I’m not quite sure how we’ve made it to May already, but I’d quite like people to stop telling me we’re halfway through the year, that’s just frightening. Keeping me calm however, is this month’s collection of beautiful finds! Ranging from enigmatic instrumentals from Sunthrower (pictured) to nostalgic indie-electro in the track ‘Bira’, to 90s fused R&B right up to the epic pop goodness of QUIETLOVE. This feature keeps uncovering so many hidden gems and although we’ve shared some of our favourites in the following reviews, there are a total of 39 new tracks to delve into every month on our ‘Late to the Party’ playlist. Go forth and bask in this new music goodness.
Sunthrower » The Evening Of
I think for the first time ever we have an instrumental track claiming the top spot with the artist Sunthrower set as our feature image this month. I was totally and utterly captivated by this enigmatic, atmospheric and spectral track. The deep and resonant piano chords and the speckled production textures instantly create a sense of intrigue. You’re rewarded quickly as the piece opens up through the introduction of ricocheting, bright drums and resounding swells of chiming synth pads. Almost as quickly as it came into being, the sounds dissolve, the mercurial textures dissipate and you are returned to the simple piano chords, punctuated with those bell-like synths before they too finally retreat. Sunthrower, the artist, has a fairly cryptic profile and, at this time, a non-existent social media presence which somehow manages to add to the enigmatic power of their music as well as a feeling of anti-establishment realness. Listen to ‘The Evening Of’ and then go bask in the full EP.
Fox Evades » Bira
‘Bira’ is the dreamy, feel-good indie-electro track from Manchester artist, producer and writer Fox Evades. I say ‘feel-good’ because of how heavily melodic the production is and the playful groove adds to that uptempo energy. The delicate and melancholy vocals add huge depth to ‘Bira’ and the poignant lyric weaves an altogether nostalgic perspective through this chilled indie number. Fox Evades exudes a laid-back and confident style and this modest, independently crafted track has all the qualities of an epic, summer indie anthem. This is going to accompany me on all my summer drives and holiday adventures…just as soon as I get a car, and they let me travel again. If you’re looking for music to gently coax you out of your shell and lift your spirits, then Fox Evades should be on your radar.
Racayan, Courtney Bennet » What I Need
I am so here for the 90’s flavoured production and astoundingly silky vocals that run through ‘What I Need’. If a song could be a chocolate, this would be one of those rich, praline truffles. The languid bass, thick synths, never-ending percussive groove and Bennet’s infinite harmonies and lustrous tone all exude a warmth and ease that are a total pleasure to listen to. There are so many golden nuggets in the production, whether it’s the casual stops and starts to let vocal moments shine or the artfully syncopated percussion and trap-style beats that seamlessly blend the organic with the electronic, you will find more to take in with every listen. I don’t know what the recording process was like, but it seems like these two collaborators have hit the sweet spot creatively and each of their talents are clear to see.
Maya Yenn » tiptoe
The aggressive ticking of a clock over a sparse bass rift is the first thing to alert the senses in this debut track by Maya Yenn. The teasing whispers and eerie textures pull you further into this dark, playful world and help to solidify the creepy narrative and unsettling production. There is an air of the alt-pop Billie Eilish in the left-field sounds and intimate vocals, but that’s not to say Yenn hasn’t clearly established her own, unique style and perspective in ‘tiptoe’. The artist is already showcasing quite a defined creative identity both in her unconventional lyrical ideas and the imaginative use of textures. Whether it’s the ominous ticking clock, the panned, flighty percussive details, or even the creaking door, Yenn manages to combine each element to build the story and tension and make for a very interesting listen. I’m looking forward to more to come.
The Tiger Moths » The Wind in Your Sails
What wholesome goodness is this! Bright guitar strums, melancholy story-telling and delightful, musically driven arrangements. I’m tired of the term ‘easy-listening having connotations of elevator music or background to a restaurant, when the true definition should be music that provides comfort, ease and enjoyment to the listener. For me ‘The Wind in Your Sails’ exemplifies the very best of this – there are no sudden surprises, gratuitous production flourishes or anything that diverts from the endeavour to serve the song. I think when gigs start to waken up again, The Tiger Moths should be on your list of acts to see live. Their craftsmanship and honest approach to songwriting and arrangement are a good reminder of how simple, honest music making is always the best kind.
Jessica Rouch » Power Dynamic
Not one, but two instrumentals this month you say! Well, yes. There was so much enchanting and intimate beauty in Jessica Rouch’s delicate piano composition that it was a staunch favourite this month. I always admire artists who manage to convey so much emotion and feeling in their work by exercising a certain level of restraint and balance. ‘Power Dynamic’ is so effective at captivating and holding the listener’s attention because of its simplicity and attention to detail. There is ample space for the delicate piano delays to ricochet through the track and the subtle use of panning the strings from one ear to the other emphasises the intimacy with the listener even further. The piece develops a more playful, lighter voice as the strings and keys interact before returning to a deeper, more haunting tone to conclude this wistful composition.
Brendan Lane » MagicI’ve come to realise over the years that no matter how hard I try to fight it, I am a country fan. There, the cat’s out the bag and if you were honest with yourself, you’d all realise there’s a country fan inside of you, too. Brendan Lane has such a gloriously rich, deep and soulful voice and his charming songwriting and effective, atmospheric production worked to create a beautiful song in ‘Magic’. The sincerity in his songwriting and simple embellishments of harmony and sweet piano chords have the desired effect, as you find yourself rooting for Brendan and Susan (the subject of the song). I realise it’s this unabashed sincerity and earnestness that may cause some to maintain their aversion to truth and beauty of country music, but I am ready to embrace the love and innocence and Brendan Lane can sing his beautiful country ballads to me any time.
QUIETLOVE » The Dream
Are you looking for some good quality summer pop to set you up for your day? Well, you’ve come to the right place as QUIETLOVE appears to be making dance-worthy pop tunes with huge production and the smoothest of vocals thrown in for good measure. ‘The Dream’ is an epic pop ballad with the credibility of quality songwriting and melody crafting to match the production wizardry going on. I loved the intimacy of the opening lines of this song and it quickly establishes that there is plenty of raw talent both vocally and in the songwriting to withstand the powerful electronic beats and arrangement. It’s certainly a song that could be stripped down to its bare bones and still make an impact, but when you can have it elevated to the lofty heights of poptastic production and amplifies the dream world you’ve been seeking, why wouldn’t you?
Mourning Routine » Theme Parks
There’s something so punchy and playful in this cheeky indie bop by Mourning Routine. At just 20 years old, there is a strong identity and musical conviction in this young artist. The hazy, gritty vocals and distorted guitars are placed with intention and instead of creating anything remotely wishy-washy they provide an earthy anchor amongst the playful synth sounds and chiming pads. ‘Theme Parks’, like the title may suggest, is a bit of a roller coaster as you go from one dreamy interlude to being catapulted to an energetic and rowdy high. But, just like the best roller coaster rides, the foundations are hella strong and the engineering is of the highest order, so that you feel safe in the hands of the operator, or in this case, the artist. I was more than happy to be flung about and enjoy the undulating and peppy ride created by Mourning Routine.
Late To The Party » May 2021 » Monthly Compilation
This coverage was created in collaboration with Musosoup as part of the #SustainableCurator movement.