Weekend Wonders: Alexandria - Laurel - Wicklow Atwater - Flora Cash - Philter - Geowulf

Alexandria - Hot Day.

Background - The Stockholm-based band Alexandria muddling through the post-ironic middle class obstinate age. Their semi-electronic pop weaves together playful groove with muffled rhythms. Out of their combination of intoxicated palm tree sensualism, heard in their previous hit ”Secret Beach”, and melancholy influences from job anxiety arises an exciting harmony. In short: umbrella drinks meets ”back to the grind”.

The quintet has found an unconventional and dim world of sound of catchy melancholy, where shimmering synths engulfs the listener in a dream-like state. Alexandria has created their own sound where realism and escapism is in a state of equilibrium.

Alexandria describes ”Hot Day” with the following words: ”Hot day has its bright spots, and we are especially fond of the part after the chorus. Good vibe. We are really in to how the guitars sound the Stones album 'Tattoo You' from 1981 and tried to recreate that.”

The single will be followed up by the album ”Bossa” which is their first full-length. ”Bossa” will be released late January 2017 on Lab259.

Melodic and expansive music supports the smooth vocals on 'Hot Day'. I guess it sits somewhere between indie and synth pop, and it's one of those songs where the vocals and soundtrack are competing with each other for the attention of your ears. Next January's album seems very promising based on this track.


Laurel - Maybe Baby.

Background - Southampton-raised, 22 year old London-based singer, songwriter and producer Laurel Arnell-Cullen has now shared a brand new track, 'Maybe Baby', taken from her forthcoming Park EP out 18th Nov on Counter Records (an imprint of Ninja Tune).

The Park EP was written, performed, recorded, produced and mixed by Laurel in her East London bedroom based studio. The first taster; 'Hurricane' demonstrates a maturity of sound beyond her 22 years, her breathy vocals sitting atop exquisite melodies with heartfelt, intimate delivery.

It follows the release of singles 'Life Worth Living' and 'San Francisco', which Laurel released on her label Theia earlier in the year. The tracks saw her garner a wealth of support from BBC Radio 1, Beats1, Apple, Spotify, New York Times, The Guardian, i-D, DIY, The Line of Best Fit and many more, reaching Top 3 on Hype Machine's Popular Chart and surpassing half a million plays in under a month - her Spotify listener figures are in excess of 300k every month.

With a debut album scheduled for early 2017, Park EP further enhances Laurel’s position as a phenomenal new talent, mixing raw organic production with striking yet touching songwriting and powerfully enchanting vocals. Website here.

Live Dates:
23rd Nov - Crofters Rights, Bristol
24th Nov - Green Door Store, Brighton
25th Nov - Eagle Inn, Manchester
26th Nov - The Attic @ The Garage, Glasgow
27th Nov - Think Tank Underground, Newcastle
29th Nov - Brudenell Games Room, Leeds
30th Nov - Servant Jazz Quarters, London
16th Feb - Sebright Arms, London

Our second feature for Laurel and the new song is 'Maybe Baby' released ahead of next weeks 'Park' EP. With her stand out vocals and a powerful and stripped back soundtrack, this is another very catchy and superbly produced song.


Wicklow Atwater - I Wanna Be Yer Man.

Background - Wicklow Atwater is an American band. They formed and remain based in Atwater Village, Southern California. Being born and raised in the same neighbourhood all five members have been the best of friends since childhood which has created an unbreakable bond that some describe as brotherhood, in turn this has created a unique energy between the group that you can sense off and on stage.

Although its impossible to label Wicklow Atwater as a single genre it is safe to say they play a brand of acoustic music known as Americana which encompasses a blend of bluegrass, old time, country, folk, and blues. The group consists of array of multi-instrumentalists who have been recording, producing and releasing their own music independently without the aid of a record label. Wicklow holds nothing back and jumps to the occasion to grace stages, bar rooms and festivals where ever there are open ears and open minds. Growing up with big dreams and humble beginnings the boys have gotten by on a supportive fan base and a do it yourself mentality that goes hand in hand with an old fashion punk rock ethic.

The Ultimate goal of the band is simple, to serenade the nation and to live and experience the beauty that this country has to offer through touring and performing on road. With that said Wicklow Atwater does not wish to set the world on fire, they just want to reignite the fallen flame in America's heart. Facebook here.

One of seventeen songs on the new album 'I Wanna Be Yer Man' is wonderful in it's own right, and yet has to fight for it's place in the collection. Even when the band slow things down a little, there is a sense of energy and passion just waiting to burst through again. Seriously, if you like the featured song, you will love the album. It's Americana that explodes in so many different directions, it's fun and foot stomping, and deserves to be heard in full!


Flora Cash - Sadness Is Taking Over.

Background - Flora Cash are a Scandi duo that have taken upon themselves to sonically explore the diversity of human relationships. They go straight to places where tears are shed, chairs are thrown, discussions of parting are present, but the music is created regardless. Having “met” on Soundcloud and instantly e-hitting it off musically, their “atmospheric in theme and vibe” material had soon after been supported by the likes of Noisey US, Paste, The Music Ninja, Earmilk, Interview Magazine and more.

With the release of their upcoming new album, containing the “Sadness Is Taking Over” single, Flora Cash face their most challenging moments to date sewn deep into the music. They instantly share this uneasy and raw kind of anxiety with the listener, the type that affects one’s mind, body and then somehow manages to creep into every aspect of one’s life, soon to be in control of it. Topping the song with the backing vocals, in the style of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, Cole and Shpresa are not only conveying their feelings but also examining them with each sung harmony.

The duo skilfully blend their deep love for acoustic soundscapes and layer it with just the right amount of ethereal production hinting at Mt Wolf, Poliça, Vogue Dots and Kings Of Convenience. Through the painful dialogue between Shpresa’s observations and Cole’s suffering, the duo succeeds at designing an inter-dimensional delicate yet mighty piece of music. 

“Sadness Is Taking Over” creates a sonic desire for tranquillity and emotional freedom which despite the heartbreak, loss or destruction, aids one with the ability of personal growth and moving on. The single is now out via the Swedish label Icons Creating Evil Art. Website here.

The vocals and harmonies exude atmosphere and melody on 'Sadness Is Taking Over'. The soundtrack is equally fine, mixing gentle beats and intricate patterns, the duo have something pretty special going on here.


Philter - Katana.

Background - When you step into the Philter universe, his self-described cinematic electronica makes up only a portion of the experience that spans beyond the music into film, merchandise, animation and video games. With a dedicated and growing fanbase worldwide, Philter is positioned to catapult to international stardom. Behind the curtain, you find a very charming and humble guy named Magnus Gangstad Jørgensen from Molde in Northern Norway nicknamed “The Town of Roses”. 

Growing up with long dark winters and summers of light, Magnus was influenced at a young age by this duality. This manifested itself in many ways as a youth, but it was not until he moved to Bergen on the Western side of Norway that his interest in music production would become his destined choice. His first album The Beautiful Lies became a success upon arrival and resonated with a much larger demographic than a typical electronica album. His follow-up, The Blossom Chronicles, capitalized on the success of TBL and continued the journey of Blossom, Floyd and The Bunny Man, characters that create the trilogy’s universe and are the creative influences behind the music.

The new album, The Campfire Tales, brings his trilogy of albums (including The Beautiful Lies and The Blossom Chronicles) to a conclusion with an experience enhanced by the presence of the Apollon Quartet. The foursome has performed at Carnegie Hall (NYC), The Louvre (Paris), Tonhalle (Zurich) and many other prestigious locations around the world. Their magic helps set the album mood, providing Philter with a prepped canvas for his work. Each contributor adds their own stamp, yet the album maintains the sound and feel of Philter that keeps his fans clamoring for more. 

With music used in a variety of features, ski-films from Field Production, sporting events, documentaries and advertisements, with clients ranging from Discovery Channel to Norwegian broadcasting station NRK, Philter’s appeal crosses over to a mainstream audience regularly. His music is often used in major international DJ sets and Avicii made a remix of Revolver. Website here.

I chose 'Katana' from 'The Campfire Songs' as I think it gives a flavour of the quality found across all twelve tracks and also because I think it's a fabulous instrumental. You can sample more via the website, it really is a musical feast.


Geowulf - Don't Talk About You.

Background - Following the incredible success of their debut single 'Saltwater', dream-pop duo Geowulf have now unveiled a brand new track; the melodic and reflective 'Don't Talk About You'. On writing the track, Star comments: "This song went through a geographical & creative metamorphosis over almost two years... We originally wrote it in Copenhagen, demo'ed it in Stockholm and then revisited it recently when Toma & I were both in London. I guess the song speaks for itself but ultimately it falls in the good ol' "wanting-something-that-ain't- good-for-you" vein ..." The band returned to the studio with producer Duncan Mills at the end of the summer to record the song.

The band's first release 'Saltwater', which dropped this summer, was an instant hit - the single has now exceeded 1.5 million plays on Spotify, reached the Top Ten on Hype Machine's Popular Chart and peaked at #4 in the Spotify US Viral Chart (it was #6 in the Worldwide Viral Chart).
This week also marks the launch of the band's new creative portal online, for regular musings, lyrics, personal photos, insights and original content direct from Star. The site will be regularly updated.

Geowulf will be performing live as part of The Line of Best Fit's annual Five Day Forecast festival of new music in January. They will play the sold out opening night, on Monday 9th January at The Lexington in London. Dagny and Ider are also on the bill. Geowulf is Star Kendrick (vocals) and Toma Banjanin (guitar/production). Website here.

It was back in July when we featured the debut single 'Saltwater' and it's a delight to now share 'Don't Talk About You', which from my point of view is another dream pop come beach pop gem. It could well be another big hit, how many artists would settle for that twice in a year!