Welcome back to Violet Music Digest – Pastel Wasteland’s monthly music retrospective.
September sure was…a month. The leaves are falling, the chill is setting in and a casual glance at the news proves we’re already in Hell.
But we have music. Thankfully there has been smooth among the rough…
#1 – Celestial Event
Early in the month we were introduced to the “Sci-Pop” of Galaxzi. Her work meshes familiar themes of love and longing with imagery of galactic distances and alien life. The production on songs like “Crystalize,” “Doomsday” and “Galaxy Girl” give her work accessible, mainstream appeal; while allowing her unique identity to shine through.
Galaxzi is very much on the ground floor. Her Twitter account has just over a 100 followers, and the majority of her YouTube videos carry double-digit views. But she is making great use of ReverbNation – a online platform which offers a wide range of services to artists.
Seeing how her career develops will be fascinating. If you like your pop with a twist; then you should check out her work here.
#2 – Band wych sy’n haeddu bod yn enfawr
A new generation of Welsh artists are gaining momentum, of which Adwaith – a post-punk three-piece from Carmarthen – are arguably the most promising.
Like many of her peers, Adwaith’s vocalist Hollie Singer performs in Welsh. This isn’t about novelty, it’s an affirmation of roots and identity. It also adds another compelling layer to their work. This is demonstrated wonderfully on “Gartref” – of which a remix dropped this month.
In its original form, “Gartref” is atmospheric and achingly cool indie rock (with a deliciously surreal video). The remix is heavier, darker, more FX driven and it speaks to the band’s enormous potential. But its real significance comes from who co-produced it: Manic Street Preachers front-man James Dean Bradfield.
This is a serious endorsement from a living legend. While performing in English, the Manics have always repped hard for their home country. Hopefully a collaboration like this heralds a wider recognition of this distinctive and exciting branch of British music.
#3 – A Revenant
After 15 long, long years The Distillers have released new material. I (and pretty much everyone I’ve ever known) lived for this band back in the day. And this wasn’t just because Brody Dalle is one of the most charismatic/talented/divine women in the history of women.
From the raw street punk of their self-titled debut, to the seminal Sing Sing Death House and their bold and innovative Coral Fang; The Distillers proved over and over again to be one of the best acts of the previous decade.
Any fears that time, side projects and the frivolous business of parenthood and a happy marriage have dulled Dalle’s edge can be cast aside. “Man Vs Magnet” is classic Distillers – gritty, provocative and a wonder to behold.
#4 – You’re A Wave, Of A Dream
Pale Waves were a band I was only vaguely aware of. As someone who spends a lot of time defending The 1975, it was inevitable that their “protégés” would come up; but for some reason I’d never actually listened to them. This only changed about a week before the release of their debut album My Mind Makes Noises.
I should’ve bitch-slapped myself. Pale Waves deserve to be one of the biggest bands in the world. I want them to fill stadiums and change lives. If I weren’t so ancient and decrepit, they would mean so much to me. Their songs are infectious and cool and speak earnestly to concerns about love and death and the confusing miracle that being young and alive is.
Like Richey Edwards and Nicky Wire; Heather Baron-Gracie and Ciara Doran were stars long before you’d heard of them. Theirs is a genuine partnership; one which goes beyond writing and performing together – and one which I’m sure resonates deeply with their most ardent fans.
The comparisons between Pale Waves and The 1975 are obvious, but still kind of overblown. Yes Matt Healy worked on two tracks (including the almost perfect pop song that is “Television Romance”) – but I see them diversifying and growing far beyond any boxes they’re sorted into now. We are lucky to have them.
And we’re very lucky to have this:
#5 – So…This Happened
Okay, here’s some rough. But it caused whiplash, so in it goes.
On the 15th, NME reported that comedian Mark Lamarr has been charged with common assault and false imprisonment.
Lamarr has championed little-known music for years; especially during his tenure on BBC Radio 2. And many of us fondly remember his 17 seasons presenting Never Mind The Buzzcocks – the anarchic music quiz which was must watch television in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Details remain scarce as the story is still developing. A court date of October 2nd has been set.
#6 – Smiley Showing Teeth
In July’s VMD we looked at Camelphat’s remix of Au/Ra’s “Panic Room.” While that remains one of my favourite songs of the year so far; Au/Ra has mounted her own challenge to it with “Emoji.”
Her brand of idiosyncratic EDM perfectly suits a curious song about online avatars and catfish dating. Two people sharing ups and downs across a divide, without truly knowing one another. Though not as explicitly dark as “Panic Room”, it still has an unsettling air to it.
Musically, fans of Dua Lipa should get a lot from this. Hopefully Au/Ra’s star will come to shine as brightly.
#7 – It’s Not All That I Am
Speaking of previous VMDs – Rook has released her second album in two months: Parasite. July’s Shed Blood remains a strong contender for album of the year, and the release of Parasite is a testament to her stamina and endless reservoir of ideas.
This album draws from Rook’s ‘personal experience with obsessive compulsive disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder.’ While not as intense as Shed Blood; Parasite is just as powerful and easy to recommend.
Parasite also represents the end of an era or, more accurately, a new beginning. Rook has teased a change of direction – producing music under a new brand. She’s no stranger to changing lanes, given her previous work with Girls Rituals and Black Dresses; so it’ll be exciting to see where she’s heading.
And that’s it for this month. As ever, if anyone has any material they’d like to share over the coming weeks; please drop us a line.
Also, Pastel Wasteland is looking for writers and reviewers to join us. If you’re interested in producing content based around music, film, fashion, graphic design or any kind of art form we would love to hear from you. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send Twitter DMs to:
Rob Ulitski (Chief Editor) – @pastelwasteland
Ryan Cole (me) – @violet_cause
Have a great one.