KEELEY – Brave Warrior EP

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 this debut 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.

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R. MISSING – Placeholder For The Night EP

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.

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THE DESERT – Playing Dead EP

Bristol’s The Desert mix low key elements of alternative music, with elements of mellow acoustic pop, dream pop and even a few trip hop beats on their debut EP. Their music looks to the past, obviously, but somehow doesn’t sound like a complete nostalgia trip. In just four songs, they weave musical magic that sound absolutely superb approached on cold and dark winter nights.

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TANGO WITH LIONS – The Light

After a five year recording break, ‘The Light’ marks the return of one of Greece’s most popular English speaking bands, Tango With Lions. With core sounds rooted within the early mid 90s, Tango With Lions are keeping the flame of European dreampop alive…or so it would seem if you were to only listen to the first few tracks of this 2018 comeback disc. ‘The Light’ presents lots of floaty, dreamy alternative sounds – ’tis true – but it ploughs deeper into bits of alt-folk than most dreampop acts would consider, or even dare.

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