Monthly Archives: January 2013

Freya Roy – Wait In The Water EP

On your first listen of Freya Roy, your heart will melt as you listen to that mature voice, the relaxing guitar riffs and the intricate lyrics. Her songs ooze intelligence and understanding. And for her to only be sixteen with this level of talent makes this EP even more breath-taking.

Freya Roy

Young singer/songwriter, Freya Roy

At sixteen, Freya Roy is producing music that would be expected of someone double her age. Her voice has a quality in it that adds years to her vocals. Her lyrics aren’t simple, they aren’t ‘pop’ song lyrics. They have meaning and an understanding of the world which would be mistaken for someone twice her age. Freya Roy is a solo artist with a huge amount of potential and at only sixteen, her music will flourish as she does.

Wait In The Water is her debut EP released in December last year on her independent music label, FCR Records. Every track is memorable, every song has something that makes it stick in your memory. She’s not an artist you can passively listen to. Her voice enchants you, her lyrics tease you and the music relaxes you. Freya Roy is a wonderful musician who knows how to blend everything together to make fantastic and flawless folk-inspired songs.

Title track, Wait In The Water, breaks you into the EP with soft vocals and a peaceful guitar riff. Straight away, you would not guess this singer/songwriter is sixteen. Her vocals are perfection in this track.

Do You See is another great song on the EP. The lyrics, “Do you really see what I mean but they say no. They do wear those eyes that look down on you alone…” shows her ability to put her own experiences into beautiful and deep song writing. A skill that many musicians never quite manage to this extent.

Take the Ground Away is the best track on the EP though. It has brilliant, philosophical lyrics at the beginning about trust, “Takes years to build trust and seconds to break/Do those around you say that it’s a promise they can make/Just lie under the open sun, smile oh you must/Stay close to the ground as it’s the only thing you can trust…” I find it amazing that a sixteen year old understands life in the way Freya Roy appears to. She has an intelligence and ability in song writing that is so much older than her actual age. She fascinates me. If you like Regina Spektor, you’ll love Take the Ground Away. The piano is influenced by Spektor’s style and the vocals are also sung in a similar way and range. It’s dark and reminds me of Regina Spektor’s, Laughing With.

Not only does Freya Roy produce a wonderfully blissful studio recording, she is also spectacular live. When performing live, she uses a loop peddle to achieve the dynamic effect of the EP. She is definitely a musician to watch out for this year. You can watch her performing live below:

To find out more about this artist, visit her website here.

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Doldrums – Anomaly

Doldrums, AKA Airick Woodhead, is back with his brand new single Anomaly. After numerous EP releases on independent labels, eagerly devoured remixes for the likes of Peaking Lights, Grimes & Portishead and years developing his craft as a multi-talented musician trying his hand at DJing, producing and performing live, Anomaly precedes the release of 22 year old Woodhead’s debut album, Lesser Evil.

Lesser Evil comes out 25 February through Souterrain Transmissions in Europe (Arbutus in the US) and will be accompanied by a series of European release shows. The record was made between July 2011 & May 2012 through the cracked screen of a borrowed Macbook – a screen which was scanned and fittingly used as the album’s artwork.

Doldrums, Airick Woodhead

Toronto based band, Doldrums

Earlier Doldrums releases were constructed using solid samples of anything from 60s girl groups and Bollywood psychedelia to dial up modems and feedback. However, Lesser Evil is woven together from a more focused pallet of sounds; warped vocals through to analogue electronic gear.

Throughout all of it, the dance jams, the abused samples, the wildly swaying moods and tempos, Lesser Evil is sewn together by the distinctive tones in Woodhead’s voice, ranging from the tender femininity of Sunrise and Holographic Sandcastles, to full-blown, tripped out howling on She is the Wave. His voice can be mistaken on Anomaly for a female voice – just another original aspect to Woodhead’s music. It’s a more chilled out track compared to previous release, She is the Wave (which can be viewed below).

Doldrums is all about the use of electronic noises to make sophisticated,  modern and slightly unusual electro pop. It’s something you will either love or hate, there’s no in between here. Anomaly has a very 80s feel to it and the 80s were again something you either loved or hated. Anomaly, however reminiscent of the sounds in the 80s, does also feel very modern and is another step on from Egypt or Copper Girl. The great thing about Woodhead’s ability to make and produce music is that you can’t guess it’s the same person when you hear his range of tracks. Egypt sounds different from Jump On which again sounds entirely different from She is the Wave or brand new track, Anomaly. There’s no room to get bored.

Catch Doldrums live at the dates below:

20 February – London @ Corsica Studios (NME Awards Show)
21 February – Brighton @ Green Door Store
22 February – Paris @ Fireworks! Festival @ Point Ephémère
23 February – Amsterdam @ Nieuwe Anita

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Maglia Rosa Group – Nighthawks EP

Maglia Rosa Group produce music that would be hard to come across elsewhere. Maglia Rosa Group consists of brother and sister, Daisy Lawrence (lead vocals, guitar, synth-organ, flute) and Sam Lawrence (guitar/piano/backing vocals) with Owen Cox (drums) and Matt Gadd (bass). Combining chilled rock, slightly thematic music with operatic and classical vocals, this band sure do bring something completely new to the pop music scene.

And now they’ve just released their first EP, Nighthawks. With four splendid and anthemic tracks, Nighthawks really shows off what this band is all about. Daisy’s sweet, angelic and slightly choir like vocals compliment the chilled rock drum beats. The way that Cox plays the cymbals in the four tracks gives their music a really relaxing yet dark feel. It produces a strong and memorable rhythm in each of the songs.

Nighthawks Maglia Rosa Group

Maglia Rosa Group Nighthawks EP cover

First track, Nighthawks, will have you nodding and tapping along while Daisy’s vocals will remind you of Kate Bush. She can hit those high notes which gives the band a slightly unusual sound compared to most rock/pop bands – think of a gentle Evanescence. Nighthawks also has some fantastic flute towards the end, courtesy of Daisy, which leads towards some folk influences.

The three other tracks, Fallen Daughter, Blood Orange and Buckling, are just as interesting as Nighthawks. Maglia Rosa Group seem to be drawing more influences from electronic music with Fallen Daughter lending towards this style from the beginning. Fallen Daughter keeps you interested as the lyrics are hard to hear. Daisy’s vocals are very high in this track making them almost indistinguishable in a good way. It keeps you wanting to hear it more to figure out the story behind the song and with a title like Fallen Daughter, there must be some sort of darkness and sorrow behind it.

Buckling is the softer song of the four starting with a echoing guitar riff and gentle drum beat which gradually introduces those angelic vocals from Daisy again. It’s a great song to end the EP on.

Maglia Rosa Group are mysterious to me, you can’t fully understand what they’re about in one listen. They’re weird and unusual which keeps you wanting to hear more. They are not your typical ‘pop’ band, there’s more to them than that. That’s why Nighthawks is definitely worth more than one listen. You’ll find something new every time you press the play button.

You can check out the video for track, Nighthawks, below:

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Tall Poppies – All The Rave

Twins Susan and Catherine are the basis of Tall Poppies – a unique femme pop band with pitch perfect harmonies and an ear for memorable melodies.

Originating from Perth, Australia, the twins decided to grace England with their presence landing in London with a bass, a guitar and a broken PC. Having decided to leave Perth in fear that someone they know might see them perform, they flew to London to play gigs in the smokiest pubs, clubs and cafes. Finally, they scored a residency at a pub in Islington. To stop their set from becoming boring, they set themselves the challenge of writing a new song every week. Quite a hard challenge if you ask me.

After a while, Susan returned to Perth leaving Catherine alone in London. However, this didn’t stop the twins, who had been writing songs since they were nine, from writing together. Eventually, Catherine also flew back to Australia where the pair were reunited to find that their younger brother had become a drum extraordinaire. This led them to start jamming as a trio. Tall Poppies was officially formed.

Finally, the trio returned to London after recording their first album, Thursday. Now they are set to release their second album All The Rave and have been touring and recording in the UK, Germany and New York. Tall Poppies are now backed by German drummer  girl Milena and Irish violin maestro Dairmuid.

Tall Poppies

Australian twins, Susan and Catherine, of Tall Poppies

All The Rave is a great combination of easy pop tunes mixed with a few more unusual tracks. Title track, All The Rave, introduces the album with one of the twins singing “Love is just a big joke, honey, get yourself a new bloke” in the most soft and angelic vocals before the rest of the music kicks in, giving it a slightly folk feel. It’s like a funked up gypsy song.

No Reply, Anthony and George and Judy are some of the most intriguing tracks on this album. No Reply has a fantastic guitar riff right at the beginning which sets the song off to a perfect start. Upcoming single, Anthony, is a humorous song written about a gay man who one woman wishes would “swing the other way” so she could marry him. The twins sing some wonderful harmonies in this track which remain subtle and a real treat when you finally catch the ones you missed on the previous listen. The way they pronounce the words, “Anthony you are a dear friend to me/I would like to marry thee…” gives this song a satirical tone regarding the English language. This is what makes the song funny alongside the lyrics. It’s a well written, light-hearted track that will brighten your day, you just need to listen carefully.

George and Judy has a brilliant introductory bass riff before the guitar sweeps in gently to compliment it. George and Judy is probably one of the darker tracks on the record. Vocally, the twins sing slightly softer than in the other songs making it feel as if something seedy is taking place. It has a really catchy rhythm and melody which is bound to leave you humming it hours after you’ve heard it. It reminds me of The Police’s Roxanne in parts with its Latino influenced drum beat during the instrumental parts, especially at the beginning.

Tall Poppies sound like a band who have entered the future from the past. The vocals are pure yet powerful giving them that retro, natural and distinct sound. Some parts of the music feel psychedelic especially in George and Judy making this track sound as if it could easily fit into the 60s and 70s. This isn’t the only track that could easily slot into that era.

Tall Poppies seem to have a knack for blending a number of music genres making their songs more than interesting to listen to. There are influences from pop, folk and psychedelic rock just to name a few. All The Rave isn’t an album that instantly enters your top ten of all time but give it a few listens and you will be more than hooked.

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