NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION has always cared about new talent, quality music and giving those a platform who deserve the attention, but even our mail inboxes are stodged way too often. However, we’ve always tried to find new ways to write about fresh and exciting music. That’s why we introduced the ‘What’s Your Sound?’ series to the NBHAP microcosm a few months back. And now we made it even more effecient, thanks to the power of SubmitHub.
What’s Your Sound? is the possibility to showcase your music, present it to our readership and a larger audience in general. Using what artists submit to us via our SubmitHub profile the NBHAP staff will pick five thematically related tracks and present them in a weekly installment. We don’t just want to throw together a bunch of music without context; instead, each new installment will have its own umbrella theme, giving artists a possibility to tell us about how their music relates to the bigger picture, while encouraging you to dig deeper and discover similar bands as you read along.
Temperatures in the northern hemisphere are falling and winter is approaching. While some people cope by wrapping themselves up in multiple layers of clothing and go outside facing nature’s forces, some of us prefer to spend the cold days at home with their beloved ones, enjoying the the gloomy atmosphere evoked by the scenery outside and indulging in moody music. The five songs we are presenting this approach this situation in their own unique way – some by daydreaming of warmer times, others by turning inwards in a journey of soul-searching. All of them, however, share a spirit of subtleness in their music, expressing emotions like nostalgia, melancholy or escapism, through sparse soundscape or subdued vocal performances. We invited each artist to tell us a bit about how the atmosphere of their music relates to their surroundings.
Low Island – ‘End Piece’
In a predominantly synthetic environment, four-piece LOW ISLAND from Oxford take pleasure in exploring the sonic possibilities of both analogue and electronic elements, blurring the boundaries of either to the point where such a distinction becomes meaningless. The synthesizers that open End Piece take on an almost acoustic, intimate quality as they follow the gentle falsetto vocals in the first section of the track. What would be an atmospheric ballad soon segues into a fever dream as the rhythmic pulse gives way to an avalanche of percussion, while the duo of voices becomes morphed into robotic gurgles. With an EP set for release in January 2017, things are looking great for lovers of experimental music.
Thalab – ‘2 Sails’
The two cousins Oscar and Max Guardans that form THALAB seem to have inhaled a fair share of Mediterranean spirit before relocating to London. Sons of Catalonian capital Barcelona, their work oozes of warmth and relaxation. A subtly ironic tale of heartbreak and nostalgia, 2 Sails tells the story of a man who neglects his wife to set out to the sea with an old friend. As elegantly composed as the words is the minimalistic arrangement of the track, blending brassy synthesizers with a laid-back beat and an arsenal of almost funky guitar licks. Though the DIY roots of the recordings are audible, they do not take away from the experience, but rather enhance the intimate feel of the composition. THALAB‘s new EP is scheduled for release in February 2017. About the inception of 2 Sails, they told us:
The song was written in London, in the winter. The thought of our idealized sun-sweet memories of the Mediterranean just came on its own, lead by the theme of leaving everything behind. This age-old, odyssean theme of the boat to nowhere was an interesting cliché to sing about in a year where this small sea we call our home was a grave to thousands.
Twin Oaks – ‘Eighteen Minutes’
In a way that most clearly mirrors bands like DAUGHTER and THE XX, Los Angeles-based TWIN OAKS combine sparse guitar arrangements with plumes of reverberating noises. In Eighteen Minutes, singer Lauren Brown’s soulful but detached vocal delivery contrasts with Rhyan Riesgo’s urgent drumming that leads the otherwise somber song into a frantic climax of fuzzed-out guitar riffs. Speaking about the sources of inspiration for their upcoming EP, guitarist and producer Aaron Domingo explains:
Without a doubt there’s a sense of surrounding that’s reflected by our music but not necessarily the places we are at the current moment. I’ve always loved the idea of a visual component that comes from listening to music that connects us with a certain place. For our previous releases, we drew a lot of our inspiration from nature and vast open spaces. Our album “White Noise” was heavily inspired by water and we wanted a certain denseness from some of the sounds that feel like you’re drifting under water. For “Eighteen Minutes”, being from Los Angeles we wanted to capture the feeling of driving through downtown alone and late into the night. I think a lot of songs from our upcoming EP will capture that vibe.
Bamboo Dolls – ‘Fireflies’
BAMBOO DOLLS consist of five musicians from different backgrounds and countries. With recordings developing between Sydney, Montreal, Berlin, and New York, their music is a mixture of melancholic alternative tunes and absorbing vocals. Fireflies bounces between a pastoral setting established by acoustic guitar strumming and gentle electric piano, akin to older material by THE NATIONAL or WILCO, and energetic choruses dominated by abrasive, almost shoegazy guitar work. Asked about the origins of their songs, Benjamin said:
Treasure Box – ‘Lethargic Catharsis’
TREASURE BOX make hypnotizing shoegazy music that takes a moment to get into but when you arrive, it takes you into another world. They are two brothers from Philadelphia who record their music on a four track cassette and master it on their own. Lethargic Catharsis is taken from their recently-released new album Junk Drawer; simultaneously eery and relaxing, the track echoes YOUTH LAGOON‘s early work. Percussive sounds cut through an almost hollow soundscape where washed-out guitars merge with meditative singing. Member Tim explains:
If you’re interested in listening to more up-and-coming artists, be sure to check out NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION‘s Daily Tune Playlist on Spotify, featuring all tracks we recently covered. And of course, share your music with us via SubmitHub.