Friday 1 January 2016

This Month's Playlist - January 2016

Article by KevW

Happy new year one and all! For many there will have been days off and businesses closing down for a brief break, but The Sound Of Confusion's inbox has been open and has taken the usual battering of music submissions! To kick-start the new year, here's a selection we've picked out from current and forthcoming releases. As usual you can listen to each track individually and get some more information below, or hit the start button on the player on the right of the page and stream the lot in one go!

Sunflower Bean - Wall Watcher

When we last heard from New York group Sunflower Bean they delivered a weighty slab of scuzzy deep psych with a poppy chorus on 'I Hear Voices'. Current single 'Wall Watcher' is taken from their forthcoming debut album 'Human Ceremony', due on February 5th. With a darkly surreal video, this song is closer to indie-rock and post-punk, but is still rock solid and buzzes with electrical power. A bit like having a bucket of icy water thrown over your head... in the best possible way.

Sunflower Bean's website

Buy: 'Wall Watcher'

Blue House - Hot Air Balloons

'Hot Air Balloons' sounds remarkably accomplished for a debut single, but when you learn that the London duo of James Howard and Ursula Russel were formerly in Fiction and Drop Out Venus you can see why. Their first release as Blue House is a wonderfully woozy indiepop song with a psychedelic video that makes this both ear candy and eye candy as well. Apparently the rest of their music is quite eclectic, so this is definitely a name to look out for.

Blue House's website

Buy: 'Hot Air Balloons'

REO - Ometz

We've written the band name and song title in English, but as you may have guessed, REO's first language is Hebrew. The Tel Aviv group released an album late last year and this hybrid of dreampop and electro-pop is very indicative of their sound as a whole. With plenty of spangly synth lines, slightly hushed vocals, a relaxed vibe and pop hooks, 'Ometz' is bound to be a hit with fans of a variety of musical genres.

REO's website

Buy: 'Ometz'.

Rolla Olak - 2AM

Canadian singer-songwriter Rolla Olak has a new album, 'Heavy Feather', set for release on January 19th, and has recently uploaded this simple yet quite soothing and hypnotic video. His music has a similar effect, taking you away to a different, more cosy place for a while. It may be about heartbreak, but the rich sound, ticking beat and twangs of guitar, not to mention his smooth delivery, make for some lush escapism.

Rolla Olak's website

'Heavy Feather' will be available from Older Records.

Driftwood Pyre - Man On A Wire

Psychedelic rockers Driftwood Pyre released their self-titled album in November, and 'Man On A Wire' is a classic sounding garage-rock track from the Minneapolis group. The sextet manage to take in a little bit of prime Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and insert a melody that's not a million miles away from Spacemen 3's 'Come Down Easy', so, as you can imagine, it ticks all the right boxes as far as we're concerned.

Driftwood Pyre's website

Buy: 'Man On A Wire'

Ten Fé - In The Air

Ten Fé's music has a habit of creeping up on you. Previous single 'Make Me Better' was such a grower that it ended up making our top 20 tracks of 2015 list, and while 'In The Air' may not be as much of a punchy powerhouse, it is another addictive tune with a certain fluidity and an anthemic quality that also means it gets better with each listen. These two are seeming like an enticing prospect, and have us very much looking forward to their debut album.

Ten Fé's website

Buy: 'In the Air'


We don't have a vast amount of information on London's RALPH, but new single 'SHOOTING STAR' is a tuneful slice of psychedelic indiepop that's a little off-kilter and quite moreish. When you put the music together with one of the strangest but most fun videos we've seen for a while then you get the full effect of some marvellously skewed minds. Or should that be "mind"? We don't even know if this is a solo project or a band, but it's good whatever it is.

RALPH's website


Half Japanese - Hold On

It's been over 40 years since brothers David and Jad Fair formed Half Japanese (with Jad being the only constant member), and while fans had to wait 13 years between 2001's 'Hello' and 2014's 'Overjoyed', the gap isn't so long this time. New album 'Perfect' is out on January 22nd and single 'Hold On' is as vibrant and fresh as any new band, taking slacker-pop, fuzz-rock, lo-fi and punk sounds and whirling them together to form an irresistibly sparkly tune.

Jad Fair's website

Pre-order: 'Perfect'

Me And My Drummer - Blue Splinter View

'Love Is A Fridge' is a curious name for an album, but that's what the forthcoming second LP by Berlin-based duo Me And My Drummer will be called. They've been labelled electro-pop before, but current single 'Blue Splinter View' is sumptuous and cinematic alt-country that plasters the atmosphere on with a trowel. This is a big production that seems to inhabit a strange, ghostly netherworld that feels very enticing.

Me And My Drummer's website

Buy: 'Blue Splinter View'

In Isolation - Parlance

If you're new to Nottingham's In Isolation then their list of influences (The Cure, Editors, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Roxy Music) might indicate that they deal in widescreen post-punk that's produced to fill big spaces and is not short of ambition. Well that description is bang-on when it comes to their new single 'Parlance'. Bold, fully-realised and polished enough to grab attention but not overly slick, it's a sound that deserves a wider audience.

In Isolation's website

Buy: 'Parlance'


There's a very fanciful story about how French group CAANDIDES were inspired by a 1950s UFO sighting in the tropics, which seems very intriguing. Musically their plan is to strike a balance between organic and synthetic sounds, and they achieved that on the genre-defying experimental indie/electronica/whatever single 'Winter XIII'. It sounds as though their album (due February 5th) might be well worth lending some ear time to.

CAANDIDES' website

Buy: 'Winter XIII'

The Lampshades - Gotta Do

On the strength of new single 'Gotta Do', it sounds as though Pittsburgh trio The Lampshades are the result of a cross-breeding program between Sonic Youth and Pavement, which is something we wholeheartedly support. Scuzzy slacker vibes abound before a sudden switch to what is essentially a different, more lo-fi end section. There's a new album called 'Astrology' in the pipeline too, so that's another to add to 2016's ever growing "anticipated" pile.

The Lampshades' website

Buy: 'Gotta Do'

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