Travi the Native - ‘LDSAC’
The latest single from Travi the Native, ‘Love Doesn’t Stand a Chance’, plays out like a scene in a bittersweet romantic drama. It conjurs the hazy image of staring out the passenger seat window of a car while driving through the city at night, slowly drifting away as the streetlights rhythmically move across the glass, each one revealing a different hazy, dreamlike image. What creates this dreamy atmosphere is the delicate, slightly detuned piano throughout the track – from the moment this piano comes in it’s clear that this is going to be an epic track. Then the vocals come in, starting out rather strong but still maintaining a smoothness that then grows and builds to heighten the emotional intensity of the music and lyrics.
What makes this song really special is the way every single part builds up from its bare bones to create a sound that’s so grandiose and cinematic that it would have been right at home on a Lorde album. The way that the backing vocals come in before the chorus and meld with the synthesisers is absolutely delicious, and the gradual climb of the vocal melody to the sweeping chorus is a real highlight here – it's very reminiscent of Wolf Alice’s latest music. That’s saying nothing about the final reprise of the chorus, where the vocal harmonies are really something to behold. ‘Love Doesn’t Stand a Chance’ proves that Travi the Native has a deeply romantic, cinematic view on life and with this being a teaser of his new EP ‘God Only Calls the House Phone’, it’s clear that this is going to be one of the standout releases in the local music scene this year.
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Spireview: 'Night Cycles'
Night Cycles, the new EP from Bangor-based artist Spireview, creates electronic soundscapes that are somehow nostalgic and futuristic, human and otherworldly. Ross Machala’s releases as Spireview on local imprint Born Sleepy showed his love for a wide-range of electronic genres and his incredible talent in creating moody and atmospheric tunes that pulled from these multiple influences within dance music and IDM. On Night Cycles’s three tracks, Machala widens his scope of genres even further into hip-hop and pop, while still maintaining his gift for vibrant and highly emotive electronic production.
The first track, ‘U no’, embodies Machala’s fantastic blending of the natural with the electronic; a live guitar melody features throughout the track along with various rushing synth sounds, and Machala’s vocals on the track are heavily reverbed and autotuned, yet he still manages to sound incredibly personal as he sings about struggles with identity and feelings of aimlessness. The track is something like a dense blanket of ethereal sounds both live and electronic, Machala achieving a kind of electronic shoegaze-sound similar to the likes of George Clanton, tapping into feelings of nostalgia through the blend of familiar and futuristic.
‘Out of Mind’ sees Machala go full on cloud rap with an intoxicating instrumental and an incredibly catchy hook, along with a typically stellar verse from Belfast hip-hop heavyweight Leo Miyagee. The final track, ‘Complications’, with its thumping house beat is a danceier tune than its predecessors, but it’s every bit as atmospheric and emotional as the other two tracks. Machala blends elements of pop music, hip-hop and progressive house in a similar vein to experimental producer Vegyn, but within his own trademark dreamy sound.
Night Cycles proves Spireview as one of the most exciting projects in Irish electronic music – if you could even label the genre. With such a wide range of sounds and genres incorporated, it’s difficult to label this EP at all, so we should just say - it’s class, listen to it here
Hi/Lo & the Tribes - 'Teens Don't Write Diaries Anymore
Míchéal McCay from art-pop outfit Foreign Owl has teamed up with Derry-based Tramp bandleader Siânna Lafferty, under the music driven collaborative umbrella ‘Hi/Lo & the Tribes’. Reservedly experimental by nature, their first release results in a song that fits the current mood of the world down to a tee.
Combining Siânna’s singer-songwriter talents with McCay’s production, the track, ‘Teens Don’t Write Diaries Anymore’ is an enchanting piece of acoustic intimacy meets chilled out lo-fi. Gradually building with a soft beat to Siânna’s stripped back guitar and vocals, into a truly calming performance from the two musical sparks.
McCay was inspired to bring Siânna’s home demo and gently uplift the melancholic performance into ab evenly balanced piece of meditative sound. The lo-fi production gives off an upbeat charm, creating a conversation with Siânna’s beautiful voice and lyrics.
Hi/Lo and The Tribes is shaping up to be a tasteful curation of collaborations, immediately providing a lovely tune fit for large amounts of replay value.
Amerik ft. Gareth Dunlop - ‘Olive’
The new single from Amerik, ‘Olive’, brings us some much-needed emotive electronica. With roots as an established bass player, Adam Booth achieves a rhythmic sensation that bolsters Gareth Dunlop’s divine vocal performance.
Amerik unleashes spellbinding synths to pulsate at the perfect moments, while clearing the way for mellowed piano riffs to round off this wholesome auditory experience. The anthemic drum roll, the punchy break and tsunami of cymbals provide of pace and energy for the rhythms in the song’s progression. It’s instantly obvious that everything about the instrumentation understands perfectly how to reflect Dunlop’s lyrics with as much respect and support as possible.
Utilising the strong but intimate vocals of songwriter Gareth Dunlop, who unlocks emotions on ‘Olive’ that are universally personal, was a wonderful decision. His heart-breaking pleas for answers mixed with vulnerable cries of loss truly give the lyrics and production the passionate performance they deserve.
With Amerik’s upcoming E.P. ‘Bouquet’ released this April, at least we have this moving spectacle of a song to keep us close company until we get there.
aimée - ‘Shiver’
‘Shiver’ is the spine-tingling new single from soulful singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Aimée Thompson.
Her 2020 track ‘The Grey’ was an exciting introduction to the soul-pop singer that showcased her impeccable voice over a lovey, vibey beat that made it impossible not to be instantly hooked. From then on, Aimée has built up a wonderful collection of home recorded videos of her amazing renditions of songs, either solo or with her incredibly musically talented family members.
While her previous release finds its flow with lyrics of confusion, ‘Shiver’ takes inspiration from fully understanding her emotions, and her confidence comes through in the all-round entrancing track that instantly throws you into an engrossing orchestral landscape. With Aimee’s violin skills giving way for her voice to shine with classy elegance, her measured delivery of the lyrics play against the deep bassline to truly evoke a sensory shiver, just as the title suggests.
The instrumentation utilises some of Aimee’s piano to sew itself into the song perfectly, cradling the mounting tension that builds until the chorus kicks in and delivering some harmonic balance to the reverberating beat. The song is bold, strong and most of all, incredibly catchy.
The moment that comes around the 1.50 minute mark is genuinely captivating. It’s the moment that would surely get crowds going wild, if such a thing was allowed these days.
As the song fades away, her soft-spoken pleas are replaced by heartfelt demands and then drifts into a vocal exercise that could comfort any soul.