New Music Monday Issue #5

Last Friday Sam Smith, neatly coiffed and dressed in a tuxedo, released what can only be described as the most obviously James Bond themed James Bond theme of all time.

There were orchestral manoeuvres, themes about gambling, and I’d hazard a guess that there’s going to be a ski-ing montage in the video.

The inevitability was painful.

Luckily however, Friday is gone. Monday is here and with it comes four vaguely new pop songs for you to enjoy shaken, stirred, or even with an olive in. 

The Japanese House – Clean

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The Japanese House, the musical project of 19-year-old Amber Bain, has been setting blogs alight with praise recently with the launch of her debut EP Pools to Bathe in.

‘Clean’, taken from her forthcoming second EP of the same name, is equally worthy of praise.

This track is a wonderfully warm sounding collection of pitter-patter drumbeats and luscious synths. Amber’s vocals are layered with effects to create an M83/Imogen Heap vibe, whilst the production features additional saxophone à la The 1975’s Music for Cars EP – George Daniels and Matt Healy from the band played producers for the track, coincidently.

To steal a phrase from Annie Mac, this just has ‘musical hot water bottle’ written all over it.

The Neighbourhood – The Beach

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As a group, The Neighbourhood are hard to categorise. The band’s Wikipedia page, obviously the authority on all knowledge, describes them as an ‘experimental rock band,’ yet despite having a traditional guitar-bass-drums setup, their fixation with reverb and hip-hop esc beats makes them come across more like The Weeknd than anything else.

This latest track is certainly befitting of that description.

Singing about the pains of growing up, as ever, frontman Jesse is backed by a swirl of ambient melodies – montage music if there was ever such a thing – creating a fantastically emotional dark-pop track.

Dark-pop. There, that works.

The Beach – Maybe?

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Like the majority of the population, seemingly, The Beach is a singer/songwriter who uses the acoustic guitar as their weapon of choice.

Whilst at times sounding incredibly like Ben Howard, what sets The Beach apart is an amazingly conversational way of singing – similar in a way to Benjamin Clementine – whilst also benefitting from a healthy dose of laptop production making his tracks sounding raw yet shiny.

It’s exceptionally hard to stand out with an acoustic guitar, probably the reason James Bay wears a hat, yet with his aforementioned quirks as well as the big melodies on ‘Maybe?’ The Beach somehow does.

Shigeto – Do My Thing

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This next track couldn’t be further from The Beach if it tried.

Zach Saginaw is an electronic artist who now also plays in a live jazz quartet. In between that and his many other projects, he’s found time for latest EP, Intermission, to drop next month.

‘Do My Thing’ is a wonderfully minimalist track that, similarly to ‘Clean’, has a certain ‘musical hot water bottle’ quality to it.

The rhythms are complex yet airy, whilst the reverberous melodies and seemingly freeform drumbeats make the whole thing nicely ambient.

What do you think of the tracks we’ve picked out this week? Let us know in the comments below!