KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS, CHAD VALLEY

KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS

Born in the midst of a creative surge in the pop-leaning underground, Greek act Keep Shelly In Athens have been a force in the indie world for the last half decade, releasing projects on Cascine, Gorilla vs. Bear label arm Forest Family and British heavyweight Planet Mu. Now, the Athens-based duo arrive on Los Angeles outlet Friends of Friends with the Now I'm Ready LP, their second official LP and their most emotionally mature, sonically adventurous effort to date.

At eight songs and 45 minutes, the album strikes a concise, yet imposing figure, each individual effort comprised of enough peaks and valleys to bring the listener to the edge and back again. Lifted off by lead single "Fractals", Now I'm Ready is not your typical indie effort, un-beholden to tempo and style, the album skips across genre tropes with ease, each track guided by producer RΠЯ's singular aesthetic and vocalist Myrtha's unmistakable crescendos.

And whether you're locked into a long road trip, careening around a city or looking over the Mediterranean, Keep Shelly In Athens bring an arresting pathos to the proceedings, felt everywhere from the breakbeat-led madness of "Hollow Man" to the ever-building, hypnotic vocal qualities of "Now I'm Ready". It's only the duo's second official LP, but considering their release history on outlets as diverse as Cascine, Forest Family and Planet Mu, it's no surprise that their arrival on Friends of Friends is such an unabated success.

Chad Valley has a catalogue that spans four studio releases – 2010’s self-titled debut EP which was a bedroom exploration in swirling synths and sunburnt melodies. 2011’s Equatorial Ultravox expanded that recipe, giving his downtempo productions a decidedly more pop-leaning twist. It was with Equatorial Ultravox that Chad Valley’s profile grew substantially, thanks in part to single ‘Shell Suite’ being used by Alex Patsavas in the major movie, Warm Bodies, and a string of key touring slots supporting the likes of Active Child, Chvrches, Erasure, Friendly Fires and Passion Pit. In 2013, Chad Valley released Young Hunger, his first proper album and one that saw him further embrace his pop ambitions. The material was a modern collage of 80’s freestyle jams and 90’s radio singles, featuring an impressive list of collaborators including El Perro Del Mar, Glasser, TEED and Twin Shadow. In support of the record, Chad Valley toured the world, winning over fans with his undeniable voice and impassioned performances.

Two years later, Chad Valley’s Hugo Manuel delivered his sophomore album, Entirely New Blue. The record was an exploration in identify and a return to the places that comfort us, especially when we return to them a different person. The album was written between London, where he lived for years with his long-term girlfriend, and Oxford, the town that he came home to when their relationship ended. That painstaking transition is evident across the record’s nine tracks, perhaps mostly on slow-burners “Labasa” and “Seventeen”. The former of which is the namesake village in Fiji where his grandmother was born. Unlike previous material, and embodying the spirit of the music, Hugo’s voice appeared higher in the mix and rinsed clean of effects on most tracks. Similarly, the production is starker, providing Hugo the space to do more with less. Working with producer Joel Ford, the ethos of stripping away everything that’s not essential is apparent.

Chad Valley is in the process of finishing his third album, Imaginary Music, which is on track for a winter 2018 launch. It will be preceded by a two-track single this fall.

SPELLS

Spells is the latest project from San Francisco-based songwriter Jennifer Marie.

Between layers of synths and vintage organs are haunting melodies, the music falling somewhere in that shadowy space between darkness and light. Like the sounds heard when you're walking alone at night, Spells' songs are enigmatic and lush, heady and dreamlike.

$15.00

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