Eyre Llew are my definition of perfect chilled-out Sunday music. They write the sort of tunes that feel expansive yet intimate, subtle yet breathtaking in their range. The songs are gentle, ignoring the general three-minute formula of radio-friendly hits, instead unfolding slowly and naturally; they’re more about the experience than obsessing over a catchy beat. The long, instrumental passages – notes falling in and out of themselves like rolling waves – create an ambient soundscape, with vocals and guitar melding together. Rather than creating a divide between music and lyrics, the band use vocals distinctly as an instrument; sometimes with words and sometimes not. The resulting vibe is slow, mournful and delicate, creating an atmosphere of wistfulness. Comprising twelve different tracks, including the recent singles Atelo and Havoc, the band have crafted an album where all the different parts beautifully come together with the overall result being one big atmospheric flow of music. Generally speaking, most of the songs start off with slow-burning, soaring high notes before slowly transforming until there’s an (almost) chorus, where everything meets in the middle and the vocals are introduced. With all this, the post-rock group have created an album that has the ability to make you feel completely blissed-out. Recommendable for lovers of Bon Iver, Sigur Ros or any other artist that makes you sad, in a thoughtful kind of way. Elizabeth O’Riordan
EP (Easy Life Records)
The University of Nottingham-formed indie-rock band have decided to approach their new EP with a softer sound than usual. The band of four lads has been growing in popularity since they began in 2012, with both of their studio albums to date reaching the top fifty in the UK album chart. With a huge UK and Ireland tour this autumn, they’ve released a new set of acoustic songs, the follow-up to their second studio album – For a Moment, I Was Lost – that was released earlier this year. This new, stripped-back style is the perfect showcase for Amber Run’s raw talent and versatility. Alaska (a Maggie Rogers cover) and Higher and Higher offer a more vulnerable insight into the band. Listening to the EP, I’d consider it a treat if they decide to add an acoustic spot at their up-and-coming shows. Hannah Parker
Cathode Ray Eyes
How We Lost The 21st Century
You know that bit in the first Terminator film where the viewer is taken on a flash-forward to the nightmare world of the future, where machines rule and countless human skulls are crushed beneath the treads of their tanks? Well, this is the kind of bleak, industrial soundscape that the machines might play on their in-tank stereos. Cathode Ray Eyes is the solo project of Ryan DelGaudio from The Cult of Dom Keller and this is his second album, following on from 2015’s Eyes in the Melancholy Palm. Starkly beautiful, the music here is the sparse avant-garage pioneered by the likes of Pere Ubu and Chrome. While there aren’t a whole lot of belly laughs to be found here, and it’s perhaps not the kind of thing you might play on a first date, there’s a lot to love. Besides, who wants to date someone who doesn’t enjoy bleak, post-punk industrial noise anyway? Tim Sorrell
The trio behind Foule are bringing indie music down a notch, feeling most at home within the alternative genre. And it’s not half working. Each song begins in a chilled-out manner, drawing you in with lengthy intros before kicking in to the second half with fervour, clearly demonstrating the band’s all-round capability. Opening track, Untitled, is somewhat minimal, using repeated lyrics until the playful instrumentation welcomes the vocals back with open arms. The close and considered relationship between lyrics and melody is a real credit to the band throughout the album, and both are delicately balanced so they each get their moment in the spotlight. It’s I’m In, that takes centre stage on the collection, and is the most intelligent and repeatable of tracks. Both relaxed and immersive, it’s easy to lose yourself to this one. Jade Moore
The musician behind Giant Head has been making music under various guises for a while, but that still couldn’t prepare me for this. It’s fair to say that it’s not for listeners of a certain disposition. Imagine if you had a hundred different tabs open in your browser and within each of those tabs you had a different song playing; this is as close you’ll get to the disorientating barrage of sounds that Giant Head spews out on this debut EP. A sort of inverted hip hop music for the generation that can’t sit down for five minutes without feeling the urge to glance at phone screens. Fidgety beats ping and boing as the vocals – a sort of robotically delivered beat poetry; part spoken word, part rap – are submerged under the pick ‘n’ mix of samples. Wiz Mode is both an absurd and challenging listen. Paul Klotschkow
On And Off EP
EP (Gringo Records)
Those with good taste who picked up Grey Hairs’ second album, Serious Business, released earlier this year, will already be aware of the track On And Off: a skronky garage rocker surfing a top of repetitive, fuzzed-up skeletal riff. It’s one of the highlights of the LP and deserves to be the centre of attention, but it’s the accompanying tracks on this name-robbing EP that really seal the deal. Capable Man was only previously available on a limited-edition split 7” with fellow noise-inks Part Chimp, while Normal Tea’s dismantling of Sausage goes so far down the rabbit hole that it has a whole new sense of reality. Out of the three cover versions available, it’s the two Roky Erickson songs that prove to be the real delight, with the other being a blast through Black Flag’s Wasted. Grey Hairs bring genuine joy and warmth to Erickson’s haunted soul music. Paul Klotschkow
Hunting For The Fifth
Based around the songwriting talents of Karen Smalley, The Idolins – a gentle folk-pop band – have taken a naturalistic approach to writing and recording on Hunting For The Fifth, with all voices and instruments given room to breathe, giving the EP a warmth and intimacy; shut your eyes and you could be in the same room as the band. Readers may be familiar with the opening track, the gentle Seasons, when it was played by Bob Harris on his Radio 2 show. Reach For The Sun employs some sumptuous harmonies, something of a band trademark and used throughout the EP, giving a much-needed lift to songs that can feel a bit mid-paced at times; although the breezy Faltered Ways picks up the pace by the end. That’s not to knock the songwriting; it’s clear that Smalley has the talents to write a song that is comfortably at home on the Radio 2 playlist. Hopefully they’ll be back there soon. Paul Klotschkow
Less Than Nothing
Instrumental post-rock outfit Less Than Nothing return with their second EP Hidden History, which offers some of the band’s best material yet. Unlike their previous output, Hidden History is very much more guitar-based, mainly due to guitarist Jamie Criddle basically becoming the sole member of the band, pushing his musical vision to the forefront. This change has deepened the band’s aesthetic by embracing complex harmonies, electronics and more intricate arrangements. Starting mellow with Complete Unknown, the track Moving On feels more complete as a whole, flowing excellently from calm and ethereal to more upbeat. Considering this is post-rock, Erosion manages to really emphasise the “rock” with metallic and heavy riffs. The album closes with Low Tides, which has a slow, swaying, oceanic rhythm, reflecting the song’s title, before building to a euphoric ending. This EP will leave you wanting more. Matthew Williams
Album (Sunshine Beheaded Records)
Originally formed in 1980, the Krautrock-tinged post-punk outfit split up in 1998, but reformed after a seventeen-year hiatus. Going through more drummers than Spinal Tap, the band opted to stick to the drum machines they used in their early years, really bringing that post-punk vibe to the forefront. This new release, Recurring Dream, opens with their unashamedly dark political lyrics on The End of Everything and Crickley Hill, which are definitively post-punk in their delivery, signalling the arrival of Armageddon. Unofficial title track 22:22 keeps things simple with its repetitive lyrics and dance rhythm. While tracks Ouija Girl and Down From The Stars aren’t quite as memorable as others, the album ends with the eight-minute experimental noise instrumental Pink Tangerine, which manages to tick every box in the alternative sub-genre library. A great revitalisation of a lost style. Matthew Williams
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