Tag Archives: EP

Jack Garratt releases Synethesiac EP

SYNESTHESIAC

British singer, songwriter, musician and producer Jack Garratt releases his latest EP entitled Synesthesiac via Interscope Records this week.  Synesthesiac is currently available for digital download through iTunes and Spotify. Synthesthesiac was produced by Garratt and features his previous single “The Love You’re Given,” plus three new tracks, “Chemical”, “Synesthesia Pt. 1” and “Lonesome Valley”.

Garratt hasn’t made it to Australia yet, but has enjoyed a bit of play on Triple J following some huge praise in the UK after his debut Remnants EP, which also racked up over a million plays online and led to several sold-out shows in London. “Chemical” received its first airplay in the U.K. on influential BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe’s show.   Garratt’s powerful songwriting and incredible vocals have led to numerous festival appearances including this summer’s prestigious Reading and Leeds festivals in the U.K.

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Cosmo Sheldrake – Pelican We

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This track by Cosmo Sheldrake is proper weird as fuck, with intricate slithering film-scape style intros and lyrics documenting a love for pelicans. But at the same time, it’s actually kind of cool as fuck. The whole 4-track “Pelicans We”, is an eccentric piece of work to say the least, coming from the young songwriter and musical experimenter and I thought I’d give it a whirl for those of you out there with very specific tastes.
Although this is my first experience with the artist, Cosmo Sheldrake has seemingly had a pretty darn impressive 2014, and looks to continue that this year with the new release. His sold-out debut 7″ single picked up support from the likes of Radio 1, NME and The Guardian as well as reaching #1 on the Hype Machine chart and surpassing 650,000 plays on SoundCloud. He has also rubbed shoulders with some pretty impressive cats, including supporting the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Johnny Flynn, and Sylvan Esso, besides opening for the Mystery Jets at the Barbican. He has played sold out shows in Paris, Berlin and London.
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Golden Coast – Take You Away

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Golden Coast have proved themselves by now. With only single releases to date, we’re still awaiting that all important debut EP or LP yet to be determined, but for now we’re content. Their latest single release is the bright and chirpy “Take You Away”, spouting out fountains of happiness and bubblegum-like melodics all throughout it’s business.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Great Good Fine OK – 2M2H (2015 EP)

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Great Good Fine OK continue to prove over and over again that they are the most badass, smooth stylers in the world of dance and indie-pop. Following the release of their debut EP Body Diamond last year, I made a point to mention that there’s little room for mistakes in an EP like there is in full length albums, and they smashed it out of the park with a pretty-much-perfect collection showcasing a natural ear for catchy song-writing. In 2015, they’re up to their old tricks as they return with a killer new EP entitled 2M2H (an abbreviation of the title track “Too Much To Handle”), set to come out in Australia on March 16th.

Opening it up with the title track “Too Much To Handle” they lead with a massive middle finger to anyone who doubted they could put together another release as strong as the last. Creeping in with static club-thump style synth and those brilliant dreamlike vocals fluttering around the verses, it leads into the build up to a chorus that spews perfection. This one is a dance track with some proper indie creds. It’s like…if David Guetta was suddenly actually really good.

One tune on this EP that struck me particularly, was the funk infused “Without You”. We continue with the trademark whispering vocals of frontman Jon Sandler which sprint around the backing with the type of precision that leaves you unable to keep still. It’s a very unique vocal tone and one that will be a major factor on whether or not you like this band. But it’s like eating snails. A lot of people are turned off at the thought, but if you like them, you fucking crave them. Creeping guitar parts and deep, probing synth provide a thick backing for what is an epic dance track; one that manages to still portray a heartfelt story of disappointment in failed love while keeping you bouncing around the room with happiness. Particularly around the 3:30 minute mark where it hits the outro, the boys round it off with funky guitar parts like the seasoned professionals that they appear to be.

“Carried Away” is proper old school funk. Taking listeners back to the 70’s with clanging disco style guitars and mixed again with the vocals, it almost resembles a bit of a Bee Gee’s type vibe. Obviously it’s not completely old school, again the electronics dominate throughout, slowing the speed down a little and the output it so sure of itself, and it should be. It’s definitely a sweet “strutting” song, and if you think that’s a terrible way to describe anything, listen and tell me I’m wrong.

If you thought you were impressed with 2M2H so far, wait until you hear that tropical popsters St Lucia are involved. That’s right, they’re a featured artist on the final track “Something To Believe In”, and man this partnership works out. The ethereal, out-in-space synth of Great Good Fine OK when meshed with the tropical-pop stylings of their featured artist just feels right. The deeper vocals of St Lucia frontman Jean-Philip Grobler are a welcome addition. A seductive saxophone solo permeates the outdo of this track , sliding around the slick arrangement like a dodgy carnival game, leaving you sufficiently entertained but wanting more.

Great Good Fine OK’s took all the stuff that impressed us in the first release and went double or nothing, and it certainly worked out. 2M2H is a crazy good EP. Start to finish, it’s filled with happy dance vibes, heartfelt and honestly delivered lyrics and high level, naturally sexy songwriting. With not a single second on the record wasted, they spit hooks all over the place in an effort that will make them your new favourite band. A lot of the time when someone asks you what bands you’re listening to at the moment, it’s real fucking hard to come up with something solid because it’s always changing. But if anyone asks me for the rest of the year, I can solidly say; I’m listening to Great Good Fine OK.

*****

9.2 / 10

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ALBUM REVIEW: Clockwise – Dancing World

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

The latest EP from Australian-born, LA based artist Clockwise, Dancing World, is an unlikely arrangement. I say unlikely, because despite being labelled “Indie-Pop” on the ol’ Wikipages, if you listened to their collection here you would immediately peg the outfit as electro or synth-pop or another of those new-aged genres that continue to pop up in the wave of innovative, non-traditional acts that spout keys, synths and digital effects as the main feature in their musical arsenal. There’s a tinge of traditional indie or folk that shines through what is predominantly a dance record. It’s unique enough to earn it a tip of the cap, and a cheeky tag to keep tabs on as they continue to develop into a powerhouse act in years to come.

Strings permeate the introduction of this EP, in the form of the title track “Dancing World”, welcoming us to a five-track that is elegantly rough and streaked with attitude when combined in full. Vocals from the man behind the moniker, Andy Clockwise, spit with persuasiveness in between the staccato plucking of strings, samples of static guitar and wispy electronic samples, all contributing to make this a solid opener, setting the tone for the rest of the EP.

The deep, grumbling electronic bass lines in “Hopeless” take us into the urban soundscape of LA. As the moody vocal lines carry us through each verse, it contrasts wildly against the ethereal falsetto female vocals that break between the verses and choruses. It’s a tune spouting a theme of giving up with bravado. The type of messy, out-of-control stage before the clean slate, complete with beautiful falling chime synth chopping up the second verse. It was a good choice for the single on the EP, as it’s easily the most likeable and recognisable song on the EP. The outsider, “Murphy’s Law” begins with the best parts of indie. Carrying on with sounds that we may have originally heard from acts like Two Door Cinema Club if they collaborated with legends like Talking Heads. It’s a musical journey with a clear beginning, hardships and a solidifying end.

Every EP has to have the token softer song, although not always an acoustic ballad as such. Dancing World has two. “Steam Dreams” chugs along at a slow pace with emotive energy and those brilliant female vocals here to help again. It has a very old school feel that’s familiar and folk-like while shifting the format enough for the modern day music lover to take notice. We end on another slower track, a seven-minute doozy entitled “War Story Part One” (Part Two TBC). This concluding song builds on the whole electro-folk thing Clockwise have going on and absolutely nail it to the wall with their stamp firmly printed. If you stripped back the electronics it could’ve been a folk-epic back in the day, and it’s uncanny how much it kind of sounds like “You Are My Sunshine”.

Although I feel like the title “Dancing World” is a little misleading for an EP that is mostly crafty, delicious electronic folk tunes, some of it does have that head-bopping feel and I guess that’s what Clockwise has done with this effort. It’s a collection of positive, electronically tinged, folk / indie tunes that have an obvious feeling of a personal journey, or a personal state of mind. Whether you interpret it as your own or stick with the narrative, after finishing this EP beginning to end, you’ll have no troubles stepping into Andy Clockwise’s Dancing World.

*****

8.1 / 10

Dancing World is available now for purchase through iTunes or streaming with Spotify.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Pepa Knight – Hypnotized Vol. 1

Hypnotized Vol. 1

This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Side-tracking from the successful ethnic-pop collaboration that is Jinja Safari, Central Coast native Pepa Knight released his debut EP Hypnotized Vol. 1 last Friday and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Alongside an exciting start to his solo act, just over a month ago the man welcomed a baby boy into the world, which would be sure to inspire any regular man let alone a musical maestro. Perhaps a lot of that life affirming, dawn-of-a-new-day type of thinking shines through in the new work. Perhaps it’s just a really great listen. The way this EP reaches out and grabs at your heart and mind, I think you’d be a fool to listen to it and believe it’s anything but the first option.

The record introduces itself with the opening track “Hypnotized”, beginning the journey that is getting to know Pepa Knight, because that’s what a lot of this collection actually feels like. A journey and an experience. Sounds wanky, I know. But seriously, listen to it and tell me I’m wrong. It’s probably why his live performances are well complimented by 3D glasses and are commonly held in teepees. It’s something you need to actually feel to believe. The title track is littered with world music inspired strings and percussion, brought together in a likeable collaboration in large part thanks to Pepa’s pop infused vocals, which add that much needed element of familiarity. Near the end we hear the words, “Do you feel alive?”, offering an eager clue at the tangibility of what’s to come.

The most obvious choice for highlight of Hypnotized Vol. 1 would be the debut single “Rahh!”. Feeling like an incoherent and passionate scream at the world, there’s something very Gotye-esque about it, with much catchier undertones and use of the signature sitar and thumping drums. It’s an uplifting, life-affirming collage of travel, freedom, love and loss. A cacophony of every feeling you’ve ever felt meshed into one. With this number, I suggest you just put your ear-buds in, close your eyes and listen. You’ll fast find that you love wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.

“The Desert Guide” and “Fortress” continue on with the ethereal, wispy vocal style Pepa seems to have patented throughout the recording process. While the EP doesn’t exactly hit its peak at this point in my opinion, these tracks provide good fodder for a respectable first offering. It’s here where the experimental nature of the whole project shines through, and will earn big points with fans of his previous stuff.

The latest single release, “Coyote Choir”, is a happy little tune, giving a courageous nod to harder times. It’s a very solid number, perhaps the easiest to digest on the collection if you’re into simpler pop tunes. That’s not to say it’s actually “simple” in any recognisable way. It’s just very heightening. Again, intensely busy percussion sections mix with an uncommon mix of string elements to create something truly unique. Not just because of the fact that this is a style of music not often heard on the Australian circuit, but because Pepa somehow manages to mix his pop prowess with the unknown in such a masterful way. Honestly, in songs like “Coyote Choir”, the most unique part about it is that when it comes to pure likability and respect for musicianship, you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

I know this is supposed to be an album review. But it feels like an injustice for someone like me to talk about Pepa Knight’s Hyptonized Vol. 1 in terms of the music. The man is a fucking talented virtuoso, way outside of my ability to describe. It’s much easier to listen to the album and just get happy about life.

*****

8.7 / 10

Hypnotized Vol. 1 is available now. For more information visit the online store HERE

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Parade Of Lights – The Island

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I know this is late. I mean Parade Of Lights released this EP about 7 months ago. But while the rest of the world rejoiced, Australia only received availability of the rest of the work yesterday! Previously, I’d posted about Golden and We’re The Kids, but after hearing the rest of the effort it’s clear that the standout track from the EP is this one, The Island.

Basically, it kills. Synth pulses throughout the traffic of the track, flowing brilliantly against the lead vocalists emotionally charged melodies. It’s a historically effective pop track with a cheeky nod to the indie side in us all.

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Coasts – A Rush Of Blood EP

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The second full release EP from UK based Coasts, sees them team up with producers Mike Spenser (Rudimental / Alex Clare) and James Rushent (Does It Offend You, Yeah?) on A Rush Of Blood. With that said, anything associated with Does It Offend You, Yeah? gets me tingly.

Their singles in the lead up have been unreal and it’s something we’ve very much been looking forward to. Although not yet available in Australia Their edgy style smashes around the pre-conceptions of traditional British indie music, proving a fresh and welcome take on the genre.

Released on the independant label Tidal Recordings, Coasts have recently signed to Capitol Records for the USA after being confirmed for both Coachella and Lollapalooza 2015. The debut album will be released summer 2015, so watch out.

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PROM – Switch On

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The label child of Ghost Beach are back with another killer single ahead of their October 10 release; the debut EP Keeping Company. In the first couple of bars, the new single Switch On already exceeds the impressive nature of the first Flickers. This is a serious pop tune with legs for days.

The artist behind it, PROM are phenomenal up and comers that were hand plucked for the debut of Crazy Heart records, and this new track is a perfect example of why they were chosen.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Great Good Fine OK – Body Diamond

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This article first appeared on The AU Review

Great Good Fine OK are a relatively fresh face in the electro-pop playground and even more so to the sunny shores of Australia. They’ve slowly but surely built up a grass roots fan base in the US that has them hyped by some of the biggest names in the blog-o-sphere. But their anonymity is really the most exciting part about this all. Their debut EP Body Diamond kicked into digital stores last Friday, showcasing four tracks that combine to make one of the most emotionally charged dance releases of the year.

You’re The One For Me opens the mix as you’d expect. It doesn’t excite too quickly, building slowly with perfect additions of speedier electronics as it goes and climaxing in the chorus with lyrics that follow its title. Although not exactly the highlight of the record, it lays a solid foundation for the three pop tunes with serious bravado to follow it.

If you had to choose one to give a good wrap of the vibe of this EP, Not Going Home is the clear single in this release. Released earlier in the year as the lead up to Body Diamond continued, it’s a glittery jungle beat ripe with infectious ups and downs, contrasting a booming electronic bass backdrop against the vulnerable vocals melodies of frontman John Sandler. It’s the best case on here to say that Great Good Fine OK are real contenders when it comes to crafting electronic dance tracks with real, honest heart. Something that is increasingly rare in this genre.

By My Side is where this one really grabs you by the ears like an angry Grandmother, with an air of importance and authority that makes you stand up and pay attention in the first few seconds. More funky falsetto vocal drives pollute this track, showcasing a new age rendition of 80s pop, backed by horns, tribal drums and quirky synth selections. In terms of the running order, the finisher Say It All wraps things up quite nicely. It’s a slower, more repetitive number that bleeds a little dream-pop. Despite the general fun-times vibe of Great Good Fine OK, they finish on their most vulnerable track to date, making a last plea to grab listeners worldwide with the lyrics, “I’ve given you everything”.

On an album, you can afford a few misses among the hits. On an EP however, there is little room for mistakes. That’s where the impressive nature of Body Diamond really hits home. In my opinion, Great Good Fine OK’s debut is most likely the sharpest collection of indie-pop songs in EP form to be released this year. It’s one of those albums where everything seems to be in its place. Every synth, every guitar, every vocal melody. Each track has a proper purpose, contributing to make the exciting debut of (hands down) the best new electro-pop act of the year. Basically, it rules.

9.1 / 10

*****

Body Diamond is available for streaming on Spotify, and available on iTunes.

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