Single Review – Anna Of The North – The Dreamer

Anna Of The North is an alternative pop artist from Oslo, Norway and her new track ‘The Dreamer’ is out today with only a handful of tracks behind her. Washed out synths open the track and remain in the background as the beat arrives and more warped electronica grows from it. Her vocals are easy on the ear and fit in  perfectly with the hazy pop she is producing here. As the song progresses the beat is layered with tumbling drum samples and sharp, snappy percussion upon which this track ends. It transcends the divide between pop and alternative themes and she’s kept tem broad in this case to combine them so well. One to look out for in the future.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Julia Holter – Have You In My Wilderness Review

Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Julia Holter has recently released her fourth full length studio album after previously releasing three very strong efforts based around her light wistful vocals and sparse instrumentation. Have You In My Wilderness sees her try to continue on from her previous successes and at ten tracks this album limited space for album fillers and throwaway efforts so if she delivers in a similar versatile fashion again then another very strong album will be in the offing.

‘Feel You’ is a track that mixes thinly layered string sections with a delicate bass line and a pattering, tumbling percussion to deliver music of warmth and comfortable familiarity. This is only enhanced when Julia’s soft, swooning vocal sits atop of the instrumentation and entrances with each delicately performed line. Such a delivery highlights the growing monologue narrative which she goes on to deliver towards the end of the track. The key to this track is it’s subtle form, generating a little from a lot in terms of atmospheric quality and enticing the listener in. ‘Sea Calls Me Home’ opens with those buoyant organs that are reminiscent of ‘God Only Knows’ by The Beach Boys, but goes on to develop into a more intricate and contemplative track rarely wishing to stray into big vocal harmonies, instead venturing into sections of jolting saxophone and whistled harmonies. Another accomplished piece of delicate music.

‘Silhouette’ features a solid rhythmic quality via a nudging organ and a gently rolling bassline, but one that remains modest and understated as a foundation for the more sweeping sounds and elements of the track to fire from including those rising strings and Julia’s vocals themselves. She even utilises her vocals as a piece of instrumentation later in the track. The rising strings build the song up to a theatrical fruition in conjunction with Julia’s vocals which rise in sympathy before an abrupt ending to conclude an eloquent and sophisticated track. ‘Lucette On The Island is a more haunting and meandering track in terms of it’s delivery and structure. ‘How Long’ is similar in it’s haunting ways, but these come from more droning instrumentals and a lower toned vocal. The album generally has a similar feel and tone to it with the string sections being the key with perhaps ‘Everytime Boots’ being the only concession. It may sound a little stale as you get through the album, but this album delivers a deliberate and consistent theme delivered with a wonderful poetic narrative that is actually quite beautiful and sophisticated whilst furthering the less is more approach. Another very solid album from Julia.

Julia Holter – Have You In My Wilderness = 8.5/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Wavves – Pony

San Diego’s fuzzed up surf rockers Wavves are to release their fifth studio album V at the end of the week and have unveiled a final single from it before that with ‘Pony’. It is another track with this easily recognisable Californian rock elements with a rapid, rumbling bass line, off shooting guitars and shouting vocals. In that case this song is the living embodiment of the style and like their other singles, offers up nothing you won’t have heard before from them or many of the higher quality acts from the state. So far there’s been little to distinguish between the singles and we can expect the album to be just as musically narrow.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

This Week’s Music Video with The Libertines, Jamie XX, The Staves, Dawes and YACHT


Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom Review

Idaho’s Trevor Powers has embarked upon of Youth Lagoon’s third album titled Savage Hills Ballroom which was released last week and see’s him play out his intention to create subtle and delicate chamber pop with soft melodies and unnerving atmospheric surroundings. Whilst the intention to detail will be clear, is his very particular sound enough to keep the listener interested and engaged in a variety of ways?

The Knower’ features Power’s gentle, yet unnerving falsetto set around ringing samples and electronica, rattling percussion and solemn blasts of a trumpet. As the song progresses, standard percussion intervenes and the brass takes on a more prominent role, reaching higher notes. From this the song ends on an ever growing peak. A song full of interesting combinations to deliver his brutally honest and slightly pessimistic lyrical content on people’s misconceptions of themselves. As a track ‘Highway Patrol Stun Gun matches the sombre ballad-like piano chords and spaced out guitar parts of the previous single with a more slick, rhythmic, bouncing and reverberating electronic beat. The naïve and scratching vocals sweep through the floating, yet purposeful instrumentation for a well balanced track with tinges of dynamism and creativity in a subtle and soothing fashion. A very solid track.

With ‘Rotten Human’ he continues to deliver those delicate melodies and harmonies around a Dream Pop base of whirring synths and sonically charged, echoed guitars firing out from beneath it. This song generates a subtle culmination of energy via the steady motoring percussion that begins to build in the second part of the track. Tracks such as ‘Officer Telephone’ deliver those whirring and subtle sounds around a clear vocal before setting a course for a rhythmic and expanding sound. ‘No One Can Tell’ offers up more purely electronic affairs with the high pitched distorted synths playing off the warping lower toned chords. Some interesting combinations are offered up throughout the album with the steady sound mixed with more energetic beats and instrumentation. They are balanced well against the more ballad-type tracks, but these tracks are often a little predictable and stale and often devalue some of the experimentation on the album. The tone and feel of the album is also very rigid, but it is wonderfully produced and delivered; just not as engaging as a body of work.

Youth Lagoon – Savage Hills Ballroom = 7/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

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