After taking an unexpected break to swear at my computer last week, I have five artists that I added to the station this week that I want to highlight. As you know, with everything Strawberry Tongue, they could be current or classic artists. This week features a fine blend of both and leans heavily on dreampop, shoegaze and, my very favorite, post-punk.
The Year of the Kite
Dreamy and brooding, The Year of the Kite is a new band from the U.K. that plays atmospheric pop. Featuring Doug Cresswell, Kate Day, Mohamed Sheikh, Matthew Walsh, Rachel Walsh and Matthew Wood, this sextet features crepuscular guitars and delicate vocal harmonies, embedded on top of chiming synths. What makes this dreampop band stand out is their somber use of clarinet, which provides a haunting backdrop. Practicing in a very cold, beautiful old church, they currently have three tracks available, and each has joined the playlist at STR including; “Beauty Gone,” “Distance,” and “Wild Blood, Wild Light.” This is a band to watch in the dreampop genre for 2016.
New Age Healers
Owen Murphy, who has pursued a number of post-punk projects in New York, Minneapolis and Seattle, has now settled in with his latest project, New Age Healers. Building beautiful, luscious layers of driving guitars, synth washes and pulsing drums, his music bridges the styles of gothic rock, pop, new wave and post-punk. Gorgeous melodies are paired with lyrics of longing, making his latest release both exhilarating and heart-rendering. It was hard to just pick three tracks, but, Three new tracks have been added to STR including; “Ready, Fire, Aim,” “Snow Angels” and “I Want More.”
Another fantastic find from the Lady Sometimes label based out of Rome, Armaud is a dreampop group that features lo-fi shimmering guitars, pulsing drums and the lyrical watercolors of Paola Fecarotta. Upon first listen, you might think the music is very delicate, but there is a powerful restraint that keeps the power of the tracks to a slow simmer. Tracks added to the STR playlist include; “Patterns,” “Him,” and “Ablaze.”
This is a band that STR really can’t live without. Breathless has been making their own melancholic brand of dreampop since the early 80s. Ivo Watts, founder of 4AD, perfectly described singer Dominic Appeton’s voice as both beautiful, and sad. Atmospheric, floating, wistful, ambrosial – there is no end to the poetic words that can be used to describe their sound. The quartet is rounded out by Gary Mundy (guitar / vocals), Tristram Latimer Sayer (drums / percussion) and Ari Neufeld (bass, e-bow / guitar.) Tracks on the STR playlist span their entire catalog and include; “After All These Years,” “Compulsion,” “Everything I See,” “Let’s Make A Night Of It,” “Moment by Moment” and “Waiting on the Wire.”
Sliding in at the last minute this week is a band out from the flatlands of the East Anglian Fens. Their sound is influenced by postpunk and darkwave bands of the 80s such as Clan of Xymox, Mission of Burma, and Sisters of Mercy. They are a simple three-piece band that uses dense layers to creating powerful, sweeping melodies paired with retro-wave vocals. Lyrically, their songs draw on darker themes such as isolation, loss, breakdown and regret which create haunting vignettes of life. Tracks included are, “An Ending,” “Shadow State” and “Torch Song.”
That’s it for this week’s edition of the Friday Night Five. Be sure to tune in to Strawberry Tongue Radio at 19:00, 21:00 and 23:00 EDT to hear selected tracks from each of these bands and be sure to visit their websites for more information about their latest work and to purchase their tracks. Also, be sure to listen to Strawberry Tongue Radio to hear our unique playlist featuring current and classic artists playing post punk, new wave, indie, electronic and experimental music.