Spotlight: Majical Cloudz (And sort of a comeback!)

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Boo!

First of all, I just want to say: I’M ALIVE! (I’ve always been, I’ve just spent much of my existence in other platforms *coughs Twitter*)

I thought I’d write a quick post here about a new favorite – Majical Cloudz! It’s not the first time I’ve ~heard of this band – and when I say heard, I meant I read the name a couple of times, might have listened to a song where they were featured but never minded it – but yesterday, I chanced upon the track “So Blue” from the 2015 record, Are You Alone?

This led me to (finally!) click on the band’s name and discover its discography. And man alive, was I pleased!

As usual, I googled the band, only to find out that they have broken up two months ago.

That is just my fate, much like when I discovered Snakadaktal, and when I found out a little a bit too late that Nick Drake has been dead for ~~years (I still weep).

But I’m not wasting any more time – I plan on devouring Majical Cloudz’s tunes and bless them for producing 2 LPs and 2 EPs. Thank you, Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto, from your very late fan.

That’s it! See you on the other side. xx

Artist Spotlight: Catfish and The Bottlemen

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Another proof that I like foursomes – here comes Catfish and the Bottlemen, a Welsh rock band consisting of Van McCann, Johnny Bond, Benji Blakeway, and Bob Hall. They remind me a little bit of earlier Artist Spotlight feature, Drowners, but Catfish and the Bottlemen’s sound is grittier and more rock-inclined.

They have been on Communion’s roster for a while now, and I’ve seen their name a couple of times on the newsletter, but it’s only recently that I decided to give them a serious listen – thankfully, they also released their debut, The Balcony, by then (released last September).

The first half of the album packs in their catchier tracks – most notably, “Cocoon” and the opener, “Homesick.” The rest of the tracks could make you feel like you’re back in mid-2000s (I can hear a hint of Arctic Monkeys), but look out for the track “Business” as well.

All in all, the band’s sound comes in strong with attitude and confidence, and that’s a pretty good introduction to the world of what you’re all about.

 For more Catfish and the Bottlemen:

Official Website   |   Facebook   |   iTunes   |   YouTube

Artist Spotlight: The Hunts

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I have been waiting for this whole year to fall in love with a new band. Sure, I’ve had a couple of crushes here and there, but I have yet to be swept away. The latest group on my potential loves is the indie folk septet The Hunts.

 A group composed of brothers and sisters, The Hunts recently released their EP, Life Was Simple, containing three tracks: the infectious “Make This Leap”, soothing “Lifting the Sea”, and sentimental “Remember Us”. Following a music video release, it seems almost impossible to not like this group. For one thing, they are extremely talented (banjo = check, violin = check, viola = check, guitar = check, piano = check, was that a congo? = check anyway). Second, they are young (and this talented!). Third, it’s adorable seeing them all! (Like, imagine how Christmas is like in this household! PS – Hunts family, would you consider adopting me?).

To prove my point, you can watch their video for “Make this Leap”. If you didn’t find yourself smiling at the tune, or even feel good just by watching the video and that pretty awesome cannonball jump , I declare you not human.

 For more of The Hunts:

Official Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   iTunes  |   YouTube

Artist Spotlight: Drowners

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My affair with Drowners started in a funny way. I found one post in my news feed about them – an introductory piece to the band that Harry Styles liked (in short, he tweets lyrics of their songs much like he did with The 1975). As much as I hate that Drowners was somewhat introduced to me by Hazza (indirectly, of course), I couldn’t deny that that was really the case. I don’t think I’ve listened to their music before that, despite me having seen photos of their lead singer, Matt Hitt beforehand (he’s a model, so you know…).

On first listen, there is not one doubt in mind that you’ll classify them as Brit. They just sound British. They even have that alternative rock – Brit pop – Manchester band sound (they claim to be post punk though). There’s some resemblance to the Arctic Monkeys and The Kooks judging from their first track, “Ways to Phrase a Rejection” (if we need current references), but as you keep listening to the record, it’s quite obvious that there’s definitely an influence from The Smiths.

And that works well for me, because hello, it’s The Smiths.

Surprisingly though, the band is based in New York. If you listen to their sound, it’s hard to believe that they recorded in New York. Not that I have anything against New York (in fact, it may be the first place I want to see in America, because the MET!), but they just sound so British. So maybe I’ll just blame that to Matt Hitt’s nationality (he’s from Wales), surly vocals, and move on.

Their self-titled debut album offers their carrier single “Luv, Hold Me Down”, a contagious tune that you could literally play over and over (I tried it, it totally didn’t make me sick with ennui). Their songs are shorter, mostly under three minutes, so their 13-track album can be devoured in thirty minutes. The best tracks are mostly at the forefront, notably Track 2: “Long Hair”, Track 3: “Luv, Hold Me Down”, Track 4: “Watch You Change” and then Track 9: “Button on Your Blouse”.

I’ve listened to their album on an average of 3-4 times a day (every day), just this week alone. Yeah. I know. It’s quite obsessive. It’s a short album, and the hooks are catchy, you can pretty much daydream about being a teenager walking around in the cold streets of Manchester. And that’s all very good for me.

For more Drowners:

 Official Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   YouTube

Artist Spotlight: Hudson Taylor

1a3a88514d8bf816504207dae2d8d026 (1)It took me a while before I had someone to talk about on Artist Spotlight – and the reason is I always try to wait for someone ‘new’ (although that word can be subjective) who’d be able to get me excited. For the British brothers Hudson Taylor’s case, I am more smitten than excited – and reasonably so, I mean, will ya take a look at that photo?.

Their good looks aside, the boys are way more than just pretty faces. They’re two boys who can seriously harmonize and play their guitars. They have an impressive amount of live acoustic videos on their YouTube channel which just shows their range and skill. They recently released their single “Battles” on iTunes, but I find their EP Osea  (2013) a good representation of their sound and potential. Their track “Care” is my current favorite:

For more Hudson Taylor:

Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   iTunes

Artist Spotlight: Luke Sital-Singh

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Entering the Singer-Songwriter lane is Luke Sital-Singh, a 25-year-old musician from London. With influences like Bon Iver, Damien Rice and Ben Howard, you could tell early on that he’s a perfect shoo in to this blog – as well as in the playlists of people who dig the genre.

With three EPs under his belt, Tornados is his latest: an uplifting 16-minute trip starting with “Nothing Stays the Same”. Anthem-like with a chantable “Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh” bit, it’s perfect for the crowd to sing along to, but it’s not something that you mindlessly do – one of the song’s poignant lines include, “Everyone is yearning for reason/ For cause/ Somewhere deep inside/ We’re holding on for dear life“. It’s followed by the melancholic “Nearly Morning”, a slow track fitting for sad, somber days – or at least on films where it depicts just that (a montage, more likely). Next is “How to Lose Your Life”, another track with thought-provoking lines such as “I would lose my life to the love I find” – then closing it off with “Tornado Town”, a quiet and mellow track that would require a more focused listener, otherwise, it could easily fade in the background.

Promising – and definitely worth keeping an eye on, Luke is seemingly brewing all the right ingredients to make good, heartfelt music: thought provoking lyrics, lovely melodies, and remarkable vocals. He is set to tour with Eliza and the Bear, Farewell J.R and Annie Eve this year for Communion New Faces Tour. With a nod from BBC’s Sound of 2014 (which Sam Smith won though), he certainly has gained a fan who’s willing to watch out for what’s to come for the rest of the year.

Artist Spotlight: Cayucas

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I know it’s the holidays, and that picture goes along well with knit sweaters, the fireplace and a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows on top, but I live in a tropical country! Despite the cold winds, I still live for surf music – and Cayucas reeks of the ocean, the sand, the waves, and that vintage postcard feel.

A band from California, Cayucas is a trio who just released their debut Bigfoot earlier this year. With 8 tracks of fun and indie pop goodness, it transports you into a place: by the shore with the wind in your hair and sand on your feet – maybe much like the town they named their band after. They toured with Ra Ra Riot earlier this year, too, and are included in Paste’s 50 Best Albums.

If you like summer – or even just the sound of it, then they are definitely worth a listen and keeping your tabs on.