By Sarah Besnard and Jeff Knight
Austra – Beat and the Pulse
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Ha! Gotcha! That was just to get your attention, but I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that 100Down readers are a bit naughty. So yes, Austra’s new video for “Beat and the Pulse” does have some flesh in it, but this is not the main reason why you should watch it. As much as I would love to love watching artistically inspired half naked women weirdly dancing around, I don’t. The song though, I love. The voice of Canadian singer/songwriter Katie Stelmanis walks us through the dark, open room with perils on either side of us, but she is our voice of hope against all odds, and we trust her. It sounds a bit dramatic, and the song does have a dramatic edge to it, but it’s all part of the whole that keeps your ears stuck forward as you let this song ooze over you in dark synth beauty. This dark cousin of Bat For Lashes has almost tapped into the powers of the Sirens. Once the music stops, your body aches for more.
Petit Fantôme – Yallah
There’s nothing scary or little about Petit Fantôme’s music (“little ghost” in French for those of you who don’t remember your French 101 lessons). It’s all sweetness, warmth, and innocence. In his new song “Yallah”, Pierre Loustaunau, the mind behind this tasty treat of a song, is like You know what? I’m done with city life, let me show you what life would be like if you lived on an island with me. It would all be soooo cool, and man does he put up a good argument. This song has so much colour in it, you can almost see it coming out of the speakers in waves as the song goes along. “Yallah” has a very Yeasayerish vibe to it, hinting the Petit Fantôme might’ve graduated from the same class. His use of samples is a key to the song: sounds that would normally be dissonant seem to make sense in Pierre’s hands. And his hands aren’t just used to mould this song into something beautiful. As you listen to the song, Pierre is there with open arms, walking you through his newly created world with the skill of a crafty salesman, and I have to say…I think I might have already put a down payment on one of his condos.
You can’t buy his EP anymore as it sold out but you can get his digital album from Bandcamp HERE
Listen to “Yallah” by Petit Fantôme here:
Rhosyn – Glass
Surely every band would like to know what the recipe for writing beautiful songs is. Oxford’s band Rhosyn seems to have all the ingredients for just that. First off, take a heartbroken singer/songwriter, go and hide from the rest of the world in your English countryside cottage, while, of course, taking your cello, piano, talent, and your knack for vocal layering and presto! You’ve got some very beautiful songs! Even though 5 members are listed on their myspace, the story behind the creation of these songs is exactly that magical ingredient list above. Throw in a good view of the English Countryside from the studio, and it all seemed to do Rose Dagul very good. The song “Glass” has very sparse instrumentation, but you don’t really notice with all the a cappella style vocals fluttering around. When everything comes together, it sounds like a dream… one where you wake up wanting only to be back in that wonderful world you created, except this time it’s thanks to Rose, a woman with a cold, yet enchanting voice who knows how to use it. I can’t help noticing that Oxford has so many brilliant buzzworthy bands at the moment (Stornaway, Trophy Wife…), and it looks like Rhosyn is another to add to the list!
Listen to “Glass” by Rhosyn here: