Unknown Pleasures #43 ft. Kèmi Adè, Ancient River, Cowtown

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Kèmi Adè

Kèmi Adè

There’s South London’s most promising neo-soul starlet, yet more proof of psychedelia’s persistent rude health and Leeds’ finest DIY newcomers in this week’s new music round-up from Getintothis’ Patrick Clarke.

If the modern world of music media saturation has taught us nothing else, and it hasn’t, it’s that there’s quite a lot of people who can sing quite well. From wide-eyed X Factor drongos flaunting their plastic vanity, to the endless parade of next big things trotted before us by the blogosphere, so often are we ‘blown away’ by the ‘unique power’ of a singer’s ability to belt it out loud and in tune that there’s become little of interest to mere vocal potency.

What’s so special about South London neo-soul newcomer Kèmi Adè, therefore, is that while quite obviously blessed with the depth, range and character of every great vocalist, what really shines about new single Then is a sense of confident restraint, Adè‘s vocal delving deep into midnight depths, sailing through a blissful medium and leaping to a sudden attack without ever feeling like it needs to show off.

Produced to perfection by Jimmy Logic, a melancholy rush of sampled vocal sets a misty tone as Adè seizes her place above lilting but demanding bass and a sprinke of stardust piano. It’s in the song’s second half that the affair’s really elevated, however, a push of gospel organ and a beyond-its-years turn of voice from the singer proving this, only the first single from the first EP, to be one of the most immensely promising debuts of the year.

Elsewhere, as well as reminding us all that Psych Fest is 100% the greatest artistic achievement that has ever been achieved by humanity and the 8th modern wonder of the world, our overzealously early delve into the richest pickings of this year’s line-up earlier this week (yes it’s two months away, we don’t care) is also an intriguing example of just how varied the scene’s current boom has become.

There’s a reason, then, that even though we’ve covered psychedelia almost every week of this column’s almost year-old lifespan (party details tbc), we’re still not treading old ground as we careen into Florida psych-rockers Ancient River.

Somewhere between the Temples and Tame Impala-led strands on the more accessible-leaning side of the psych Venn diagram, new album Keeper of the Dawn, their seventh in five years, is a whirlpool of acid riffs, shamanistic organ drifts and grooves tarred and coated in deep south grit with attitudinous results.

Finally, frenetic Leeds outfit Cowtown‘s jittering new single Castle Greyscale, appearing this week on the always-sterling Fat Cat Records is as worthy a resurrection of the kind of agitated art-punk jitters pioneered by the likes of Devo as could be hoped for.

Supercharged to a manic pulse by robotic jabs of psychopathic synth, disembodied yelps of poised vocal and clattered pumps of rhythm, the outfit, now bordering the start of their second decade of existence ride a wave of momentum to an impeccable brace of tumultuous new wave at its very finest.

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