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Tracks! Tracks! Tracks!
In which I risk it all for new tunes from Lili Caseley, Eckoes, Vérité, Dhalia and more
Geez, January is mad isn’t it? I swear it was only 23 minutes ago that I last wrote to you all, and yet here we are, 23 days later. I’ll be honest, the amount of time flying does not really seem in proportion to the amount of fun I have been having.
What has been fun though is getting back into music listening mode. Now, granted much of that recently has been focused on older music - specifically a playlist of big pop bangers I have made for when I am driving* - but there has been a fair amount of really good new stuff released recently as well. Including from some old favourites of mine, and some brand new acts as well.
Eckoes - “Missing You”
First up is the return of a stunning artist whom I have loved for ages, the divine Eckoes. I can think of no more gorgeous way to start my first proper post of the new era than with the hauntingly beautiful “Missing You”.
The opening piano line is exquisitely delicate. Reminiscent of the Gary Jules take on “Mad World”, it drips like raindrops on a window as our broken protagonist looks out wistfully. The vocals, whilst rich and layered over subdued strings and clock-tick electronic beats, are aching and emotive. Grief has us in its thrall and nothing is going to free us. It evokes a quiet solitude, a hollowness or numbness residing where once love flourished.
Eckoes has always conveyed emotion, be it anguish or euphoria, with a deft hand and an appropriately rousing or respectful arrangement. Given its subject, given its slightness and its undoubted beauty, “Missing You”, understated as it is, might just be her best yet.
Vérité - “Temporary”
From a returning favourite with a track about grief, to one with a track about anger. Like Eckoes, Vérité has been a favourite of mine for some time now, ever since her super-infectious debut “Weekend” (spoiler alert, “Weekend” is on the pop bangers playlist I mentioned earlier). Here she returns with the lead track from her forthcoming third album, Love You ForeverI.
“Temporary” is raw and ragged. A fuzzy haze of frustration and exasperation it uses autotune to delightfully discordant effect. The beat is incessant, increasingly urgent while the track as a whole is all red and black, the chorus a rage room of resentment - towards others and herself. As the track progresses, there is a moment where the vocals are freed, a shaft of light breaking through an otherwise overwhelming fog, hope born from awareness perhaps? No matter, for soon it is engulfed into the tumultuous layers of sound and annoyance.
Vérité’s new album Love You Forever is due for release on 24 February and you can click to pre-save it. She says it is best described as an album “about loving someone so much you murder them and drag their body into a lake”. I absolutely cannot wait to hear that record.
Lili Caseley - “Yes or No”
Up and coming singer-songwriter Lili Caseley has been on a bit of a slow burn over the last few years, releasing soulful pop tracks on a semi-prolific basis to an ever increasing and appreciative audience. With “Yes or No” the slow burn is over, it’s time for a big a bang.
The track opens with the kind of electronic melody you’d expect Stormzy to start dropping truths over. Instead, Caseley’s vocals are a seductive beckon hither laced over a subtly infectious beat from producer Nao. Switching from English to French mid-chorus (Caseley is from Camden but with both French and Portuguese heritage) she finds herself in the kind of situation Rhianna didn’t want to stop the music for and neither do we. “Yes or No” skips, glitches and skitters along, before breaking into brief moments where the beat stops and we are left with just her vocal and the kind of string arrangement Game of Thrones used for ‘shit is about to kick off’ montages.
Risk it all? If she keeps putting out tracks like this on the regular, then yes.
Fancy seeing Lili play live? Then head to Colours in London on 10 February.
Dhalia - “Naughty”
Now, as they say, for something completely different.
Hailing from Gloucester in the West of England, Dhalia are four young lads who have recently graduated from open mics to a slot at the O2 Institute in Birmingham and BBC Introducing airplay. Their four track EP, The Moon, was released a couple of weeks ago and is a mix of gentle, emotive indie and the kind of full throttle energy you’d expect from guitar wielding twenty-somethings raised on Arctic Monkeys, Bring Me The Horizon and 21 Pilots.
One such high voltage track is “Naughty”, which, at just 2 minutes and 20 seconds, is here for a good time, not a long time. The production is a little rough around the edges but it works. Grab a pair of headphones and you’ll be treated to a 100mph crash of drums and vocals layered with a swaggering guitar line that practically dares you to keep up with it. The guys are having fun and it shows.
“Naughty” is taken from The Moon EP which is available to buy now.
The Lemon Twigs - “The Corner Of My Eye”
We’ll end this week with the first new tune from The Lemon Twigs for a while. This actually came out right at the start of the year but it is so soothing and lush that I had to include it. Not least because whenever the 60’s infused pop ballad, already a live favourite, pauses and they start singing “But when I’ve got you in the corner of my eye” I can just imagine grainy black and white footage of crowds of teenage girls absolutely losing their shit with delight.
Enjoy your week, and remember, dance like no one is watching and sing like no one can hear you.
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* Shout in the comments if you want it and I’ll share the link. Full disclosure, it is very pop heavy and there are a couple of majorly cheesy tunes in there. I love it!