New artist of the week: Roosevelt
Plus songs you have to hear from Chaka Khan and Jealous Of The Birds
Roosevelt: music that is refreshingly open in its synth-pop style
What: Electronic pop for the summer haze
Why: Most of us are too busy to dig deep and discover new artists on Spotify, and still rely on gatekeepers and critics to point us in the right direction. Truthfully, for those curators and cheerleaders too, the choice is overwhelming.
So when a band remains undiscovered relative to their talent, lost in the sea of streams, it can be a disappointing realisation. But what if the discovery is hiding in plain sight? Streaming numbers and followers are a useful engagement but if no one is shouting about them and they are obscured under the veneer of the latest think piece about Drake’s new album, then it’s easy for a niche act to appear underappreciated.
Marius Lauber’s Roosevelt project is not brand new by this column’s standards. He’s received millions of stream plays online and decent press but still has the glare of one to be discoveed. In 2016, the German’s self-titled album arrived on UK label Greco-Roman, flushed with a collection of shiny yet substantial electronic pop songs that used shimmering synths, digital funk, star guitar licks, disco sounds and sunny melodies. It’s worth revisiting as a summer listen, especially in the context of Ireland’s recent heatwave.
Roosevelt - Under The Sun
Maybe the lack of awareness about Roosevelt’s music is because it steers clear of the autotune, drops, call and response, tropical steel pans and dolphin vocals that have characterised the pop zeitgeist since his appearance. Roosevelt’s music is refreshingly open in its synth-pop style, and while he borrows from dance music of the past, there’s a cheery exploration in its construction.
The Cologne musician spent much of last year remixing artists like Chvrches, Rhye and Glass Animals. He knocked out a fine cover of Womack and Womack’s Teardrops for good measure.
In September, his second album arrives and promises another collection of Balearic disco pop music to indulge in, as trialled by the song Under The Sun.
You have to hear this
Chaka Khan – Like Sugar
The surprise comeback we didn’t know we needed. Chaka is back and working with former Major Lazer producer Switch on her first album in 11 years, and by the sound of the summer dance-funk of Like Sugar with those trademark soul power vocals, we’re going to want all of it. Khan is playing the inaugural All Together Now festival on the August Bank Holiday weekend in Curraghmore in Waterford. Watch here
Jealous of the Birds – Russian Doll
Having started her musical output with lo-fi acoustic folk, the Portadown artist Naomi Hamilton has moved on to increasingly rockier territory in the last three years, as heard on her debut 2016 album. Her latest EP The Moths of What I Want Will Eat Me in My Sleep brandishes a confidence in writing razor-sharp indie-rock-leaning pop songs that have that earworm effect. Watch here