The enigmatically named Keeley was formerly the vocalist with Session Motts, a band that fused bubblegum melodies with chopping guitars and frivolous lyrical concernes, creating a quirky hybrid of garage rock and disposable pop. They gained a following around their native Dublin, but it seems their time was short. After a couple of years away, Keeley returned with a new eponymously named project for 2021 and although a couple of the songs from the debut ‘Keeley’ EP occasionally sound like a distant cousin to the Session Motts by way of an aloof vocal, it’s very often a different animal. There’s a strong call back to the 90s at all times, but the material itself doesn’t always have the clearest identity.
If you spend time poking around on the internet, chances are you’ll find very little about New York’s R. Missing. Not only does this musical project boast a less than friendly name for search engines, when you do track them down, their social media accounts give no real sense of history or any kind of backstory. It seems that the self-confessed “darklings” are happy enough existing somewhere on the fringes of social interaction; always content to creep out of the shadows from time to time when they have something important to share. When you finally get to hear them, you realise that this is all very deliberate, as there’s plenty about their darkwave sounds and bleak synth based tunes that suits their aloof approach perfectly. The blankets of synth pop/alt-pop that filled their 2017 EP ‘Unsummering’ suggested a musical interest that fell somewhere between Cocteau Twins, Lana Del Rey and the much overlooked Smoke Season – all very strong building blocks – but their second release, the ‘Placeholder For The Night’ EP (released in the death throes of a troubled 2020) promises even more musical detachment.
Despite only spending a small amount of time in a recording studio during his lifetime, Syd Barrett became a cult hero. His whimsical songs about bikes, scarecrows, transvestitism and gnomes became part of English psychedelia’s core; his distinctive musical vision set (The) Pink Floyd on the road to stardom. So much was the love for the Floyd’s 1967 debut ‘Piper At The Gates of Dawn’ and associated singles, that Barrett’s two proper solo albums ‘The Madcap Laughs’ and ‘Barrett’ (released in January and November 1970, respectively) also found an audience, despite being very difficult listens.
There have only been a few tracks released by London based singer-songwriter Stella Angelika since 2017, but each one has shown a different side to the artist, suggesting a somewhat restless spirit.
Her 2017 single ‘Sleep’ saw her working in a jazz format on a laid back track that very much focused on her voice. 2018’s ‘I Got You’ moved into contemporary pop territory, taking a soulful sound and boosting it with a sunny, upbeat melody. Her current single ‘Denouement’ shows a further musical shift.
A collection of songs that melded jazz melodies with swathes of contemporary soul, Eleni Drake’s debut EP ‘Blue’ had a lot of crossover potential and was a release that lent itself well to evening listening. With a lot of the music straddling the kind of sounds you might find during the softer parts of a Solange Knowles record and the laid-back electronica of Zero 7, it seemed so contemporary for the time of release and promised well enough for a potential follow up.