Happy Monday, and welcome to this month’s first serving of fresh, new music singles! Maybe being worn out from last weekend’s festivities explains why we’re craving some chiller tunes. Or maybe it’s just the changing weather… whatever it is, today we’ve got several downtempo cocktails to ease you into the week. Let’s start with a trio of American artists before venturing abroad.
Painted Zeros – “Only You” (Brooklyn, USA)
Brooklyn dream pop outfit Painted Zeros (singer Katie Lau, backed by drummer Jared Kaner and bassist Jim Hill) make the kind of blissful music that soothes your soul with each note. This track is no exception. It’s from their new album, Floriography, out October 30 on Don Giovanni Records. With the gentleness of a misty rainfall, “Only You” offers three-and-a-half minutes of lush musical mellowness guaranteed to soothe the savage beast that is most Mondays. Close your eyes, then bask in the stress relief this song provides.
NAVVI – “In Gold” (Seattle, USA)
NAVVI is the Seattle-based experimental electronic duo of singer Kristin Henry and producer Brad Boettger. The entrancing opening of “In Gold” and Kristin’s honeyed vocals make this an immediately gratifying track. There’s an undeniable formula at work here that’s proven successful for female-led electronic acts like Phantogram or Austra: let the vocals assume the lead role so the other layers are an enhancement, not a distraction. The musical chemistry with this group is palpable. This track released last week and is available from the band’s Bandcamp page.
Yppah – “Bushmills” (Long Beach via Houston, USA)
Another brilliant song with a strong psychedelic/electronic/shoegaze vibe is this one from Long Beach, California (by way of Houston, Texas) band Yppah. Joe Corrales, Jr. – the mastermind of Yppah – is a craftsman of musical magic. He paints vivid sonic images in his music, combining psychedelic rock with layers of ambient keys and synths to produce an engaging sensory voyage. This hypnotically chill instrumental track (with a hint of washed-out vocals) is from his newest album, Tiny Pause, which released October 16 on Counter Records. It’s available from the group’s Bandcamp page, Amazon, and iTunes.
younghusband – “Waverly Street” (London, UK)
Continuing with the electronic/shoegaze trend, “Waverly Street” is the latest from London indie rock quartet younghusband. It’s the first track on their newest EP, Dissolver, which released Friday on ATP Recordings. The psychedelic vibe is more pronounced here than on their lo-fi 2013 debut, Dromes. This track has a steady tempo and layers of fuzzy guitars that don’t drown out Euan Hinshelwood’s lead vocals. Instead, the vocals (and backing harmonies) make this an instantly addictive tune. The album (which also features Nick Cave violinist Warren Ellis on two tracks) is available from Amazon and iTunes.
Holy Esque – “Hexx” (Glasgow, UK)
Glasgow’s Holy Esque are still a few months away from releasing their next album, At Hope’s Ravine, so today we’re sharing the very catchy first single, “Hexx.” A powerful song packed with as much emotion as volume, “Hexx” captures the rawness of lead singer Pat Hynes’ distinctive vocals. Holy Esque’s indie rock sound is unique and captivating, and this single has enough of a dark, synth-driven edge to dispel any notion that they’re just another twee Scottish band. Musically, the band has more in common with fellow brooding Scots like The Twilight Sad or Frightened Rabbit than with Belle and Sebastian or Franz Ferdinand. Hynes clearly isn’t trying to lead the band down any familiar path, choosing instead to forge new territory. Their trailblazing is working: nothing they’ve recorded since forming in 2011 sounds like anyone else.
The Chills – “Silver Bullets” (Dunedin, New Zealand)
It’s been nearly twenty (20!) years since New Zealand’s indie rockers The Chills released new music. “Silver Bullets” – their lead single from the album of the same name – begins gradually with a long instrumental intro, as if they want to make the acquaintance of new listeners. Lead singer Martin Phillipps formed The Chills 35 years ago, and this is only their fifth full-length release. The band lineup has changed over the years, but Phillipps has always remained the core. Their trademark jangly guitar sound is as fresh as ever, and Phillipps’ vocals are as energetic and commanding as on 1996’s Sunburnt. This new iteration of The Chills proves that Phillipps is back, with a resolute optimism tempered by wisdom and experience. Do yourself a favour and get to know this band if you don’t already. They’ve got a story worth knowing and plenty of hooks to keep you listening. Silver Bullets released October 30 on Fire Records. It’s available from their Bandcamp page and iTunes.
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