IT has been a remarkably busy week for releases, particularly in Scotland. Unveiling some of their finest work to date before we get into the full swing of festival season, the past seven days have seen new tracks from CRYSTAL, ALLIGATOR, The Ninth Wave, Lional, Kohla and more. Interspersed with a rundown of artists from all over the UK, check out this week’s bumper edition of New Music Radar below.
CRYSTAL ‘Sugar Sweet’
Another killer track to add to CRYSTAL’s increasingly impressive repertoire, ‘Sugar Sweet’ is anything but saccharine as its title suggests. Instead this is a raw and jagged slice of grungy rock that hits hard. Huge, heavy riffs rule the day, devilishly harsh and off-kilter at times while the band easily deliver one of their most addictive choruses to date; certain to incite utter chaos at their formidable live shows.
The success of the tune lies in Anna Shields’ incredible vocal display though; brimming with charisma as she addresses the object of her affections, effortlessly switching between hypnotic and sultry to a fiery menace with the click of a finger. Equally captivating in the live arena, it’s fair to say that she is quickly establishing herself as a formidable player amongst her peers.
Following the release of last year’s ‘S/he’ single, we were delighted to bring you the premiere of Kohla’s latest instalment ‘Pxrxdise’ earlier this week. Laced with icy atmospherics and industrial beats, ‘Pxrxdise’ oscillates between gentle, ambient verses and fiercer, more emboldened choruses. There’s a fragility and vulnerability that emanates from Kohla’s ethereal vocals and breathy falsetto; her emotive display all the more effective when it is given cathartic release against the crisp yet spacious electronic backdrop. A deeply moving, carefully crafted slice of electronic pop, Kohla continues to develop her sound in beautifully intriguing ways.
The Ninth Wave ‘First Encounters’
A gripping display of how far the band have come in the space of two quick years, The Ninth Wave’s latest instalment is a nuanced and poignant exploration of human connection and the uncertainties which surround a first encounter. Revisiting their stirring brand of glistening goth-pop and nostalgic post-punk, it’s another emotionally acute offering from Haydn Park-Patterson and Millie Kidd; a highly emotive and tumultuous reflection on modern day life and the inner workings of the human mind through an epic display of commanding vocals, driving rhythms and towering synths. There’s an underlying sense of hope and optimism here too though and it all comes to the fore with the song’s cathartic and euphoric finale.
Continuing a fine run of singles which have included the 90’s-fuelled punk anthem ‘Trickle Down’ and the sincere, fuzzy rock’n’roll dream that was ‘Shadow by Your Side’, ALLIGATOR are back with another massive tune to add to their repertoire.
Swaggering to life with a rousing guitar line, it doesn’t take long for ‘Hollow’ to transform into a huge, muscular slice of rock & roll that takes no prisoners. With a heady 90s bluster and desert rock cool, the band fire through a round of electrifying riffs, brooding basslines and crashing drums to deliver an anthem that’s primed for festival season. Brimming with ambition , the band may wear their infuences on their sleeves but they are breathing life into a well-tread genre and that has us excited for what’s to come next.
Domiciles ‘For a Reason’
Revered for their innovative and nuanced approach to the genre, the Fife quintet have challenged and enthralled the minds of Scotland’s music fans with all of their releases thus far. Back in the fold nearly 12 months after last year’s single ‘Only You’, we are pleased to report that band’s shape-shifting sound continues to evolve on their latest offering ‘For a Reason’.
Released via Last Night from Glasgow, ‘For a Reason’ is another bold and ambitious cut from the quintet which adds even more muscle to their enveloping sound. Driven by a stomping drumbeat, a sedate, indecipherable vocal is delivered against a trippy wash of ringing melodic guitars and droning basslines. Meandering off into a hazy twilight zone of dark and dizzying psychedelia, it’s the insistent drum beat that lends immediacy to the track as they deliver one of their most refined and muscular slices of hallucinogenic rock to date.
Lional ‘Daylight Hours’
With a massive support slot with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds lined up this summer, Inverness veterans Lional have shared a new song called ‘Daylight Hours’. Opening their account for 2019, ‘Daylight Hours’ finds the band in particularly inspired form; adopting a new wave style funky groove in the style of Talking Heads. Frontman Joshua Mackenzie brooding vocal sits aloft melodic guitars and off-kilter rhythms to create one of their most refreshing and creative cuts to date.
FKA Twigs ‘Cellophane’
‘Cellophane’ is the first we’ve heard from FKA Twigs in over three years and we are pleased to report that her returning track is an absolutely stunning piece of music that presents the enigmatic star at her most human. The idiosyncratic pop star is known for her wholly unique and fluid approach to melody and structure and her compelling and twitchy electronic creations have often defied categorisation. However ‘Cellophane’ sheds the otherworldliness of her earlier material to deliver something incredibly human and deeply poignant. The stripped-back, piano-led track sees the singer deliver an absolutely heart-wrenching vocal that is refreshingly devoid of effects and manipulation. A tale of rejected devotion, it’s an impossibly moving listen that finds the star at her most exposed.
The Murder Capital ‘Green & Blue’
Part of the raft of exciting bands that are coming out of Ireland’s much-talked about punk scene at the moment, The Murder Capital have shared the foreboding ‘Green & Blue’. A bruising, snaking six minute odyssey that simmers with menace, the track explores the dichotomy between light and dark , life and death over rumbling basslines and an insistent drum beat. Allowing James McGovern’s formidable vocal to take the reins, the band’s slow-burning approach pays off; it’s as if we’re always on the verge of something kicking off before they pull back again. Yet another compelling insight into their nuanced and bruisingly powerful approach to punk, there’s a subtle beauty and delicacy here that shines through the darkness.
Marika Hackman ‘I’m Not Where You Are’
Marika Hackman made a surprising return this week with a powerful new single called ‘I’m Not Where You Are’. Throwing off all expectations, it’s immediately clear that Hackman is ready to deploy new tactics in picking apart her emotions. With synthesisers at the heart of the song, Hackman’s songwriting feels more potent and vibrant than before; but underneath the big, toe-tapping melodies, the song is fraught with emotion. Exploring a breakup and the idea of self-sabotaging relationships, what initially seems like a bold and self-assured stance starts to unravel into something introspective, lonely and self-deprecating. It’s a remarkable return for the artist which hints at exciting things ahead.
Lucy Dacus ‘My Mother and I’
Singer-songwriter and boygenius member Lucy Dacus pays tribute to her mother and their shared star signs on her tender new ballad ‘My Mother and I’. Exploring the frank parallels she shares with her mother over a gently stroked guitar, it’s a sparse and hugely poignant offering which is the latest in her recent series of songs commemorating particular holidays and collectively entitled 2019.
Le Boom x Æ MAK ‘Dancing Bug’
Irish pop duo Le Boom have teamed up with fellow Dubliner Æ MAK (Aoife McCann) to create the massive bop that is ‘Dancing Bug’. A track about “falling into your bedroom after a bad day and dancing like fire to your favourite song”, the feel-good vibes don’t stop there as it bursts with bouncy melodies, syncopated rhythms and sweet vocals. It’s a colourful and vibrant collaboration from two of Ireland’s most promising new artists.
Tape Trash ‘Perfect Spring’
Inspired by the blossoming return of warm weather, Norwegian duo Tape Trash have unveiled a soaring and uplifting new track called ‘Perfect Spring’. A track that is sure to whet the appetite of American emo and indie fans alike, this nuanced slice of indie-rock pairs propulsive drums and brooding basslines with chanting choruses and melodic guitars to great effect. A vibrant and well-timed offering that bursts with the swelling warmth and optimism that coincides with the beginning of spring, it’s a rousing opening account for the new outfit which is sure to turn heads.