18 May 2015

Emerging #4 - Hazel English, Peaness and Smoking Trees (and The Pre New)

Time for a quick look at some of the new and emerging music that's caught my ears and imagination this month…

First off the bat is the Australian-born but Oakland, California-dwelling Hazel English whose debut Soundcloud appearance "Never Going Home" is unexpectedly compelling. Like an aural representation of a faded sepia photograph, "Never Going Home" is a beautifully foggy song, filled with Boards of Canada-esque wobbly synth sounds but a down-home folky melody. The lyrics themselves appear to be tinged with nostalgia and yearning but also breaking away for the future, and indeed the song pulls precisely the same melodic stunt - this is classic sounding songwriting being towed straight into the present.

It's completely impossible to say whether Hazel English has any other work like this hidden away, but this is an exceptionally promising start.

I discovered Chester's Peaness through the ever-reliable and long-standing "Sweeping The Nation" blog, and while they have arguably the worst new band name of the year so far, their debut offering "Fortune Favours The Bold" affords angsty teenage vocal harmonies and sharp and peppy indie melodies. More to the point, they appear to have seriously developed songwriting chops for ones so young - "Fortune" is riddled with the kind of nagging yet crafted catchiness most bands take years to master. If this were the late nineties and John Peel still had a late-night radio show, they'd be potential candidates for a Festive Fifty place.

The appearance of Los Angeles' Smoking Trees on this blog may seem like a fix as I'm sure there's already been some backwards-forwards linking between "Left and to the Back" and Sir Psych's blog, but in truth they're an obvious shoe-in for us anyway. Latest recording "Home In The Morning" is evidence of why even the hardest among you nostalgia-freak readers may find a lot to love - it's raw but psychedelic and a brilliant aural approximation of an early morning stoned head-fog, two minutes of reverb-heavy bliss.

Finally, The Pre New have their roots in both World of Twist and Earl Brutus - the latter of whom are one of my favourite groups of all time - and have already had one album out, 2012's fantastically biting "Music For People Who Hate Themselves". Therefore, they don't really qualify for this section of the blog as new, emerging artists, but their new LP "The Male Eunuch" is out TODAY and all the signs are it's going to be a step up from their last effort.

Preview track "Photographic" below combines eighties synth pop with a creeping 21st Century menace and takes the purity of old Brutus tracks such as "On Me Not In Me" and raises the grit up a notch.

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