Interview: Gabe Holcombe (Vehicle Blues)

29 Jun 2014 — Henry Schiller

Gabe Holcombe is the founder of Chicago-by-way-of-Kansas tape label Lillerne Tapes and makes blissful bedroom pop as Vehicle Blues. Earlier this month Holcombe released his first 7" record - "Luke Song" - on Lake Paradise Records. "Luke Song" is a warbling bluster of soothing guitars and ambiguous, enveloping vocals. The perfect companion for a long weekend in the countryside or being stuck in traffic on the FDR, "Luke Song" contorts to fit the moment it needs to support. I spoke with Gabe over email about the theraputic qualities of music, best friendships, and what it means to be a bedroom artist.

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Watch: Quiltland “A Billion Know”

25 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

A forthcoming release of the music by Stockholm-based one-woman project Quiltland was first announced by London-based imprint Astro:Dynamics well more than a year ago, and while we cannot say what took all involved parties so long, the passage of time has definitely not deminished the appeal of Frida Li Lövgren muffled synth pop. The ten-track LP collects three older tunes by the artist, the best most well-known being "Days", accompanied by six new arrangements and a remix by acclaimed fellow Swedish artist (and friend) 1991. Watch the premiere of the visuals for album track "A Billion Know" below, a video that fittingly complements the track's wistfully dreamy atmosphere with some standard elements of the North (aurora borealis!) – plus wild horses, and quite a few of them.

Quiltland's self-titled debut LP is out via Astro:Dynamics on June 30. It's preceded by a likewise recommended limited cassette named Sisto, which is available now over here.

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Half Waif “Ceremonial”

24 Jun 2014 — Henry Schiller

“Ceremonial” is a brief (but stunning) showcase of Celtic melodies, delivered as mystic gospel by the significant singing voice of Nandi Rose Plunkett, who records music as Half Waif. The Brooklyn singer seems to hang her coat on some rung between the lulling grace of a new age artist like Enya and the jarring discomfitures of academic composition.

An ancient folk song from an era when aurochs charged through subway, “Ceremonial” is awash in a stunning blend of neolithic imagery and postmodern anguish. Plunkett’s lyrics track the small, almost ceremonial repetitions associated with the everyday failings of everyday relationships. “Ceremonia"l presents a longing for a mystic, sea-drenched cove in which one may finally rid oneself of such petty little cycles of failure.

Half Waif is currently working on her debut full-length album KOTEKAN with producer Devin Greenwood.


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Ellie Herring “Cool It”

23 Jun 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski

Getting excited about Ellie Herring, who is proving to be quite prolific, is not a new thing for us. Check out this new track, complete with showy and fun artwork. Could just be me, but I think there's something both awesome and playful afoot here.

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Ambrose “Citadel Passage” (exclusive)

23 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Emerging out of Montreal's apparently inexhaustible pool of interesting synth pop acts, duo Ambrose aka Sonia Thomson and JB Valiquette strike a sweeter and more vivid tone than some of their local contemporaries, most conspiciously labelmates Gold Zebra. Ambrose's debut EP Spanish Boomerang follows their hometown scene's trajectory of minimalist synth pop that could have been written some 30 years ago. Listen to EP track "Citadel Passage" below, a wistful, meticulously arranged gem that serves as an alluring introduction to the duo's music.

Spanish Boomerang is out June 30 via Visage Musique.

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El Mahdy Jr. “Gasba Grime” (exclusive)

23 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Rarely ever more than one step away from getting lost in exoticist kitsch and a consequence of living in a veritable 21st century melting pot at best, or an impact of the colonialist mindset of the Empire at worst, appropriation of Middle and Far Eastern sonic elements has always been a popular tool among producers in the United Kingdom. Against this backdrop, the emergence of artists such as Istanbul's Gantz or Algerian-born and now likewise based in Turkey's largest metropolis El-Mahdi Rezoug is more than just refreshing – it's nothing less than an eye-opener. The latter's work as El Mahdy Jr. is hands down one of the most exciting discoveries of 2014, although we happily admit that we're rather late; coming across the producer for the first time in January when hearing the flipside of Gantz's Spry Sinister 12" for Deep Medi, the menacing dubstep collaboration "Rising", others had already acclaimed El Mahdy's stunning conflation of oriental tropes and western styles after Portland, Oregon imprint Boomarm Nation had dropped the terrific The Spirit of Fucked Up Places in the summer of last year, a collection of the artist's productions of the past three years (followed by RAÏ DUBS in January).

However, it is the recently released Gasba Grime EP that has brought El Mahdy Jr. to wider and well-deserved attention beyond insider circles. His most accomplished release yet, Gasba Grime gathers four new tracks – accompanied by a Killing Sound remix of "Lost Bridge" – that show compelling diversity and a wide range of influences. While all tunes are worthwhile, it's the title track that's probably most interesting, as El Mahdy's employment of samples could almost be considered a counter-appropriation of time-proven elements of western electronic music. Contemporaneously with a stuttering, likely Arabic vocal sample, a dominant dub siren pierces through the mix; a little later, English vocals, perhaps originating from a raggae or dub 7", set in, resulting in a perplexing melange of contradicting sounds, all set against an aptly fractured and discomforting beat. Listen to "Gasba Grime" exclusively below.

The Gasba Grime EP is out on Geneva's Danse Noire. Get it here or here before they're all gone. Highly recommended.

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NFOP Recommends: Jylda at Grüner Salon

23 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

For reasons beyond my understanding, straightforward and unashamedly grand pop music from Germany that is not either insignificant or outright cringeworthy still is, apologies for the rather trite proverb, the needle in the haystack – which is just one reason to warmly recommend the rare exception that is Jylda, whose approach to the noblest of pastimes is at once audacious and profound. The former, as the Berlin trio's style openly indulge in unhidden loftiness that would be a remarkable encounter even among people less inhibited than cliché wants 'the German' to be (and who are we to object); the latter, as the music exhibits an undeniable bravura. Singer Gianna Gehlhar's voice is obviously well-trained, with an impressive range and imposing verve, while the whole production of Jylda's songs, detailed and considered is worlds apart from your average indie upstart. Check out the video for the project's signature single "Brainchild" below, and listen to our favourite song from their self-titled debut EP, "Tepid Illusion".

Jylda will perform at Grüner Salon in Mitte this Wednesday, June 25, supported by our very own Yohuna. Check out the event details over here.

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Stream: The NFOP Show #30 on BCR with Fear Of Men

21 Jun 2014 — Henning Lahmann

Last Friday, Jess, Dan, and Mike of Brighton's lovely Fear Of Men were with me in the studio at Berlin Community Radio, in anticipation of their show at Magnet together with Ablebody and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart later that night. Stream the whole show – which also includes a brief, special 1080p anniversary section – below, and find the archive of all NFOP Shows (and it's been 30 already!) over here.


(1) Jabu "Chamber"
(2) Shanghai Den "The Sun"
(3) Lone "Aurora Northern Quarter"
(4) Kate Tempest "A Hammer"
(5) D. Tiffany "Tiffany Sway"
(6) Khotin "Why Don't We Talk"
(7) Doctor Jeep & Lean Low "MDME (feat. Emira)"
(8) Nao x A.K. Paul "So Good"
(9) Fear Of Men "Doldrums"
(10) Fear Of Men "Descent"
(11) The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart "Simple and Sure"
(12) Fear Of Men "America"
(13) The Fresh & Onlys "Animal of One"

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