Abbe May – Karmageddon

(For last week)

I have been keeping an eye on Australia’s Abbe May for a little while now, as her talent for blending mesmerising pop landscapes with blistering guitar reminiscent of the Palm Desert Scene is a combination that I like the sound of a lot. But her second album is less guitar heavy yet amped up on the cavernous sounding atmosphere. Karmageddon is perhaps what her self-described ‘doom-pop’ label refers to best with a foreboding haze surrounding the catchiest chorus I’ve heard all year, minimal synth murmurs underneath each verse and pounding drums that eerily border the line between real and mechanical. Of course the real highlight is her vocals which have been said to be stuck somewhere between PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, in a come back and haunt you in your dreams fashion. The flitting between a controlling indoor voice and a soothing siren certainly sticks the middle ground well. Addictive as it is scary, long I hope that Abbe May continues to make the fascinating music that she does.

The Qemists – Change The Way I Feel

(For two weeks ago)

In a world where everyone seemingly has to label everything in order to give music a common reference point, you could easily pass The Qemists off as a British Pendulum clone, but if they are, they are for my money a damn sight better than them. And I say this as a Pendulum fan. Around a year after the release of their free download of Be Electric VIP, comes Change The Way I Feel, a song that sounds like it was written with the charts in mind, but still maintaining their trademark sense of identity. It flows with the viscosity of any Top 40 drum ‘n’ bass, but with the added dose of live guitar and surprisingly face-churning synths. Bass not so much pummels but repeatedly stomps anyone into submission and the half-time drumstep breakdown near the end showcases the synth at its most prominent crushing capabilities, even more vicious than at full speed. If you have yet to listen to The Qemists, I recommend in doing so as Brighton’s trio have yet to make a massive impact in the chart but judging by the excellent quality and accessibility of their latest work, it is only a matter of time. Their third album can’t come soon enough.