Posts Tagged ‘Dark Pop’

Finalists in Belgian’s magazine Humo’s Rock Rally 2016 and winners of broadcaster Studio Brussel’s ‘De Nieuwe Lichting’ 2018, their packed festival summer and completely sold out club tour took them all over Belgium in 2018. Portland creates dreamy, everlasting storytelling songs.

The band’s debut single ‘Pouring Rain’ gained more than a million streams on Spotify, under their own management. Their subtle rework (upon request of Studio Brussel) of alt-J’s ‘Matilda’ gained popularity faster than expected and was released as a successful second single.

Their rise in popularity didn’t go unnoticed and last summer Portland proudly teamed up with [PIAS]. The first result of this partnership was ‘Lucky Clover’, an emotional, dreamy and subtle piece of harmonic prose, whose greatest strength is the harmonies and interaction between front duo Jente Pironet and Sarah Pepels. The single got picked up on radio in Flanders, club shows sold out quickly and an invitation to play this year’s Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop festivals followed.

Gearing up to release their debut full length album after the summer, Portland now proudly presents their new single ‘Expectations’. An epic and cathartic love song using lush strings, chimes, timpani, electronics and electric guitars to counter Jente and Sarah’s remarkable voices. “‘Expectations’ is about high hopes, deep disappointments and very abstract interactions between attractions, rejections, doubts and certainties,” Jente explains. It’s a bold move and a step up from their previous output, still retaining the same otherworldly, dreamlike quality.

Watch the video here:

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Portland

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Christopher Nosnibor

There’s nothing shameful about pop music per se, and there’s no two ways about it: a good hook is a good hook, and however much you – or I – might adore obscure noisy shit of the most punishing velocity, there’s no substitute for a killer chorus, well-delivered. So, enter Chess Smith. She looks the part, and sound it, too.

So how’s ‘Queen of the High Held Head Walk’ for a tongue-twister of a song-title? It’s the first we’ve heard of Chess Smith here at Aural Aggro but hopefully, it won’t be the last. A sharp-edged, dark-pop tune, it’s the lead track from her six-track EP of the same title, and melds a heavily chorused / flange-treated Curesque bassline to a hard-edged 80s disco beat. Smith’s vocal is strong without being shrill, as she delivers a powerful message of self-affirmation.

The other tracks are far from weak, showcasing a pop talent with a heavy 80s influence, benefiting from 21st century production values. The seething dark electro of ‘Pinocchio’ offers up an undulating rhythmic force, and as a whole, this EP shows more than a little promise: there’s a confidence and coolness about Smith’s presentation which suggests she’s got big prospects.

 

 

Chess Smith - Queen