Thursday, 21 August 2014
Chapter 12 ‘Visual Identity’ in the Rules of Pop is one that many bands skip 'because it's all about the music man.' They therefore end up failing. However, those that know, and we include in that category everyone from The Clash to The Pet Shop Boys, from Elvis to Lana Del Rey understand that a strong look does as much for a band as the music. This is particularly important for electronic music, where watching a band that only use computers and keyboards can have a distinct possibility of inducing shuteye, even when the tunes are fantastic.
Thankfully Avec Sans with their rack of Novation Launchpads (they're those square boxes of tricks with lots of flashing lights on them) know how to keep things colourful and stimulating on stage – it certainly makes watching a man touching his knobs in front of a crowd a bit more interesting.
Oh and of course Avec Sans sound good as well. That one’s so obvious though that it doesn’t need to even be written in the Rules of Pop (or really written about on this blog – you can just press play on new song All Of Time and determine that yourself.) But for those who want words, let’s try glistening high-order electropop ready to elevate you to cloud nine and beyond. That'll do won't it? Just press play and discover that yourself. It's free to download (here).
Avec Sans - All Of Time (Video)
For those (like us) who like their pop music with a sense of swelling cinematic drama then Claudia Kane (no relation to Miles as far as we know) is a name you should bookmark right now. Darling Is Not My Name (streaming below) is a fine introduction to this London based artist, taking as its sonic reference points Massive Attack, James Bond themes and the piano on Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells to create a haunting and powerful song. On the basis of this one give her a couple of years and we can imagine she’ll be taking centre stage at the Royal Albert Hall.
Add to that two other high quality tunes on her Soundcloud, the unearthly night-rave of Residents of Darkness (the self-edited video of which you can see below) which reminds us a little of Lana Del Rey going clubbing and popping pills in hotpants (not that we’re in any way suggesting that Lana would be ‘in da club’ popping pills of course, she’s probably too busy putting on and taking off that red dress she’s always singing about) and the menacing Hungry and what we have in Claudia Kane is a singer who doesn’t just have potential, but sounds like she’s already fully realised it.
Claudia Kane - Darling Is Not My Name
Claudia Kane - Residents of Darkness (Video)
Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Anyone that has come across Laura Bettinson’s (aka Femme) live shows will know that they’re a hugely enjoyable feast of attitude, Paddington bear hard stares, cool as f*ck cheerleader style dance routines and modern DIY underground pop. They’ll also instantly recognise High, a track formed out of cut up vocals and some heavy bass sounds, the sort of tune that if we were ‘in da club’ would have us grinding and shaking our booty as if we were some sort of cool sex machine. We say ‘as if’ but that ‘as if’ would be in our heads only and nowhere else - the visual reality would be far more hilarious / repulsive / like a drunk dad at a wedding. That reality is
Femme - High
Imagine hair wars. On one side Rae Morris. On the other side Lorde. What a mammoth battle that would be and one that we really couldn’t take sides on.
Whilst we leave that epic struggle floating in your mind let’s turn to the music, reminding ourselves that the rules of pop are pretty emphatic that the better the hair, the better the music. Therefore the new Rae Morris song Closer is unquestionably and unequivocally good. Built around Rae’s piano tinkles and a hooky radio friendly chorus this one could easily sit on either the playlists of Radio 1 or Radio 2 – it’s one of those songs that we really couldn’t imagine anyone disliking.
Rae’s debut album (title not yet revealed) was in bulk recorded with Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, Vampire Weekend, Kylie) in the States and is waiting in the wings. If Closer is an indication of what it will be like, it shows that despite Rae’s whisperingly shy stage presence her recorded work can be as full-bodied as her hair.
Rae Morris - Closer