(SXSW 2018 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #399: Holy Motors

By on Monday, 12th February 2018 at 12:00 pm

There was a bit in the news last week that the Berlin Wall has now been down longer than it was physically up in Germany. I was thinking about this in the context of today’s featured band headed to Austin next month. Holy Motors are from Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, a country that until 1991 was part of the Soviet Bloc. Although Estonia is one of the fastest financially growing countries in the EU, I imagine its relatively isolated location makes it difficult to put together a band, let alone a band who works well together and plays well together.

And yet, according to Holy Motors, that’s exactly what happened, and to our good fortune. The bedrock of the five-piece’s rock sound is the combined contribution of their three guitarists, lending a psychedelic, shoegaze-y air to their music. Most times droney, but at other moments more animated with the addition of synthesiser, Holy Motors’ sound is always atmospheric, ghostly. Adding to that overall feeling are the vocals of Eliann Tulve, her style of delivery more of an intonation than what can be called truly melodic.

This past Friday, the group released their debut album ‘Slow Sundown’, its title seeming all too eerily appropriate. The proceedings begin with ‘Honeymooning’, their first single. The song is ushered in by a gentle, languid guitar melody that’s like placing you in the loneliest of prairies seen in American cowboy Western cinema. On the more upbeat single ‘Sleeprydr’, the repetitive vibrations of synthesiser give the song a hypnotic quality, lulling the listener into a feeling of zen. It’s also interesting to note that the album was produced by Tampa rockers Merchandise’s frontman Carson Cox, who they serendipitously met at music festival years ago and later reached out to offer to produce their first single. The rest, as they say, is history.

Like a quieter young brother to The Twilight Sad, Holy Motors’ music is the melancholic contemplative soundtrack to your savouring of a dram of whisky in the dark, in your bedroom, all alone. Before the inevitable mad rush that comes with massive hype off the back of SXSW, I recommend you snag ‘Slow Sundown’ for yourself from Greenpoint, Brooklyn indie label Wharf Cat Records now.

As with all of the SXSW 2018 showcasing artists we feature here at TGTF, Holy Motors’ appearance in Austin is subject to change. We recommend that you consult the official SXSW Music Festival schedule for the latest information and updates.

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