E1SBAR – Televisual

Piper Davis can do no wrong, as her long history of cool projects proves. Her group The Number Line has put out a number of fantastic singles (including a killer cover of Carly Simon’s “Why?”), and her collaboration with Neighbour last year still hasn’t left our tapedeck. But perhaps her best project yet is E1SBAR, the Toronto artist’s cross-border collaboration with Springfield, VA’s Francisco Cueto. And their second EP Televisual, which just came out last week, is without a doubt one of the best things we’ve heard all year.

E1SBAR’s debut EP Super Fantasy certainly set the bar high, and still sounds as fresh now as it did a year ago. But although the duo’s sound hasn’t changed, their ice-cold future-soul electropop has only become more intricate and fully realized, and Televisual sounds like the culmination of a lot of hard work and painstaking attention to detail. Six tracks of solid gold smooth synthpop, it explores the full terrain of the genre, from the undeniable dancefloor grooves like “Vapour” to atmospheric electro-ballads like “Snake Angel”. Basically, every song here could be a single. The North American heirs to Little Dragon?

We definitely can’t wait to hear a full-length album from these two! But in the meantime, this new EP will do us just fine. Televisual is available now from Bandcamp.

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She-Devils – S/T

She-Devils made waves last year with a pair of nearly perfect singles, and here they are with their debut EP. The Montreal duo is our new favourite band, and we think they might just be yours too.

The self-titled release is only four songs strong, but when they’re this good, it’s hard to complain. They kick off with the two singles you already know and love: the psychedelic, swirling “Come” and the slow-burning crackle of “Where There’s No One.”

Then the real fun begins with “I Wanna Touch You,” a new song that twists some ’60s-sounding samples on a loop below simply constructed lyrics about touch and desire. Things gets weird in a remix of “Come,” a deconstructed version of the song with deep pitch-shifted vocals, soft laser sounds and the warping of a haunted carousel.

You can download the EP for free on their Bandcamp. Want to see them in action? They’re playing in Toronto on Valentine’s Day for Silent Shout’s co-presentation night of the Wavelength Music Festival.

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Konig – Puberty

Sadly, we didn’t know about Konig (aka Nadia Pacey) in 2014, when she put out her first two EPs, but the Toronto/Kingston-based bedroom pop songsmith more than made us take notice in 2015. Back in April, she put out the delicate and melancholy “Point of Light”, which thoroughly captivated and had us eagerly anticipating her debut full-length album Puberty. And it surpassed our every expectation.

It’s clear that Pacey has come a long way from those early EPs, and Puberty marks the arrival of a significant new voice in the Canadian music scene. Daringly honest, this new set of songs is more precisely composed, and decidedly more melancholy. And at times, absolutely heartbreaking. Along with her indisputable songwriting talent, Konig also has a remarkable knack for original arrangements and subtle electronic pop production. But despite its fascinating twists and turns and impressive sonic choices, the record above all succeeds on an emotional level. We’re suckers for sad, beautiful pop music.

Puberty is available now from Bandcamp. Konig also put out a wonderful EP on Boxing Day that you should check out.

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