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Doldrums to Release Debut Album Lesser Evil

Doldrums AKA Airick Woodhead is set to release his debut album titled Lesser Evil on February 25 through Souterrain Transmissions. Woodhead, a 23 year old from Toronto, has taken the world by storm with his eccentric take on electronic music. Having toured with the likes of Grime, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Purity Ring and having produced remixes for Grime and Portishead, Woodhead has wowed audiences with his unique and rather electric style.

Lesser Evil was produced between July 2011 and May 2012 through the cracked screen of a borrowed Macbook – the screen which was then scanned and used as the album artwork. With earlier Doldrum releases using anything from 60s girl group samples to Bollywood psychedelia to dial up modems and feedback, Lesser Evil has been woven together in a more sophisticated way with a pallet of sounds ranging from warped vocals to analogue electronic gear.

Doldrums, Airick Woodhead

Doldrums album artwork for Lesser Evil

Lesser Evil is the perfect mix of alternative electro pop. There are chill out tracks alongside more upbeat, party numbers. Track two, Anomaly, is a favourite. Woodhead’s vocals and the back beat are very 80s in Anomaly while also having a distinct interwoven modern feel. On the other hand, She Is The Wave is an explosion of juxtaposing beats. At first it sounds like a massive mess but is in fact one of the best tracks on the album. Woodhead’s vocals move from one extreme to the next, high and screeching to low and mysterious.

Sunrise is another fantastic number. Woodhead’s voice is in the background in this song unlike in She Is The Wave where it is at the forefront. Sunrise is a short but sweet burst of relaxing tones with a brilliant instrumental bit towards the end.

The next song, Holographic Sandcastles sees Woodhead use an instrumental made by Sami Nacomi under one of his musical pseudonyms, Brain Expansion Program. The drum beat at the start is mesmerising, you can feel it pulsing through your veins, you won’t be able to stay still. Holographic Sandcastles is a blend of genres and it works perfectly. This is the five star song on the record due to its mix of Indian, African and jazz influences. It is original and interesting, it can’t be beaten. It’s a shame that Woodhead didn’t produce all the track, he only added the vocals.

Live Forever is one of the dirtier, hardcore songs on Lesser Evil with a heavy and slightly overpowering bass and drum beat but this isn’t a bad thing. It’s grungy and in your face, it’s hard not to like it for that reason alone. In a couple of songs time, you’re back to calm with Lost In Everyone. Lost In Everyone has soft vocals and a great melody which will bring you peace after the explosion that is Live Forever.

Doldrums has this ability to put together sounds that shouldn’t work and make it into something fantastically new and unusual. Lesser Evil might give some people a huge headache but for others it will be a record you will want to listen to again and again. Each time you listen you will spot some new noise or instrument you hadn’t noticed before. There are layers and layers to each song which is why Doldrums draws in so many people. Woodhead produces crazy, non-commercial electro-pop that will leave you mesmerised at how he managed to create it.

Lesser Evil is out on February 25 through Souterrain Transmissions. Doldrums plays Corsica Studios in London on February 20 and Brighton Green Door Store on February 21. More dates to be announced soon.

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Moon Duo – Ich Werde Sehen

Moon Duo are happy to announce the German translation of their single, I Can See. Ich Werde Sehen is available now through Souterrain Transmissions and can be bought from iTunes.

Moon Duo are Sanae Yamada and Ripley Johnson. In 2012 they released the follow up to their album Mazes. Circles has been praised by the likes of BBC, NPR and Pitchfork. Circles came about after the duo spent an isolated winter in the Rocky Mountains near their home in Blue River, Colorado, in the early months of 2012. All the songs were written and preliminary tracks were recorded there. All additional tracks were recorded at Lucky Cat Recordings in San Francisco with Phil Manley.

The inspiration for producing a German translation of their single I Can See came after the band spent some time in Berlin when they recorded some of their previous album Mazes there. Circles was also mixed in Kaiku Studios in Berlin. This all lead to Moon Duo deciding to produce the new German version of I Can See titled Ich Werde Sehen.

Ich Werde Sehen is exactly the same as I Can See apart from obviously it’s sung in German. This alone instantly renews the track and gives you a chance to learn some German as well. Not bad eh?

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Retro Stefson Announce UK Debut Album Release

Already award winning and chart topping in their home country of Iceland, Retro Stefson have now announced the release of their debut album in the UK.

The self-titled album will be released in the UK on March 25 through Les Freres Stefson. In celebration of the release, Retro Stefson will be doing a gig at The Lexington, London on the same date.

Retro Stefson are an electro-pop band who are beginning to take the world by storm. The first single to be taken from the album is Glow. Glow features a brilliant dance-a-long bass line mixed with a little funk guitar style and an electronic drum beat. Retro Stefson are an electro-pop band but there is more to their style of music than this specific genre. On top of this, they play their own instruments. Think Django Django but more mainstream and you’re nearly there with what Retro Stefson are all about.

Glow spent some time at the top of the Icelandic charts and once people catch onto Retro Stefson, it will probably do the same here. Although, I secretly wish they don’t get into the charts, they are better than that.

Retro Stefson is fronted by brothers Unnsteinn and Logi Stefánsson who have been making music since they were 16. However, their live shows now encompass a seven piece line up including Logi Pedro Stefánsson, Haraldur Ari Stefánsson, Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson, Þórður Jörundsson, Þorbjörg Roach Gunnarsdóttir, Jon Ingvi Seljeseth and Gylfi Freeland Sigurðsson. Their previous two LPs were released locally and devoured by the Icelandic audience but on this third, Retro Stefson showcase a sound that is bound to interest the whole world.

Catch Retro Stefson live at the following dates:

FEBRUARY
13 – by:Larm – Oslo, Norway
14 – by:Larm – Oslo, Norway
15 – Harpa Concert House – Reykjavik, Iceland
24 – Nordic Cool – Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

MARCH
25 – Lexington – London, United Kingdom
28 – Gare Du Lion – Wil, Switzerland
29 – Stall 6 – Zurich, Switzerland
30 – Selig – Chur, Switzerland
31 – Kaserne – Basel, Switzerland

APRIL
02 – E-Werk – Erlangen, Germany
03 – Karlstorbahnhof – Heidelberg, Germany
05 – Keller Klub – Stuttgart, Germany
06 – Motel Mozaïque – Rotterdam, Netherlands
07 – FZW – Dortmund, Germany
10 – Espace B – Paris, France
11 – La Péniche – Lille, France
12 – Popsalon Club Festival – Osnabruck, Germany
13 – SCHLACHTHOF – Wiesbaden, Germany
14 – Strom – Munchen, Germany
16 – Haus 73 – Hamburg, Germany
17 – Vega – Copenhagen, Denmark
19 – Bi Nuu – Berlin, Germany
20 – Filmfest – Dresden, Germany
23 – Glashaus – Bayreuth, Germany
26 – Stadtpalast – Rostock, Germany

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City Reign – Making Plans

Mancunian indie rockers City Reign have announced the release of their first single Making Plans. The song is taken from their forthcoming debut album Another Step.

Making Plans caught the attention of Steve Lamacq from BBC 6 Music who played the demo as soon as he heard it. He also finished his show on Monday night  with another track, Anchor also taken from the upcoming album.

City Reign are song-writing duo, Chris Bull and Mike Grice with Duncan Bolton on drums. The single follows taster tracks City Reign released as free downloads such as Ahead of Ideas and Retaliate. Ahead of Ideas shot the band onto the UK touring scene and led to Clash Magazine asking them to open their inaugural issue launch gig in Manchester.

City Reign Making Plans

Artwork for single, Making Plans

The band eventually teamed up with Mancunian producer, Sam Jones to record and re-work the album. He took them to Sacred Trinity Church in Salford after choosing the church for its rich natural reverb. He hoped this would help bring depth to the band’s classic guitar sound.

City Reign are clearly inspired by Placebo. This can be heard strongly in their first single, Making Plans. The vocals are very Molko-esque while the music is very typical of the English indie style.

The single, Making Plans and debut album, Another Step are both set for release on February 25. The video was shot in Manchester’s legendary Night and Day venue where the band played their first gig.

You can catch City Reign live at the following dates in February:

Thursday 14th – Edinburgh – Bannermans
Friday 15th – Glasgow – Buff Club
Wednesday 20th – Cardiff – Buffalo Bar
Thursday 21st – Bristol – Golden Lion
Friday 22nd – London – The Garage
Saturday 23rd – Manchester – The Castle

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Cayucas – High School Lover

Cayucas have announced their new single High School Lover will be released on March 11 through Secretly Canadian. The song appears on their debut album, Bigfoot which is also set for release on April 30.

Cayucas

Cayucas video snapshot

Cayucas’ sound is steeped in Zach Yudin’s (lead singer) Californian roots. High School Lover is a perfectly crafted summer pop song that wouldn’t sound amiss on the playlist for a BBQ. Yudin has a knack for producing atmospheric tracks leaving in the hiss of a needle in the groove, the steel drum reverbs and ambient party noise which all lead to fantastically produced and mixed pop songs.

Cayucas which is pronounced “ky-yook-us” is the (slightly misspelled) name of a little seaside town in San Luis Obispo County, California. The town, Cayucos, has hardly changed in the last 50 years. In the early 1960s, the surfing craze hit. There was one bar around which local kids congregated where the jukebox played host to the soundtrack of those kids’ summers. The bar has since disappeared but as Zach Yudin will tell you, the place still holds on tight to its propensity for dreamy, lazy, bonfire-lit nights worth getting moony-eyed about.

The band’s debut album, Bigfoot, bears little resemblance to the modern idea of California – mentions of weed and lounging around on the beach, to name just a few. Instead, Bigfoot is an album full of melodic, catchy pop tracks designed for those summer months. If you like Beck then you will love these guys.

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Blood Red Shoes and Pulled Apart By Horses to share record

Touring partners Blood Red Shoes and Pulled Apart By Horses are to share a record together. With both bands sharing similar influences and tastes in music, it made perfect sense for the bands to share a record and do a cover of each others’ songs.

Pulled Apart By Horses and Blood Red Shoes

Pulled Apart By Horses and Blood Red Shoes

Blood Red Shoes have done a superb cover of Pulled Apart By Horses’ Get Off My Ghost Train with fantastic vocals and harmonies while Pulled Apart By Horses have covered Blood Red Shoes’ Heartsink in true Pulled Apart By Horses style – those grungy, screamo vocals and heavily distorted guitar riffs.

This new idea is being called Covered Records and was the brainchild of Pulled Apart By Horses guitarist, James Brown. The idea is to release a series of 7″ singles of various bands covering other bands songs. The first release and quite rightly is from Blood Red Shoes and Pulled Apart By Horses. The 7″ single will be available from March 11 with the two tracks being available digitally from April 11.

A clip of each of the tracks can be heard here. The originals are below.

Steve Ansell from Blood Red Shoes says about the release: “We are kindred spirits and it’s about time we did this split we’ve been talking about for three years. We chose our favourite tune of theirs and sleazed it out a bit.” James from Pulled Apart By Horses said: “We thought this would be an amazing idea and pretty cool for fans. So chuffed it came together.”

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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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