Jetta - Crecendo
Jetta John-Hartley, a 24-year-old Liverpudlian, started out as a backing singer for Paloma Faith and Cee Lo Green. She has also been in the studio with Jim Elliot, who has worked with Drake, Kylie and Ellie Goulding. Not sure if that was Elliot at the controls for her tracks Feels Like Coming Home and Take It Easy, but they are big, sad, melodramatic ballads very much in the Adele mould. Then again, last year she got 100,000 YouTube views for her single Start a Riot, which drew comparisons with the xx and Florence. Now she’s got one called Crescendo and it is completely different again, possibly because Pharrell produced it. It’s got his stamp all over it: Jetta has clearly been studying those old N*E*R*D albums closely. In fact, typically light and breezy, simultaneously off-kilter rhythmically and casually melodic, it sounds like something Pharrell might have knocked off in his sleep for the last N*E*R*D album, but that can only count in Jetta’s favour: these days, even a Pharrell facsimile has a better chance of charting than most anything else. As for Jetta, she’s got one of those “strong” voices, but her future success may well depend on her choice of collaborator and what direction they guide her in, although she could do worse than come up with more like Crescendo.
Sea Change - Let’s Dance
Norway’s Ellen. W. Sundes sounds less malleable than Jetta, but then, she doesn’t have the latter’s commercial potential, although we say that, but look at the love for Kate Bush right now. Sundes, who operates as Sea Change, is a Bush/Björk of a female artist, a Lykke Li/Mø. She specialises in electronic pop notable for its chilly atmospherics and spectral vocals, pitched high - literally and in terms of fever. But this is emotion recollected in devastated tranquility: the quiet after the emotional storm. Her latest track might be called Let’s Dance but it’s no invitation to get down and boogie, notwithstanding the enticement to “rip this place apart”. It’s a deathly kind of disco, less a celebration than a requiem; slow, faltering, all loops and repetition, bearing more resemblance to Joy Division’s Atmosphere than, um, Russ Abbott’s Atmosphere.
R Seiliog - Peripheral Thermal (Left)
Robin Edwards is a musician/producer from Cardiff whose exposure to time-pieces - he was born in the basement of a watchmakers’ shop in Peniel, North Wales in 1985 - has led to a lifetime's fascination with syncopation of every kind. “The syncopated rhythms of countless different timepieces was to have a lasting effect on the way he hears the world and, indeed, composes,” says his press release, pointing towards a related love of kosmische/krautrock hypno-rhythm as well as the circuitous, ever-building repetitions of “systems music” and minimalist composers such as Terry Riley and La Monte Young. Basically, if you like krautrock, drone-pop, psych-noise and experimental electronica, you’ll love R Seiliog's 2013 mini-album, Doppler, and the forthcoming album, Hz, featuring the futuristic martial beat-attack of Peripheral Thermal (Left).
Solomon Grey - Electric Baby
There is no Solomon and there is no Grey, just Tom Kingston and Joe Wilson, who met in London, moved to Ireland’s West Coast, then to the Australian outback, where they spent three years writing, recording and producing their debut album, due out later this year. Meantime, there’s the single Electric Baby, released on 16 June, and assorted early releases on their SoundCloud, which set out their stall quite nicely. This is pop music in the way that Junior Boys or the sadly under-acknowledged My Computer were pop music, all half-programmed, half-played melancholia sung by Kingston and Wilson often through a vocoder, not to dehumanise but to convey a sense of hiding behind a carapace. It’s lovely stuff from these bright boys who are evading easy categorisation: they’ve already released two singles on the excellent Black Butter (home of the electronic pop hits), but they’ve also ventured into soundtrack realms, providing music for Tourism Ireland as well as the score for BFI movie Gozo, due out this autumn.
Shunkan - Dust In Your Eyes
Shunkan was an 11th century Kyoto monk who, according to Japanese mythology, was exiled to remote island Kikai-ga-shima after taking part in a failed uprising and later committed suicide by refusing food till he starved to death. Shunkan is also the alias for 20-year-old Marina Sakimoto, from New Zealand but based in LA, who has just issued her debut EP, Honey, Milk and Blood. It features Dust In Your Eyes, which is woozily intoxicating lo-fi indie, It’s Not Your Fault which fans of My Bloody Valentine or Radio Dept will adore, Hail which is also uncannily MBV-ish, and Over which suggests that beneath the echo, reverb, fuzz and haze, there’s a conventional songwriter fighting, albeit sleepily, to come out.