Malky – ‘Where Is Piemont’
Released on: Columbia Records/ Sony Music
Sounds like: Contemporary reframing of the 60s lounge sound of artists like Jaques Brel and Scott Walker with lush orchestral backdrops, eclectic influences from Soul and Tropical styles, and incredible vocal power and expressivity.
Recommended because: The second album from the German duo is a journey through the lounge era that draws on an impressive panoply of aesthetic influences. The complexity of arrangements and diversity of instrumentation manage to toss off many familiar genre considerations. While undeniably paying homage to a particular time, the album uses its nostalgic appeal to build a uniquely modern, cool, and understated sound. (Jesse)
Songs to check out: The Only One, Play, Cup of Hope
Brandt Brauer Frick – ‘Joy’
Released on: K7 Records/ Because Music/ Warner Music
Recommended because: BRANDT BRAUER FRICK is a modern synthesis of what the german electronic sound is made of. Joy is a sucessful journey across his diverse electronic influences, from the old masters KRAFTWERK, through the EBM scene, up until the recent sensual scene with personas such as HOWLING or NU. Sometimes it’s dissonant, an ode to the stressful expression of your inner soul. Other times, it’s aerial and takes you to a subtle melancholic landscape. In the end, Joy is a perfect example of how music can express the trajectory of a man – how we learn tools from our cultural environment to express the complexity of what’s composing us. (Bastien)
Songs to check out: Holy Night, Keep Changing, Blackout 94
Nada Surf – ‘Peaceful Ghosts’
Released on: City Slang
Sounds like: What it is: your favourite old indie rock darlings teaming up with an orchestra… with diginity. Nostalgia meets musicality.
Recommended because: Usually those ‘Band meets Orchestra’-projects tend to sound horrible (think back to METALLICA’s S&M) but since NADA SURF are one of the most charming bands in the indie scene their songs really profit from it. The orchestra extends original ideas to new territories, giving Beautiful Beat an almost ‘Bond-Theme’-like vibe while wonderful ballads like Comes A Time and Blizzard of ’77 swim along in a sea of strings. Peaceful Ghosts will fill your heart with bittersweet melancholia – something these guys have always been good at. (Norman)
Songs to check out: Comes A Time, 80 Windows, Blonde On Blonde
Soft Hair – ‘Soft Hair’
Released on: Domino Records
Sounds like: A pastel-coloured and almost hazy sonic vision of modern pop music filled with sexy vibes that really want you. And pull your soft hair gently, too.
Recommended because: SOFT HAIR is the temptation you have been longing for. Connan Mockasin and Sam Dust may not seduce you in the regular way, but their cosy, yet unconventional realm certainly offers a lot of room for explorations. The synthesizer fuzziness creates an atmosphere to snuggle up to while the duo’s vocal range fills the songs with just enough of that magic contrast that pulls you further into their world or away if necessary. Only to show you what you’re missing in case it gets beautifully weird from time to time and you decide to take a little break. Then again, the seductive elements know where to find you so you might as well just give in. (Annett)
Songs to check out: Relaxed Lizard, Lying Has To Stop, Alive Without Medicine
Tove Lo – ‘Lady Wood’
Released on: Island Records
Sounds like: The soundtrack to a neo-feministic short movie dealing with all the emotional underground that haunts people in their twenties. Mix it up with light electronica-elements, some edgy lyrics and there you are: in the middle of a beautiful, disastrous mess.
Recommended because: TOVE LO still manages to be one of the saddest female artists in contemporary pop. Not because of some exhausting, over-dramatic whining to some damn piano – but due to her lack of shame for weakness. She’s hurt, deeply, and is not afraid of it. Lady Wood continues the journey of her debut Queen Of The Clouds, but it sounds more mature and eadgy. (Kai)
Songs to check out: Lady Wood, Vibes, Flashes