By Sarah Besnard and Jeff Knight
New Animal –“Nightmares of Candy Yang & The Black Italian “ and “Other side”
Let me introduce you to yet another awesome band with the word “Animal” in its name. New Animal is Derek and Kris from Atlanta, GA: two childhood friends with a love for pop/rock who were destined to write music together. Their fated meeting has produced an infectious 15 song LP of genre-melding tracks that they’ve released for free on Bandcamp.com. Their music is so hard to pin down, I can only described it as psychedelic lo-fi indie pop rock!
“Nightmares of Candy Yang & The Black Italian”, the opening track to the album, highlights all the aspects of that weird sub-genre I just created. They mix lush vocal harmonies with a harsh lead vocals that create a great balance with the plucky melody line, synth-organ, and percussive tom-driven drums. This track sets the tone for the rest of the album, alluding to the fact that you are going to have as good a time listening to it as they did creating it. Another stand out track is “Other Side”, a song that feels so open and freeing, it’s almost like you’re slowly coasting on a row boat, while Derek and Kris are sitting at the head, singing to you. The jangly guitars, echo-y lead guitar lines, synth-organ, and soothing vocals all weave in and out of each other like water, always flowing over the constant soft pumping of the. And by this point, you’re only at track 3. You can download their full album for free HERE
“Nightmares of Candy Yang & The Black”
Niki And The Dove – Mother Protect
Niki and the Dove hail from Sweden, a country not new to synth-based pop music. Remaining mysterious in interviews, they don’t reveal much past, “We are Niki and the Dove and we are two people in a band.” But that just fits the very feeling they evoke from their music… a mysterious, ethereal vibe that isn’t of this plain of existence. Through their music, they channel some thumping, dark, electro-pop that conjures up images of tribal dances around a huge fire in far off places! Taking a few tips from fellow Sweden-ite Karin Dreijer Andersson, of ‘The Knife’ and ‘Fever Ray’ fame, they seamlessly mix darkly textured electro with epic synth pop that makes you want to run to your local mountain top and shout at the top of your lungs with your arms outstretched. It’s going to take a cold splash to the face to bring you down from this synth-pop high.
Jessie Ware & Sampha – Valentine
Are you still as hung up over Valentines Day as I am? …Well, actually I’m not that hung up at all, but this song would give me a good reason to be. This short, but absolutely sweet, love ballad has two very talented vocalists trading off verses on what they “know about (their) love”, which they seem to be a little scared of. The very simple, minimalist beat paints a picture of tentative love, a love that the lyrics only confirm. The heartbeat-like bumping of the kick and synthetic clicking mimics the fluttering of unsure feelings, speaking even greater volumes to what our two valentines are going through. Mixed in with some well-timed vocal harmonies, and it all adds up to a side of Valentines Day not normally talked about, the ‘what-if’, and I couldn’t have pictured a more beautiful what-if.
The Lovely Eggs- Don’t Look at Me (I Don’t Like It)
Have you ever seen a guy with a sausage roll thumb? No? Thought so… Well don’t miss your chance and watch this video! The Lovely Eggs are a married couple from Lancaster, UK who seem to excel in writing crazy and hilarious pop songs (check out their other DIY videos “I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too” and “Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordion?”). If you can’t tell from the titles of their songs, they have figured out how to put simple, clean fun back into Punk, and all it took was for them to write songs about whatever the hell they wanted. Now, why didn’t I think of that? You can’t get more basic, and that’s the utter appeal of their music. Once you hear just even the first verse of fuzzed out guitar chords, driving drum beat, and quirky lyrics, you can’t help but smile and want to be your 15 year old self again, where nothing was better than blasting your favourite music and jumping around in your room. These guys have such a blissful innocence, and when it all seems to be falling apart, these guys are here to remind you this world is still a fun place.
Their new album was released on the 31st of January via Cherryade Records.