Tag Archives: london

The Japanese House – Teeth

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This article first appeared on The Daily Listening.

Sounding a little familiar? If you’re a fan of The 1975 I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so. Although if you have beef with that you can get right out. Listening to The Japanese House on repeat you can’t help but picture some of the aforementioned bands previous work and see the similarities. But then again, there’s a reason both are punching huge accolades at the moment, maybe one more than the other but who’s counting?

Based on previous reports, there aren’t many details floating around about The Japanese House, other than he is apparently Amber Bain, a 19-year old solo artist who hails from London, England. If you knew this when you listened to his work so far, you’d start to the piece together the puzzle that mystery is his vibe. The ethereal highs and lows of his latest work, “Teeth” permeate with so much seasoned bravado it’s hard to imagine it’s not the side-project of a more well-travelled indie purveyor. The track is minimalism the way it’s meant to be done. Deep, dark mourning synth strikes when the vocalist seems down and pulls together a triumphant, melancholy tune.

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Dalaro – Synthetic

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UK based Dalaro released the single “Synthetic” recently and it lives up to it’s name. Although being quite full-sounding, it’s got something slippery about it. It’s a very Beat Connection-esque sound they’ve got going on here. Tropical, or at least foreign sounding guitar melodies permeate the track from beginning to end, with whispy vocals a constant throughout. Even when they rise into the chorus, there’s still something a little hollow about the whole ordeal. Not a surprise given they’re named after a small part of Stockholm in Sweden.

I’d imagine live would be a whole other ordeal, with a hugely packed climax hitting towards the end of the track. It’s all a bit stunning and even more so exciting.

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Matt Woods – Impression

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This minimalist piece with RnB stylings by solo artist Matt Woods is unreal. Hailing from London this guy takes after all the Triple-J-esque acts that scored so well on the Hottest 100 this year (re Chet Faker).  Interesting fact about Matty boy, he’s a former choirboy, who admits he enjoyed the commitment and has taken a lot of learnings from his classically trained days.

The track “Impression” is a shallow, heartbreaking arrangement delivered to perfection in this humble recording. It’s a much needed break from many of the up-tempo tracks to be released by some of my favourites artists this year, and composed in a way that could have you thinking he’s been around for years. All in all, the catalogue from this fresh artist is well seasoned and enjoyable.

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Bear’s Den – Think Of England

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This one is proper great. West London folk trio Bear’s Den have released a beautiful new single “Think Of England” and appropriately melancholy film clip to pair with it. The song is a deep ballad that shows once again that the brits just bloody know how to get it done. They take any genre there is and do it better.

Minimalistic accompaniments pair with guitar that only peeks its head out when most appropriate. Horns play another helper, but it’s really in the emotive and crushing lyrics of frontman Andrew Davie that provide the cut through that hits you deep in your soul.

The single comes from the band’s debut album Islands, which was released via Communion Records/Dew Process in October of last year.

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LIVE REVIEW: SOHN + KLO @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (29.01.15)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Promotional material for SOHN’s current visit to Australia have mostly led with the whole London born / Vienna based thing, and it’s clear why. The talented multi-instrumentalist’s debut album Tremorswas unique and brilliant, even ground-breaking in a way, in that it took that foundation of a very British sounding electronic indie and swirled it together with an inherently European influence to create something fans hadn’t quite heard before.

His sweet, smooth vocal range and eccentric musical stylings shot straight into the hearts of a diverse range of music fans worldwide and led to sold out shows in Melbourne during his last Aussie expedition. The man is back in the country to play Laneway Festival, and on Thursday he took a detour in Sydney to give the fans a more intimate show at the Oxford Art Factory.

Melbourne natives Klo hit the stage in Sydney for the first time as the crowd began to trickle in. In fact, according to vocalist Chloe Kaul it was only their sixth live performance of all time, if you could believe. They warmed up the middle part of the evening with smooth samples and wispy dream-pop vocals. Synth scattered in and out of the intro track, setting the foundation for a strong set. Their sound in the early parts sounded something liken to indie blog favourites Noble Oak or even Keep Shelly In Athens. Their speedy, melodic meshing of drum and bass absolutely killed it. While their banter was of the shy-guy kind, the duo took to each track with masterful precision, playing a tight set full of catchy beats and an inherent cool-ness that could’ve had the average punter mistaking them for a headlining act, and justifiably so.

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The hooded figure of SOHN appeared, applauding the crowd as he kicked his headliner show off with one of the older tracks, “Warnings”. Deep, stormy grumblings, emotional bass tones and transcendent synth quickly filled the room like a hypothetical drip-tank, step by little step engulfing our ears and minds as the light show flourished around the centre figure. Sweet indie mixed with a sort of R ’n B vocal styling. It’s the kind of futuristic scene I’d imagine would go solid paired up with virtual reality goggles and SOHN (real name Christopher Taylor) played to it well, morphing the Oxford Art Factory into a futuristic theme park of sight and sound.

More melancholy tunes filled the factory floor with the latest single in the arsenal, “The Chase”, and it was clear from the beginning that SOHN has legit the most spot on vocals I’ve ever heard. This kind of performance deserves to be heard somewhere like the Opera House. It’s like, sit down, listen, fucking appreciate. That cavernous, sinking digital work and elevating melodies meshed together like long lost friends. “Tremors” began in the third spot like an old fairy tale, with spotlights fighting for the figure at the centre, an emotional rendition of the title track from his debut album picked up beat and had the crowd swaying and feeling these tunes with honesty.

After a bit of friendly banter, a brooding version of “Veto” played out with dangerous vibes. With the instrumentalist firmly at the front, we got back down to business, and that’s really what he was best at. Churning out perfection with every tune, every note and every tone in his voice, exactly on point. Innocently appreciative beforehand, the crowd stood to attention as “Bloodflows” began to play. The slow, minimalist intro guided by the now rose light show morphed into a furious race to the outdo, accelerated by strobes to pair with the emotion of the tune, blitzing and awe inspiring halfway point. “Tempest” is another one of his more minimalistic outings, in a similar vein to something like Imogen Heap, requiring solid stand-alone vocals. At several points during the rendition the crowd erupted into applause at the simple fact that it was unbelievable how much he just kept nailing line after line.

“Artifice” was a personal favourite of mine, kicking into gear after some of the more moody tunes, firing off with hardly any warning, a simple “Are you guys ready?” from the man at the front and we’re straight into it. Live, this one just transcends every expectation. It’s catchy, emotional, melodic and features electronics at their best. I gotta tell you guys, you can’t beat it. You just can’t.

With fleeting synth and a sweater down, SOHN finished up with “Lessons”, swaying back and forth and feeding off the crowd who were obviously impressed. The track, which spun like a ferris wheel, slipped up and down with a harsh robotic feel. When the breakdown came the whole factory floor were clapping in unison on the beat to take it out. The old fake goodnight scheme was pulled as always and they were back in an instant with their single “The Wheel” and it’s clear why they left the best until last. It’s a beautifully static track that is just mountainous when played live. Uniquely angelic vocals with fluttering falsetto once again permeated the final outing in Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory.

He’s been pegged as a musical virtuoso. And I’ll be honest, from the album recorded, I kind of got it, but I didn’t get it. After seeing this act live, it’s crystal. Fuck cleanliness, SOHN is next to godliness.

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