Beauty Sleep - Carrington MacDuffie - Velvet Flare - The Peace Life - Munroe

Beauty Sleep - All In.

Background - Beauty Sleep are back and have just played their first UK shows at The Great Escape Festival last week. To support, the dream pop 3-piece have a new single ready here called All In.

Turns out the tales are true and one can quite simply never have enough beauty sleep, especially when it’s in the form of a dreamy pop three-piece. Beauty Sleep were born after a bonding session ft. fridge magnets, rude words and a lot of G&T’s (creatives eh) and just one year down the line are giving Belfast another name (on top of Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club and Pleasure Beach) to shout about.

All In when it comes to their upcoming debut EP “Nature Will Eat Me”. “All In” see’s us met straight away with the serene synths we have grown to expect from the trio which, although shockingly somehow manage to seem enough alone, are joined shortly by a pop-meets-indie-and-gets-on-very-well drumbeat and keys. Skip to the chorus and prepare to be hooked, quite literally. With a melody and lyrics highlighting yet again Beauty Sleep’s ‘Sparkling Songwriting’ and guitars reminiscent of Fickle Friends, expect a hook that could challenge even the best of pop ‘hey’s. Facebook here.

'All In' has a vibrant dream pop vibe, where melodies, vocals and harmonies all compete for our attention. For me it's a case of attention gained and I'm loving it!


Carrington MacDuffie - Rock Me To Mars.

Background - Carrington MacDuffie recently released her latest EP, Rock Me To Mars. The six-tracks were all produced by Rob Halverson, and recorded at his Halversonics studio in Austin. A multi-genre artist, Carrington describes her music “electronic Americana,” while reviewers have called it “alt-cabaret.”

Carrington wrote the songs for Rock Me To Mars on ukulele and keyboards, and plays both acoustic and electric ukulele on the EP. In addition to producing, Rob also plays multiple synths, baritone, bass, guitar, hammered dulcimer, and accordion on the tracks. They were joined on various tracks by Thor Harris on drums, Daniel Jones on drums, and Paul Klemperer on saxophone.

Rock Me To Mars features more electronic influences than her previous recordings, utilizing filters, synths, and voice modulation.

“I’m fascinated with electricity, and how it can be manipulated to make sound,” says Carrington. “I like experimenting with unconventional ways of integrating electronic sounds into my music.”

The title track, “Rock Me to Mars,” is a love letter – of sorts – to a guitarist… but keep in mind Carrington says, “it seems like I always fall in love with every musician I ever played with. It just translates for me that romance and making music are practically interchangeable.” Website here, Facebook here.

'Rock Me To Mars' gives a good feel for the EP. Title track and one of six, it typifies the meeting of natural Americana and electronic sounds, the latter complementing and adding to the songs, rather than dominating. The result is a melodic and desirable EP produced to a high standard.


Velvet Flare - Ice Age.

Background - Following the release of the singles “6th of June” and “Animal”, Brisbane rock band Velvet Flare announce the release of their latest single “Ice Age” from their forthcoming EP, Archetypes. 

“Ice Age” is a modern tragedy. A girl, who likes her ecstasy, meets a boy whose new drug of choice is crystal meth. In a moment of violence he kills her. The haunting refrain in the outro: “It looks like she showed him now” is pure irony and sadly cynical. “Ice Age” was recorded, mixed and mastered by Slade Gibson at Slade Gibson Music studio, The Gap, Brisbane.

Velvet Flare was formed by Paul English. He writes the music and lyrics, sings vocals, plays the guitars, and some keyboards. Patrick Kennedy plays piano and most keyboard parts. Patrick also provides live Background Vocals. Slade Gibson is a studio only member of Velvet Flare. He has written and played bass, occasional guitar solos and keyboards parts, and has programmed drums. Slade mixed and mastered the songs. 

‘Ice Age’ is in in Digital Stores now, The Archetypes EP by Velvet Flare will be released 9th of June 2017. Facebook here.

It would be easy to draw comparisons with other artists with Velvet Flare, however for me, at least they are some of the finest. 'Ice Age' is full of hooks and has something of an eighties vibe to it, alongside a more modern, richer production quality.


The Peace Life - Ethenogen.

Background - The Peace Life are a married couple from Minneapolis, Minnesota who have already established their unique brand of euphoric Folk music through the independent release of two albums and a single.

Their latest album 'Jupiter Beach' features seven original tracks with cover artwork designed and hand-painted by Tessa. Jack plays the majority of instruments on the album, including rhythm and lead guitar, drums, percussion and saxophone.

The Peace Life strive to spread positive and peaceful vibrations through their potent blend of retro Folk Rock, Jazz and World Music with a modern twist. 

With a knack for mind-bending, poetical and meaningful lyrics, O’Connor’s songwriting delves into the mystical cosmos, influenced by the likes of Joni Mitchell, The Grateful Dead, The Beatles, John Lennon, Elliott Smith, King Tubby, Pink Floyd and Radiohead. Facebook here.

From the 'Jupiter Beach' album we have 'Ethenogen'. I love the above description of their music as "euphoric folk" as it has stopped me from trying to come up with a decent enough expression. Take that as their musical anchor point, The Peace Life have a long chain and can drift comfortably into other genres and styles.


Munroe - Oblivion.

Background - Following her self-titled EP, Munroe has announced the forthcoming release of her debut full length Oblivion - out June 16, 2017. Sonically influenced by spaghetti westerns and 60s film scores, the artist also cites the presence and intimacy of vocalists such as Vashti Bunyan and Angel Olsen as musical inspiration. Along with the announce comes the release of the LP’s title track.

Munroe says of the track, “‘Oblivion’ is a confessional, or an exploration of confession. I'd been thinking about a whack of material that deals with that territory - some kind of rupture in the space between private and public selves.” She cites crime stories such as ‘The Jinx’ and ‘Serial’ as examples. “I think there's something interesting about a kamikaze instinct; the way we get compelled to do things that are identifiably bad. I had this idea of someone pleading a case for their own damnation, listing all the bad things they'd done, bargaining with a void, and the image of that conversation is what I was playing with here.”

Born in Hamilton, ON, the artist now splits her time between Toronto and Los Angeles both acting and making music. Michael Keire (co-producer), Benjamin Munoz , and Anthony Carone (Arkells) were all collaborators on this new record and helped Munroe fully develop her ideas into the final 8 vulnerable and confessional tracks. Facebook here.

Haunting and atmospheric from the beginning, 'Oblivion' is a beautifully crafted song. As a teaser for her debut album, it sets expectations high, that said a song half this good will still be wonderful.