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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.

Cabin Essence

I’m very surprised this well-crafted and sixties inspired guitar pop has not more supporters: I love every moment of this collection! For me, it’s a best harmonized gem.

Dwight Smith

Astonishing, what an acoustic guitar, voices and occasionally a trumpet can do: here, it softly stirs emotions. Some of the tracks have a pastoral quality, others are merely sketches. The guitar picking ranges from folk to classical and creates a very pleasant atmosphere.