Midweek Muse: Nice Motor - The Amazons - Lionfly Secrets - Cocoa Futures

Nice Motor - Duck And Cover.

Background - Nice Motor is a Rock n' Soul band from Chicago, forming in late 2014. With Brian Webb on Vocals and Guitar, Seth Webb on Drums, Dave Swick on Guitar, and Neil Krajenta on bass, the band began recording music during the summer of 2015. Their first releases, "All the Neighbors" and "Turn to Stone" were made available for free on Soundcloud in the fall of that same year.

Nice Motor formed after the break-up of Chicago veteran band "Jonny Rumble", freeing up Brian and Seth for new adventures, and Dave's departure from another Chicago band, "Super Happy Fun Club". Neil was waiting in the wings, bought a bass, and off they went. Beginning with acoustic writing sessions on a balcony, and impromptu electric noise-making, the band quickly began to write tunes as a well-orchestrated unit. After pocketing a hand or two full of songs, the band began recording in May with their good friend Chris Mason manning the controls of a make-shift home-studio. The month of May also saw Nice Motor play their first show, selling out Alive One in Chicago, to benefit Team High-Life and bring awareness to suicide prevention. They quickly followed up by selling out a show at Tonic Room in June.

The band’s next show is on NYE at Double Door in Chicago. They will be opening for Lucky Boy’s Confusion. Facebook here.

I cannot help but love the vintage sounds that introduce 'Duck And Cover'. However rather than be the highlight it simply helps the refined, beautiful music and vocals that follow to stand out even further. Alt rock of sorts Nice Motor have a something pretty special going on here.


The Amazons - Little Something.

Background - Following their recent Q Award nomination for Best Breakthrough Act, The Amazons’ upwards momentum continues with the news that their brand new track ‘Little Something’ has been chosen as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record in the World. Now available to download and stream, ‘Little Something’ impacts on January 20th.

Produced by Catherine Marks (Wolf Alice, Foals, The Vaccines), ‘Little Something’ elevates the clash of melody and aggression that simmered in The Amazons’ previous single ‘In My Mind’. It starts with an ominous air of moody atmospherics before erupting into a fiery ball of energy following a dynamic breakdown that inspires chaos when the band performs it live.

“‘Little Something’ represents the darkest and heaviest place we’ve pushed our music to,” says frontman Matt Thomson. “It’s a predatory lyric based around the hunt for an obsession that’s out of reach, and then in the darkness and failure of reaching it, finding yourself becoming something you’re not.”

‘Little Something’ will also feature on the band’s debut album which has been recorded with Catherine Marks in Flood and Alan Moulder’s famous Assault and Battery studio in London. Facebook here. Website here.

The Amazons recently played their biggest London headline show to date at Oslo and are currently finishing a run of dates as guests to Jimmy Eat World. They conclude 2016 – and preview an even bigger 2017 – with the following shows:

1st - St. Albans, The Horn
8th - Bath, Moles
9th - Bedford, Bedford Esquires
10th - London, Nambucca (This Feeling club night)
15th - Newcastle, Think Tank Underground
16th - Sunderland, Independent
17th - Manchester, When In Manchester Festival

A nice thumping bass and drums combination bring 'Little Something' into play and the darker vocals and haunting guitar add additional atmosphere and urgency. This is one meaty and powerful track, a short reprise halfway through is the calm before the band storm into a full on finale.


Lionfly Secrets - Epiphany Spinnup.

Background - Lionfly Secrets released their new single “Epiphany” on Friday 18th November. “Epiphany ” is a bombastic, energetic electro-pop symphony. It is four minutes of hook-filled melody with striking synths, crashing guitars and a female vocal that thunders boldly through the progressiveness of the track.  The production is rich, colourful and steady.  Erica’s vocals reverb through the track and sit perfectly with the electro style of their music. Fellow bandmate Nikolai Hemmingsson is the Producer charged with the warmth and power of the production and serves up a track full of oomph and dynamism.  Erica describes the song as a moment of diversion from reality “We wanted to create a soundtrack for escapism. Walking around in headphones and dream away that you are in a dreamworld and a better place, but then you have to take the earphones out and get back to reality where nothing is as good as you hoped it was”.

Lionfly Secrets are a 5-piece from Sweden.  Vocalist Erica Zandelin hooked up with Sebastian Fernstedt whilst in High School and he produced her first single. An ongoing working relationship continued over the years, until 2015 the pair officially unified and created Lionfly Secrets and added 3 band members to the family. The band have achieved a great deal since their incarnation, including reaching the finals of “Stream Your Dream” competition in Stockholm, part of an acoustic tour in Sweden and had the opportunity to play the “Live At Heart” festival in Orebro.  As with all working bands, day jobs have to be sustained to fulfil the dream – in the case for Erica that is operating  a forklift truck – but it is the means to an end.

Release plans for 2017 for Lionfly Secrets are scheduled. Writing and recording over the winter for an EP release in Spring and touring and festivals in the summer and further releases in the autumn. Facebook here.

With something of a swirling sound 'Epiphany Spinnup' introduces itself before developing into a very catchy song that drifts between indie pop and rock. Erica Zandelin has distinct and very fine vocals and the band have a depth of sound that adds something a little extra!


Cocoa Futures - The Grey.

Background - Perhaps Cocoa Futures’ most direct offering of sparkling, upbeat indie pop, 'The Grey' is all driven groove, sonorous dancefloor bounce and soaring vocal hooks. Such pull-no-punches positivity stems straight from the tune's lyrical subject matter, as Futures frontman Greg explains. “‘The Grey’ is about someone facing life and all of its normality after something really bad happening. It talks about how difficult that can be and the things that you can do to get through it. It's also a reminder that they will.” ‘The Grey’ is taken from Cocoa Futures’ forthcoming ‘Blue’ EP – produced by Marc Withasee (Micachu & the Shapes) – out on Lost In The Manor Records on 2 December.

“Our ethos is pretty simple – to be ambitious about making music we’re proud of. And to have a nice time.” Greg, Cocoa Futures

Scotland-bred and London-based, Cocoa Futures are the brainchild of frontman Greg (vocals/bass). They specialise in pristine pop harmonics crossed with a taste for the unexpected. Greg assembled a band including Dave (drums), Zoe (keys) and Jack (guitar) and first came to prominence in 2014 through the self-released upbeat singles ‘Do Something’ and ‘Scotland’, while commanding distinguished reviews for their select live shows, which included the Great Escape and Camden Crawl festivals. This early promise served as a staging post for the band to determine their musical direction and decamp to the studio to write. And write. 

Crafting and developing manifold demos became a daily pastime for Greg and when he sent a batch of these over to producer Marc Withasee (Micachu & the Shapes), the pair bonded over a love of ‘messed up’ pop and the producer was instrumental in setting tempos, tweaking arrangements and bringing out the band’s penchant for building tracks around loops and effects as they collaborated on the ‘Blue’ EP, completed in early 2016. When Greg shared the results with Lost In The Manor Records, the label wasted no time in offering the band a contract. ‘Blue’, mixed by Max Taylor and mastered by Jason Mitchell, is immediate yet intriguing, a collection of fantastic pop moments wrapped up in music of great depth, and its release seems set to propel Cocoa Futures to the frontline of UK pop’s key innovators. Website here. Facebook here.

It was back in August that we featured the first single 'The Blue' from next weeks EP release. 'The Grey' is another fabulously alternative pop song, where the melodic creativity is delivered in style. The EP is just so, so good!