18 June 2015

Emerging #5 - C Duncan, Kid Wave and The Sticklers

Welcome to our monthly catch-up of the most interesting new music out there. Summer is upon us, and as seems to generally be the tradition at this time of year, the online tannoys filled with new noise have gone slightly quiet. And certainly, anything great seems to be covered by mainstream sources within seconds, as we're about to find out this month. But no fear, let's press ahead anyway…

Glasgow's C Duncan has been a surprising new discovery for me personally. The son of two classical musicians, his work sounds grand, complex and mysterious without once tipping over the edge into pomposity or ludicrousness. Choral structures meet folk melodies and even elements of very late sixties psychedelia - think The Nice at their very best rather than their over-reaching worst, then multiply that goodness several times over again.

In particular, the track "Garden" feels like a refreshing return to intricate seventies art-pop with a dash of modern folk thrown in. Some critics have thrown in The Fleet Foxes as a comparison, but this is considerably more intelligent and captivating than the disappointing "Helplessness Blues".

The Guardian, The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit have already leapt on the "Architect" album, so my little bit of acclaim here isn't really news - but if you haven't noticed those reviews yet, now's your chance to listen.

Anglo-Swedish outfit Kid Wave, on the other hand, have caused so many ripples in the mainstream media that even Shaun Keaveny has been playing them on the BBC6 music breakfast show - and squeezing any new music on to that show seems nothing short of miraculous these days.

Still, the single "Honey" deserves it. The aural fog of multiple effects pedals being triggered means that comparison with early nineties shoegazing seem inevitable, but the track also drips with the kind of pop suss that was seldom found in that movement. On the contrary, "Honey" teases and seduces with its chorus, trapping you with its sense of dreamy elation.

And while The Sticklers' "Mr Needlove" came out last year, this section of the blog wasn't running then, and they do have a new album in the pipeline… so I can be excused.

"Mr Needlove" is still available from all good online mp3 outlets of course, and showcases London's The Sticklers delivering folk rock which is surprisingly hard and angular. Snapping staccato vocals combine with an urgent sounding chorus, and there's more than enough quirk and energy here to push it into new and interesting territories. In fact, it's as New Wave and art school as this kind of thing tends to get, showing that the band are clearly capable of picking up the fiddle where Dexys Midnight Runners left off and taking it on new and exciting journeys. 


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