16 October 2012



Owl By Night has discovered another sparkling Swedish electro-pop duo who find meticulous ease in creating tracks of magical proportions. We have had Niki And The Dove and The Sound Of Arrows, so now it is the turn of Stockholm/Gothenburg producers Erik Lidén and Mattias Axelsson to assault ear canals with their brand of conflicting beats, boisterous muses and steadfast electronica. Released on Uniform Beat, "No! No! No!" starts off with an imposing drum beat similar to C.S.S.' "Move", lulling listeners into believing this is an indie-pop romper. Wrong, this song monstrously erupts full force with unequivocal electro flows, skittishly bouncing between temperamental synth mobs that thump at your chest with decibel ridden power. Swirling vocals lighten the metallic soundscape, draping sweetened tones amongst the oscillating madness in each chorus. Engulfing diverse sounds in cyclical cascades produces a truly hypnotic blend of music that showcases the Materikaa framework for future tracks; exciting and enigmatic. Thank you Sweden, once again. 



Shields were undoubtedly one of our main highlights from this year's The Great Escape Festival with a crowd pleasing performance full of instrumental power, soaring vocals and likeable Geordie banter. The five Newcastle lads have been busy doing a batch of successful, if slightly low-key gigs; pushing the Shields sound out there for people to feast upon; November sees the release of their EP, "Kaleidoscope", another exciting chapter in this band's story. Their latest single is an infectiously charming foray of brisk indie skits and bubbly pop simplicities where the golden strengths of guitar muse with juvenile key interplay. It is wholly refreshing to have a band that retains it's individuality. Where most bands have strayed into the realms of electro or dubstep, Shields have remained loyal to their brassy indie roots and pioneering northern pop intuition. "Mezzanine" strings together a rather cumbersome drum beat with breezy vocal artistry; the contrast is complimentary and fluid. Each added layer of sound seamlessly merges into the next; few bands can loop a gently smouldering bass between gloopy synth warbles, but Shields achieve this with pristine regularity. Full of verve and positive vibes, this latest effort is a pocket assortment of cohesive musical elements that culminates in superb indie-pop choruses and gracious lyrical sincerity. The music video is also fantastic; sock puppets will always produce a winner, reflected even more by the fact Kylie Minogue tweeted about Mezzanine. Socks have never been so musically adept; we love it. 



This American quartet have actually been around for the past four years having already released a couple of successful albums and securing a formidable fan collective. The group label their sound as a mixture of dream pop, yacht rock and shoegaze, which we categorically agree with considering the ambient transgressions witnessed with this latest single. With their new EP "Wanderlust" the band appear to diversify in order to establish a natural sound that has evolved from the band's origins and this is most apparent in "I Don't Feel It". Sauntering along at a tempo sufficient to feel driven and progressive this offering allows a rhythmic beat to underpin the track with energy. A placid convergence of keys, slithering synth toying and hazy drums manages to deliver an agile sound continuum that shrouds each musical note in gentle satin layers. Beguiling harmonies lure one in to feast on each audio slice of Windsor Drive's dynamic sound. Bridging pop and chillwave electro into something very deep yet allowing it to remain tangible is no mean feat, yet this band do it with seamless application.




Having such a fantastically random name like Ghost Beach makes your music that much easier for people to remember, so the fledgling New York duo of Josh Ocean and Eric "Doc" Mendelsohn have started well. Despite their relatively short history they have fashioned a sound that makes them unique by fusing the rambunctious melodramatics of eighties experimentalism with contemporary electro nuances; think along the lines of Van She meets Passion Pit and you get the beautiful mutation that is Ghost Beach. "Been There Before" is a delightful track full of effervescent synth warps and distorted computational whelps that infuse the song with a strange, warm ambience staining each wave of musical notes in sepia toned reassurance. The sentimental retro feel of Ocean's lyrics blush delicately in the company of mesmeric bass undulations and lacquered chorus build-ups allowing the song to bridge together the bravado of eighties synth-pop with modern electro soundstorms. Hazy, whimsical and with a penchant for invigorating music, Ghost Beach perfectly dissolve genres into something very mature and uplifting. 


With the current musical zeitgeist that is dubstep taking a lengthy stranglehold on the commercial UK Top 40 courtesy of producers like Nero, Skrillex and DJ Fresh, it has been a lot more difficult for raw dance music in it's various guises to pepper the mainstream. Accomplished maestro Don Diablo is challenging that; the Dutchman has unquestionable talent and spirited drive. With his brand new "Lights Out" EP freshly released on iTunes and having successfully toured now is the time to immerse yourself in the Don Diablo sound. Championed by Martin Solveig and Diplo amongst others, this Amsterdam resident's latest number entitled "The Golden Years" slings together raucous dance beats across abrasive bass terrains; ripping at musical noise with adrenaline fuelled freneticism and the viciousness of a mad dog. This tracks initially deceives listeners with pools of whispered bass resonance, whooping beats and watered down vocal planes. After that gentle affair Don Diablo crushes any fragility with armageddon dance beats and mangled techno jabs; this generates a chorus that stampedes full force at your ears. Pulsating, enlivened and punchy, this track is what a resurgent dance music scene needs.    



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