Kite – Jonny Boy
If we were in the business of judging whole countries based on the legacy of their pop groups we’d naturally assume that South Korea was a place where everybody sports rainbow-coloured clothing and where groups of 6-7 young men, or women parade around in formation, dressed in the same attire. Sweden, of course, would be a place where pale-skinned Viking-looking boys and girls danced their nights away to the soothing sound of pop’s most saccharine music.
However, some groups are determined to shoot straight and tell the story like it is. Kite are from Sweden, they make pop music, but they share little in common with Abba, Roxette, or Satan’s quartet of ambassadors, Aqua.
Their pop music is cold, repetitive, and the joy it spreads feels more like a confession of guilt than one of love. It’s a much better representation of the harshness of the Swedish weather or the Nordic temperament. Jonny Boy also happens to be a clever, well-produced, and alt-pop banger preparing you for those half-year perpetual nights.
James Kelly – Manic Again
James Kelly is the proverbial rock star/action hero doing things we never thought we could use so that we don’t try them. Sure, he’s clever, confident, and willing to spill his guts, self-effacing and bold, to anyone who will listen. But, he’s not running merely on milk and cookies and positive vibrations.
There are demons driving this talented songwriter, but if his compositions are any indicator, he’s driving them back down while laughing. Manic Again, as the name suggests, details the perils of mental disease, a tragic topic that could be covered in song only by someone as talented as this modern Lou Reed.
We’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Mr Kelly on Alt77 before. Nothing has changed about the quality of his songs. A little has changed about his influences. Manic Again is part witty street hustle rap, part stomping dance tune, and supremely confident throughout.