By Camden Andrews
Alan Mckim: “The Law of Attraction”
Hailing from Paisley, UK, Alan McKim is a singer-songwriter who wears his heart on his sleeve. Like a lot of the bands emerging from Scotland these days, his music is bursting at the seams with a restrained emotion that just barely keeps itself from boiling over. But while groups like Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks build that emotion with brooding verses and soaring choruses, McKim sticks to a pretty bare-bones formula. He does have a backing band, but his guitar and vocals are definitely at its center. His quivering voice may be a turnoff to some, but it serves as the driving force behind his music, especially when he breaks the restrain and releases the pent up emotion like he does in “Elated,” the first single off his new EP, The Law of Attraction. The EP is his second release since his first full album in 2009, The Captain’s Rest.
Sounds Like: Bright Eyes with a Scottish accent
Listen To: Elated, Addicted to Poison
Mother Falcon: “Still Life”
A lot of chamber pop bands are described as such because they tend to incorporate the instrumentation and rich melodies of chamber orchestras. The pop usually takes precedence over the ‘chamber’ aspect, but Mother Falcon have it the other way around. The music from their upcoming EP, Still Life, is inspired by the likes of Beirut and the Arcade Fire, but the 18-piece group is an orchestra at heart. Nick Gregg leads the group, but barely stands out when the group performs live, all bunched together as one unit. There are no bells and whistles in the production to enhance any of the sweeps and swells. Everything is completely organic, keeping their music pleasantly grounded when the vast orchestration could easily lead to excess. But even with their classical construction, Mother Falcon show a mastery for pop songwriting, full of lush, baroque soundscapes and warm harmonies.
Sounds Like: Andrew Bird conducting a chamber orchestra
Listen To: Marigold, To Mama