BOOT - - - MUSIC
7 of our favourite new European discoveries
Perhaps one of the most intriguing European artists to have emerged in recent years is Swiss-born, Berlin-based songwriter Anna Erhard. She has not slowed down one bit since her 2021 album 'Short Cut', releasing a stream of new singles in 2022 that are perfectly in tune with the recent trend of straight-faced, swagger-filled Indie. These new tracks combine witty lyricism, confident vocal performances that dance between spoken word and subtle melodies, and instrumentation that that uses an eclectic range of acoustic and electro elements to flavour the lo-fi grooves.
Back in April, 'Horoscope' set the tone for her new releases with its funky rhythm and tumbling vocal flow. The vocal layers and occasional spoken back-and-forths put the likes of Wet Leg in mind while the sporadic synth chords give it a brighter Euro Pop feel at times. Her follow up track 'Guestroom' took this electronic element further, leading with a popping electro rhythm. The appealingly mundane but strangely appealing lyrical content of "Why don't you sleep in the guest room, you'll have plenty of leg room" enhanced the Wet Leg / Dry Cleaning similarities. However, her most recent two singles 'Campsite' and 'Panic at the Seaside' really standout, enthralling you with a contrast between natural imagery and electronic soundscapes. The former gradually builds somewhat hectically as jarring guitar notes disturb the serene storytelling of how she was "king of the campsite" thanks to all her "mosquito bites". The later leads with a more in-your-face, fuzzy Rock riff which creates her most angsty atmosphere of these new singles.
Tom Allan & The Strangest
Following on from their 2020 record 'Little Did They Know', Cologne-based German, Mexican and British trio Tom Allan & The Strangest have reignited attention this year with two new heavy hitting singles! The first of which 'Unimpressed & Unaroused' is a thunderous Indie Rock stomper that radiates all the angst that the title suggests. A really thick baseline drives the darker undertones while Tom's voice verges on the edge of anger, delivering each line with a slight raspy twang that creates a feeling of raw passion and energy. The chorus sees big riffs and a dense drum section crash in to make a moshworthy moment of intensity. Straight from the mid 00s Indie mosh pits.
'17 Days' offers up a brighter tone to begin with, led by the optimistic tones that come from the rolling guitar line. The vocals too, carry a more thoughtful and melodic tone than the previous release. Although, the track does continue to have lighter, more summery notes throughout, it certainly does gain momentum and deliver the trio's trademark energy. Nostalgic melodies that ring of The Rifles, dance drum rhythms and anthemic backing harmonies make for a powerfully uplifting track!
Singer/songwriter Mauricio Yrivarren has had an eclectic music trajectory to say the least, first performing guitar at an early age in Peru and the US before making the leap to journey to Madrid. Here, he met producer Josemi Sánchez and began his latest musical project, Binary Drift. Following on from the debut 2019 album 'Pocket Tunes' things went a little quiet. However, he has returned with a string of new singles including his latest release 'Smile'.
The track has a very authentic and nostalgic approach to songwriting and is reminiscent of the more stripped back singles of the late 90s and early 00s from the likes of The Verve and Oasis. The raw acoustics are provided a really heartfelt warmth and soul by soothing strings and rich brass lines. All the while the vocals are honest; somehwat subtle in their melody but this just makes it all more endearing. The male amd female vocals intergate so smoothly and create a funky summer harmony that will blow any of your torubles away. ‘Smile’ aims to capture the excitement of living life at its fullest, without any fears, as long as you have love in your heart. It reminds you that happiness is always there for the taking!
German Pop Rock outfit released their debut album 'The Love Equivalent' earlier his Summer and solidified their status as one of Europe's most appealing melody makers. Formerly HYMMJ, the quartet have become renowned across Germany for their finessed harmonic styles and interesting instrumentation that often revolves around tightly rolled rum patterns. The new album is packed full of funky Summer sounds, interlaced vocal melodies and some well layered Foals esc production. The infectious synth-led chorus of 'Responsible Animals' is a definite standout. The contemplative vocals of the verse jump into an explorative, uplifting melody that feels like your mind is expanding the more you listen.
'Freak Talk' has a bit more coolness and swagger about as the initial army style drum rolls build up a slightly abstract opening atmosphere before the song enters into a deep, dance groove flavoured with funky bass tones and popping electro notes. This is definetely a groove you can get lost in. The singles are infectious, yet it is the album's first and final tracks that really showcase their songwriting and sonic maturity as they both demonstrate a range of dynamics and a very accomplished arrangement. 'I'm Not Here To Change Anyone' gives the album a cinematic start with its swelling string sections floating dreamily over a distant echo of sporadic percussive notes. It feels like it could be the soundtrack to a serene space film. 'Senescence of a Vampire' then closes the record in dramatic style as the pop synths and deep rock riffs that are present throughout the album combine for a climatic finale to fantastically varied debut release.
If you are wanting to be transported back into a blissful 60s daydream full of uplifting melodies then you should indulge in the upcoming EP from Dutch band The Forces. Led by producer Joshua Boon, the band have been their distinctive brand of European Flower Pop Psychedelia. Their two singles ‘Shine’ and ‘Anna’, released earlier this year, wear their retro influences on their sleeve. The former’s electro-brass waltzing rhythm is just the kind of instrumental that you can imagine Paul McCartney serenading crowds along to. Meanwhile, the high harmonies and bouncing piano line of ‘Anne’ rings of the sunshine bops of The Beach Boys. However, these two tracks are just the tip of the iceberg that is their debut, self-titled EP.
‘They’ is a track that lies slap bang in the middle of the five-track EP and offers a completely different atmosphere than they have ever produced before. The layered percussion and deep electro pulse provides a moody vibe while the winding synth melody that lingers in the backdrop tempts you in to get lost in this abstract Psychedelic whirlpool. ‘Free’ sees you emerge the other side of this whirlpool, refreshed but with a new sense of thoughtfulness. The drawn out chords and contemplative lyrics create a more melancholic sound. Yet, the strange, warped electro notes still create a slightly hazy psychedelic twist. The final track, appropriately named ‘End’, is a little more uplifting. The gentle tumbling rhythm is optimistic and the vocals are filled with a cosy calmness. However, in typical style, there are few high-pitched synth lines in the background that make you think you may just be wrapped in a sonic dream. A perfect EP for those who want to drift away into a nostalgic time warp filled with modern production.
Completing our trio of German acts on this list is Hamburg's Indie Funk outfit Jon Doe. Their EP 'Blurry Flurry' was full of smooth melodies, finessed synth lines and some blissful backing harmonies that wouldn't be out of place on the latest Harry Styles album. Now, they are retruning on August 26th with another new single, 'Othello' to add to their rapidly growing repertoire.
'Othello' is perhaps more direct and angular than the recent EP, opening with an instantly hitting you with a rolling drum groove and sharp vocal flow that hooks you in. Yet, the tones still remain warm and smooth, giving the track a fuzzy sonic glow to it. The chorus too, lands with a bit more energy that most of the EP's content. It lifts off with a guitar line that, although subtle in the mix, has a sharp tone that pierces the laid back groove. The vocals have a direct and impactful delivery that, when combined with the slightly angsty Americanised accent, come off like Weezer's most punchy numbers. However, the track still sticks to the band's funky roots. The baseline maintains a soulful swagger throughout and the final moments of the song are flavoured with some crisp guitar flair. A ramped up, more -in-your-face take on their trademark style.
If you are after dangerously seductive, gritty Rock and Roll then Dutch outfit Alison's Fall are the ones for you! The brother-sister duo started to make a name for themselves across Europe with their powerful Alt Rock singles and an EP back in 2019. Things have been a bit quiet recently but worry not! The pair are making a return on August 26th with their growling new single 'Insane'.
The beauty of this new track is built off the combined dark charisma of the moody guitar line and vocal performance. Its feels like they never break a sweat but still manage to produce an in-your-face Rock sound that is taking no prisoners. The atmosphere is merky but extremely tempting, particularly in the instrumental breakdown that hits later in the track as a piercing guitar solo cuts through the noise. The song radiates a coolness that you may just envy and a power that is hugely impressive for just two people to produce!
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