Weekend Wonders: Mt. Wolf - Emerald Portal - Among Criminals - Ned Roberts - Joseph Eid - Fujiya & Miyagi - Young Astronaut

Mt. Wolf - The Electric.

Background - London’s Mt. Wolf ended last year teasing the world with the smart-pop stylings of “Golden”, which saw significant pick-up internationally from the likes of The Independent, Indie Shuffle and others but was moreover a distraction of sorts, to maintain momentum whilst the band continued working away in the studio on a debut album and the huge sound they have always threatened. With the 6 minute + “The Electric”, the first material from their as yet untitled debut LP, this sound is very much realised. This year marks a fresh start for a band whose promise is set to be fulfilled.

The road up to now has been nothing if not eventful – including a line-up change, sell-out shows across Europe and the US, a brief hiatus last year that only invigorated the band and significant, ongoing critical support. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy but the feeling is that the real rewards, for the band and for us the listeners, are now just around the corner.

Punctuated by apocalyptic visions, the accompanying lyric video ebbs and flows as the song swells, and shows the strength – and importance – of lyrics in the band’s ever-growing sonic palette.

Since last year’s comeback EP and single the band have kept busy writing and recording with Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros, M83, Daughter). Early listens confirm this as their boldest, most ambitious output yet; expect the full album to land, and awe, shortly before the summer. Facebook here.

The brand new track 'The Electric' has distinct emotive vocals that are accompanied by a powerful and expansive soundtrack where even the drums add to the atmosphere, rather than just driving the momentum. The video is serious and fascinating adding even more to a dramatic, fabulous song.


Emerald Portal - All The Running.

Background - Emerald Portal is the brainchild of Thomas Ouziel and Brad Rundblade, two musicians, who at a young age immersed themselves into all aspects of art. As a sound designer and screenwriter, respectively, their music is heavily influenced by their cinematic backgrounds. Emerald Portal seeks to make engaging music that not only tells stories, but transports listeners.

Born in Europe, Thomas from Paris, France and Brad from Crete, Greece, both grew up learning how to play piano and guitar. They each spent years playing music before entering the film industry. Upon meeting on the set of a music video in Los Angeles, where the duo currently live, they found they had a mutual interest in creating music and began working on a number of songs. After a period of creative activity they had written enough material for an album. Each song on their first LP, Beyond The Edge of Reason, was a glimpse into different worlds and stories that all culminated into a grander, overall universe. Using their background in film, the duo created music videos for six of the songs from the album.

Emerald Portal works in various artistic fields often collaborating with directors, musicians, and artists to expand their vision and sound. They’ve received numerous awards for their music videos (LAIFFA, Orlando Film Festival, Los Angeles CineFest) and have a new EP, Trouble In Paradise ready for release in 2017. The ambitious band is currently working on three separate concept albums, each another glimpse into the many stories populating the Emerald Portal.Website here, Facebook here.

Emerald Portal come across from this song alone as artists that are comfortable to test boundaries and are not positioned comfortably in any one genre. 'All The Running' has so much going for it, superbly crafted music, melodic hooks galore, and vocals that just melt into the music.


Among Criminals - Patience And Regret.

Background - Among Criminals, have just launched their new single "Patience and Regret" from their upcoming record Kill The Precedent.

Among Criminals threads together 1990s alt-rock, modern indie rock, punk rock, and Jamaican dub, ska, and reggae. It’s an adventurous aesthetic that conjures the fearless musicality of the Mars Volta and At The Drive In, Nirvana, and Manchester Orchestra.

The band’s recordings are visceral and dynamic, and also subtly layered for a multi-dimensional “headphones experience.” The trio originally formed in 2008, but burned out after a grueling schedule of 250-300 shows a year that tested its sanity, creativity, and commitment. Facebook here.

'Patience And Regret' is a fast flowing rocker where the guitars & drums provide a feisty backdrop for the vocals. It's actually the fine and natural vocals that drive the melody. If you like your rock'n'roll cutting straight to the point, Among Criminals should be on your radar.


Ned Roberts - Lights on the River.

Background - Ned Roberts is a hotly-tipped, London-based folk musician, who has drawn comparisons with the likes of Tim Hardin, Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen. With a timeless quality to his sound, a poetic turn of phrase, excellent musicianship and a perfectly judged vocal sensibility, his songs sit comfortably amongst the classics of the Laurel Canyon era.

Lights On The River is the first single to be released from his new album, which was recorded in LA and produced by Luther Russell (Sarabeth Tucek, Richmond Fontaine, Noah & The Whale) who discovered Ned some years ago and has championed his music ever since. The highly anticipated new album Outside My Mind is due for release on March 24th on Aveline Records.

Outside My Mind felt a long time coming for Ned, with songs written over a period of three or four years. Largely an album of love-songs, both hopeful, devastated, and all things in between, the album was in a sense cathartic to record, a way to explore a moment and also to move beyond it.

The recording in LA was a much quicker process. They went into the studio with 15 acoustic guitar demos, and within 5 days came out with the finished record. “Recording to tape kept things tight explains Ned, we didn’t have endless reels, so couldn’t indulge in take after take. I enjoyed these practical limitations as they really focused the creative process, and kept everything fresh.” Facebook here.

Ned Roberts has one of those distinctive voices where every word has the feeling of being individually crafted. 'Lights on the River' is an exquisite song and also my introduction to Ned. For me the new album is not only a must listen, based on this track it will be a must own.


Joseph Eid - Watch it Fall.

Background - Americana-singer/songwriter, Joseph Eid has been writing poetry and dreaming of a career in the arts as long as he can remember. He grew up in the suburbs of New York.  Raised in a strict and traditional home, the arts were only supported as a hobby and never as a career.  During his college years, Eid studied psychology and pre-med.  After his first semester at med school, his dream got too big to hold and Eid made the bold choice of dropping out to move to New York City to pursue music.

While in New York, Joseph Eid picked up a guitar, joined a band, and the songs poured out of him like rain.  His journey then led to Los Angeles where he started playing regularly at open mic nights and showcases.  Shortly after, he began working with world-renowned guitarist/songwriter, David Lamar, honing his songwriting at weekly showcases at the Stone Bar. This lead him to write over 30 new songs as well as record a debut EP, Cardiac Output, followed by a full-length LP, Human.

Known as a dynamic solo performer, Joseph Eid has brought his one-man live show to many of Los Angeles’ premiere music venues, including stints at Room 5 and El Cid and residencies at The Stone Bar, Crane’s Hollywood Tavern, and Bar Lubitsch. He has also toured the West Coast including a handful of house concerts as a part of the Concerts In Your Home series.

Since the release of his Human LP, Joseph Eid has been garnering considerable buzz. He has been featured in American Songwriter Magazine’s “Best New Music” column and was recently named as one of the 100 Hottest Live Unsigned Artists by Music Connection Magazine. His latest EP, Watch It Fall, will be released in Spring 2017. Website here, Facebook here.

There is a crisp and melodic acoustic vibe, right form the opening chords as 'Watch It Fall' develops into a beautiful Americana song where Joseph Eid's vocals are centre stage. There is a timeless feel to the piece, where both the music and vocals are perfectly matched, the melody just right, and with Joseph's vibrant vocals, all in all this is a delightful song.


Fujiya & Miyagi - Solitaire.

Background - The new 'Self-Titled' LP from Fujiya & Miyagi, will be out 4/7 on Impossible Objects Of Desire. A new single entitled "Solitaire" has now been released.

Many musical projects approaching almost two decades of existence begin to shows signs of stagnation or perhaps start to crook their neck as looking over their shoulder becomes a more common stance than focusing on the horizon. However, for the Brighton-based, genre-hopping, Fujiya & Miyagi the opposite can be said as they see in 2017 by wrapping up a unique year-long musical project that represents one of their most adventurous to date.

Two EPs join a third to make up this album, a carefully staged project that sees the group traverse disco, electro, pop, and the now synonymous 1970s Germany-inspired groove they so seamlessly ooze. Whilst the EPs all contain a distinct personality and fluidity of their own, the new dynamically focused position of the tracks as a full album embodies a long-term plan. “From the beginning I have always thought of this as an album rather than three separate records” Singer David Best says.

The now melded album is a vast one stylistically with influences and references that span from Arthur Russell to JG Ballard, yet the undercurrent that connects it all into one universal groove is one of honesty and joy, a surging sense of euphoria and hope that attempts to cut through the foggy world that welcomes its release. “On this album I have tried lyrically to find the positives and not rely on my factory setting of a general contempt for the world around me.” Best says. Website here, Facebook here.

With a fresh funky beat and smooth vocals 'Solitaire' is a really good electro pop song, that might also be a dance track. The band create a distinct, hypnotic sound, that is extremely addictive.


Young Astronaut - Chasing El Dorado.

Background - Young Astronaut is an indie 4-piece from New Forest. Having gained fans in both the UK as well as China with their debut LP ‘Fawn’, last year saw them perform at a wide variety of venues, from London’s Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen to numerous bars and bookshops across Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong.

They are now back and ready to release their new album called ‘A Gold Frontier’. By teaming up with Grammy-award winning Geoff Swan (White Lies, Ed Sheeran, Bastille), Young Astronaut have decided to take it upon themselves to unite the various meanings of “indie” by intertwining them all together. Through linking the numerous indie sub-genres across 11 beautifully crafted pieces of music, the band takes the listener on an unpredicted sonic journey, beginning with the opening number called “Chasing El Dorado”.​​​​​​​

“Chasing El Dorado” begins softly with a guitar, bass and the vocals by introducing the theme of the song in the vibes of Two Door Cinema Club. Soon after it is followed by Stornoway-like harmonies and Iggy Pop’s “Sunday”-esque groovy drumbeat, only then to pass through an intrumental mid-tempo bridge and later finish in a grand and almost cinematic way.

In short, no matter what kind of indie one falls under; indie pop, indie rock or maybe even pastoral indie folk, Young Astronaut’s single “Chasing El Dorado” has something in there for everyone, and it will be out everywhere 7th April. Website here, Facebook here.

'Chasing El Dorado' gradually builds into a montage of musical ideas where the vocals and harmonies are well up in the mix and rightly so, they are a key feature of the song. That said the musical arrangement both understated and later with full on power is dynamic and distinct. This is one very fine track.