Markus Nikolaus – Bicycle Day
A catchy groove, nonchalant guitar escapades, a distorted voice—it all adds to the lovely weirdness and slightly psychedelic atmosphere.
Markus Nikolaus: Some might remember his name in the context of the German duo Lea Porcelain, where he partners up with Julien Bracht. After his colleague released the album Now Forever One last year and doubled down with the EP Rave Flower on Friday, Nikolaus also started publishing solo material. But while Bracht roams in techno, his home turf, Nikolaus wanders on his singer-songwriter paths.
Bicycle Day, Nikolaus' debut single, is a quirky thing—beautiful in its own regard, groovy with its steady bassline. Only the guitar dares to break out of the rhythm. It's an urging, driven, yet explosive mixture. Bicycle Day's inherent coolness, however, isn't instantly revealed; take the time, buy the ticket, and take the ride.
Sam Himself – Golden Days
There's a density in this composition, a full sound that washes over you like waves over a sandy shore—reaffirmind yet melancholic.
In 2021, Swiss songwriter Sam Himself released his debut record, Power Ballads. With the single Nothing Like the Night, he also became a Weekly5 veteran. But now, with Golden Days, he already announces a sophomore album.
The new song's arrangement is overwhelming; layers and layers of sound are stacked upon each other. With an almost whispering voice, Sam Himsenearlyost drowns in the composition. The feeling of Americana and country music lives within Golden Days, but the chorus features a stunning new wave-like guitar.
Catherine Graindorge & Iggy Pop – The Dictator
The creeping danger is audible, the darkness touchable—a powerful testament, a haunting warning, poured in a sonic siren.
Maybe it was luck, perhaps fate, that brought the Belgian composer and violinist Catherine Graindorge and the ever-iconic Iggy Pop together. Graindorge, who already worked with the likes of Hugo Race and Nick Cave, wrote an email to Iggy and asked if he'd be interested in collaboration after he played two of her tracks on his BBC 6 Music show. "Catherine, I would love to make a track, Iggy," he wrote back. But it became more than just one track; but a four-track record called The Dictator EP.
For its opening track, The Dictator, Iggy wrote the earring lyrics. Created two months before Russia invaded Ukraine, the song's relevance is higher than ever. "There is a gothic masonry at work here, with a very old force abetted by very cunning structures," Iggy observes about Catherine's music. "My contribution is to report, through words, the current threat and the longing for happiness and peace."
The combination of the slow, droning sound and Iggy's storytelling and raspy voice makes The Dictator far darker, far more dangerous than sonic aggression ever could.
Florian Horwath – Fadin
Cunning lo-fi, maybe a sprinkle of amateurism, to reclaim rock's spontaneity and ambiguity. It's the pure essence of music.
G-String, the first solo record of Florian Horwath in a decade, features ten songs that defy glossy production quality. Horwath, the German artist who is not only composing music but also works as an actor, designer, and author, sets out to trace music back to its very roots. The record features a refined (or not?) mixture of folk, indie pop, blues, and rock'n'roll sounds.
The amateurish soundscape on G-String might be part of the record's non-concept, but it certainly has a great effect: It simply sounds refreshingly honest. And this notion gets glaringly obvious in Fadin, with its botched start and dirty guitar work. Reduced to the bare bones, it's up to Horwath's voice to create excitement. What a track!
Lola Marsh – Satellite
There's hardly anything that compares to a well-crafted ballad in musical beauty. It's a guarantee for cold shivers running down your spine.
Israeli duo Lola Marsh had their European breakthrough when Wishing Girl was used as the soundtrack for an eBay advertisement. In 2017, I wrote about Remember Roses, their debut album, that "there are outstanding songs among them, with good pieces scattered in between, but not a single bad one."
And singer Yael Shoshana Cohen and multi-instrumentalist Gil Landau have proven me correct times and times again that they're "aspiring high standards for songwriting, arrangements and production."
The latest release, Satellite, is an achingly beautiful piece of art. Lola Marsh are undoubtedly capable of creating exciting pop hymns like Wishing Girl or You're Mine. However, their true glory shines foremost in ballads like Remember Roses and now Satellite. Cohen's soulful singing and humming are supernatural, supported by a composition that flows so gently smooth that it seems impossible to be true.