Wonderland.

Wonderlist

This week’s wonderlist is a mixed bag of moody pop from New Zealander Thomston, to a stonking banger from Kelly Clarkson and some twentysomething truths from newcomer Katelyn Tarver.

Flight Facilities – ‘Down To Earth’

Australian duo Flight Facilities had a pretty good 2014, teaming up with some of massive names like Kylie Minogue. However, not wanting to leave 2015 lacking, the duo has returned with the title track from their debut album, ‘Down To Earth’. The song itself, a loungey-house track with soft percussion and repetitive filtered vocals, is nothing new, but there’s a bouncy quality that’s sure to get you toe tapping. However, it’s the video that’s the star. Featuring veteran actor Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile, Seven Psychopaths), the clip channels Fatboy Slim and Christopher Walken’s iconic video moment, but this time in a diner. Rockwell boogies on counter tops, in the kitchen and in the parking lot with humor, self-assurance and sass. It’s almost like he’s living out his dreams of being in a music video, and it makes us want to join him.

Wyldest – ‘Cruel Dusk’


Despite having a few demos floating around, ‘Cruel Dusk’ is the first proper single from London trio Wyldest. There’s a hazy quality to the track that reminds us of the second O.C. soundtrack, and that’s no bad thing (given that we still listen to that album on the regs). Melding the prominent guitar riffs of The XX with Americana production, the song glides like a Californian sunset, singer Zoe Mead’s vocals warming the glistening electronics. The breeziness of the track offsets from the sadness in the lyrics, confusing the senses with its carefree attitude. But it’s with juxtaposition that, for us, pop works its magic, and Wyldest are certainly doing that.

Leon Bridges – ‘Lisa Sawyer’

Leon Bridges isn’t reimaging or reinventing soul music. He’s not even really paying homage. Rather he’s living it and embodying it to understand. This isn’t a pastiche of the sound, but the real deal. On ‘Lisa Sawyer, Bridges’ voice is charmin, dripping with subtle emotion and instantly throwing you back to the 40s and 50s, seducing you with its charm. The doo-wops and female harmonies add that music hall sensibility, while the saxophone harks back to Gershwin’s sweeping compositioons. This is sublime, and hopefully the start of something very special for Mr Bridges.

Anna Naklab Feat. Alle Farben & YOUNOTUS – ‘Supergirl’

Anna Naklab was the voice behind Parra for Cuva’s rendition of ‘Wicked Games’ and now she’s back with ‘Supergirl’. A re-work of Raemonn’s original, the song has some serious Texas vibes, but has been given some driving percussion and swirling synths. Naklab’s vocals have softness to them, which compliments the ominous quality of the backing track. The minor key in the verses has a desperate quality to it, a creeping sadness despite the song’s resolute lyrics. Without being too ‘hands-in-the-air’ this track is a bop and one that we’re sure will be everywhere this summer.

Chris Loco x Emeli Sandé – ‘Moon’ (freestyle)

Chris Loco has worked with acts such as Professor Green, Rita Ora, Kwabs, Kylie and Emeli Sandé. Right, Sandé set the charts alight a few years ago, but her music wasn’t the most exciting to emerge, and after being hounded with it on the radio and every major British sporting event for three years, it’s safe to say that she’s firmly sat on the naughty step. However, ‘Moon’ is something special. Spatial synths whir in the background with shadowy percussion; it seemingly builds up to something that never quite emerges. Sandé’s vocals are on point, reined in and hauntingly emotive, even cracking at certain points. There’s rawness here, and despite the song’s meandering it works, drawing you in and forcing you to lose yourself in its aimless sorrow.

Thomston – ‘Collarbone’

We first wrote about Thomston late last year, and the New Zealand singer has returned with an equally heart-wrenching song. According to Thomston, ‘Collarbone’ is about a friend who was “in a rough place”, and tackles how one can feel lost in those situations. Dark, echoing drums bang in the periphery, while mournful synths and Thomston’s youthful voice strike into your chest. The maturity displayed in the songwriting equalizes the track’s need for childlike obliviousness, and there’s something so devastating when Thomston sings “I can see your collarbones and baby I’m scared/Never thought I’d be so unprepared”, the line lingering in your consciousness.

Katelyn Tarver – ‘Weekend Millionaires’

Katelyn Tarver taps in to a recurring theme in pop music about living way beyond your means; from Katy’s ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)’ to Pitbull’s ‘Time Of Our Lives’, it seems that even the richest of the world remember maxing out their overdrafts for “one last drink”. However, with ‘Weekend Millionaires’, Tarver embraces her champagne taste and lemonade pocket with such astute accuracy, channeling most twentysomethings hedonistic lifestyle and lowly bank accounts. When she sings, “Out of food again and with 10 bags from H&M, returning five of them” we immediately think back to last weekend’s shopping splurge and our sheepish return to Topshop, receipts in hand. Regardless, there’s no sense of negativity here, no desperate sense of self-pity, but, rather, a joyful acceptance of how life just is. Officially obsessed.

Kelly Clarkson – ‘Invincible’

Every now and again we need a massive bit of melodramatic power pop, and Kelly Clarkson usually knows how to deliver. A teaser track taken from her new album, ‘Invincible’ was written by Sia (obviously) and is exactly the belter that we ordered. Yes, it could quite literally have been sung by anyone, but Kelly has a knack of bringing so much emotion to a song that we’re glad it’s her. There are crashing drums, harps (!), weird electronics and, of course, massive hooks. The song’s pre-chorus is particularly good, its singsong-y quality building nice to the powerful chorus. Yes Kelly!

Who Is Fancy – ‘Goodbye’

Everyone likes a bit of a mystery, and we’ve got one right here with Who Is Fancy, as no one actually knows who ‘Fancy’ is. Signed to republic records and managed by Scooter Braun (Justin Beiber, Ariana Grande), there really isn’t much else. Yet there’s some really cool production here, reminding us of Timberland’s work with Nelly Furtado, with soaring Ryan Tedder-like vocals. Three music videos have appeared for the track, all showcasing how people are stripped of themselves to become ‘popstars’. It might be a bit too concept heavy, but the song is good, and we’re really intrigued.

Tom Aspaul – ‘New Moon’

Wonderland favourite Tom Aspaul is known not only for his cracking pop songs, but also for his rich musical influences; anything goes with him. So you’ll be unsurprised that ‘New Moon’ takes inspiration from Brandy, Carly Simon and Tom himself. The song’s bass heavy production, provided by Starsmith, is consuming, enveloping you in its warm textures and clean percussion. Here, the mixing of the track is also perfect, with every layer given its own time to shine, from the undercurrents of arpeggiators to the swooshing pads everything just works. With a mixtape coming very soon, Tom Aspaul is definitely one to keep your eye on.

Words:
Alim Kheraj
Wonderlist

Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related → Related →