1. As Elephants Are – ‘War Cry’
A four-piece from Buckinghamshire – in between the two musical hotbeds of Oxford and London – a fun fact about As Elephants Are is that they have been recording at the site of the old Greenham Common air base. Perhaps the ghosts of the site have influenced the production of ‘War Cry’. A rocky shoegaze sound rises out of the song and the slightly distorted and subdued vocals of Ben Stratford maintaining an atmospheric quality in the music, even when the straight up, catchy chorus begins to kick in. With similarities to bands such as Violens, Foals and Washed Out, the band’s elegant yet prominent beats could see them rise further. ‘War Cry’ is available now.
2. Jesca Hoop – ‘Born To’
Firstly, Jesca Hoop is not new; she is now on her third full-length album after having some minor success in the USA. She’s also toured with Elbow, but none of this makes it any more likely that you’ll know who she is, so I’ll enlighten you. A varied singer-songwriter, her style fluctuates between playful and powerful, drawing influences from folk, but also lyrically takes pop rhythms and drama to make something of real substance. ‘Born To’ holds a strong chorus, with Hoop’s high, searching vocals front and centre and the variation showcases quite a quirky character. Her album, The House That Jack Built is available now.
3. Cosmonaut Grechko – ‘Headphone Girl’
Although this next artist sounds like a spacefaring lizard, it is in fact the output from Russian dance producer Victor Klyuchnikov. ‘Headphone Girl’ starts off hazy but builds wonderfully into a cacophony of instrumentals, including flutes, and soft keys. A chilled out alternative to traditional heavy, bass-laden club beats, the song does eventually reach into a beat that is technical and pulsating, albeit in a cool, gentle way. At only 20, he has been making waves in his native Russia and also Eastern Europe and with an album on the way, Cosmonaut Grechko looks set to take off and land over here.
4. Violas – ‘Penseiri’
Dreamy atmospheric indie music is becoming more and more popular thanks to bands like Alt-J and Wild Beasts, and bi-lingual Cardiff band Violas show that they’re capable of building on this huge, yet introverted sound too. ‘Penseiri’ means “architects” in Welsh, and has an intricately atmospheric feel to it, helped by the lead singer’s innocent, unknowingly classic voice, and thick timbre of instrumentation. The track (Currently available as a free download) is taken from their second EP Nos Somnia which will be released on August 27th, following up from their Sailing EP which featured the viral hit Sea Shells.
Contributions from David Martin and Howell Davies.