pat moon’s 2016 debut don’t hide from the lightis proving to be one of the decade’s most enduring records. kate davis’ spectral synth soundscapes are equally perfect for muggy summer evenings and bone-chilling winter mornings, the rare album that feels intimately applicable to one’s surroundings year-round.
later this spring, davis will release a follow-up, romantic era. beyond title and timeframe, information is scant, but the announcement was made in tandem with the release of a new single; “medieval spells” evolves methodically, a cavernous choir slowly layered over murky synth beds comprising its positively haunting architecture. it’s a fascinating preview of romantic era, one that further blurs the line between meditative and hypnotic with every repeated listen. hear the track below.
the praise and accolades yumi zouma have received so far from this site – and a good portion of the music sphere across the internet – are far too numerous to try and sift through. the new zealand quartet caught the attention of lorde based on the strength of their four-track debut ep alone; their subsequent slot as her tour’s opening act in late 2014 opened a pandora’s box of speculation that such early exposure necessitated a foray into more stadium-ready pop, but correlation does not always equal causation.
yumi zouma’s subsequent sophomore ep was populated with richer, more confident songs, to be sure, but you can easily chalk that up to the gradual progression of getting comfortable as a long-distance songwriting collective. tracks like “alena” and “song for zoe & gwen” registered a newfound depth and pulse, but the subtle change in aesthetic felt more indicative of ceiling-clearing confidence than of a purposeful shift in trajectory.
after surpassing all expectations and cementing themselves as critical darlings, yumi zouma hunkered down to try something new: writing music together in the same geographic location. the result is yoncalla, a gorgeous ten-song debut album that plays through incredibly smart, cool, and confident, reflecting a level of experience well beyond the band’s tenure.
it’s hard to listen to yumi zouma and not at least subconsciously conjure up images of sun-kissed, carefree summer days. each song on yoncalla would easily have a home on any self-curated beach day mixtape, from the bleary-eyed guitar strums on the conversational “haji awali” to the percolating synth arpeggios on “barricade (matter of fact)” to the triumphant, driving-off-into-the-sunset lilt of “short truth.” through this lens, these are songs that almost mandate an ocean breeze and cool sand between one’s toes for a comprehensive sensory experience, but stopping short at this superficial – albeit gorgeous – aesthetic would be a disservice to the album.
the true beauty of yoncalla is the pervasive presence of camaraderie woven through its sunny exterior. yumi zouma’s early success was defined by four incredibly talented songwriters creating intimate sketches piecemeal from around the globe, and that intimacy grew tenfold once the quartet all settled down in the same room.
it’s immediately evident on the effortless vocal repartee that pervades “text from sweden” and “haji awali,” but yumi zouma’s kinship runs even deeper elsewhere on yoncalla. eloquent melodies are constructed for christie simpson to trace on “remember you at all” and “better by your side,” and provide support and solidarity as she navigates through the insecurities of a turbulent relationship. this structure seems to reflect a newfound degree of trust between members that may well have been fostered by a shared writing space; a noticeable strength of intertwining melodies and reliance on robust counterpoint seems more indicative of in-the-moment creation than of construction via file-sharing.
yoncalla is impeccably cohesive. each track bleeds seamlessly into the next, although the album isn’t linear so much as it is semidiurnal, its ebbs and flows placed at perfect intervals. the final tide goes out with “drachma,” a lovely subdued coda that briefly hearkens back to the group’s early days before its palm-muted main motif disappears beyond the horizon.
yumi zouma’s brand of nostalgia has often felt akin to reconnecting with a long-lost friend; with yoncalla, they provide the perfect soundtrack for the two of you to crack open a cold drink and reminisce for awhile.
yumi zouma will release their highly-anticipated debut full-length, yoncalla, on may 27th via cascine. there aren’t many adjectives left in our arsenal that haven’t already been bestowed upon the inimitable new zealand quartet, so we’ll just leave you with “short truth,” a sprawling, synth-saturated dreamscape that further pleads the group’s case for having an album-of-the-year contender on their hands. take a listen below.
yumi zouma excels at crafting an instantly-recognizable brand of muted, refined pop music; that much is clear, and has been for some time. what’s particularly admirable is the quartet’s ability to harness that dimension of their sound and funnel it effortlessly through different channels. on “barricade (matter of fact),” the latest single culled from their forthcoming debut album, yumi zouma pairs a breezy, subdued vocal with equally at-ease instrumentation, favoring an exquisite exercise of restraint over the pursuit of an anthemic hook. yoncalla is due out may 27th via cascine; take a listen to “barricade (matter of fact)” below.
mysterious los angeles artist elohim has offered up a series of stand-out singles dating back to last fall, all of which will form the foundation of her self-titled debut ep, due out may 20th via b3sci records. joining that collection today is “sensations,” a buoyant, almost euphoric synth pop gem that does its best to bely elohim’s darker, more brooding aesthetic with soaring hooks and massive melodies. take a listen to “sensations” below.
brighton-based quintet phoria have been stockpiling a collection of densely-textured, gorgeous electronica for nearly three years now. that diligence will pay off in the form of volition, their debut album, out june 3rd via x novo records. trewin howard’s vocals are as lush as ever on “everything beta,” equally at ease with the rich synth-bass figure that swirls in the bowels of the mix as they are with the gentle piano off-beats that sit closer to the top. the air feels chilly, with wisps of fog trailing off of each percussive hit, but phoria retains a comforting familiarity, one of a long-lost treasure only recently reclaimed. take a listen to “everything beta” below.
pillar point’s sophomore full-length marble mouth is already among this year’s stand-out bodies of work, with scott reitherman fastidiously doubling down on his dark yet invigorating brand of dance music. one of the album’s sturdiest singles, “dove,” was recently tapped by director jacob krupnik to use in a vogue-centric music video that follows kia labeija through the streets of bogotá, colombia in pursuit of an elusive lover. the video premiered on the creators project earlier this week; navigate there to read more about the project’s history and then watch the clip for “dove” below.
though they hail from washington d.c., dreamy pop quartet brett would sound right at home anywhere on the country’s opposite coast. the band’s latest single, “claire drained,” is a sun-bleached, mid-tempo collision of analog and digital spheres bound together by a resolute lead vocal that periodically clouds the song’s forecast. its near-universal themes of self-perceived shortcomings and inconsequential over-exertions are laced through a passionate, aural love letter to claire herself, an intimate confessional that’s ultimately refracted through a lens of prevailing optimism. “claire drained” is culled from brett’s forthcoming album mode, out march 18th via cascine; take a listen below.
los angeles trio mt. si claims members from three venerated area acts – superhumanoids, kisses, and classixx – and the results speak for themselves. their debut ep limits is the byproduct of purposeful, methodical collaboration, with each of its four tracks showcasing the intimate knowledge of a decidedly singular brand of electronic pop. on “baby you’re the best,” the ep’s swirling finale, bathes sarah chernoff’s indelible sigh in a bevy of synth textures and frenetic percussion while allowing the main hook to resound deeply. limits is streaming in full in advance of its friday release via cascine; take a listen to “baby you’re the best” below.
brooklyn duo beacon are prepping their sophomore full-length, escapements, out this friday via ghostly international. after loosing a pair of indelible singles over the past few months, thomas mullarney iii and jacob gossett have shared the album’s title track, a composition defined by liquid synth pads that slowly dissolve into a seductive, nocturnal texture coated with mullarney’s consonant sighs. take a listen to “escapements” below.