The best new sounds from the periphery
With an abundance of sounds coming out every month, we’ve made it easier for you by compiling a five-point guide on the artists and bands you should be paying attention to. This month, we’ve got cinematic dreaminess from Tyler, The Creator collaborator Anna Of The North, moody grooves and electro-drone from The Modern Institute, upcoming Glasgow-based producer The Burrell Connection, strains of post-punk from Phase Fatale and Buffalo native Benny. Scroll down for more.
Anna Of The North
Norwegian singer-songwriter Anna Lotterud’s Anna of The North project was given a well deserved springboard last month when Tyler, the Creator featured Anna on two tracks of his fourth studio record Flower Boy. “He had this hook which reminded him of Sway,” Anna tells Crack over FaceTime from Norway, “and he wanted me to sing it like that. He liked my voice on Sway because it’s so raw I think.”
Sway came out in 2014 and it introduced the world to Anna’s DIY pop sound. Working with producer Brady Daniell-Smith, she writes pop songs with the kind of cinematic dreaminess that Tyler imbues in his own music. He heard the track then met with Anna at a festival in Norway. When it came to writing and producing Flower Boy, she was a perfect fit to play a role in his Technicolour universe. For Anna, it was a dream come true. “If I can get recognition from Tyler then fuck everyone else! That’s good enough for me! That’s all I needed, I can die now! It’s probably the biggest thing that could’ve happened for me.”
Both Brady and Anna are infatuated with mainstream music from the 80s – an influence which is a lot more palatable when presented through a lo-fi, bedroom pop lens. “I’d always been writing music,” Anna says, “I’d just been doing it in my bedroom and never sharing anything with anyone.”
On Boredom – a standout track from Tyler’s record which Anna guests on, her woozy, melancholy vocals sound perfectly at home on the vivid pictures of youthful loneliness he paints. “Find some time / Find some time to do something” she sings, swaying against his bright production.
Anna’s debut album, Lovers is out on 8 September via Different Recordings – the electronic-led arm of PIAS. Centred around a breakup, Anna and Brady’s knack for creating starry-eyed pop songs about despondency and isolation will be presented across ten sparse, emotive electro-pop cuts. “I get more inspired to make music when I’m sad, or when I go through stuff. The hardest thing in the world is to write a happy song!
Kali Uchis / Kacy Hill
The Modern Institute
With this new project, Richard McMaster and Laurie Pitt (members of Golden Teacher and General Ludd respectively) amalgamate the menacing scuzz and moody grooves that their groups are known for. With conceptual artist James Stephen Wright’s doom-laden mantras adorning their tracks, the trio make sludgy, disorientating electro-drone.
On their self-titled debut record The Modern Institute use a kind of absurdist humour to take the piss out of the high-minded scenes they’ve all been a part of: “False beards and diamond hooves” is faux-ominously repeated over the track of the same name. But the palpable dread and leftfield groove generated is genuinely thrilling. Another project showing off what a hotbed of wonderful wigginess Glasgow is right now.
Cabaret Voltaire / Throbbing Gristle
The Burrell Connection
As Manchester’s Warehouse Project prepares to roll out once again, there are some up-and-coming DJs to look out for amongst the blockbuster line-ups. One name it could be worth heading down at doors for this year is The Burrell Connection. The emerging Glasgow-based producer has strong ties to the event, debuting at its Store Street home last year and releasing his latest EP via WHP resident Krysko’s label I Walked By Night. With a moniker lifted from a vast collection of art housed in Glasgow, and an EP named after its Southside area, The Burrell Connection channels his city’s punchy nature in more ways than one. Chunky kicks, effervescent pads and bright, oddball flourishes create a mood that could just as easily cater to a laid back day party as it could soundtrack peak-time, bouncing off the sweat-soaked walls of a tunnel at 3am. To Store Street, then.
Denis Sulta / Shanti Celeste
There’s a history of techno producers mining the collapsed veins of punk and post-punk for a little lift: the DIY spirit is embedded in the Xerox-style covers and barely contained violence of British Murder Boys, or used to signal subversion for more modern acts like Silent Servant, Powell and the roster of Blackest Ever Black. Phase Fatale aka Hayden Payne, a New York-Berlin transplant, stalks this territory with theatrical flair. After last year’s storming white label for Jealous God and his more recent, industrial flavoured Anubis EP on Ostgut’s sub-label Unterton, Payne is set to release his debut LP via Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions this month. Redeemer is a post-classical meditation on… just kidding! It’s bursting with muscular techno decorated with drones, pitched-down vox and the kind of fruity arpeggiated synths that makes you want to strap on some leather trousers and swing from the nearest post-industrial fixture.
Sandwell District / Silent Servant
It feels like the stylistic divide between rap’s embittered old heads and the new school has been provoking arguments this entire decade, but that’s not to say there aren’t still NYC traditionalists who are totally content with cramming in the syllables over rugged boom-bap beats as if Flockaveli never happened. Brothers Westside Gunn and Conway are enjoying a belated career peak having signed to Shady Records, and they’re putting on fellow Buffalo native Benny, who’s prepping for his next full length with their Griselda Records imprint. Earlier this year Benny had the honour of spitting a radio freestyle alongside Prodigy not so long before his passing. Curious? Try Benny’s verse Westside Gunn’s collab Looking Like The Greatest, where he claims to “float through my city like the ghost of Rick James”. Nice.
Meyhem Lauren / Conway