THE arrival of a new year is synonymous with fresh starts and new beginnings; and so it comes as no surprise that 2019 has begun with a barrage of new material from artists all over the world. With some picking up where they left off and others looking for the jolt required to give them a head-start over their peers as they head into a critical new point in their careers, the first New Music Radar of 2019 features a fine array of local acts and established names who have kicked the year off with a bang.
CRYSTAL ‘Sex Rich’
A track we were delighted to premiere here on TENEMENT TV earlier today, ‘Sex Rich’ is a fiercely direct, explosive thrill ride; a vital return which suggests CRYSTAL are back with all the tools and inspiration required to build on their prosperous 2018 and take things up a gear.
Driven by taut rhythms and a menacing, grungy bassline, it’s the heaviest we’ve ever heard the quartet and they revel in it. Anna Shields is captivating from start to finish, channelling Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell as she effortlessly shifts from the dark moody verses to the explosive choruses with fire and menace; ready to incite mayhem with her mosh-pit baiting chants and sneering cackle. With its heavy riffs, overdriven fuzz and searing guitar solo, everything comes to a head with a dramatic finale; one that confirms CRYSTAL are a band not to be messed with.
Now just 20-odd days removed from the emergence of their debut EP, one final aural breadcrumb has been lobbed our way in the form of ‘Pyramids’ and it’ll be more than enough to subsist on until their first physical release’s arrival. As was clear since their emergence, there is a nomadic sense of adventure to how VanIves construct their output that manifests in both production and composition. Helmed by the duo of Stuart Ramage and Roan Ballantine, ‘Pyramids’ is emblematic of this approach courtesy of enveloping waves of neo-soul and lulling electronic swells. Punctuated by that organic mix of ecstasy and anguish that has long marked Ramage as a vocalist of a unique calibre, its euphoric conclusion takes not only the listener but their output to a higher plane and it’ll be very intriguing to see where it leads from here.
Gallus ‘Looking Like A Mess’
Setting off on a whimsical note, latest cut from Gallus soon submerges itself in that trademark barrage of guitar and rhythm that’s levelled against the maniacal and imposing drawl of frontman Barry Dolan. Taking its cues from punk’s Brixton-based origins and the mid-2000’s indie upswing, ‘Looking Like A Mess’ employs its lament over a bedraggled appearance as a parallel for the unrest that resides below the veneer. As combustible as their sound has proven to be in its traditional set-up, one thing that’ll always gain you plaudits is a penchant for deviation and their use of a ska-aping horn section at the midway point heightens the pandemonium to an unforeseen level. Concluding on an uproarious note, this acerbic effort leaves you pondering what other aural experimentation could be lurking round the corner on their debut EP.
Acrylic ‘I’ve Got Too Many Friends’
Following the release of last year’s deeply stirring All I Am EP, Acrylic showed no signs of stagnating and instead jumped back into the studio to make the most of their renewed inspiration and growing momentum. The result of this period of time was ‘I’ve Got Too Many Friends’, one of their snappiest singles to date but every bit as emotionally rousing. Revisiting their penchant for poignant alt-rock, a sound defined by their effective amalgamation of crisp guitars, interweaving melodies and Andreas Chrsitodoulidis’ smouldering vocals, the track may seem uplifting on the surface based on its buoyant melodies, but in reality there’s a brooding darkness that lingers underneath; one based on the notion that in spite of happy appearances, not all is always as it seems.
January may be a time synonymous with laying low but Lizzo threw that idea straight out the window when she unleashed the outrageously addictive ‘Juice’ at the very start of the year. Bursting with confidence and feel-good vibes, the track dips heavily into the 80s with a Chic-esque shimmer and is brought to life by her playful lyrics and self-assured delivery. Undoubtedly the first big party tune of the year.
Whenyoung ‘Never Let Go’
Ready to build on the momentum created by last year’s debut EP, Limerick trio Whenyoung have dropped a new single by the name of ‘Never Let Go’. A track that is as ethereal as it is anthemic, ‘Never Let Go’ demonstrates the band’s arena sized-ambitions with its soaring chorus and echoing refrains yet never loses its graceful quality. A song about mental health and hope, about finding light in the darkest of times, it’s a rousing return from a band who are on the up.
The Murder Capital ‘Feeling Fades’
Borne from the same punk scene in Ireland that has spawned the likes of Fontaines DC and Silverbacks, there has been much talk about The Murder Capital in recent months without any tangible releases being unveiled to the world. Now ready to back up their fearsome live reputation and emerge from the shadows once and for all, the band have shared their eagerly anticipated debut track ‘Feeling Fades’ and it fulfils all their early promise. Recorded with the prolific producer Flood, the band have produced a dark, brooding slice of post-punk, driven by propulsive rhythms and violent sounding guitars.
Lana Del Rey ‘‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it’
Set to feature on her upcoming sixth album Norman Fucking Rockwell, Lana Del Rey has dropped a beautifully intimate and minimalist new single called ‘hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it’. Exceptionally crafted and set perfectly for her voice, the singer ruminates over religion, family, celebrity culture and alienation with Sylvia Plath as her inspiration. Delivered over a low-key, elegiac piano melody, the track is a gentle reminder that no one can quite stir feelings in the way that Lana Del Rey does through her music; so articulate and evocative in her lyricism.