Music

Brits in Hot Weather #6: Fröst, Peter Ibbetson, Vulgarians, Dahlia Sleeps, Freddie Frampton

In this edition we have Krautrock infused pop from Fröst, warm, ambient techno from Peter Ibbetson, shadowy post-punk from Vulgarians, spacious dream-pop from Dahlia Sleeps, and finally some kicking house from the returning Freddie Frampton.

Welcome one and all to another brand-spanking new edition of Brits in Hot Weather. If you thought the last edition was good, then this one is probably just as good. I mean, I can't really tell. I'm far too close to it. It's like choosing between your children really.

Anyway, in the week that we finally find out who will receive the Mercury Music Prize (I've got a tenner on Nadine Shah. I say tenner, I mean a quid), it seems fitting that we at PopMatters get to present five British artists who may someday be in the running for it themselves.

In this edition we have Krautrock infused pop from Fröst, warm, ambient techno from Peter Ibbetson, shadowy post-punk from Vulgarians, spacious dream-pop from Dahlia Sleeps and finally some kicking house from the returning Freddie Frampton. Enjoy.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Fröst - "Record Still Spinning"

You may remember all those weeks ago, back during those innocent days of Brits in Hot Weather #4, we featured Fujiya and Miyagi frontman David Best's new project Ex-Display Model. Now, it's the turn of his erstwhile partner in the band, synth specialist and producer Steve Lewis to show off his new venture, Fröst. Joined by French-Swedish vocalist Johanna Bramli, the pair craft sophisticated ambient pop, imbuing it with a taut, motorik pulse.

The third release from their forthcoming album, "Record Still Spinning" quickly locks into a tight groove with a stuttering krautrock bassline and a crisp, mechanised beat that drives the song continually onwards as if caught in perpetual motion. Bramli's elegant, ethereal vocals compliment the music beautifully as she slowly but surely draws the listener in with her enigmatic voice.

Just as the song feels like it could rumble on forever, the pair jam sticks into the spokes as they hack the carefully constructed soundscape with glitchy electronics. It's a fascinating blend as the knotty rhythms add extra intrigue to the Delphic mystery provided by the vocals - like trying to find the solution to a complex puzzle.

Fröst's debut album Matters is out 28th September.

Publicity photo via Bandcamp

Peter Ibbetson - "Wednesday"

If you've been to see this year's breakout DJ and producer George Fitzgerald recently (and you really should), you'll probably have seen South London multi-instrumentalist and fellow producer Peter Ibbetson adding sonic textures and beats as a member of Fitzgerald's live band. Now, after years working with musical mavericks like Valerie June and Makeness, he is readying his first release in the form of new EP Rivals.

The first single to be taken from the EP, "Wednesday", is an absorbing treat that layers intricate, ambient melodies with classic 808 kicks. It opens with a vivid, ascending and descending keyboard line that meanders like the twitter of electronic birdsong. Soon Ibbetson sinks the track in warm, deep synth chords that evoke the feeling of being plunged into a flotation therapy tank.

As the beat snaps and the electronics become more playful, it's possible to become completely immersed in the track as Ibbetson paints in sound on a broad, evocative sonic canvas. All signs are that Ibbetson is a producer you need to keep a keen eye on.

Rivals is out 5th October.

Photo: Sam Joyce / Courtesy of the artist

Vulgarians - "Dead People Are Easier to Love"

"Dead People Are Easier to Love" is Hull-based post-punk quartet Vulgarians' barbed takedown of celebrity culture. Inspired by a blank advertising billboard, it's a chilly, nocturnal track that sees little hope in what is loosely classified as culture today, as frontman RW Preen explains:

"After wandering home from wherever I had been, I noticed a blank billboard, which rather amusingly someone had tagged. I guess we live in a time where culture is so celebrity-driven and popularity accounts for happiness, it's easy to romanticise that a blank billboard appeals to you. There's truth and guilt in that we don't appreciate something or someone until they're no longer present."

Steered by a rumbling post-punk bassline, rattling drums and 1980s synths, the band sketch out their sound using various shades of grey. Preen's detached vocals stalk the shadows like indistinct shapes in silhouette before emerging from the murk, first as a distant growl and then as a barely contained yelp. The whole thing is a thrilling listen with a hook that slowly but surely grabs you round the lapels and doesn't let go.

Photo courtesy of the artist

Dahlia Sleeps - "Storm"

South London four-piece Dahlia Sleeps are gearing up for the release of their new EP Love, Lost with their new single "Storm"

Opening with ticking drums and muted synth washes producer Luke Hester keeps things simple, linking skeletal fragments of music to create a sparse, atmospheric backing. Recalling the xx's early mix of spacious dream pop and post-dubstep the understated sonic textures perfectly frame Lucy Hill's tender vocals that threaten to crack like fragile porcelain.

Lyrically, the song details a heartbreaking and ultimately doomed attempt for someone to convince a lover that they're the one for them ("I know you're not open / And this is a futile thing"). That vagueness and insecurity of not knowing where a relationship is going ("Tell me you can feel it / Baby would you let me dream") becomes almost unbearable as Hill pleads for some kind of mutual commitment ("I know I'm not your only one / I want to be the one you keep").

Around the halfway mark, the music becomes more defined as if coming into focus, as Hester incorporates folky guitar playing to signal Hill's cue to take her vocals off into the heavens. "Storm" is at times an almost voyeuristically intimate song that feels likes being privy to Hill's innermost, private thoughts.

The EP Love, Lost will be out towards the end of the year.

Freddie Frampton - "Konspiracy"

Freddie Frampton was there way back when. Starting his career in the bug-eyed, crazy days of acid house before igniting dance floors throughout the 1990s, the London-based DJ and producer has spent time away from music to concentrate on other things. After storming back with the classic house march of "Black Betty" (which you really need to hear) earlier in the year, he's back again to show you how it should be done.

On new track, "Konspiracy" scuffed beats merge with echoing synth blasts before the track quickly morphs into a deep house track. As expected from a man with Frampton's track record, "Konspiracy" quickly hits the sweet spot as the song falls into step with a steady palpitation of beats, clattering snares, and spiraling notes. Frampton avoids overloading the track with excess, giving each layer plenty of room to breath but linking it all with a steady, synth riff.

On "Konspiracy", Frampton sounds like he's having an absolute blast, dusting off his old production skills and mastering some new ones. It's good to have him back.

So, there we go. Five brilliant songs for you to fall in love with. Remember, that all of these songs and all of the other ones featured on Brits in Hot Weather are featured on our new, very handy Spotify playlist. It's already one hell of a list so get stuck in. Until next time, keep fighting the good fight and hopefully see you at a gig real soon.

Dedicated to U.B and the barracuda.

Music
Music

Billy Corgan Brainwashed Me: '90s Alternative Rock and the Introspective Abyss

Once in its thrall, these days I find the overriding message of '90s alt-rock especially naïve and even dangerous.

Music

Coronavirus Tunes: A Brief Playlist for Our Times of Self-Isolation

As coronavirus spreads throughout the world and many of us hunker down with online media, we offer eight songs that share our feeling of seclusion.

Music

Jennah Barry Offers Up a Warm, Sublime Collection of Memorable Tunes on 'Holiday'

Canadian indie folkster Jennah Barry returns with her long-awaited sophomore album, Holiday, which takes on a looser, more relaxed approach.

Music

Maria McKee Puts Down Her Electric Guitar and Picks up Dante on 'La Vita Nuova'

"Show Me Heaven" was another country. Maria McKee has moved to England, immersed herself in the Classics and turned away from the 21st century.

Music

PopMatters Seeks Music Critics and Essayists

If you're a smart, historically-minded music critic or essayist, let your voice be heard by the quality readership of PopMatters.

Music

Fotocrime's '80s-Inspired Rock Is Often Half-Baked

Fotocrime's South of Heaven is interesting mostly in that it's one of the most mediocre rock records I've heard in a long time.

Music

Salsa Band LPT Hints at the Genre's Future

LPT's debut album, Sin Parar, hits all the right notes for a contemporary salsa album.

Music

The Killers - "Caution" (Singles Going Steady)

The Killers go for the big hooks and singable anthems on "Caution", but opinion is sharply divided about the song's merits amongst our Singles Going Steady panel.

Books
Books

Phuc Tran's Existential Trip of a Memoir, 'Sigh, Gone'

Phuc Tran's smart, tough memoir, Sigh, Gone, might launch a broken down kid to read 150 great books—for free, at the local library.

Books

Classic Shōjo Today: Moto Hagio's 'The Poe Clan'

Moto Hagio's The Poe Clan manga series a gender-fluid melodrama marked by deep psychological trauma.

Books

John Pham's ​J​&K​​ - It's a Matter of Perspective

In J&K, John Pham explores perspectives in the psychological sense. Like Picasso, he views things from more than one angle.

Books

The American Robot: A Cultural History [By the Book]

In The American Robot, Dustin A. Abnet explores how robots have not only conceptually connected but literally embodied some of the most critical questions in modern culture, as seen in this excerpt from chapter 5 "Building the Slaves of Tomorrow", courtesy of University of Chicago Press.

Dustin A. Abnet
Film
Film

The Road to Murder in Love and War: Three Films from Claude Chabrol

The character's in Claude Chabrol's The Third Lover, Line of Demarcation, and The Champagne Murders are obsessively doubled and mirrored, reflecting and refracting their hunger for sex, love, money, and power.

Film

'Memento' Is the Movie of the Attention Economy

We are afraid of time, and so like Leonard in Memento, we kill it, compulsively and indiscriminately.

Film

What Lurks Beneath: 'Jaws' and Political Leadership in the Time of COVID-19

Boris Johnson admires the Mayor in Spielberg's Jaws. Remember him? He was the guy who wouldn't close the beaches -- and sacrifice that revenue source -- during a public crisis.

Film

'The Serpent's Egg' Marks One of Ingmar Bergman's Strangest Efforts

The Serpent's Egg bares many of the Bergman's trademark features – the suffocating auras of despair and an underdog's sense of triumph over tragedy – but falls short of a more intelligent rendering of human drama.

Recent
Music

The Killers - "Caution" (Singles Going Steady)

The Killers go for the big hooks and singable anthems on "Caution", but opinion is sharply divided about the song's merits amongst our Singles Going Steady panel.

Music

Lilly Hiatt - "Some Kind of Drug" (Singles Going Steady)

Lilly Hiatt sings about a different kind of love on "Some Kind of Drug". Hers is for a city and the impact gentrification has had its soul.

Music

There's Never Enough Time for Folk Music's James Elkington

The sometimes Wilco and Richard Thompson sideman, in-demand producer, and songwriter, James Elkington, muses on why it's taking longer than he expects to achieve more in a week than most of us get done in a lifetime.

Music

Billy Corgan Brainwashed Me: '90s Alternative Rock and the Introspective Abyss

Once in its thrall, these days I find the overriding message of '90s alt-rock especially naïve and even dangerous.

Books

Classic Shōjo Today: Moto Hagio's 'The Poe Clan'

Moto Hagio's The Poe Clan manga series a gender-fluid melodrama marked by deep psychological trauma.

Music

Salsa Band LPT Hints at the Genre's Future

LPT's debut album, Sin Parar, hits all the right notes for a contemporary salsa album.

Music

Jennah Barry Offers Up a Warm, Sublime Collection of Memorable Tunes on 'Holiday'

Canadian indie folkster Jennah Barry returns with her long-awaited sophomore album, Holiday, which takes on a looser, more relaxed approach.

Music

Fotocrime's '80s-Inspired Rock Is Often Half-Baked

Fotocrime's South of Heaven is interesting mostly in that it's one of the most mediocre rock records I've heard in a long time.

Music

Maria McKee Puts Down Her Electric Guitar and Picks up Dante on 'La Vita Nuova'

"Show Me Heaven" was another country. Maria McKee has moved to England, immersed herself in the Classics and turned away from the 21st century.

Books

Phuc Tran's Existential Trip of a Memoir, 'Sigh, Gone'

Phuc Tran's smart, tough memoir, Sigh, Gone, might launch a broken down kid to read 150 great books—for free, at the local library.

Music

Weeks Island's 'Droste' Is a New High Water Mark in Ambient Steel (EP stream) (premiere)

Lost Bayou Ramblers' Jonny Campos turns up as Weeks Island with Brian Eno/Cluster-inspired music straight from the bayou. Hear Droste in full ahead of its release on Friday.

Music

Ireland's Junk Drawer Share New Krautrock Meets Post-Punk Song, "Temporary Day" (premiere)

Junk Drawer's "Temporary Day" is a simple yet compelling video for a gripping song that shows why the band have earned such acclaim in their native Ireland.

Books

John Pham's ​J​&K​​ - It's a Matter of Perspective

In J&K, John Pham explores perspectives in the psychological sense. Like Picasso, he views things from more than one angle.

Music

Miranda Lambert - "Bluebird" (Singles Going Steady)

Miranda Lambert sings her blues the way an artist paints with them on her latest single, "Bluebird".

Music

'Stone Crush' Proves (Again) That Memphis Is Ground Zero for Soul and R&B

Stone Crush shines a light on the forgotten -- or never known -- artists that passed through the doors of Memphis' most storied studios in an attempt at just one fleeting moment of fame.

Music

Circles Around the Sun Shoot for the Stars on New Album

Jamrockers Circles Around the Sun's self-titled third album finds the band transcending darkness after losing their founder in 2019 to chart a groovy new course.

Music

Jazz's Kandace Springs Pays Tribute to 'The Women Who Raised Me'

Singer and pianist Kandace Springs tackles a dozen songs associated with her jazz vocal heroes, and the combination of simplicity and sincerity is winning.

Music

Coronavirus Tunes: A Brief Playlist for Our Times of Self-Isolation

As coronavirus spreads throughout the world and many of us hunker down with online media, we offer eight songs that share our feeling of seclusion.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.