The last real proper gig I went to was on the 14th March, to see these guys, and it was fucking awesome. (God I miss it so much). Since then Diva and Alex have been busy, and last week they came out with their second full album, Hyper Romance.
Since Melt Away a lot has changed. They have moved from London to Bristol. Gone are the masks and the alter egos – in comes stripped-back intimate honesty. Gone is the electro-pop sound they became known for – in comes a grungy style that occasionally borders on shoe-gaze. They built up their new sound in their basement studio, using cheap amps and distortion pedals. If nothing else, the album is a showcase of their enormous potential as a duo. Plenty of promise to keep developing and growing.
But are they living up to this potential in Hyper Romance? There are some notable highlights – Metal Violets and Burning Hour are up there with my favourite JD tracks – but in general I think the release falls short on spark. The creativity and originality of their former releases aren’t quite hit with the same regularity. Granted I’ve set them a high bar, but hey, I think they are good enough. Looking forward to the next one. Also I hope they don’t read this because I would like to be their friend.
Notable mention to the title track Hyper Romance which samples the 1984 documentary Streetwise (about homeless kids in Seattle) in a subtly beautiful and incredibly emotional way. Definitely worth a listen.
Remember New Navy? Well the producer from that (James Chave-Dubois) is back on the airwaves. He has combined with singer Jazz Barry to create Pèt Nat. Probably your new favourite Australian indie electronic duo. Their debut single is Thin Skin, it’s out now, and it’s lovely. Keep your eyes out for more soon.
Bonus track: fun fact, I once convinced a random American that I was on tour as a part of New Navy. Just about obscure enough to get away with…
The Slow Rush is without a doubt my album of the quarantine session so far. It’s Tame Impala’s 4th and it’s a cracker.
Kevin Parker recorded this between native Australia and LA – and that provides a really nice window through which to understand the sound. It’s this awesome struggle between a lazy, beachy indie sound, and the more intense, highly produced electronic LA vibe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am.
Bonus track: Ben Gomori’s remix of Breathe Deeper gently lifts it up one notch. Lovely.
Jadu Heart’s first full length album is excellent. The masked duo are growing with every release – tightening their grip on their screwed-up electro-pop style, and casting a spell over the listener. The interplay between their voices (his rough and raw, hers sweet and tender) is perfectly measured; and the switches between moody and playful are perfectly executed. Even the album’s more straightforward rougher edges serve to increase its charm.
You can probably tell I like it. And it I like it more each time I put it on. Oh and boy you should see them live.
Most of the tracks have already been released so it might feel quite familiar. My star picks are Wanderlife and Harry Brompton’s Ice Tea, but in truth I could list half of the tracks on there.
A bit of a change of pace here – something to nurse your Sunday heads. Meg Duffy’s Hand Habits was my most-played band of 2019; I’m slightly hooked on their particular brand of wistful folk . Lead singer Meg Duffy’s vocals waver in a fragile kind of way that draws emotion right to the surface. It’s beautiful, it’s calming and feels real. I hope you like.
Bonus album: placeholder is her second album, but the first, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), is just as nice. Enjoy.
There’s a lot more to say about Meg Duffy, but I don’t really feel qualified. If you want to read more about how her album is “staging queer stories against a wistful Americana backdrop” then read this Pitchfork review.
Still Corners are a British/American duo that make the kind of indie that transports you through time and space – embracing you, picking you up and taking you on a journey. Here is my favourite album (their second) from 2013.
They have a lovely back-story too – the duo (Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray) met by accident on a random train platform in London. If its possible, I think you can kind of hear it in their music…