Unknown Pleasures #11 ft. Pilote, Volage, Heman Sheman

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Heman Sheman (image by Daniella Shreir)

Heman Sheman (image by Daniella Shreir)

It’s our eleventh weekly round-up of the greatest in the internet’s unheard hits, with Getintothis’ Patrick Clarke on individualist electronica, French rock ‘n’ roll and unfaltering new pop.

Man of many talents Pilote might still be an unknown figure at large – he has, at time of writing, a Facebook following in single figures – but the producer, real name Stuart Cullen, is in the third decade of a career  that’s seen the multi-instrumentalist’s services employed by the likes of Fujiya and MiyagiTurin Brakes and,er, Derren Brown and a founding role in Brighton’s cult Fly Casual label.

His latest Epilogue EP, an addendum to last Summer’s The Slowdown album, his sixth, soon turned the heads of 6 Music, and reveals much of the deftness of that depth of experience. Winding loops of drifting acoustics and characterful vocal samples scatter the effort which rides musical boundaries with enviable nerve. A blissful, hypnotic slow-burner, the record’s quick to unfurl its serenity, yet forever holds more for multiple hearings in it’s palatial blend of heavenly textures.

Frenchmen Volage take a directer approach on their debut album Heart Healing, released this week. Upset is an infectious pop effort, driven by dynamic keys that recall the The Zombies at their best, while straight up rocker Loner careens with the energy of post-White Stripes garage rock at its finest.

Volage (Image by Laurent Bécot Ruiz)

Volage (Image by Laurent Bécot Ruiz)

This is not, it must be said, a hugely original effort, yet Volage take to their genre with a vibrant, brazen swagger that it’s hard not to love. They show lashings of talent, too, in the organic, twisting narratives of their songwriting – the furious fire of Paolina‘s closing cacophony and the formidable verse/chorus gearshift of  Upset are evidence enough of talent that their scrappy aesthetic can betray.

Manchester-born/London-based Heman Sheman show their own abundance of character on their slim wealth of material thus far. The guitar-led foursome lie in a direct British tradition of scrappy class, taking a Cocker/Anderson strain of Britpop‘s more appealing quirks and filtering it through the liveliest of historic guitar-pop.

Milk whistles along with an affable roll, while twisted rocker My My (Whatever Makes You Love) bolts forth via hurtling riffs and a lustrous lead vocal. It’s Green and Golden that’s their finest though, a lilting slice of muscular pop with smooth, slinking verses and a chorus that boasts a riff to rub shoulders with their contemporaries’ finest.

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