Unknown Pleasures #152 ft. VOWWS, Altopalo, Paul Littlewood

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VOWWS (photo credit – artist’s Facebook page)

VOWWS (photo credit – artist’s Facebook page)

Gather round for the latest tunes gliding under the surface of the mainstream as Getintothis’ Mike Stanton unravels more Unknown Pleasures.

VOWWS generate music that is both dramatic and epic with a harder, darker edge. It’s difficult to categorise, is it coldwave, industrial, gnomic pop or post-gaze? Probably none of those, or all of them. This is the thing with VOWWS, just when you think you have them nailed they pull the rug from underneath you and take an unexpected detour. Recently they have been exploring larger-scope compositions and this is evident on their latest album Under The World, a collection of mini epics, each one cinematic in scope and horizon hugging in ambition.

Their latest single Structure Of Love sounds like it has been gleaned from a James Bond soundtrack found existing in a parallel universe. Huge chords and churning bass propel Structure Of Love into a wide-arcing orbit of movie soundtrack atmospherics. Matt and Rizz’s combined vocals are harmonious, sweeping over washed electronic synthesis and urgent surf-guitar riffs to generate a feeling of the impending loss of control, an imbalance of an asymmetrical world. Go and buy the album. It’s brilliant.

Under The World is out now on Anti Language Records.

Altopalo (picture credit - Colin Marchon)

Altopalo (picture credit –
Colin Marchon)

Altopalo are an enigmatic new band opening fresh avenues of music through their dizzying experimentalism. A foursome comprised of Rahm Silverglade, Mike Haldeman, Jesse Blelenberg and Dillon Tracy, they are all  veterans of the New York underground scene.

Frozen Away springs from the deepest pool of invention, the song is a meditation on the rapidly changing forms of technology quickly reshaping and dehumanising our daily lives. The central melody revolves around a chopped and warped piano line and bruised vocals that mount to a sweltering side-chained climax.

Altopalo’s music explores the social anxiety centered around cutting-edge technology, ironically doing this through their own collective technological nous. Their world is a strange and discomforting one, a mirror of our own, but through their incisive lyricism and freeform musical experimentation they open up rich and thought-provoking new prospects for contemporary music.

Blur/Frozen Away is out now on Samedi Records.

More sounds from the other side? Get onto our Unknown Pleasures archive here

Paul Littlewood (Publicity shot)

Paul Littlewood (Publicity shot)

Hailing from Swinton, South Yorkshire and currently based in Sheffield, Paul Littlewood is a prolific songwriter and music producer. Today is a warm slice of downtempo pop with a bittersweet core and calming melodies. Today, sounding like something cut from the pomp of the late 60’s early 70’s, exudes a hazy musical familiarity with its swirls and blurred sonic edges that hang in the air with a raw emotion.

Influenced by the lo-fi artistry of Jason Molina and the upfront songwriting craft of Neil Young, Littlewood has combined the art pop of Sparklehorse with the production aesthetic of R.E.M. It seems Littlewood has managed to conjure a song of honest and emotional clarity demonstrating an audible undercurent of British Invasion melodicism. Today has an acoustic drift allowing the dream-like pallette to flow and ebb adding to the light-feel, something very much down to Littlewood himself who wrote, produced, mastered and played all instruments except drums and bass. This is very much Littlewood‘s vision.

Today is out now on  Anklebreka Records.

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