Sheer Mag

New Music Round-Up, May 20th 2017

A small selection of some of my favourite additions to the Back Before Dark: New Music playlist during the last week. This week’s album of the week is Nick Hakim’s Green Twins and – to apologise for not posting during the week – there’s a new Back Before Dark mixtape for your enjoyment. Pictured: Sheer Mag

Songs

Slow Magic – Mind

Remaining constantly masked (and a damn cool mask at that) and mysterious, I have no tidbits to offer about Slow Magic. He claims to be everyone’s imaginary friend and he reinforces this notion by infusing a bright, human side into his heavy electronica. ‘Mind’ maintains the momentum set by 2014’s How to Run Away as a glittering, powerful and highly emotive dancefloor anthem.


 

Inner Wave – Bower

Inner Wave‘s latest track is all about keeping it simple and doing the key things right. While every indie band in the world is battling to sound different, ‘Bower’ is a song which goes back to the roots of indie-rock and nails all the important things. The band play off eachother skilfully and deliver two wonderful minutes of rock relaxation.


 

Vargas & Lagola – Dolores (The Awakening)

I’m not entirely sure what to call this track to be honest. It’s a jazzy, funky, disco-ey kind of track which builds steam over four minutes like some of the more experimental disco in the 70s. Strangely enough, Vargas & Lagola is composed of Vincent Pontare and Salem Al Fakir who have written some of the biggest hits of the last few years for the likes of David Guetta, Katy Perry, Madonna, Galantis, Avicii, Swedish House Mafia and loads more. In light of this fact, it’s less surprising that they know their way around a tune…


 

Paul Nicholas Slater – 1942

Taken from Paul Nicholas Slater‘s non-eponymous debut Eponymous Debut, ‘1942’ is a growling grunge-y tune which benefits massively from Slater’s emphatic lyric delivery. The track doesn’t feature many bells or whistles, opting for a grittier interpretation of his emotions. It’s a grinding, catchy piece of post-rock which got stuck in my head very quickly.


 

Sheer Mag – Just Can’t Get Enough

Philadelhians Sheer Mag have been offering unbridled, shameless glam-rock since their formation in 2014. With three fantastic EPs (imaginatively titled I, II and III) released in the last few years, their debut album Need to Feel Your Love is coming on July 14th. The lead single ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ is another gleefully nostalgic offering and you’d have to be made of stone to resist its charm.


 

Album of the Week

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With a couple of EPs under his belt, Nick Hakim originally started working on Green Twins when he moved to New York. After a rather difficult journey to break into the world of music, it’s very understandable that the album is rather downbeat and despondent. Hakim’s debut charts a long journey of struggles and unhappiness across an ambitious soundscape. At times, it can feel like Hakim throws too many ideas into a certain song but, for the most part, Green Twins holds together as a melancholic collection of heartbreaks.

The key to the album’s success lies in its highly unusual psyched-out production. His voice may be best suited for soul music – with his high octave range and airy singing style – but Hakim uses highly unusual techniques to make an album which frequently sounds weird and “out there”. He layers his howls and shouts together on ‘Slowly’ and throughout the album to create an alarming, emotional cacophony. It gives the album a rather primal feeling, as if Hakim isn’t trying to hold back how he really feels about life’s heartbreaks.

The lo-fi, spaced out vibes of the arrangements are also particularly effective in creating a lonesome atmosphere throughout. He definitely does his very best to distance himself from contemporary soul singers by pushing production limits. There are strange glitch noises, flickers and industrial-style drums to prevent the album from feeling predictable in any way. My only gripe with Green Twins is that Hakim spends pretty much the entire album singing about lost loves to the point that it can become difficult to distinguish between the tracks. Mind you, just because I wasn’t able to connect with the lyrics doesn’t mean that you won’t. My nit-picking aside, Green Twins is an intriguing album – especially from a production point of view – which is well worth your time.
 

Mix

Back Before Dark: Lost at the Shops

Apologies for not posting any new articles during the week – I finished my exams on Monday and spent the week adjusting to the notion of having free time. You may have noticed that I released a new mash-up last weekend which proved fairly tiring but to make it up to you, here’s a brand new mixtape of sounds from around the globe. Hope you like it!

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