This week Louder Than War have spared no efforts to brighten your dark days with a whistle-stop tour of locations as exotic and diverse as Italy, Sweden, Los Angeles and Mansfield.
We’re confident you’ll be intrigued, inspired and determined to hear more from this great collection of highly promising newcomers from a wide range of musical styles.
Trust us, this will help to soothe your Pre-Winter Solstice tension.
Schonwald: Genre – Dark Electonica/Cold Wave
Once seen, Ale and Luca who make up this hypnotic Italian duo are not forgotten. They certainly make an impact with a mixture of atmosphere and melodic synth hooks that reference both New Order and The Cure but certainly have the essential stamp of individuality. Appropriately named after a German family name that means something like ‘protected woodland’, the duo made their debut in London. Since then they have toured Europe extensively in support of their first album ‘Amplified Nature’ and have further live shows lined up for the New Year. Speaking to Louder Than War, ‘Schonwald’ described their first album, released in 2009 as “mixed dark emotional structures with a diametrically opposed clinical coldness of early synthesizer models”.
Ale and Luca explained the importance of their home town of Ravenna; “a small town near the sea (not far from Bologna and Venice) which is characterized by fog, marshes and swamps. These places especially in winter are very suggestive and rich in gloomy atmospheres. So it’s very easy to have the inspiration for creating our kind of music”. This is reflected in their single ‘Mercurial’, which was released in March, and ‘Treasure’, one of their new songs from ‘Between Parallel Lights’ their new album which will be out is spring 2014.
“They’re so into it they hardly seem to need the audience and their songs are rich and well structured, electronic bass driven yet tunefully warped. There’s great vocals delivered by a girl who projects her voice in a flat attitude that holds its power with some repetition. The songs have great guitar hooks, soaring notes – this is where the tunes are coming from. The bass anchors the whole thing. They are tight, slick but passionate and danceable. Germanesque, with a nice meeting of notes, where they should come to a clash they make a good chord. It’s all about guitars, screaming lead, the guitar has the last word.”
Hotel Cinema: Genre- Electronic Indie
Los Angeles based Hotel Cinema was formed in 2012 by Mark Hadley and Keeley Bumford. Joined by Greg Martin, Ricky Bakken and Steve Bone they have just released debut EP Exposition. Layers of well-crafted melodic pop sounds accompanied by a haunting vocal performance are delivered in a precise and irresistible fashion. Influenced by the likes of Radiohead, St Vincent and Fiona Apple they released their first EP, Hotel Cinema last January. Hotel Cinema are very active around LA and play Hotel Café there on December 14tH. If you can’t make that, console yourself by downloading Exposition.
Thisell (Genre: Alt Country/Folk)
Who isn’t thinking Scandinavian at this time of year? Here’s the first of two doses of the genuine article and what a sound it is. There’s a great story behind this release. In the summer of 2010 Swedish songwriter and musician Peter Thisell assembled a group of musicians to record an album in the old village school of Lur in southern Sweden. A big red wooden building that was taken out of use in the sixties functioned as a studio and home for the musicians, their friends, families and animals during a week in August. The intention was to make a record the way they were made ages ago, the studio was set up in the old classroom and sessions were made completely live.
The result was ‘I’ which is their debut offering and after scattering over Sweden for 3 years, the group reunited to record the follow up, ‘II’ which is scheduled for release in 2014.’I’ is a well-paced, thoughtful sound which evokes compelling images of these recording sessions and whets the appetite for the follow-up next year. You can find Thisell’s music available to buy on itunes and spotify.
Priory Jones and the Mission
These guys are causing quite a stir in the East Midlands which will almost certainly spread nationally in 2014 with the release in January of their debut album ‘Strike a Chord’. They combine a great guitar sound with some memorable vocal harmonies to create a sound that is both retro and immediate. Influences include The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Oasis and Kasabian and echoes of eachl can be heard in this highly promising debut. Next up is a show at The Red Lion Mansfield, before they turn their attention to the launch of the new album.
Originator: Genre – Post-Punk/Electronica
Back to Sweden for the last of this week’s offerings with Originator, a one man band from the suburbs of Stockholm. Arvid Krantz is the main guy with a few occasional contributing passengers. Over a couple of years a lot of material has been recorded and reshaped — post-punk with a kraut-rock feel. The music evolves with the aim of creating a documentary type sound that is raw and unfiltered but with layers of detail that reflect the surroundings. Originator have already released two singles — Walls and Cross and debut album, “Ingen Dager Synes Än”( roughly translates “yet no (day)light in sight”) is out now. The title is apparently taken from a famous verse sung at the annual Swedish candlelit Lucia procession on December 13th. The procession is held at the darkest day of the year symbolically marking the moment in time when light is missed the most.
An appropriate point to sign off for this batch of brilliant new artists; we hope you enjoy what you hear and support them.
All words by Dave Jennings. More of Dave’s writing on Louder Than War can be found in his author archive. He is also on Twitter @blackfoxwrexham.