windows! Sealed!. I hope I’ve not missed the point, considering the artist’s intended irony, but there truly is a luxurious quality to this music. Rich, warm acoustic guitar chords ride over a bossa nova groove that quite frankly could be reminiscent of a sultry evening spent on the Spanish Riviera. By the time the artist’s own deep, smooth vocals come in you really are ready to sit back and be entertained. The irony in the lyric and shuffling groove, however, is certainly not lost on the listener but I just don’t think we can help ourselves, we’re already lost to the luxury, give me the expensive, caressing melodies and deluxe sounds of the Big Soda brand. Go on, treat yourself, you deserve it: listen to ‘Windows! Sealed!’
Porcelain » Destruction
So many elements are working in this track and when they all come together it has a pretty magnificent effect. ‘Destruction’ is, funnily enough, a song that, to my ears, almost sounds de-constructed in itself. The journey you go on as a listener is to satisfyingly hear it build itself back up again until all the parts are working together like a perfect piece of Swiss-made clockwork. The sparse and darkly atmospheric production gently ebbs and flows whilst the powerful vocal and lyric draw you in. By the time the song finally opens up into an expansive sea of beats and ghostly harmonies you’re already nodding your head along in appreciation, it does everything you want it to do. Delivering such a defined sound is a rare thing and I really hope that other people aren’t as late to the party with Porcelain as I am. They’re the type of act that I imagine garnering a very devoted fan base (if they haven’t already) and I look forward to hearing of their cult status in years to come.
Lost Vegas » Losing You
I don’t know how to describe Lost Vegas other than some kind of mesmeric take on country, indie rock and pop fusion – does that cover it? Perhaps this week’s theme is artists who are bloody good at doing many elements very, very well. If so, then ‘Losing You’ is an exemplary model of that formula. Excellent songwriting, satisfying arrangements and simple, melodic vocals you can be singing back in an instant. Despite there being a heavy amount of instrumental stretches in the track, it’s really not the type of song you can easily switch off from or have on in the background. Playing the song this week, I found that every time it came on I was roused from my semi-slumber as my brain started focusing on all the intricacies of the track. Pulsating, arpeggiated synths and synth bass keep you engaged whilst guitar riffs and idiosyncratic vocals bring even more satisfying elements to the party. I think you’ll love this track by Lost Vegas.
YAEVIN » All I Have
‘All I Have’ is a slow-burning smoothie that you’ll be singing all day. Try and get that melody riff out your head, just try! Yaevin’s delicate vocals seem to combine those 90’s flavours that make you think of the best of Kelly Rowland (on that Nelly song) and Mariah Carey (when she could sing). The whole track is a nostalgia trip and I am so here for it, but what’s more, there is genuinely good and well-crafted songwriting at its core. When RnB is this simple and effective, it has to be down to the quality of the artist’s writing, performance and arrangement. Yaevin’s offering here is second to none and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to the deluxe package of smooth sounds, enchanting lyrics and flawless vocals. Throw those baggy jeans on and hop to it.
Campbell Sibthorpe » The Sun Appeared
I know it might be unusual to shout about an intro track from an EP as the thing to go and check out from an artist, but people, you’ve not listened to ‘The Sun Appeared’ by Campbell Sibthorpe. How captivating, how atmospheric, how beautiful. I’ve had this one minute and thirty-two-second track quietly looping for the past 20 minutes and my only qualm is – can you make it a half-hour longer? Please, just for me? This tiny gem is a complete testament to Sibthorpe’s songwriting talents and it’s sure to lead you on to discover the rest of his music, in which there are even more treasures to be found. This humble folk artist is someone who could easily soundtrack your day out frolicking in the countryside, so go on, begin your country getaway with ‘The Sun Appeared’.
Foxgluvv » Don’t Text Back
Foxgluvv is an artist we’ve included in our NMS playlist previously, so if you’ve been doing your homework they might already be on your radar. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Foxgluvv is the queen of satisfyingly sassy lyrics and poptastic productions that she’s labelled as ‘hungover pop’. ‘Don’t Text Back’ was her summer release and exemplifies her punchy, comedic take on the dangerous world of SMS text messaging. Relatable and deftly delivered in an impressive pop package, you’ll be sorry that you can’t get straight out to a live show to see this sophisticated pop queen shower you with melodic, hungover words of wisdom, in person. However, there’s plenty of her music to get your teeth into in the meantime and keep an eye out for more releases from Foxgluvv.
Zoe Graham » Gradual Move
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve played this track by Zoe Graham. It’s been a LOT of times. At first, you’re just floored by her voice, its depth and tone, the stunning production (which runs throughout her EP) and the unique perspective she offers in her songwriting. ‘Gradual Move’, for all it’s pop leanings, is a very moving and sentimental look back at the last traces of adolescence, which the artist is hyper-aware that she’s nearly left behind. To hear music that’s clearly been made by someone who has an immense understanding of how to use their voice, both in terms of writing, melodically and in delivery, and to have that paired with the most appropriate and innovative kind of production imaginable (it all works seriously well) is the most satisfying experience as a listener. You are in for such a treat if you’ve yet to discover the wonders of this young Scottish lass. Go and listen to ‘Gradual Move’ and you’ll never look back.
Jens Kuross » Painkiller
I’ve been listening to Jens Kuross for a few years now, since the release of his enigmatic single ‘Spiralling’, in 2017. He recently released his debut album, and I feel like he’s been kept as my little secret for long enough now and I’m willing to share. The track ‘Painkiller’ is a stunning, well-paced number that neatly showcases Kuross’s heart-wrenching vocals, skillful (to say the least) drum arrangements and his simple knack at gently building a track with detailed electronic embellishments. The LA based alternative singer-songwriter is a somewhat enigmatic character himself, using his social media accounts to spread the word about his music whilst lambosting the very notion that we’re expected to constantly have to shout about ourselves into the vapid online void. I feel your pain Jens. Anyway, allow me to do some shouting on the artist’s behalf in the hope that if even a few of you go on to be fans of Mr Kuross, I will have done you a great service.
Kathryn Joseph » From When I Wake The Want Is
In a very real way, I felt something change when I first listened to this song by Scottish artist Kathryn Joseph. It was like discovering a previously unknown species that, upon further exploration, you realise has been a vital part of making the world turn and how did you ever manage to live without it? Hauntingly beautiful, bone-chillingly profound doesn’t even cover it for me. This artist stopped me in my tracks, and quite frankly, I’ve never been the same since. Joseph has a way of inviting you into her world and articulating the difficult and messy aspects of life and love that we all will have faced or will be facing at some point. Finding an artist whose perspective and understanding of certain experiences connects with you so deeply is like discovering the antidote to loneliness. Knowing that I have the music of Kathryn Joseph to turn to in times of need is a most comforting thing and I do hope you’ll find some of the same solaces as I did in this song.
Make sure to follow our playlist on Spotify as we will be updating it and adding more hidden treasures every Thursday.