Kevin Hugger

Kevin Hugger


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Kevin Hugger

Title
Music blogger, record label owner, PR person, Christmas music writer.
Bio
mp3hugger is my indie music blog based in Dublin, Ireland. I also run a record label called Indiecater (http://www.indiecater.com), did some PR here http://www.huggerpr.com and write about Christmas music all year round for http://yuleplay.com. 

In general submissions will be responded to within 24 hours.
Website
Expertise
artist management, music industry, music promotion, creative writing, record labels, web design, mixtapes, music writing / blogging, music reviews
Interests
indie rock, alternative, indie pop, folk, indie, electronica, music, dream pop, alternative rock, indie folk, synthpop, shoegaze, experimental, post-rock, indietronica, lo-fi, grunge, football, indie electronic, movies, brit-pop
Location
Dublin

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Ryan Summers submitted media.

Some Humans Ain't Human by Cellophane Superstars

Kevin Hugger

There is a band from Pittsburgh called the Van Allen Belt, an fantastical outfit unrestricted by convention or the wholesome view of what modern music should sound like. I was reminded of this pioneering spirit when listening to Cellophane Superstars ‘Some Humans Ain't Human’ which is about as far from conventional daytime listening as you’ll get. Its closest cousin is probably the industrial sound of 90’s bands such as Sheep on Drugs or a more oblique electro tinged Depeche Mode. Given the iconography and impression of false deities this could well work best as a soundtrack to an adult cartoon or a role playing war based futuristic game. As a standalone piece of music ‘Some Humans Ain't Human’ is at times overpowering and will likely lie in the long grass until BBQ season has been replaced by its cloudier counterpart.  

Matt Eckholm submitted media.

I'M GONNA CHANGE ONE DAY by HOWLONG WOLF

Kevin Hugger

Howlong Wolf doesn’t resort to simple boy/girl theatrics on his reggae influenced ‘I'm Gonna Change One Day’. With a deep thinking lyrical construct that belies the otherwise balmy instrumental theatrics this is never less than an interesting listen and marks Wolf out as one to truly watch out for. Though it plays out for less than 3 minutes the sense of journey and self-discovery is beautifully rendered. The other feeling I took from the piece was the realisation that the song was expanding its horizons as it inched towards the close. Don’t often get this, especially within the confines of a single piece of music, so it took me a couple of repeat listens to gauge what was going on. By the third spin I was badly hooked and upgrading my ‘like’ to ‘true love’.     

Andres Aloi submitted media.

Fountain Of Youth by Robot Garden

Kevin Hugger

Robot Garden certainly go about it the right way in making sure their song has a message beyond the banal. And that sense of yearning is not only present in the lyrics because there is a semblance of melancholy in the otherwise breezy playing. With a vocal performance that is imbued with genuine passion ‘Fountain of Youth’ recalls a time when songs were songs and not just pretty noises overcooked to within an inch of their lives in a studio. Robot Garden do anthemic well and this would be ideal for a set closer such is its arms in the air intensity. Like the synth parts too, reminds me of the Cars best stuff.  

Blake submitted media.

Vinyl Junkie by Blake

Kevin Hugger

Given the rise and rise of the old media format it makes sense that we now have a song to high five vinyl’s reappearance. What Blake achieves in a fine song is a production value that is pure vinyl in its values. Not that it is mono I’m sure but the warmth and purity of his delivery makes for a personal experience that is so often lost on digital recordings. In many ways Blake pulls from folk’s rich history of champions (he even includes harmonica parts) campaigners and his ode to those 33/45rpm beauties will doubtlessly appeal to large cross section of the record buying public. Once we get our portable turntable fixed ‘Vinyl Junkie’ will be playing around the campfire all summer. 

Vizion submitted media.

Tokens by Vizion

Kevin Hugger

‘Tokens’ is an elaborately tailored piece of synth with peaks and troughs and more than a little feel of the orient about it. For that reason it could be ideal for those electronic fans who like to drop their guard sometimes and meditate before the next adventure in bleep land. It is contemplative without ever sounding bland or superior and would find itself completely at home on a retro platform video game. The composition leaves a soft and cosy impression which could be something that will gift Vizion to a large and accommodating audience quite soon.  

Elliott Sencan submitted media.

Seeing What's Next (Preview) by Hollywood Principle

Kevin Hugger

Hollywood Principle certainly have captured the sound of now and by that I mean a blustery Florence & The Machine with electro pulses and a female vocal that could form the centrepiece at any gathering of fun loving beings. It is professionally produced and from the little bit I’ve heard would appear like manna from heaven for most daytime radio schedulers. 

Joe WIlcox submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

I immediately got a sense of Lower Dens on ‘Hazard’ with a circular riff and strong female vocals all lending to a hypnotic brew. While the sound from the live performance is muffled in parts it couldn’t dampen the range in the song with stop/start momentum and frequent crescendos, not to mention a big and bold chorus. Quite excited to hear how its studio incarnation turns out. Wasn’t crazy about the extended guitar solos as they lacked a little individuality but once the song had slipped back into its comfortable groove. Performance wise the band seem reluctant to engage the audience and when this happens the audience can tend to reciprocate. The band seemed like they were having fun though. I did think the song petered out a little towards the end, becoming unfocused and while the decibel level rose the charm that had been there in abundance went in the other direction.  

submitted media.

Luna by cheraki

Kevin Hugger

Initially Celtic sounding ‘Luna’ soon reveals a delicate and bare vocal that appears like it was recorded in a quiet wooded area around dawn. As you’d expect from such a setting there is plenty of mood and atmosphere with Cheraki often rendering a scaled back version of Massive Attack. While it is pleasant throughout I didn’t pick up on a central hook which is a shame because ‘Luna’ is elaborately and tenderly constructed. Consequently the song might work best within the environs of an album of like-minded movements. All told there are lots to like on this one and probably more to love from this band as they develop this sound. 

Mandy Gurung submitted media.

BFF by The Rungs

Kevin Hugger

I’ll be honest and say that I already knew that the Rungs had a lengthy ladder pointed skywards to pop heaven. And their new single ‘BFF’ has done nothing to stop that upwards trajectory with Mandy Gurung’s soft and alluring vocals knocking the edges off a soundtrack that is unforgivably retro. Thankfully the sense of 80’s revisited is somehow turned on its head because as the song progresses the synths adopt a more nuanced and flattering approach. But it is this confluence of anomalies (!) that makes the Rungs music so appealing. Why settle for a linear approach when soft experimentation is always guaranteed to have your listeners coming back for lots more exotic treats. 

Drew Forsberg submitted media.

Maybe You Can by Murder Shoes

Kevin Hugger

It is quiet refreshing to hear a beefed up stomper such as ‘Maybe You Can’ from time to time. The fact that it is punctuated by such a beautiful ethereal voice just seals the deal. Beauty and the Beast if you wish, a juxtaposition that works really well even if the percussion might be a bone of contention with a Sunday Morning hangover on board. Throughout the whole piece I was reminded of a Northern Irish band from a few years back called Scheer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0w0dBmGENHY – who also had a blistering energy allied with a female vocalist who tempered the wicked anger in the music. ‘Maybe You Can’ is an obvious choice for a single because it will attraction attention for its unstoppable propulsion and that voice that soars majestically above the din.   

KPT submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

KPT just exemplifies why much that is progressive and boundary pushing is emanating from the EDM scene. That’s why the trailer for his new album ‘KPT Alive By Machines’ is akin to the promo for a dark Sci-Fi blockbuster where the shadowy burst of noises ably capture the tension and intrigue about to unfold. The fact that it doesn’t unfold within this short submission makes it very difficult to critique the music but at the very least there is a build-up of tension in the air while we wait for the full feature to reveal itself.  

Jordan Jennings submitted media.

Thunder Lizard by The Hartford Pussies

Kevin Hugger

The artful jangle of the Hartford Pussies is something that is flies close to the epicentre of my affections. The band play with the gleeful abandon of Pavement or the Breeders so their seemingly never ending story to this point has been one that has engineered a band primed with possibilities. And for all that ‘Thunder Lizard’ still sounds like a demo, something that is raw and recorded as if only dreamed up moments earlier. This wide-eyed sensibility certainly marks the band out and I can think of several dozen bloggers who will be salivating from the opening chords of this little gem. Indie discos the world over rejoice for the Hartford Pussies. 

Evan Tyler submitted media.

You're Hysterical Ft. Topless Literati by EVAN TYLER ft. Topless Literati

Kevin Hugger

I love this, a sideswipe at manufactured madness and housed in a simple yet anthemic piece of EDM. With catchphrases a go-go this could really take off in the clubs and on the streets afterwards. Evan Tyler plays his cards craftily with the synth lines squirting forward amongst the voluminous word volleys. ‘You're Hysterical’ is instantly catchy, funny throughout and sounds all the world like an updated legacy piece from the mid-nineties. And by the latter I am merely being as complimentary as possible because this piece of music has the potential to become a future dance classic.  

Starar Official submitted media.

Talisman by Starar

Kevin Hugger

I noticed Starar mentioned Slowdive in the list of bands that take their fancy but for me it’s My Bloody Valentine that they most resemble. And the parallels are most striking in the boy/girl vocals rather than the searing instrumentation which is pretty convincing in its own right. Given MBV’s status you’d imagine that ‘Talisman’ has a ready audience, a group of people willing to immerse themselves in a body of sound that to others could be misinterpreted as mere noise. It’s a skill that Starar appear accomplished at deploying which means that I’ll be keeping an eye out for their upcoming releases.

Owen Duff submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

This is breathtaking and it’s not so much as a result of the Venetian scenery as a perfect collision of monochrome visuals and distilled vocals. How does one sell a 7-minute low-ebbed epic though, not sure but I have to say I was spellbound throughout. As much as Owen Duff’s sweet vocals kept on bringing me to the sunnier side there were plenty of reminders of a ‘Don’t Look Now’ Venice in the visuals (with teal replacing the red vibrancy). The sunken boat, the hunched over cormorants or the central character who doesn’t reveal his identity. And while the threat of murder might not reek through its many acts there is something unhappy unfolding all the same. Don’t want to linger too much on the promo however (though things get unnerving to the point of catastrophic towards the end) as the music is deliciously cultivated. ‘The Resurrection’ has the ring of Christmas as much of Easter and though it is tenderly dispatched there is a healthy smattering of nuance and diversions thoughout. This is a thoughtful and misleading piece of work and I have to say I loved it even though I wish he’d gone below deck. 

Marc Alan submitted media.

Still by FLARES

Kevin Hugger

‘Still’ is comparatively short by post-rock standards but then it does sport the classic characteristics of the genre with a build sprouting from seemingly nowhere. The sting in this case is that the normally inevitable ear-wrenching apocalypse never materialises. In this case this is not at all disappointing especially if Flares have designs on a LP that can offer other distractions that give a well-worn template their own stamp of individuality. 

Evan Tyler submitted media.

My girlfriend's laptop by EVAN TYLER

Kevin Hugger

After hearing the controlled euphoria of Tyler’s ‘You’re Hysterical’ I was primed for more of the same on ‘My Girlfriend's Laptop’. Again social commentary appears to be top of the agenda but this time the sound was altogether 80’s band Trio (I kept on hearing a slowed down ‘Da, Da, Da’). On the face of it ‘My Girlfriend's Laptop’ appears to be a one trick pony but then how many ponies do you know that can do tricks that are this good. ‘My Girlfriend's Laptop’ will pummel you with its ferocious stream of consciousness and if that doesn’t get you the hypnotic and slightly abstract music will whisk you to another dimension. It might even get you to turn away from your web connected screen for a minute or two, which in itself is probably a victory in itself. 

Nick White submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

Looking in the rearview mirror he may be but Nick White still doesn’t discard the notion of returning some day. There is a sense of hope in his vocals, they are ripe with the promise of new adventures even if the relationship he describes might be about to fade into oblivion. On the music front I found the percussion a little out of step with the rest of anthemic chords and vocals. It was a little distracting but then it does serve to volley his words skywards so nobody is any doubt as to his state of mind or his next move as a singleton. It is hard to ignore ‘The Part That Doesn’t Heal’ which is to Nick’s credit given that his lyrical theme is as old as recorded music itself. 

Patrick Joseph submitted media.

Setting Sun by PATRICK JOSEPH

Kevin Hugger

A great way of targeting bloggers is to do a search on hypem.com for similar artists to yourself. See who has written pieces about these artists, write to them and use their piece on Artist X as an introduction for your own music. If the bloggers have been receptive to this type of music in the past there is no reason why they won’t give your output some attention. Personally I love ‘Setting Sun’, it is brilliantly crafted and has the lonesome strain that always leaves me floored. I was reminded of Ireland’s James Vincent McMorrow who is also adept at the minimal cinematic approach. If you are looking to reach out to radio stations I’d hit up the late night shows first of all as ‘Setting Sun’ would seem ideal for that sort of audience. For what it’s worth I will be tweeting about this song so hopefully this will snag you some new listeners.  

submitted media.

Wasted Dreams by Nolita View

Kevin Hugger

‘Wasted Dreams’ has a genuine sense of classic song writing about it. For all that it is not exactly linear in its approach. This means a little persistence is required before it can expect to begin filling daytime radio schedules. And by this I mean that the rewards are not instantly attainable, a couple of background airings are necessary to unlock its undeniable charms. So it has all the hallmarks of a grower, the type of tune that slowly infiltrates your affections before holding onto them for far longer than most music today. Nolita View are certainly onto something good here and I'd be confident that their production line of perfectly formed gems will soon be upon us. 

Zaena Morisho submitted media.

ROck The Natural by Zaena Morisho

Kevin Hugger

Zaena Morisho has a good thing going, for one thing she sounds a little like Beyonce which can only be a good route to attracting admiring ears. Her ‘Rock The Natural’ is an anthem in waiting for those into creative dance sounds. With a spindizzy set of vocals and squirting bleeps at its core this has plenty of attitude and a spirited eclectic soul which will mean it should appeal to both the alternative and mainstream sets. On this evidence we be hearing a lot more from Zaena Morisho.   

Shaun Hettigner submitted media.

Young Oblivion by MEMORYY

Kevin Hugger

From the getgo I was onto this softly dispatched piece of Washed Out-esque electro. The real joy however is witnessing ‘Young Oblivion’ grow up and ultimately develop into a full blown widescreen epic. Shaun from Memoryy quite obviously has the art of creating hooks and a sense for listener retention down as this splendid piece reveals itself like a piece of fine art created before our very eyes. And it’s not a one-off as the songs on his soundcloud page reveal an artist in the throes of rampant and joyful creation. Eternal sunshine abounds which ultimately is one of the great gifts that music can bestow on our world weary souls. 

George Ofori- Ampadu submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

At first I thought I had wandered into a relaxation room such was the gentle tinkling of the ivories on show. Before long however ‘Protect Ya Neck’ revealed its true self and what a personality filled opus it proved to be. Lauriana Mae’s wondrous vocals are undoubtedly the centrepiece, a distillation of cool and frank opinion that periodically lets go a tad at chorus time. While this would ideally decorate the coolest drink emporiums in the city it will likely draw in a wide audience from various genres like soul, pop and indie. On this evidence Lauriana Mae and Jack Splash have a good thing going and I’d be interested to hear what else they have in their canon.  

William Cross submitted media.

Stubborn by Trenchard

Kevin Hugger

I always get a little nervous when a band touts their youthful age in their bio, it strikes me as a cheap device to endear themselves before a note has even been struck. Needn’t have worried in the case of Trenchard however as they have the skill and nuance of a musical combo twice their age. True it is ramshackle but that didn’t stop a whole host of C-86 bands from crowding the indie charts way back when. ‘Stubborn’ has a steady build with the disparate instruments threatening to pull the patchwork quilt of sound apart at any given moment. That’s half the charm however and with a singer whose vocals are both odd and compelling you’re left with a unique offering that’ll lift Trenchard beyond the sweating and indistinguishable sound of a thousand other bands.  

morland gryder submitted media.

know you know me by Clast

Kevin Hugger

What an odd yet compelling video, something that is replicated in the slow electro stomp of ‘Know You Know Me’. With echoes of obscure German synth heroes the song hinges on the clean Leee John (of Imagination) sounding vocals. The allure is certainly in the detached sense of self the song portrays and while this doesn’t mean it is devoid of melody it just means its beating heart is more artificial than human. Should appeal to fans of the ‘Drive’ soundtrack and as such is particularly suited to late night treks through the urban wasteland.  

Matthew Squires submitted media.

Matthew Squires and the Learning Disorders by Echo [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Kevin Hugger

‘Echo’ reminded me, at least in its early passages, of a slow rampaging Archie Bronson affair. It would later reveal itself to have a softer, defter side that has the twee hallmarks of the Apples in Stereo. Kept on falling for the charming lyrics and the video with its neat storyboard just made for several minutes of cutesy escapism with a clear and more profound message offering itself up in the final scenes. This is light and easy pop that will fill the boards of twee pop lovers the world over with a video that is sure to generate much amusing discussion. 

Matthew Squires submitted media.

The Giving by Matthew Squires and the Learning Disorders

Kevin Hugger

This is just one of those songs that lingers in your psyche for the longest time. I often forget who the song is by and where I heard it and then months later it appears on an advert for cameras or car rental companies. From this moment forth however I shall jot down names like Matthew Squires in my scratchpad so that when I feel like peering attentively into the near distance I will have the perfect sonic partner. ‘The Giving’ is a slow moving proposition but possesses a strong identity that never flags and those fragile brass parts just seals the deal on a perfect little number. 

Adam Washburn submitted media.

Time (Live) by Adam Washburn & The Elements

Kevin Hugger

Not really one for live performances but I’ll make exemptions for ones like this from Adam Washburn & The Elements, primarily because ‘Time’ sounds as pristine as something nurtured to life in a studio. With strong vocals throughout and plenty of nuanced chord foraging this is a really strong number that is showcased by a collection of polished musicians. All in all ‘Time’ offers a pleasant showcase of the band and should see plenty making their way to their new EP on bandcamp and CD Baby. 

Bill Greenwood submitted media.

Brand New Shoes by The Paper Jets

Kevin Hugger

For some reason I’m not hearing clean guitar lines like those on ‘Brand New Shoes’ much these days. And given that Brian E. has a vocal resemblance to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream this makes for a tune that you can really get your rocks out for. I mean headbang, really let your hair down and point that finger towards the sky in a less than mannered homage to the power of rock and roll. There will always be room for bands like the Paper Jets who seem intent on infusing an old musical template with enthusiasm and energy. Good on them and long may they thrive. 

Neal Liggins submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

Hard to argue with anything Neal Liggins has to say about the music industry today. His thesis that access to music rather than ownership of it is all that music fans care about is one that the behemoths still trying to control the industry would do well to listen. The truth in all of this however is that the middleman (the traditional label) is quickly becoming redundant which sadly explains why those directly affected have steadfastly refused to believe that ground beneath them is quickly crumbling. Liggins is an easy listen and his arguments are well thought out and pretty much watertight. Spotify and its ilk are today’s record store with the traditional gatekeepers themselves increasing locked out of revenue streams. 

Derrick Dickey submitted media.

The Gentle Collapse (demo) by Digital Slumber Party

Kevin Hugger

Love the title ‘The Gentle Collapse’ and the juxtaposition it conjures which is entirely apt for Digital Slumber Party who may well be contemporary in their outlook but retain a definite sense of 80’s electro bombast. ‘The Gentle Collapse’ really finds a rampaging momentum from about a minute and a half in which provides the audio for a thrilling ride through the galaxies at the speed of light. Digital Slumber Party are really out on their own with these cosmic manoeuvrings. 

Joshua Cook submitted media.

A Prayer for You by Joshua Cook & the Key of Now

Kevin Hugger

Joshua Cook has a wandering voice, a voice that has lived and one that is now ready to tell his story. It is obvious from the emotion he carries from his lungs that the words and ideas he sings about are borne of genuine feelings. ‘A Prayer For You’ is classic alt-rock, it sounds familiar but brings with it a bounce of originality so it never drops off into tired cliché. The sepia tinged visuals are a good match for the gritty reality in the lyrics. With the playing superb throughout and the periodic harmonising offering a honeyed centrepiece this makes for a fine 4 minutes that should appeal to lots of radio schedules. 

Joy Buckley submitted media.

Control by Pink Noise Party

Kevin Hugger

This is the first time I’ve heard Pink Noise Party and my what a swagger they possess. 'Control' is easy on the ear and the (by now swiveling) hips so much so that it already feels like a summer party anthem. The build is meticulous and interesting with the whole piece built on a deep throbbing bass line. ‘Control’ sounds like a funkier Scissor Sisters while retaining all the dancefloor appeal of that act. The vocals dip in and out and there is so much happening in the wings that it’s hard not to swept up on the sense of euphoria that the band whip up. This is radio tinder. 

The Dø submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

I know the Dø quite well having featured them previously on the blog. With a consistent level of quality they are a perfect fit for blogs that appear on hypem.com and as such this should be a starting point for targeting enthusiasts who are into electro pop (and there are lots of them, mp3hugger included). The band’s sound means that achieving good reach within the blogging community should be tinder for reaching the wider public. Not that the Dø are exactly coffee table music but there should be no reason for them not to be embraced on a wider scale. So by offering premiers of selected tracks from the new album to a curated set of blogs there could be an uplift to get the music portals of the internet a buzzing. I for one have already added ‘Keep Your Lips Sealed’ to my best new tracks for 2015 spotify playlist so would love to do a piece on it. 

Connor Lawhorne submitted media.

Misery by Pasty Cline

Kevin Hugger

This is fuzzy and as lo-fi as you can get, the way old demo tapes used to sound. So for people of a certain generation this set-up is probably enough to raise a smile. Thankfully Patsy Cline bring a little more to the party than an invitation to reminisce. Their ‘Misery’ hardly sounds as such because it is sung with a defined sense of levity, chords jangle and all the acoustics are missing is an open fire and a youth group partaking in a session of deepest dippy handholding. ‘Misery’ is undeniably sleight but it brings with it a lightness of touch that can’t help but lift your humour. 

Pedro Meirelles submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

The video reminds me of something Sigur Ros might produce with the main character exhibiting a deep sense of melancholy throughout. The piano laden soundtrack does its bit to enhance this mood and it is a real joy to hear it build over multiple ebbs and flows. Setting a soundtrack that adheres to a lifetimes worth of highlights is a difficult task but Pedro Meirelles dexterous composition is more than up to the task. With the sweep of the audio getting more expansive by the second the expected crescendo never materialises but like with most things life just tends to go on so we can record yet more memories for later viewing. This is a life affirming piece on a life lived to the full. 

Lindsay Murray submitted media.

Second To Last by Gretchen's Wheel

Kevin Hugger

Such a classic opening that just screams classic indie slackerism. But the fairly early introduction of the female vocals comes as a real surprise because they have a deep-seated country vibe. This juxtaposition gives ‘Second To Last’ a wonderful sense of new paths being discovered. As a piece of alt country there is much to admire with porch rendered chord progressions and a pronounced chorus in a song that could have easily and forgivably just ridden into the sunset. All told this is never less than pleasant and sports enough of an vibrant personality to appeal to fans of several genres. 

Daniel Frazer submitted media.

Spark [official video] by I Am Not Lefthanded

Kevin Hugger

It’s not Mogwai is it, I thought to myself as the opening bars delivered an unmistakable post-nuclear sound. But all those feelings evaporated as soon as the soothing female vocals, which are a good match for Low’s Mimi Parker, kicked in. This is classic slowcore, not exactly doom laden, but a precise concoction that will find favour on plenty of blogs that inhabit the Hype Machine. The production is free from distortion which leaves the way clear for a very organic recording. The best way to describe it is as honest, with I Am Not Lefthanded setting their stall out and hoping that their undoubted talent will win the day. And on this showing they’re certainly off to a good start. The promo more than fits the cultured sound with a dreamy re-enactment slowly  rewinding the tape on today’s little domestic incident. 

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

'Skip The Day' by Digital Slumber Party

Kevin Hugger

Digital Slumber Party have really nailed it this time giving their wide colourful soundscapes a suitable visual accompaniment. ‘Skip The Day’ could find a natural berth on Ibiza as the sun comes up and the dance ravaged hordes obsess about something affording an appropriate come down. The sound is early morning bliss and the breezily edited colourful video offers the perfect companion piece. Although crafted in the contemporary ‘Skip The Day’ nonetheless carries with it a sense of yesterday with the shadow of Jean Michel Jarre looming large. It’s not quite psychedelic but it wouldn’t take much for it to slip over to the other side.  

Rob Fleming submitted media.

Clarity by Rob Fleming

Kevin Hugger

With an archetypal entrance there was something of an inevitability about how ‘Clarity’ was going to mature. Its post-rock tendencies were rooted in the grand template as laid down by Texas’ finest Explosions In The Sky. But it is to Rob Fleming’s credit that he matches his influences without ever sounding tired in the process. In truth ‘Clarity’ has a deeper electronic bent than most of what derives from the post-rock genre but it is Edge-like riffs that form the epicentre of its jangling core. The glorious peak arrives mid song with the descent to the flower laden valley below a picturesque canvas of sound of near Vangelis proportions. Quite a lot packed into this one and Fleming has done a superb job piecing the ensemble so cohesively.

Bob Manning submitted media.

Megan by Cold, cold heart

Kevin Hugger

It takes a special kind of atmosphere to have me welling up and the inclusion of strings certainly helps to ensure the aforementioned bodily rainfall. So from the off ‘Megan’ sounded special, a just before dawn opus with a genuine heartfelt story to tell. That it doesn’t need words to convey its message says it all really. While Cold, Cold Heart have channeled Explosions In The Sky previously ‘Megan’ is much closer to the sound that has made Sigur Ros such an emotional proposition. True the guitars chime elegantly but this is music more suited for a light aircraft as it swoops over snow-capped mountain ranges. You may not find yourself on the journey but getting lost in a sound such as this can sometimes be just as special. 

Neil Cartwright submitted media.

City Lights by Will Robert

Kevin Hugger

Will comes with a great CV and given his busking exploits it was no surprise to hear how adept he was on the acoustic guitar. Probably no surprise then when the vocals revealed themselves to be mature and character filled in the same vein as Damien Rice. ‘City Lights’ is obviously borne out of personal experience and Will never shifts from a mood that reveals that he is playing it for real. With the percussion also emanating from his most treasured companion this is a performer who will undoubtedly find favour wherever he decides to display his talents. It’d be interesting to hear if Will can change gears from sombre because that would add a new depth to his range.  

Sydney Friedman submitted media.

Delete You by Sydney Lauren

Kevin Hugger

This is big dancefloor trance for the masses and while I am an indie soul at heart I dabbled with most of what came out of Sheffield’s ‘Gatecrasher’ at the end of the last century. And Sydney Lauren’s ‘Delete You’ would have fitted that particular sound perfectly even if it sometimes boasts a dynamic that veers towards experimental. For the most part however it is hands in the air and good times with a definite sense of retro-ness that should appeal to a decent range of age profiles. Like its kin ‘Delete You’ is ripe for remixing but for now this is perfect for getting the party started, keeping it rolling and closing things off in a euphoric manner. I'm to listen to it again now.

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

Synthesizer Sympathizer by Digital Slumber Party

Kevin Hugger

Digital Slumber Party certainly have the epic electro sound down and from what I’ve heard of them they are all about the atmospherics. As I’ve said previously that makes the music suitable for combining with visuals (and plumes of dry ice) rather than a standalone piece of music for daytime radio. There was an 80’s film called ‘Streets of Fire’ and I could imagine ‘Synthesizer Sympathizer’ fitting right onto the soundtrack. That movie was full of darkly lit scenes and the industrial nature of this song would have gone down a treat. The bridge at 2:55 sounds great to me, a pretty seamless build on what proceeded it. I’m convinced that with big and bold visuals this music would make for an impressive live show.

William Cross submitted media.

She's Like California by Trenchard

Kevin Hugger

No sure how Trenchard have spliced C-86, Joy Division and dare I say it the Boomtown Rats into a meaningful whole but on ‘She’s Like California’ they’ve pulled it off. For most music fans the above construct will mean little or nothing but for us oldies there is a huge retro feel to this young band's music. Not sure if that is from parental record collections or a savvy musical curiosity but Trenchard have really got a sound going on that is quite unique. That is, of course, unless you remember how it used to sound way back in the the day.

Digital Slumber Party submitted media.

Scented Secrets (new 2013 mix) by ADeight (Chris Euton) / DIgital Dlumber Party

Kevin Hugger

This sounds like what Mike Oldfield might get up to if he and Jean Michel Jarre got together and decided to shake things up a little. To this end it has a distinctively retro edge, with some nice glitchy Aphex Twin touches along the way, but nothing that might put you off. Chris Euton of Adeight is obviously well versed on his electro history and on ‘Scented Secrets’ appears capable of making good on those influences.  The piece has an air of familiarity about it and while its momentum appears in perpetual shapeshifting mode Euton pulls it all together with aplomb. ‘Scented Secrets’ obviously lends itself to scoring visuals and that is probably the avenue Adeight should target, I could imagine it enhancing scenes from ‘Transformers’ for example.

Magnus Reimer submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

I’ve always wanted to know what it felt like to be inside a snowglobe and this video gave some sense of how that might be. With a song that is close to claustrophobic itself it made for a good match for the visuals. Not that this should detract from the enjoyment of the piece it’s just that it has been produced in a very pure way, up close and personal and the minimalist instrumentation only heightening the personalised sensation. I could see myself watching this goggle-eyed after a night out and finding solace in its gentle persuasion and maybe a little bit affected by the underlying sadness. This is delicious art. 

submitted media.

Mogass (Original) by Axel Knox

Kevin Hugger

The sense of yesteryear is hard to dispel on this track, the feeling that Sheffield’s Gategrasher could be about to rediscover its late 90’s glory days. And Alex Knox’s ‘Mogass’ makes good on this promise by splitting itself in equal measures hard trance and acid house. Listening to this at home doesn’t feel right when it deserves to be booming from a box surrounded by sweating masses.  Where the piece might fall down is that the inevitable crescendo, which threatens to reveal itself on several occasions, never materialises. That said it does approximate Josh Winx’s ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ towards the end which for many could be enough to instigate a sense of heightened euphoria. 

submitted media.

Kevin Hugger

If you are in the market for a soundtrack for the dreams you can partially remember and involved some half-baked romance then ‘Dying To Get By’ could be for you. This is because this song exists in the shadows, hanging in the air like cigarette smoke that refuses to dissipate. It hardly matters that the vocals switch between male and female because the sense of eeriness is all persuasive.  Given these constructs its natural home would most probably be a scene from ‘True Detective’ where the sense of desperation is almost too much to bear. The Handsome Family could have some competition on their hands if The Division Men can build on this promising effort.