This weeks belated The Week That Was is actually looking forward, not back. Monday saw the release of the BBC’s Sound of 2014 longlist, which marked the beginning of predicting season. We’ll be doing our own on A House Down The Road in due course, but if you are looking somewhere to start I’d suggest the brilliant Gold Flake Paint. Alongside a number of House Down The Road favourites sits LAPD, which should really be Los Angeles Pollie Department, in honour of Ryan Pollie’s superb solo project. The Only One courses through the headphones and into the ears with a dreamy, beach boy-esque sense of melody that melts the heart. It sounds like the feeling of overwhelming love in the beholders head – heart aching yet strangely simple, and something that puts a spring into every step.
East India Youth are another hot tip for 2014 crossing the indie electro-pop borders with consummate ease. Heaven, How Long is translucent and stunning, dripping with heartbeats of emotion and soothing splendour as the synths wash over and immerse you in fuzzy elegance.
Ireland’s Girl Band made pretty much the EP of the year for me with their incendiary debut offering France 98. If you like your music thunderous and relentless I suggest you check it out. Second One is a rambunctious affair, sprawling and intense with more than a hint of menace threatening to burst from the undercurrent of the song it traverses. It’s raw and chaotic, bound by the Motoriffik beat and a sense of controlled terror.
When faced with a bunch of 17 year olds who write music as grown up as this, it’s easy to fall into lazy clichés. I’ll stick to one, stolen from football: ‘If they’re good enough, they’re young enough‘. Or something. Certainly it’s easy to hear why Blaenavon are being hailed as the future of guitar based indie. Debut EP Koso is an impressive statement of intent for 2014 and beyond. Gods is a slow dance marked by crashing drums, swirling guitars and Ben Gregory’s rich vocals that serenade like the titanic band, as the world sinks beneath them.
Sivu channels the haunting ethereal beauty of Limbo, Panto era Wild Beasts and transforms it into pure pop. The piano breathes in and out, summoning the soft tinkling of wind chimes floating alongside a caressing drum beat, whilst his exquisite vocals are the glue that hold it all together. With Better Man Than He, Sivu somehow manages to capture the startling wide-eyed beauty of a frightened deer caught in the headlights.
Vancouver’s White Poppy was sent to me by AnneMarie via the excellent Weird Canada. This year’s self-titled LP is an astonishing affair; difficult to pigeonhole, with each track offering something different yet glued by the thick atmospherics that bond like atoms straddling the senses. With White Poppy the world is a fluid matter; Crystal Dorval occupies the celestial space above us in a bewitching and mesmerizing manner. Wear Me Away oozes elysian visions in widescreen. Putting it simply, White Poppy deserve to be massive. Listen.
Finally I take my customary trip to Brighton, where Cold Crows Dead released their debut LP, I Fear A New World this week. One of the stand out tracks is Loves In, Loves Out, an orchestral and grandiose affair that rouses and charms in equal measures. Droplets of melody combine with skewed weirdness to captivate. As the eerie atmospheric piano of the middle 8 breaks out into a firework display of all of the composite parts – light explodes with deep red and orange crashing above – the song hits crescendo and this The Week That Was ends.