Category Archives: One To Watch

One to watch – Kidepo

KidepoYou learn something new every day. Today, I learnt a bunch of new things. First, that Kidepo is the name of a national park in Uganda. Second, that it’s possible to include the words “Savoir Faire” in a chorus hook and not sound pretentious. Third, that Beth Ditto (of Standing In The Way of Control / Gossip fame) had an entire song called Savoir Faire. And finally, savoir faire means expertise in French. Don’t come at me for my lack of French savoir faire, I studied Spanish at school. But also, don’t ask me what expertise is in Spanish either, I’ll just say no lo sé.

So, what do Uganda and Beth Ditto have in common? Well, not much probably. But Jonah Mutono, otherwise known as Kidepo sent me down this rabbit hole. So far he has an EP and a couple of singles floating about, but I’m keen to hear more.

The first track I heard from Kidepo was ‘Ramada’, and it firmly lodged itself inside my brain. There’s all kinds of woozy atmospherics gushing out from it, coupled with this sense of off-kilterness. The intro starts with a drum beat that teeters away from staying in a logical step with the reverby keys at first, before nestling into a sneaky groove. It’s the kind of groove where you start nodding your head without even being conscious that you’re doing so. The lyrics are intriguingly abstract and surreal too, as he describes being trapped inside a hotel without just resorting to complaining about the price of the mini bar. When I stumbled across the fact Kidepo is signed to Good Years (home to the likes of Banks and Lil Silva), it made complete sense, as those two artists create something similarly atmospheric, surreal and brooding in their music. 

Recent single ‘August In New York’ follows in a similar vein, although it shows Kidepo showing off his vocal range a little more. Ramada is sung entirely in a falsetto, but on ‘August In New York’ he shows off a soulful voice at a lower register. And here’s where I got my French / Beth Ditto  lesson from today, as he sings “I don’t care ’bout your savoir faire.” Perhaps he just really hates Beth Ditto’s ‘Savoir Faire’. This video of a woman dancing to Beth Ditto’s version on an office chair while wearing the severed head of a polar bear might help to change his mind.

Fingers crossed we get more from Kidepo in 2018, but in the meantime, have a watch of the excellent (and very off-kilter) video for Ramada below.




GUNSHIP – Tech Noir

My mind wanders when I run. A whole lot. Different things will drift into my head, I’ll think about it for a couple of minutes, and then I’ll get distracted by something happening in front of me. Today I witnessed one squirrel chasing another squirrel that had grabbed food from it, for around 300 metres. They were running alongside me, oblivious that I was running alongside them, separated by a chainlink fence. And once that day’s squirrel larceny event or its equivalent is over, I’ll have forgotten about what I was thinking about 30 seconds previously.

Today was different though. I followed through on a thought. I’ve listened to a decent amount of Fightstar in my time, and I’ve often found myself thinking: “That other vocalist (so not Charlie Simpson) has such a great voice.  He should do solo stuff.” I mean, the gaps between Fightstar albums are fairly lengthy, so it’s certainly a possibility, right? Well, today I listened to Fightstar’s latest album while running, and resolved to check their Wiki page to see if he (Alex Westaway) had.

Well, the result was unexpected. Alex and Fightstar bassist Dan Haigh formed a synthwave band called GUNSHIP. They released a self-titled album in 2015 that channels everything great from the 80s. Their wiki page describes what they do far better than anything I can say, so here it is. GUNSHIP is “a neon soaked, late night, sonic getaway drive, dripping with luscious analog synthesizers, cinematic vocals and cyberpunk values, exploding from the front cover of a dusty plastic VHS case which has lain forgotten since 1984.”

Not only that, but their videos perfectly channel their aesthetic, recalling the influences that drove them to make this type of music in the first place. Take a look at the video for ‘Film Noir’ below, and get ready for me attempting to follow through on more stupid brilliant ideas I have while running.


Asylums – Wet Dream Fanzine [EP]

asyI have a decent pair of Sennheiser bucket headphones that spend the majority of their existence sat in the corner of my room, sad and alone, while I listen to music out of my tinny, crappy laptop speakers. Today I sat down, plugged them in, and decided to have a listen to all the music in my inbox. Fortunately / Luckily / It was meant to be that Asylums happened to be at the top of my inbox. I haven’t even got onto the second email yet. I’m stuck on this band.

Asylums hail from Southend, and release their first EP on February 23rd on their own label, Cool Things Records. Their DIY approach doesn’t stop there though. The whole EP is lyrically focused as an urgent attack on various forms of media, giving credence and authenticity to their entire approach. Plus, they make sock puppet music videos. So win-win.

Credo aside, they sound like something we’ve been waiting for without even realising we were missing them. Punk noise with no track lasting longer than 2 and a bit minutes, they come at you fast with some brutal rock and roll, but not forgetting for a second the need for a little melody. Like an angrier Young Knives, a poppier We Are The Physics…….these guys are going to huge, and I can’t wait.

King Krule – Easy Easy (Willow Freaking Smith Cover)

I’ve decided this week that now is the time for me to actually invest in Soundcloud. Put in the hours. Do the legwork. This isn’t me trying to expand the reach of this site, but quite simply, it’s too much of an amazing way to find new music to ignore it any longer. Spotify is handy, but music has to be officially released. It has to be licensed. Blah blah blah. And beyond surfing related artists and looking at new releases, it isn’t all that easy to find new music.

So a couple of days in, and what have I found. Fustratingly, at least one of Will Smith’s kids has got some serious talent. Willow, best known for that ‘Whip My Hair’ song a few years back has done a seriously mean cover of King Krule’s amazing ‘Easy Easy’. A few things are pretty striking. A) Her voice. Holy moly. It’s credible. It’s subtle. It’s got these little nuances that make it so listenable. B) A cover of King Krule? One way to get some nifty indie-cred for sure, but it works for her here. And finally, C) I notice she did a track with SZA (one of our favourites) not so long ago. SZA played a similar trick to Willow by loading an EP with cred-giving indie reference points, and that’s worked out for her pretty well.

So all hail Willow Smith, and all hail Soundcloud.

Charly Bliss – Love Me

Bubblegrunge, apparently. I stumbled across this rather tenously, due to listening to the excellent Alcopop! podcast, where reference was made to a Johnny Foreigner Twitter post raving about this track. But the more tenous way of discovering new music, the better.

So, Charly Bliss. What do we know. Not a whole lot really, and that makes life more fun. They hail from Brooklyn, have released a trilogy of singles collectively titled ‘Soft Serve’, and have three hilarious videos to accompany them. Love Me is the leadout track and is boistrously fun. Heavy riffs line the chorus, but twinned with that oh-so-sweet vocal which play together so well. The kids are calling it bubblegrunge, and I can see why. Super-excited to hear more from these guys.

Have a watch of the video below for ‘Love Me’, including a school bully who looks like Action Bronson’s long lost brother.

Moose Blood – I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time

oosemoA year and a half ago, I ranted and raved about a debut EP that, for me at least, evoked the spirit of a seminal record – Brand New’s Deja Entendu. At the same time, I was railing against my own apathy towards listening to artists of a similar vein. Well, 18 months and one Spotify Premium subscription later means I am now au fait with everything considered part of the ‘emo revival’, (although I still think emo is a bit of a gross term). For example, Into It. Over It.? All over it! Touché Amoré? Oui Oui! Modern Baseball? More of a rounders man, but you get the picture.

So it’s with some excitement that I’ve been following Moose Blood – responsible for the aforementioned debut EP – and the news that they got picked up by No Sleep Records for their debut album. The label is a U.S. indie, home to a whole raft of excellent bands, including two of the three named above in my best efforts to be pun-tastic. The band flew out to the U.S. to lay it down, and returned with I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time, an album that showcases everything that made so many people excited about their initial output.

While both a theoretical and literally name-checked reference point may be Brand New – with their dark and morose slant on life and death – this is, for the most part, an aspirational record. It easily evokes memories of young love, of times when you would invite someone round to “watch American Beauty” (on ‘Gum’), and “make you watch High Fidelity, on a Sunday, maybe someday” (on ‘Bukowski’).

So they are strong thematically, but this record goes beyond just what’s happening lyrically. For example, ‘Kelly Kapowski’ is more than just a retro name check. It presents a twitchy, over-caffeinated call for something approaching an unrequited crush, while channelling pop-punks finest guitar riffs. Closer ‘I Hope You’re Miserable’ sounds super-heavy, channelling the likes of Gnarwolves with its yelped vocals blurring into grunge-lined anthemia. Over the course of the record, they easily switch gears, and previous single/E.P. tracks like ‘Boston’ and ‘Bukowski’ sound somewhat more urgent and more focused in their latest guises.

Above all else, what keeps me coming back is how much of an honest and stark record it is, yet  a record that leaves you with hope. Allow me one final Brand New reference, but let me use it to explain why these guys are different to them. Brand New typically stick their bleak, emo-slow jams at the end of the record (‘Soco Ameretto Lime’, ‘Play Crack The Sky’), and so leave you feeling a little, well, emo at the end of a listen. Moose Blood front-load ‘I’ll Keep You In Mind From Time To Time’ with ‘Cherry’. It’s a dark way to start, particularly with a line like: “She’s not mine and it fucking kills me, she won’t look at me that way.” Following this opening, the album grows with moments of excitement, love, and happiness. By the end we’re finishing on an upbeat note, well, ish: “I guess I’m feeling better,” even if we’re now chanting for another’s misery on ‘I Hope You’re Miserable’.

This is a band worth getting excited about. It’s a mature and beguiling debut album by a band that, surely with 10 years more of records behind them can lead some lazy blogger somewhere comparing them over and over (three times I’ve counted?) to some new up-and-comers. Truly, it’s something many of us should be hopeful for.

Somehow Brika’s track Mumbai only had 2.7k streams on Spotify?!?!

Yep, you heard right. Someone you haven’t heard of hasn’t got very many plays yet on Spotify. Woop-de-doo Basil, right? Well, wrong. To date, Brika has two tracks available on the aforementioned streaming site. ‘Mumbai’ was released all the way back in 2013 for Pete’s sake, and it’s yet to set the actual Internet on fire? Well shame on you internet.

This is a supernova of a star in the making. Judging by her bio, she’s not going to be your average popstar… “Her music can best be likened to a Pollock painting or a Rauschenberg collage…” Uh-huh. But let’s get away from PR guff and focus on what’s important.

On ‘Mumbai’, she sings of having “a limerance of my own.” I first heard that word from the beastly Gnarwolves, so there’s a fun counterpoint to start with. Thanks to the internet, I now know that limerance means either “an involuntary state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one’s feelings reciprocated”…..OR more recently has been associated with OCD. So is Brika just looking for love, or wanting to turn light switches on and off a certain number of times after leaving rooms? Well, I don’t know, but let’s go with the first one.

The reason that I want to pay such attention to her lyrics is down to the minimalism of the construction of ‘Mumbai’. It feels a lazy path to wander down, but hell, here goes. I listen to Brika and think of Lorde. It’s just dark, brooding, captivating, bringing together just a few small aspects to create this amazing track, just like our old pal Lorde.

So let’s promise to check in again in 6 months time and see how many 0’s have been added to that stream number. This can be a limerance of my own.

Danica Hunter – When Will The Love Begin

Sundays. Invented by a Deity for lying around and doing nothing, nursing hangovers, and watching bad movies. I’ve done most of these already today, but I’m now attempting to be productive for a change. This means tearing through a whole raft of PR emails laying dormant in my poor inbox, and I stumbled across this. Danica Hunter hails from Henley-On-Thames, and has a debut EP out called Lies & Butterflies.

It took about 20 seconds of opening track ‘When Will The Love Begin’ for me to be sold. First up, the production is slick – we’ve got a vocal being looped and trumpets jumping on board, creating a soulful and laid-back hip-hop atmosphere. Then Danica starts to sing, with a voice that fits so well into what’s happening around her. It’s soulful, full of emotion, and completely captivating. It seems no coincidence that she shares a manager with Maverick Sabre, another artist ploughing a similar furrow of retro-soul updated with modern flourishes.

Danica describes the EP as being about “the journey from pain to reward – from teenager to young adult,” and she seems more restless than most in what she writes about. But then again we all have that restlessness inside us, it’s just that my 5-track EP would be about much I miss that pizza I just finished eating.

While I pass out from the aforementioned pizza-induced coma, have a listen to the rest of Danica’s EP through the Bandcamp widget below, and try to catch her before she explodes.

Cosmo Sheldrake – Solar / The Moss

Cosmo Sheldrake is some kind of cross between a futuristic wizard and a character you’d expect to see playing in a smoky old pub in The Lord of the Rings.

His debut single ‘The Moss’ for Transgressive has been floating around for a month or so now, topping the Hype Machine not so long ago, and it’s easy to see why. He sings of jabberwockies and grangle-wangles in his own intimitable future-folk style, with squelches of electronics tying the whole thing together.

Now we’ve been given the b-side to ‘The Moss’ single, and it’s equally as endearing and interesting. ‘Solar’ uses a verse from a William Blake poem called ‘I Rose Up At The Dawn Of Day’, and also features recordings of the sun, taped using a technique called ‘Stellar Seismology’. What’s most interesting for me here is the descennt into an instrumental electro jam for a good solid minute, showing that while lyrically Cosmo is able to paint some interesting pictures, he’s pretty capable of doing the same with his music. It makes the prospect of a Cosmo Sheldrake LP a very exciting thing.

Cloud Nothings are back!

One of my absolute favourite bands from recent times – Cloud Nothings – have returned from the relative wilderness of selfishly ‘recording music’ and ‘making a new album’. What bastards. But my incadescent and entirely pretend anger is abated by the news that they have shared a new track with the world! I’d like to think it was the reason Soundcloud went down for a little while yesterday.

Well, they’re making all the right noises of a band that aren’t happy with churning out more of the same. They’ve shed a member, but are still makiing gloriously lo-fi rock and roll, with a pretty instantly-hooky chorus to reel us in here. ‘I’m Not A Part Of Me’ is the first taste of their forthcoming 3rd LP, ‘Here and Nowhere Else’, due at the end of March on Wichita in the UK. Safe to say, I am monstrously excited.