October’s almost over, and it’s nearly November; the month of the moustache and remember remembering. Among other things. Those other things including Your New Band of Month. Yes, it’s that time again, when we Cultured Vultures throw a selection of musical acts into the arena of monthly death and glory, leaving the winner (see: sole survivor) up to the whim of the blood thirsty and baying crowds (see: you lot).
You’re a cold blooded lot, but you’re often united, with most wins, so far, seeming unanimous. What really counts, though, is that you’ve all got a bloody good taste in music. Almost as good as the Vultures who offer up the brilliant bands who do battle for your blessing of victory (see: survival). As said, it’s that time again, here are our musical offerings to you. Now listen and decide, who lives or dies.
Ooh, by heck, isn’t it dramatic?
Being a two-piece, I’m going to assume that Micke and Kris here take their name from the answers they both gave when asked how they felt about their music. Clearly two people very much in tune, both with one another and in general. Their music really is fantastic. Hell, it may even be fantastic fantastic. Okay, it is. It really is.
Said double fantastic music that this duo make is a hazy dream or memory of fuzzy cloud synths, peacock bass lines, meditative percussion riding taut loops, and horizontal vocal lines. Essentially, Fantastic Fantastic sound something like that feeling you get when your eyes are half closed, your mind is empty but for the music, and your body is ever so slightly, ever so gently, moving and grooving to something tropical.
‘Main Beach create songs that evoke memories of a less complicated times – when the surf, girls, and the next big party were the only things that mattered.’ Well, I mean, you can’t say fairer than that, can you? Especially when Main Beach pretty much do exactly that with their own brand of surf rock. Though, dare I say it, there’s an air of wistful nostalgia and melancholy to it.
Then again, though, they did say the plan was to evoke memories of those simpler times, and those kinds of memories always sting a little of loss… I actually paused whilst writing this, and just listened a little more, and you know what? Man, I miss the 50s. The school dances, make out point, trips to the surf, I miss the whole lot, and I wasn’t even there.
That’s some powerful fucking evocation right there that is!
Cloud Castle Lake
Taking the title of a short stories anthology by Vladimir Nabokov (Cloud, Castle, Lake), and then removing its list-making commas, results in a band name that sounds something like the title of a lost Studio Ghibli film. Which, when considering this Dublin three-piece’s music, seems wholly appropriate.
With Nabokov’s lyrical wizardry with language, mystical mastery of storytelling, and penchant for the bizarre in mind, alongside the magical realism and surrealism present at the youthful heart of the more outlandish fairy tales of Studio Ghibli, Cloud Castle Lake’s music is perfectly in tune. Folk melodies and their fantastical melodies meet operatic grandeur and scope infused with synthesized soundscapes and post-punks urgent rhythms.
This Cape Town trio create a sound that really does require you take a dip with it. Not just dipping toes though, or sitting and hanging legs up to below the knee, or even walking into anywhere from ankle to thigh for a good old fashion paddle in the shallow end. No, you need to dive right in for a full immersion. Sink or swim, you have to go all the way under.
Then again though, you won’t really have much of a say in the matter to be honest. Mind Pool’s swirling current of psychedelia, shoegaze, space rock, and blues will pull you in quicker than you’re able to think ‘shit, that’s a sweet guitar lick’, and before you know it you’re drowning in the best possible way. Awash with wah pedal, fuzz, reverb, and unable to fight back against the groove.
When a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist cites Stanley Kubrick as their hero, you’ve got to be at least a little interested. I mean, how does idolizing master auteur, obsessive perfectionist, and general mad genius of cinema impact upon one’s slapping and tickling a song out of some instruments?
Well, if Swim Mountain is anything to go by, it impacts in a really magnificent way. This isn’t to say you’re going to listen to this London-based four piece (the singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and photographer who worships Kubrick is head honcho Tom Skyrne) and think, this sounds like The Shining if it was a psychedelic synthetic baroque pop song.
However, what you will get is a quality of sound akin to the quality of visuals you’d find with Kubrick. There is precision, attention to detail, depth and layers. The orchestra of synths, beats, live instruments, and production flourishes sound visual, if that makes sense, which it probably doesn’t. Though, as with Kubrick at the core of his films is perfectly crafted stories, with Swim Mountain, beneath the ethereal, dreamy, experimental soundscapes, is perfectly crafted pop. Their cover of Beyonce’s Love On Top is majestic.