Music, Singles, The Revue — August 8, 2016 at 7:00 am

Melodic Tonic ’16, vol. 29

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Welcome to a fresh serving of new music cocktails! This week’s selections include some delicious dark Scottish synthpop, a bit of Dutch garage/grunge and Irish indie rock, plus a pair of gems from the U.S. Let’s get things started with a Glaswegian band we’re featuring for the first time.

WHITE – “I Liked You Better When You Needed Me” (Glasgow, Scotland)

RIYL: Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand, Django Django

WHITEOne of these days I’ll figure out what makes Scotland such inordinately fertile ground for musical talent. (Is it the air or water? Or maybe IRN BRU plays a role?) Whatever the reason, Scotland in general and Glasgow in particular have produced some of indie music’s greatest artists. While emerging indie rock quintet WHITE aren’t as well known yet as Mogwai, Django Django, or Frightened Rabbit, this new single proves they are on their way to achieving household name status. “I Liked You Better When You Needed Me” packs an intense punch of synth-driven dark pop. Frontman Leo Condie’s vocals bear a striking resemblance to David Byrne’s, giving the group a bit of a vintage shine. WHITE is the sonic equivalent of Talking Heads and Arcade Fire having a love child borne from a mid-’90s German rave. The brilliance of this group lies in their fusion of the past with the present for a very future-focused sound.

“I Liked You Better When You Needed Me” is from Cuts That Don’t Bleed, their upcoming EP due out this autumn on the independent Down BEETS label. You can pre-order it from their online store.

WHITE are: Leo Condie (vocals), Hamish Fingland (guitar), Chris Potter (guitar), Lewis Andrew (bass), and Kirstin Lynn (drums).

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Twin Villains – “Meanwhile Mountains” (Drogheda, Ireland)

RIYL: Old Bean, The Pixies 

twin villainsBig things are coming out of Ireland these days, with emerging indie rock outfit Twin Villains leading the charge. This talented trio offers a dynamic sound that defies their limited number and brief history. You expect a song like “Meanwhile Mountains” to come from a group twice their size who have been together for a decade or more. The song’s 10-second intro whets your appetite before it delivers the meatier substance. You’ll be nodding your head and tapping your feet along with its driving percussion. When the uptempo chorus kicks in, you’ll be reaching for the volume button to crank this gem all the way up. Impressive, sparkling guitar and bass lines at the bridge tie together all the parts for a polished, satisfying product. Clearly these guys are a band to watch who are headed for bigger and better things.

Their self-titled three-song debut EP released July 30 via the small independent label Yeah Meng Records. It’s available from their Bandcamp page.

Twin Villains are: Jack Tuite (vocals, guitar), Mark Judge (bass), and Conall O’Maolan (drums, vocals).

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Mozes and the Firstborn – “Great Pile of Nothing” (Eindhoven, Netherlands)

RIYL: Parquet Courts, Thee Oh Sees

mozesandthefirstborn“Grungy garage pop” is a genre you typically associate with Los Angeles or Brooklyn, right? Sure, those places have produced a band or two who crank out scuzzy indie alternative, but we shouldn’t overlook less obvious places where emerging talents are making waves. In this case, The Netherlands is a hotbed of musical activity. Mozes and the Firstborn formed in 2010 – but in a basement, not a garage. They toured the U.S. two years ago, opening for Meatbodies, following their debut album release that featured their first hit, “I Got Skills”. Now the Dutch band has a second full-length LP that should have them headlining venues worldwide in no time. Their neo-psychedelic brand of indie grunge has plenty of feel-good hooks that leave you smiling without the typical angst that grunge is known for. That’s quite a winning recipe in our opinion.

Great Pile of Nothing is out via Burger Records and Top Notch Records on September 2 (Europe) and September 9 (worldwide). Pre-orders are available here and at iTunes, where you can grab the single now.

Mozes and the Firstborn are: Melle Dielesen (vocals, guitar), Ernst-Jan van Doorn (guitar), Corto Blommaert (bass), and Raven Aartsen (drums).

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Dent May – “Face Down in the Gutter of Your Love” (Los Angeles, USA)

RIYL: Animal Collective, Jacuzzi Boys

dent mayDent May (the professional moniker of Mississippi native James Dent May, Jr.) has the sunny Los Angeles cool vibe down to a science. On his newest single, “Face Down in the Gutter of Your Love”, he flexes his indie pop muscles and delivers one of the summer’s brightest songs. Sure, living in LA makes it easier to write songs that are perfectly suited to carefree days. His hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, isn’t exactly known as a tropical oasis. But like many southerners before him who relocated to bigger west coast cities (Kyle Craft comes to mind), Dent May’s music isn’t pure pop. There’s a hint of cynicism that flows through the song (the result of living in NYC in college, or an inevitable consequence of LA?), saving it from saccharine doom. That balance, combined with his wry wit, make this an ideal introduction to his music if you’ve never heard him before.

His previous works have always been steeped in deliciously funky grooves. This one has less funk but is still equally fun. We’re looking forward to hearing the rest of the album. This single is out now on Carpark Records and iTunes.

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Sneaks – “True Killer” (Washington, D.C., USA)

RIYL: Sleater-Kinney, L7, The Breeders

sneaksSome singles we share on The Revue are massive feasts comparable to a seven-course meal; others are savory morsels more akin to an amuse-bouche. “True Killer” from Washington, DC-based artist Sneaks is the latter, but don’t let its 1:22 brevity fool you: it’s not lacking in substance at all. Sneaks – the project of Eva Moolchan – is pure poetry set to a catchy, funky beat. Her lines zing with piercing clarity that are benchmarks of the punk genre. Fans of girl punk/indie rock bands (Sleater-Kinney, L7, The Breeders) will find a kindred soul in Sneaks.

Gymnastics originally released last summer but is being re-released this year via Merge Records. It’s due September 9 with pre-orders from her Bandcamp page and from the Merge store. Sneaks has upcoming appearances at Fields Festival and Hopscotch Festival in the U.S. before she heads to London for the Hyper Local Festival in September.

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