The lucky number seven is especially lucky for you, dear reader, because this seventh edition of PULSE: New Music You Need is a damn fine collection of new music for you to get yourself lost in. That’s not to say previous editions haven’t been equally as good, they have. However, I’m attempting to sell you this go around the musical merry-go-round with this particular introduction. Is it going well?
Anyway, you know the drill, and if you don’t, PULSE is Cultured Vultures‘ new music feature designed to round up a few bits and bobs from the up and coming, the undiscovered, and the unknown then with sexy hyperbole get you to feed said bits and bobs into your ears. This seventh crack of the whip is perhaps the most eclectic yet. You will find your new favourite bit or bob.
Manchester five piece Girl Friend are a band that kind of sensually pirouette their way into their ears when listening to them. The band formed on a mutual love of acts like Roxy Music, Prince, Bowie, and Japan with a desire to bring a certain seduction and hedonism they felt to be lacking in a lot of contemporary music, or even in modern life, as one lyric of theirs challenges ‘only the boring are bored.’ If the stories their lyrics tell are anything to go by, these chaps are certainly not bored.
The music is a well organised rendezvous of the artsy sexuality of the aforementioned inspirations and a very modern frustration. The songs dabble around in guitar based indie and electronics, and walk the line of complexity and simplicity that calls to mind the more straightforward, straight-to-the-point moments of Everything Everything and Wild Beasts. Though it’s not all up front for nothing, there’s plenty of restrain and refrain for tantalisation.
This Philadelphia based three-piece’s origins lie in the two-piece formation of childhood friends Marisa Dabice and Thanasi Paul who came together to bring the ruckus, and in their own words turned into degenerates. The duo expanded to a trio when they took on Kaleen Reading to record their debut album, Gypsy Pervert.
The album in question takes abrasive, scuzz-punk with a little lick of hardcore and crashes it into a penchant for fuzzy, and blissful shoegaze. The resulting collision is colourfully messy in the best possible way, and holds no punches in the ensuing carnage with songs like ‘Sneaky Nips’, ‘Clit Eastwood’, and ‘Clue Juice’. The result is an album that’s equal parts in your face, screaming, as it swirls around your head, cooing.
Having come to almost immediate attention and praise with her debut single, ‘Strange Enough’, Vérité kept this snowball rolling and gathering with her follow up single ‘Weekend’, before releasing her debut EP this month. Echo (said EP) contains both those singles and two more tracks that continue to cement Vérité’s sound. That sound? One of bombastic pop riddled with a solid sense of drama and brooding depths and textures.
On the strength of this first batch of songs, Vérité is clearly the latest in a line of artists fully embracing the outskirts of pop and bringing them right to the centre of the mainstream. The ambitious and expansiveness on display in Vérité’s music also shows the influence of Kate Bush and Florence & the Machine’s artistic theatrics, as well as an awareness of contemporaries like Lorde and Charli XCX.
Comprised of Whirr and Nothing’s Nick Bassett alongside former Whirr member Lexy Morte, Camera Shy operate in the self-described field of ‘pretty songs’, and you know what? They aren’t wrong. Having released their debut EP back in June of this year, the two-piece certainly deliver on that promise as they blend elements of shoegaze, indie pop, acoustic, 60s girl groups, and the right amount of twee.
Said EP, Jack-O-Lantern, is the perfect culmination of all those elements as it delivers gently sweet songs but completely avoids being syrupy or sugary, instead their sound is just a real pleasure to listen – it’s just plain lovely. It musically brings to mind Slowdive, but with the slower and sweetly sad side of Belle & Sebastian to boot, all completed by the stunning and dreamy vocals. Both melancholic and uplifting, plus they do a great cover of The Velvet Undergound’s brilliant After Hours.