Our monthly round-up of all the best pop music from the last four weeks. Featuring NZCA Lines, Maja Francis, Ekkah, Emmanuelle and The Anchoress.
There was more to new pop music in January 2016 than fretting about the slightly botched Rihanna release or pondering just how much skin Zayn Malik plans to bare to promote his solo single (have you seen that artwork?)
And don’t even get us started on the Brit Award nominations (no Carly Rae Jepsen/LoneLady in International/British Female respectively – outrageous!). There is however, plenty of great pop to keep you amused during this notoriously slow music month. So whether you’re looking for an album, an EP or simply want a new track or two to help kick those post-crimbo blues, there should be something for you right here.
The Anchoress – Confessions Of A Romance Novelist [album]
Catherine Anne Davies aka The Anchoress recently released her literary referencing debut album, co-producing the whole thing with Mansun’s Paul Draper. This one should please fans of the intelligent, eloquent brand of pop Nerina Pallot excels at. There are some other influences too, ranging from the kookiness of Nellie McKay to the musicality of Tori Amos. The quality doesn’t dip and Confessions of a Romance Novelist certainly qualifies as an early contender to feature in 2016’s best of the year lists. Also worth mentioning what a refreshing change it is to see such nice album packaging and artwork. The good lady, in a nod to the album’s title, helpfully includes a list of recommended reading.
NZCA Lines, Infinite Summer [album]
Who doesn’t love a bit of sci-fi pop? Well if you do then the sophomore NZCA Lines album will totally float your boat. Adding Charlotte Hatherley to the live line up won’t do these guys any harm either. A new video for ‘Two Hearts’ was just debuted, but it’s the clip for ‘Persephone Dreams’ which offers the best insight as to what to expect from this album. Synthpop at its very finest.
Maja Francis, Come Companion [ep]
Having been totally bewitched by Maja when she performed at supercool Stockholm musical festival Popaganda last year it was a relief to finally get some new music early in 2016. That said there are only two new tracks added to those we already had as singles last year (including the stunning ‘Last Days Of Dancing’) but when they are as good as the EP’s title track the length of the EP can be forgiven. There’s something very magical and almost fairytale-like about both the music and accompanying imagery for Maja’s work and she bridges the gap between the Scandi-folk of First Aid Kit and bubblegum pop of the two Toves (Stryke and Lo).
Ekkah – ‘Small Talk’ [single]
Not the most prolific of new artists, Ekkah dropped a new track last week in the shape of ‘Small Talk’. The video clip for the track shows our two Rebeccas/Rebekahs throwing one heck of a glitter-covered, neon-lit party which is just about the perfect visual for their sound. Mixing the electronic geekery of Little Boots with the half arsed-ness of early Bananarama these girls are hopefully going to put a bit of fun back into pop in 2016. All female pop acts/groups, with the exception of Little Mix, haven’t lasted too long in recent times so here’s hoping for a brighter future for these two.
Emmanuelle – ‘Free HiFi Internet’ [single]
Mixing the plastic pop of the PC Music stable with a twist of LoneLady funk Emmanuelle announces herself as one to watch in 2016. For those of us who are frequent hotel visitors the thrill of a good wi-fi connection cannot be underestimated and this tune turns that into something quite sensual. An update on Kate Bush’s ode to the love between man and his computer ‘Deeper Understanding’.