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Balduin

I honestly couldn’t believe my ears when I discovered that this great artist called Balduin is hailing from Bern (Switzerland) – what a pleasant surprise! Fact is, I live in this city for almost 10 years now and I always had to struggle with the local scene, which seemed to be different and difficult for me on all terms. Eventually I made my peace, thinking there’s nothing to expect from this city music wise… But then I heard the songs from Balduin and his second album All In A Dream (2014) which left me relieved and excited at once.

The one-man-orchestra of Balduin shows a great sensibility for shimmering 60ties pop and psychedelia. And I can tell you: he gets better with every release! His third long player Bohemian Garden was just released and the first minutes are like a clear statement: Balduin wasn’t made for these times and his music wasn’t made for the small world of Switzerland.

Between sophisticated baroque pop arrangements, where vibraphone meets analog synth tunes, there’s a colourful cosmos to discover. Some of the tracks achieve a cinematic quality from the likes of Morricone or Theodorakis, taking you on a trip with compelling sounds and melodies. Listening to A Song For The Moon makes you think that Syd Barrett joined The Beatles for an unreleased hit single. All this sounds unique, although the aesthetic is very specific and some influence easy to pinpoint. Because Balduin makes sure, that his music takes a playful approach, that it’s resolving in some unexpected turns and vibes. The effect is simply highly enjoyable and worthwhile.

Minta & The Brook Trout

It’s a rare treat, but sometimes it happens: you hear a tune and suddenly it’s holding you spellbound. You’re captured by a voice or melody, trapped in a special sound or mood. I experienced such a moment when I discovered Minta & The Brook Trout.

The project from Lisbon (Portugal) started out in 2006 as an outlet for singer-/songwriter Francisca Cortesão’s home recordings and developed into a five-piece band. Earlier this year they released their third longplayer Slow which offers folk-inspired indiepop with a mesmerizing and intimate quality. It’s easy to get lost in the graceful arrangements with double tracked harmonies and the soothing timbre of Francisca. I could add a lot more attributes here, but really: just give it a listen and you’ll start to understand why the music of Minta & The Brook Trout is a splendid thing.

HPSTR GEMS

I always keep my ears open and try to discover new fresh sounds. This compilation is kind of perfect: it’s variegated and full of good material. It’s not called HPSTR GEMS for no reason! Responsible for this and other great releases is the DIY label Spirit Goth from Los Angeles. There’s lots of great stuff worth checking out. What are you waiting for?

Snails

This quintet from Bristol is a lovely, slightly eccentric and sincere affair with songs about people like Olivia, Masie, Jessica and Anthony. The music is playful, but not plain – some songs are melancholic, but never too sad. A broad range of instruments like trumpet, organ, cello and flute are cleverly arranged, sometimes folky with a psychedelic twist. In these moments it’s hard to deny the influence of British psych-pop. The other reference is early Belle & Sebastian in songs like the title track Safe in Silence, but the effortless and charming way of Snails makes sure to have all your pop hearts melting.

Swooning

This one’s very special: I like how every song is built around the human voice as a musical instrument. With their multi-layered harmonies and loops, Michele Finkelstein and Briana Marela aka Swooning create nothing but enchanting moments and an overall sense of warmth and creativity. Some tracks tap into the tradition of doo-wop music, but in the first place it all sounds pretty unique and dedicated.

Andrew Morgan

Apparently there’s quite a lot to discover from this gifted artist, I’m just beginning with his album Please Kid, Remember. It’s a collection of heart-melting chamber-pop, reminding us of forgotten sounds and beauty. Every song is filled with clever ideas, accompanied by interludes. Some might say that it sounds old-fashioned – but only in a good way! This is an astonishing, beautiful album. Re-released by the spanish pop-connoisseurs Pretty Olivia Records.

Happy Sadness

Listen carefully with your headphones on, and it’s easy to get lost in these tracks. Happy Sadness knows pretty well how to create contemplative moments with his floating textures and warm compositions. Sometimes it’s like a soothing soundtrack that tells stories without words. But as well we have a few songwriter-based tracks where Jason Andrew Brown (multimedia artist and the man behind Happy Sadness) gets very close to you with his voice. In these tracks he shows his real quality as a versatile musician.

The Fisherman

All frequent listeners of Golden Glades know by now, that the world is full of talented bedroom producers. Here’s a wonderful project hailing from Nafpaktos in Greece: Tony Panou alias The Fisherman. He calls himself an amateur, but I think he’s just being modest because he obviously has a knack for timeless melodies!

Heaven For Real

It looks like Halifax is currently the place to be with its vibrant music scene: there are so many interesting bands and artists to discover. Heaven For Real play a melodic Indierock version with occasionally Pavementesque twists. It’s cleverly and well done.