Saturday Sampler for March 12th has a little bit of everything to let you prepare for the coming of spring. The music is lush and mesmerizing, titillating and immersive, rocking and blistering. It’s the perfect way to start the weekend. As always, we have 10 songs from hidden gems that you ought to know, so if you know these bands and artists, then spread the word about them.
Animal Noise – “Sink or Swim” (Colchester, UK)
Creating some really great, experimental indie-pop is Colchester, UK trio Animal Noise. They’re not quite out there like Animal Collective, but their approach mirrors that of Canada’s Royal Canoe. Their first single in nearly three years, “Sink or Swim”, is the perfect introduction to this band if you’re just hearing about them. Combining elements of rock, pop, swamp blues, and voodoo psychedelia, this song is a fantastic anthem, one that you will either get lost in the thunderous rhythms or the booming harmonies.
This song is the title and lead track from Animal Noise’s forthcoming album. Sink or Swim drops April 15th via Liquid Records.
Beverly – “Contact” (Brooklyn, USA)
Beverly caught our attention a few weeks ago when they shared “Victoria”, the lead single from their forthcoming new album, The Blue Swell. The second single from this album is the dark and moody but spectacular “Contact”. This indie-rocker channels the ’70s and ’80s but with a modern touch. The lush vocals of Drew Citron channel Debbie Harry and Blondie while the musicianship of Citron and her partner Scott Rosenthal echo Coves‘ trailblazing reinterpretation of the era. With two singles under their best, their forthcoming album, The Blue Swell, should be one that has us saying “Efff yeah!”
Cassius – “Action” feat. Cat Power & Mike D (Paris, New York)
When one of the Beastie Boys (Mike D) teams up with French electronic duo Cassius, it’s news. When they then bring in an indie music darling like Chan Marshall – aka Cat Power – for guest vocals, it’s not just news; it’s practically a guaranteed hit even before the song is pressed to vinyl. A decade has passed since Cassius released a full LP, so “Action” is a long-awaited arrival. Philippe Zdar (one half of Cassius) previously worked with both artists – he mixed their last albums – so this collaboration makes perfect sense. Prepare to dance, because you won’t be able to suppress the urge once the sizzling, ‘70s-era disco beat drops. “Action” is available on iTunes from Interscope Records.
Fly Moon Royalty – “Grown Man” (Seattle, USA)
If your life needs an immediate infusion of soul and sass, then look no further: Seattle duo Fly Moon Royalty will meet your needs and then some. On this fresh, funky single, lead vocalist Adra Boo establishes herself as a musical force of nature while Mike Illvester (aka Action Jackson) works his magic laying down the electronic-tinged R&B grooves. This group has made a name for themselves in the Pacific Northwest, winning Best Local Band a few years ago. They have shared stages with Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Allen Stone, Macklemore and others, so we suspect it won’t be long before their opening act days are but a distant memory.
The “Grown Man” single released February 22 and is available on their Bandcamp page; their upcoming album, Delicious Trouble, is due out this year once they have crowdfunded its recording and production.
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Living Hour – “Miss Emerald Green” (Winnipeg, Canada)
“Miss Emerald Green” from emerging Canadian indie shoegaze group Living Hour has such a languid, easygoing pace that you may feel happily sedated and/or hallucinatory. The long intro on this trippy, reverb-drenched single sets the tone for the serene melodies that lie ahead. Sounding not unlike a ballad straight from the My Morning Jacket or Band of Horses catalog, this single is a perfect example of psychedelic dream pop done right.
The band’s self-titled debut album released Feb 19 on Lefse Records. They are on tour through April 27, including many shows with ex-Smith Westerns frontman Cullen Omori.
Living Hour are: Samantha Sarty (lead vocals, keys, guitar, trombone), Gil Carroll (guitar), Adam Soloway (backup vocals, guitar), and Alex Chochinov (drums).
Jesse Mac Cormack – “After The Glow” (Montreal, Canada)
In 2014, it was Jesse Marchant who enchanted us with his gorgeous self-titled album. This year, another Jesse from Montreal has stunned us. Jesse Mac Cormack‘s new album, After The Glow, shares many of the characteristics heard on Marchant’s record – a cinematic and moving record that makes us question our own vulnerability and existence. The title track from his album exemplifies the beauty of Mac Cormack’s spatial and mesmerizing approach, where space and time seem to constantly collide despite the minimalist approach.
After the Glow is out now via Secret City Records.
Bob Mould – “The End of Things” (San Francisco, USA)
Just when you think Bob Mould has reached his peak, he proves you wrong. Fans of Hüsker Dü thought that more than three decades ago, only to have Bob leave the band and release his debut solo masterpiece, Workbook, in 1989. We thought that was his best work yet until he formed a new group (Sugar) in the early ’90s. The cycle repeats again: over the last two decades, he has consistently released a new album every two or three years. “The End of Things” is from his forthcoming 13th album, and it’s a taste of the blisteringly loud rock & roll sound that is the trademark of this godfather of alternative music. If its driving pace and thunderous decibels are any indication, this is definitely not the end of things, and for that we’re grateful.
Patch the Sky is due out March 25 on Merge Records.
Summer Heart – “The Forbidden” (Malmö, Sweden)
One of our favorite Swedish artists returns. David Alexander – a.k.a. Summer Heart – blew us away with his stunning and dreamy EP, Thinkin of U, in 2015, and he also shared some of his favorite hiding spots in Sweden. His latest single, “The Forbidden”, sees the Malmö native move to an even dreamier landscapes, one that is transcendent psychedelic pop. His lush vocals and the glistening reverb is enchanting and breathtaking, making you think of the places to where you, too, would like to escape.
If you’ll be at SXSW, David will be playing a couple of shows (Wednesday, March 16th at The Townsend and Saturday, March 19th at Icenhauer’s). Catch this emerging indie-pop star.
Vivid Dreams – “FBI Undercover” (Brooklyn, USA)
We’ve had this song in our queue for more than a week, and we have no idea why we didn’t share this awesome tune from one of our favorite discoveries of the year. “FBI Undercover” by Vivid Dreams channels an era when music felt truly genuine, where no extra bells or whistles were needed to get us moving or grooving. This song channels early Rolling Stones and Neil Young with a storyline to match the era (i.e., of love and espionage) – or for more contemporary comparisons, what Woods is doing to psychedelic folk-rock. The tickling of the keys, the steady drumming, and one catchy guitar riff and melody make “FBI Undercover” one of the best songs of the year.
The single is from the band’s forthcoming EP, Terror In The Rays. Its release date is still to be determined.
Vivid Dreams are Nicholas Bush (vocals/guitar) and Raphael Peterson (drums/bass/piano).
Young Magic – “Lucien” (Brooklyn, USA via Jakarta & Sydney)
Young Magic – the cross-cultural hybrid of Indonesian-born Melati Malay and Australian producer/songwriter Issac Emmanuel – casts a spell of enchantment on this first single from their upcoming third album. “Lucien” is ethereal and otherworldly, a fusion of ethnic electronic beats with the sounds of nature that Malay recorded on a visit to her native land. The hypnotic downtempo vibe has a mystical aura that evokes tropical heat and storms brewing. It’s soulful and enigmatic, so brace yourself. You’ll probably be as blown away as we were.