Lara Smiles - Mankind - Rebecca Raw - Bonzie - Jet Rewind

Lara Smiles - Lies.

Background - Fusing an intriguing mixture of indie and electro styles, the music of Lara Smiles is guitar-driven, synth-inspired and brimming with layers of alt-pop. Self-written and produced by the legendary Youth, ’Lies’ will be included on her long awaited debut album due out in the late autumn of 2017.

She has also recently worked with The Orb and Jah Wobble and will be a featured artist on upcoming new album releases by both. 

Influenced by many genres of music, Lara started out writing punk and soul tunes on her guitar, but all-night raves in her teens led to a love of dance music and experimenting with samples. 

Her previous single releases have received airplay on BBC 6 Music and XFM/Radio X. She has also performed at some of the world’s largest venues and will make her fifth appearance at the Glastonbury Festival this summer. The new single 'Lies' is out 19.05.17 (WonkyPop Records). Website here, Facebook here.

The guitar fronted music on 'Lies' is dynamic and a little funky, whilst Lara Smiles vocals add some spirit and edge, as the atmosphere builds, on this hook fuelled track.


Mankind - Three Handfuls Of Dirt.

Background - With their previous releases leaving the Stockholm underground and warehouse scene well and truly shaken, Mankind are back with a new single from their upcoming EP “Death”. With Sweden already getting drunk on disorder, it’s about time the rest of mankind joined the madness.

With previous track “Blood, Sugar” produced by no less than Gordon Raphael (The Strokes, Three Trapped Tigers) and propelling into aurally calculated chaos within a matter of seconds, new single “Three Handfuls Of Dirt” almost seems reticent… key word: almost. The song kicks off with a surprisingly regiment Spector-esque bass beat and nonchalant vocals, (seemingly) following a linear climb. And just as we settle with this steady structure Mankind do what they do best and, with the retro vibe of The Doors and the rawness of The Jacques, they smack down a true frenzied climax on our unsuspecting ears.

With a savagely unexpected finish, engulfed by suddenly recognizable silence, we’re left in a vulnerable pit of adrenaline… alone, on the bus. A must see live single which will be out 28th April everywhere via Lazy Octopus. 

The first of four songs on the forthcoming EP and the first thing that struck me with 'Three Handfuls Of Dirt' are the vocals. Comparable to Jim Morrison both by their depth and richness, they need and receive a band that can deliver some potent and dominant rock music. It's a fabulous EP and by the time you get to the last track Mankind have delivered enough of their own creativity and originality to establish their own identity.


Rebecca Raw - Connection.

Background - Rebecca Raw is a British singer/songwriter whose songs are a unique blend of pop, soul and folk elements. Growing up in suburban London, Rebecca began learning the cello at the age of seven and shortly after, picked up the clarinet too. She sang in choirs throughout her younger years and the classical tradition was the backbone of her training right up to her obtaining a music degree from Cambridge University.

Alongside this, she developed a love for performing jazz, soul and pop music and once she graduated, Rebecca began dividing her time between teaching the cello and performing as a singer at events. Having always been fascinated by great lyrics and captivating melodies it was only natural that she herself would begin to explore the craft of writing songs. 

Her debut EP ‘Deep Within’ (2017) is a bold statement which partners intimate storytelling with a rich, contemporary sound.  Her honest and thought-provoking lyrics are the heartbeat of this offering and her smooth, mesmerising voice is the compelling communicative vehicle that defines this release. 

Rebecca tells authentic musical stories with insight, warmth and sensitivity. She comments that "each song was born as a personal response to a challenging time but hope prevails in my life and I always try to encapsulate this in my music.  As others reach into the heart of these stories I hope that they will discover for themselves more treasures of this rich, wonderful, crazy thing called life." Website here, Facebook here.

'Connection' is the first of five tracks on 'Deep Within' Rebecca Raw's debut EP. Her engaging and melodic vocals stand out above an elegant and subtle musical arrangement. There is plenty of variety across the collection, each song makes it mark, sometimes quite gently and on occasion with a little more energy added to the soundtrack.


Bonzie - Combback.

Background - Bonzie shares new track "Combback". The song is the second single to be released from her forthcoming new album, Zone on Nine, out May 19th. “All of my songs basically start as a conversation I’m having with myself alone in my room,” says 21-year-old Nina Ferraro, who’s created under the moniker of Bonzie since age 17.

Produced by Ferraro, in collaboration with Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty, Conor Oberst) and Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, Youth Lagoon), Zone on Nine follows Bonzie’s recently released double singles As The Surface Rose and How Do You Find Yourself, Love? On the title track to the former, Ferraro spins a beautifully sprawling reverie from a song first composed on “this old piano I grew up with, the day before it was going off to someone else,” as she explains. “I was in this unfurnished house—the last bones of the house I grew up in—with literally only myself, this piano, and walls.” Merging orchestral flourishes with electronic experimentalism, the self-produced “As The Surface Rose” is paired with lyric-free B-side “Half Full” (a sparse and dreamlike track recorded at Wilco’s famed Chicago studio The Loft).

In tracking the path from her first time songwriting to the continent-crossing production of Zone on Nine, Ferraro notes that a certain sense of purpose has endured in her artistry. “I’m always open to taking the song wherever it wants to go—more like I’m a vessel for the song itself, rather than a person who’s actually making the song,” she says. And with Zone on Nine, in all its unbridled grandeur, each listen illuminates the unending wonder that’s sparked so much of her songwriting. “I think we’re here to experience things and express our experience, and to notice and enjoy how we each have our own different perspective,” says Ferraro. “I feel obligated to participate in life that way, on a very visceral level. To me there’s a rhythm that already exists in the world, and I want to be a part of that.” Website here, Facebook here.

We featured the first single from the forthcoming album a few weeks back and new song 'Combback' is another irresistible song where the vocals are beguiling and the understated music slowly wraps itself around the song.


Jet Rewind - Someone Else.

Background - Stockholm indie rock act, Jet Rewind, have shared their new single "Someone Else". 

Stockholm based indie rock act Jet Rewind's shares the same name an old VHS-player that allows you to rewind tapes within 60 seconds. For the band, Jet Rewind symbolizes a certain nostalgia and a dream to go back to something long forgotten. 

Consisting of Samuel Heiligers (vox) Johannes Palmroos (bass) Emmanuel Hailemariam (guitar) & Anton Haeffler (drums), the project is still in it's infancy with "Someone Else" being the band's first single.  "Someone Else" is a hopeful guitar-based song about finding your element. Facebook here.

'Someone Else' is a melodic indie rock song, where the band keep things simple, allowing the delightful chord changes and appealing vocals to work there charm.