With the vocal eeriness of Thom Yorke, the subtlety and charm of The xx and the spot-on production of Burial, Halls picks and chooses his influences from many of today’s greatest bands and mixes them into a melancholic, moody pile of contemporary electronica. After a series of EPs, this young Londoner signed to No Pain In Pop for the release of his full-length debut record, Ark. On this 11-track masterpiece, Halls takes the listener on an emotional trip of electronic sound- and moodscapes, ranging from very sparse tracks like White Chalk to more pulsing tracks like his recent single, Roses for the Dead. Obviously influenced by modern sounds, Ark nevertheless has a timeless feel to it. Drowned In Sound describe it thus: “What sets Halls apart from his contemporaries… as well as what saves him from flat out accusations of needless re-tread, is his willingness to double down on the reverence on any of those artists while simultaneously bringing synthesised electronics into startling contrast with organic, churchly acoustics in a wholly original way.”
Christopher Owens is the artistic mastermind behind Girls, one of indie’s much-loved bands, known for three impeccable releases: Album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Album and Broken Dreams Club. Girls ceased to exist when Christopher quit the band last Summer (happily giving him time to focus on his solo stuff). The romantic guitar-pop of Girls is back, but just less punky. Early next year, he will be releasing his solo debut album, Lysandre, “a coming of age story, a road trip story, a love story” for which all inspirations are listed over at The Fader. The first track, “Here We Go”, is hailed by Pitchfork as “a gently strummed and sweetly sung plea (“Listen to me sing, New York City”) that resembles the soft, slow-building tracks that lightly punctuated the end of Father, Son, Holy Ghost.”
Lulu James has matured quite a lot since her debut “Rope Mirage” EP, turning her back on playful electropop and working with well-known producers like Kidnap Kid and Hostage. Her new single, “Be Safe”, is a pop-meets-dubstep gem, surprisingly not as cheesy nor cheap as the description might suggest. The Line Of Best Fit even called it “one of the undisputed best songs of the year”. It’s quite an effort to sing on such a high-production track and still be noticed for a bright voice, something we should be giving this young lady quite a bit of credit for. The video for the track is a stylish piece of work which confirms she has the voice ànd the looks (…a star in the making?) We’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for her.