Glasgow-based Spinning Coin are an eclectic band who seem to draw inspiration from a range of music, forming an intriguing combination of sun-kissed retro pop, lo-fi indie rock and a splash of laid-back Britpop.
Their upcoming single 'Albany', due to be released on April 15th on Geographic, is the perfect summer track with its throwback, simplistic guitars that feel like a breath from the 60s. Despite the lightness of the sound, Spinning Coin's Sean Armstrong says the track's inspiration lies with the Scottish referendum and general dissatisfaction with the political atmosphere in the UK (most presumably the Tory government). 'Albany' then, offers a much more positive message than the government does: that of diversity and tolerance.
While there are few comparison points in modern music, apart from perhaps Tame Impala's “tamer”, slightly less psychedelic side, there is something familiar and homely about the track. This warm, retro vibe is also very much visible in the music video filmed on 8mm and directed by Roxanne Clifford of Veronica Falls.
'Albany' is certainly applaudable in its own right, but the track's production is clever too: it maintains the appeal of Spinning Coin's lo-fi sound and DIY spirit, yet brings out the soft and hazy vocals, overall creating a sound that borders on Teenage Fanclub and a less polished version of Menswear – perhaps not exactly what you'd expect from a politically inclined Glasgow band, but it works nonetheless.
After being one half of Liu Bei, performing with Waylor and co-writing for Grace Lightman, P J Pearson is now focusing on his own alt rock project under the name of San Felu.
His indie ballad 'Quantum Entanglement” is the B-side to 'Sanctuary Blues', a National-esque track that was released last month with great reception, even described as “one of the most well-rounded tracks of 2016 to date” by The Pursuit of Sound.
Typical to B-sides, 'Quantum Entanglement' is a more experimental release than its more popular A-side. It plays with unusual time signatures, reverse sound and production as well as conceptual, at points even abstract, lyrical ideas to create something that sounds classic. Despite these experiments, the song is structured well and flows naturally, and it's largely carried by Pearson's pure, strong vocals.
While the lyrics are mostly cryptic, Pearson recites them in a way that makes them sound believable and well thought-out. Still, the highlights of the track come with the slightly more straight-forward lyrical efforts, such as the line “As India holds up her hair / I'm holding back”, which resonates more on an emotional level than the more grande, but perhaps less introspective lines.
Galway-based Sarah DiMuzio – known under the pseudonym Whim – is an acoustic folk-pop singer-songwriter originating from Portland, Oregon. DiMuzio recently wrote music for a feature film called The Funeral Guest, later releasing these tracks as an EP. While Songs for the Funeral Guest EP maintains the sound Whim has produced on her previous work, it is to be expected that there is more versatility across Whim's other work than there is on a soundtrack EP.
Whim's general sound is light and bright, bearing resemblances not only to Laura Marling, especially on songs like 'Just A Thought', but also to Lucy Rose. Whim pours these influences into pieces that sound intensely personal: "You can make a home almost anywhere / you can leave and never look back // This is the road / the road that I'm taking / I'm content and I'm happy / and I don't plan on changing / I've come so far on my own".
It is this sense of personality and proximity that comes through on Songs for the Funeral Guest too. Highlight tracks 'Life' and 'Okay' sound delicate, but not fragile - instead, there is an air of acceptance and confidence that makes Whim a comforting, uplifting listen.