Maditronique

Maditronique. ELECTRO ART POP FOR WEIRDOS.

“One beautiful sonic experience” God is In The TV

Équipe de Foot (France)

Equipe de foot is a French duo of singer-songwriters who record pop songs and play them much louder live in concert. Since their formation in 2015, Alex & Mike have played hundreds of gigs, from the sweaty basements of their hometown of Bordeaux to the stages of nationally renown festivals and European venues, making a solid name for their band, and little by little becoming part of the new wave of French rock, right beside bands like Lysitrata or Johnny Mafia.

On stage, Equipe de foot is like a bulldozer in a china shop that revels in shaping up diamonds: a sound that swallows everything, a loving music that makes us rise, crushes us, then makes us rise again, moves us and galvanises us. The duo shows irresistible ease when they rock it in overpowerful live acts that bring people together.

Primarily based on a need to exorcise a break-up and make the walls around them shake, the duo has come a long way, and has turned it into a more personal playground for them. While still very much enjoying ouverloud the cathartic explosion of playing loud anthems and harmonizing their screams in desperate love songs, they’re adding a brand-new layer to their cake by experimenting a lot more and taking liberties with the codes of the genre.

As their first two full-length albums explored profound and sometimes dark themes, such as death, cultural and familial legacy for “Marilou” (2019) (the name of Alex’s yet-to-be conceived daughter) and break-ups, pre-midlife crisis and new starts for “Chantal” (2017), the duo keeps going with a self-centered approach.

The real difference now lies in the songwriting, and the choices of production. No more hiding behind huge walls of distortion, they now proudly dance in front on them.

In this new album, following Eels or Sparklehorse’s examples, Equipe de foot assume that their flaws might be their greatest strength, and bring their love for English and American indie pop music and production to the forefront in their songs. They’re not just a garage duo anymore, but two French musicians with stories to tell and a boiling imagination when it comes to turning life into music.

For their new album, “Geranium”, they have chosen to work with producer and sound engineer (and also Beatles fan) Johannes Buff (Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, The Drones, Dalek and other amazing projects of all horizons) at Shorebreaker studio in Tarnos, France. A meaningful choice in technical and artistic terms, Johannes being able of assembling well Equipe de Foot’s good old wall of guitars, as well as reaching the heart of their pop songs to make the whole thing gloriously shine, without altering the charming homemade vibe emanating from their beloved demos.

Adressing grown-up themes with a child-like approach, this third album is a collection of confidences, Alex and Mike playing them on the thin line between irony and depression, though constantly keeping smiles on their faces, be they sincere, melancholic or simply sad.

Musically speaking, “Geranium” is constantly moving, Alex and Mike regularly switching places to sing or play the organs, the piano or whatever instrument they’re obsessed with at the moment (usually a flute). The album is a constant rollercoaster, alternating lo-fi ballads and powerful anthems, but always with a twist, be it a pitched loop on a chorus or an autotuned solo trumpet at the end of a sad piano song.

VOYA

VOYA are an electronic-pop duo from Cardiff consisting of Linford Hydes and Eddie Al-Shakarchi. The duo combine meticulous song-craft with an influence from early 80’s U.K. new wave, as well as highly emotive melodic vocals. The band have recently completed their debut album, and are now proud to be playing their first live performances.

Mart Avi (Estonia)

Estonian avant-pop auteur Mart Avi grew up in a pint-sized Estonian village named Vara (“Treasure” in English), toying around with rusty remnants from its industrious past. His youth has been spent creating the sort of nowhere-somewhere music, mapping uncharted territories between hyperkinetic now-pop and timeless grandeur. Avi’s latest solo full-length Vega Never Sets (2020) found him expanding even further beyond the push and pull of the familiar and the elusive with its syncopated breaks, twisted New Jack Swing and noir-ish future soul.

Simultaneously powerful yet puckish, the album topped annual critics’ polls in his homeland and garnered rave reviews worldwide from MOJO to The Quietus and airplays from BBC to KEXP. His upcoming LP Blade is out in Spring 2022 with a promise to “hack the grooves as if trying to cut to the other side of the wind”.

“Unlike with a lot of conceptronica, Mart Avi’s thoughtful thoughts don’t get in the way of the seduction effect.” Simon Reynolds
“Avi has the air of one who possesses an ill-gotten genius, a C21st Loki who has just nicked your smartphone.” The Quietus
“He’d make an excellent pop star.” MOJO

Red Telephone

Formed in 2018 and hailing from Cardiff, Red Telephone’s richly layered dark psych combines shimmering, angular guitars, Krautrock-inspired rhythms and New Wave-tinged synths with an infectious and melodic melancholy.

DALHIA (France)

DALHIA is a project initiated in 2019 by singer and composer Rachel Geffroy and Simon Vouland drummer, machinist within the project explore the dark and cavernous nuances of electronic and psychedelic music. The influences are varied, from Post-Punk to Hip-Hop. The songs are macabre dances where tortured pop and hypnotic rhythms mix. DALHIA founds a melancholic, singular and mystical universe.

Growl of Clown (Mongolia)

Growl of Clown (often abbreviated as G.O.C) is a Mongolian band formed in 2014 that releases deathcore, a sub-genre of extreme metal music.

Language Arts (Nova Scotia)

Art-pop synth-wave real-goodery!!! Language Arts (2005-present) is the brainchild of Nova Scotia, Canada, native, Kristen Cudmore, and Grammy-winning Neil MacIntosh (Snarky Puppy); with their performing contributors Chris Pruden and Patrick O’Reilly.

The outfit has been praised for unforgettable live performances and bombastic sound.

Language Arts’ latest 2021 release, Lemon Lime was produced by David Bottrill (Peter Gabriel, Tool, and Smashing Pumpkins), and Joel Stouffer (Serena Ryder, Drgaonette). The result is a dizzying array of catchy songs that detail Cudmore’s recovery from a brain injury after being hit by a drunk driver.

The songs were written in hospital and recorded and released over five years as healing took place. Language Arts have been compared to Stereolab, Lykke Li, and Chairlift.

Art d’Ecco (BC, Canada)

An all-new Art d‘Ecco movement is imminent; defiantly maximalist and nostalgic in style, After The Head Rush is the latest dynamic release from the British Columbia-based audiophile expressionist. Combining the addictive dazzle and rebellious party of his last album In Standard Definition, with the dizzying effect of what happens in the late-hours once everyone’s gone home, After the Head Rush arrives like a confessional, chock-full of swagger and disarming candor. Infused with belated coming-of-age wisdom it sparks the dawn of a new era – inspired by a move to his hometown and the thrill of rediscovering the music of his youth.

“Returning home as an adult, after being away almost 20 years – before all the travel, touring, and living – put a spell on me. It had me constantly framing and reframing the memories, moving emotional goalposts to better suit my current needs. Asking myself “are you happy? Is life everything you hoped and dreamed it would be?”

An unapologetic ode to the audacity and playful cynicism of growing up, After The Head Rush emerges like the shadow of a sundial cast between two time zones – one in the past, and one in the present. D’Ecco’s goal was to face down this new reflection by translating its gaze; what emerged is a paradoxical elixir providing comfort as the varnish begins to wear off. “The highs and the come down is a line I’m constantly tip-toeing,” d’Ecco tells, “I feel better having gone through it. That said, I’m prone to reframing memories to the positive, even if in the moment, I felt quite differently. I crave that romanticism.”

The experience bled into d’Ecco’s obsessive production methods and unlocked a newfound sense of freedom in his writing as the ideas revealed themselves with one simple mission: “Maximalism!” he declares. “I wanted to produce a big, bright, sparkly album. Along the lines of something you hear in a Tears For Fears or Peter Gabriel record, or something Bob Clearmountain would have mixed in the ‘80s.”

With the album’s bed tracks recorded at the legendary Hipposonic Studios (formerly Little Mountain Studios) in Vancouver, d’Ecco was able to harvest its iconic rock sound where history seeps from the walls. The arrangements were filled out on proven home turf at Hive Studios in Victoria alongside key local talent, before d’Ecco carried his newest creation to Montreal, ready for mixing with Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire); “an expert at creating space within the mix.”

Surgically precise, yet cheeky and playful, it’s shrewdly intentional; cautionary nods to coping mechanisms so easy to cling to are set to the throbbing backbone of polyrhythms and infectious melodies, whilst swaggering basslines with fever dream synths juxtapose anxiety and resolution to create an atmosphere for catharsis in one moment – and unease the next. Take the snake oil seeping from “Palm Slave”, or the self-aware cautionary tale, whispered from the front seat of time machine “I Was a Teenager”. “Until the Sun Comes Up” sends a toxic love letter to the bratty version of you with a heavy dose of “screw it” once shit becomes too damn catchy. “Midlife Crisis” meanwhile, nods to both the mid-30s gumption and world-worn sarcasm of Ric Ocasek, and a weighted blanket of dehydrated anxiety that’s impossible to shake no matter how much coconut water you drink.

With life in this album around every turn, each track is a new morning after; warm and comforting odes to hope in the form of the Bonnie and Clyde top-down freedom of “Run Away”, the familiarity of tandem self-medication in “SAD Light Disco”, and the stentorian, devoted howl of “Only Ones”. Apt then, now is the moment d’Ecco has chosen to shed his recognizable visage for an unflinching, authentic reality check.

When d’Ecco humbly purrs “Day Fevers was an album of mine so long ago”, as if offered in passing to a stranger while at the bar waiting for drinks, you hear the mic drop on the d’Ecco we once knew. You double-take to see this raw soul, whose once raven bob cut has become a naked shock of white-blond with unwavering eye contact, refusing you to ignore the present moment. You sit and begin to relish wisdom in the come down, and the unvarnished freedom in the reflection you earned after losing time in the smoke machine.

Sleepy Kicks (Nova Scotia)

Sleepy Kicks are a four-piece indie/garage-rock group that formed in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The group found their footing writing songs in the dark, damp basements of rental apartments, and bring that same grime and grit into their music. The Sleepy Kicks sound is infectious and hard to pin down, ranging from softer indie love ballads to in-your-face garage rock. Their sound pulls inspiration from artists like Big Thief, The Strokes, Idles, Vampire Weekend, and Mac Demarco. The band aims to create music that is interesting, but not intimidating, & harsh, but not harmful. With every release, Sleepy Kicks prove themselves to be one of the most hungry and high-energy live acts coming out of the East Coast of Canada.

Shanii22 (Nova Scotia)

Shaheen Alasmar, better known as Shanii22, is an up and coming artist in both the Canadian and International music scenes. As a Syrian-Lebanese rapper raised in Kuwait, his multicultural background deeply influences his unique approach to music, which has turned heads both locally and internationally. The past 2 years have been about growth and experimentation for Shanii, allowing him to create a variety of different styles that have garnered a loyal following that have even compared him to ketchup due to his versatility. With over 200,000 streams across all platforms and releases such as Cartii22, JLSY, and You Is (ft. Just Chase), Shanii22 has begun shaping his place in the music industry and has no plans to slow down.

JayWood (MB, Canada)

‘When he was starting out, Jeremy Haywood-Smith — who records under the pseudonymous name JayWood — would post covers of songwriters he admired like Mac Demarco and Craft Spells to his SoundCloud. Now, the Winnipeg, Manitoba native stands alongside those artists on the Captured Tracks roster.’ KEXP

Samantha Savage Smith (AB, Canada)

Samantha Savage Smith is a singer, songwriter, and musician from Calgary who deals in glistening nuggets of pop songcraft, confessional yet subtly playful lyrical themes, and an evolving vision of musical dressings that recall choice bits of Roxy Music, Angel Olsen, and Land of Talk. The new album Fake Nice is a shimmering collection of multi-hued songs brought to life by Smith and co-producer Chris Dadge (Alvvays, Chad Van Gaalen), alongside guests such as Scott Munro (Preoccupations), Ryan Bourne (Ghostkeeper), and Edmonton’s Marlaena Moore. Her live band is the cream of Calgary’s ever-ripe music community (including members of Polydactic, Sunglaciers & Lab Coast) and have shared stages with the likes of Cate Le Bon, M Ward, Hayden, Couer de Pirate, and Basia Bulat. Fake Nice is slated for release April 22 on Saved By Vinyl, and will be available everywhere that you find good music.

Ghost Woman (AB, Canada)

Postcards are great because there’s no place for a return address, especially when yours is constantly changing. Still, Ghost Woman fans and claimants alike will be comforted knowing that mailboxes in Alberta, Arizona and other localities do get checked from time to time. GW lead Evan Uschenko grew up cashing guitar player cheques at the gas station after the banks had closed. That same shrewdness is palpable in the music, where lean punk rock melds with union man melodies into what taste like premium cocktails – drawing comparisons to contemporaries like Kurt Vile, the Black Lips, and Steve Buscemi. A warm, low sodium hue bath in a blinding time, look for the GW name emblazoned on a marquee in a town near you.

Grove

Queer + Black serves as an introduction to Grove’s experience of the world. Tunes to get sweaty in the dance to, as well as contemplate sexuality, class + race.

The range of influences for the tracks span from the power felt in decolonising our spaces (with the toppling of the Edward Colston statue), to the feeling of euphoria during a rave for queer people of colour, to calling for a focus on how landlordism + classism is keeping inequality rife in society. All soundtracked by dark dance, hip-hop and dancehall-infused beats.

Adwaith

Adwaith are a post- punk band from Carmarthen, South West Wales. All their material has gained vast critical acclaim and extensive radio plays.

They have recorded a session in the legendary BBC studios at Maida Vale, London for Huw Stephens (BBC Radio 1 /BBC Radio Cymru), BBC 6 music Session for the Marc Riley show, played Latitude Festival, Green Man Festival, played in Italy with Gruff Rhys at Suns Festival and supported Gwenno and The Joy Formidable on full UK tours.

‘Gartref’ from their debut album ‘Melyn’ was remixed by James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers.

The Royston Club

The Royston Club are a four-piece indie band from Wrexham, consisting of Tom Faithfull (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Ben Matthias (lead guitar and main song writer), Dave Tute (bass) and Sam Jones (drums). After becoming friends at secondary school, Tom, Ben and Dave started playing together in 2017 due to their shared passion for playing indie music, then added Sam on drums in 2019 to create The Royston Club. They were only together a few weeks when they recorded and released their debut single ‘Shawshank’. Singles ‘Waster’ and ‘Kerosene’ followed, and in late 2019 the band headed to the famous Parr Street Studios in Liverpool to record their debut EP ‘This State I’m In’.

The band went back to Parr Street Studios in August 2020 and teamed up with producer Alex Quinn (The Blinders, Spinn, SPQR), and recorded four new tracks. The first single and second single ‘Mrs Narcissistic’ and ‘Coasting’ are out now, with mastering duties by Robin Schmidt (Blossoms, Sports Team, Vaccines). In the autumn of 2021 the band embarked on a debut headline tour, with twelve sold out dates across the UK.

  • ‘Forward thinking welsh music industry showcase’

    Metro

  • CONNECT WITH US - #focuswales2023

    Stay connected with all things FOCUS Wales…


    JOIN OUR MAILING LIST