Listening Post #11

by Jed Fletcher

Another fortnight, another Listening Post. The musical fields were plentiful to pick from on the back end of this month. So I hope you enjoy the PearShaped offering:

Unyoung – Nimmo

Hip electro-pop duo, Nimmo released this gem a month or so ago, and the video to accompany the track has recently been unveiled. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure where I’ve heard it – what puzzles me is that it seems very familiar to me and people who I play it to, but ostensibly (going by view counts and search engines) it’s not quite mainstream.

Anyhow, Nimmo have combined, as usual, a really catchy and distinctive electro production with good lyrics, which are well performed. The clanging background, which is kept in time by subtle yet addictive percussion, works beautifully as a counterpoint to the melancholic vocal tone and sombre lyrics typical of Nimmo’s style. Mixing chilled, triumphant, energetic and somnambulant vibes, Unyoung is a small masterpiece of electro, which I think everyone should listen to if they haven’t already.

Gone – Day Wave

After his track Drag rocketed the solo artist, Day Wave into countless blog posts and Spotify playlists last year, a lot of people have been following the Californian very closely. Now we’re in 2016 and it looks like new record Gone might challenge Drag in the positivity of its reception.

The lo-fi element, which was one of the standout points of Drag, has been left behind for the new track and instead we hear a more refined sound, which I think boasts a lot more confidence than previous tracks. The layering of multiple guitars is impressive and ties in nicely with a slightly more sophisticated drum line. Vocally, Day Wave is always pretty good in my opinion, and Gone is no different in this aspect – both the main and backup vocals are well executed. To top things off, the lyrics about self-understanding after the cut-off from a relationship are cool too!

Overcome (feat. Nile Rodgers) – Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula I’m certainly hoping doesn’t need an introduction, and her collaborator on new song Overcome, Nile Rodgers will be familiar to fans of Chic and other disco/funk music as one of the great guitarists and producers of the last 30 years.

Overcome blends supple funk guitar melodies, Mvula’s unique vocal range and mysterious orchestral backing to form quite a splendid concoction of contemporary R&B. Uplifting and startlingly engaging from the off, Overcome is definitely a track to have by your side for any challenges you may face this year.

Antonio Amerika – Diskopunk

Straight out of Stockholm, Diskopunk have only just formed and their debut release, Antonio Amerika, is really something. I’ve got to say, they’re name is about as indicative as any of what their music sounds like. Combining gripping flavours of disco and the full-on style of punk through the vocal attitude and rough instrumental, their vibe is quite individual. The Antonio Amerika is about how the band’s frontman feels as he escapes from himself and becomes the eccentric lunatic that he is in this role. Diskopunk seem like this year’s go-to group for getting the blood pumping.

Ritual Spirit (feat. Azekel) – Massive Attack

Lastly: Oh my god! Oh my god!! Massive Attack are back! This is always the best of news, for me anyway. Ritual Spirit, the eponymous track off the electro group’s new EP features East London singer Azekel and is very recognisably Massive Attack.

Azekel’s vocals inject the slightly airy feel that Massive Attack like their songs to have; meanwhile, the production is suitably mysterious too. Initiated by a creeping electric guitar, tribal percussion and a low bass line soon follow. Progressive and low-key, while staying marvellously variable and interesting, Ritual Spirit is anything but a let down from the Bristolians.