The Saturday Sampler August 13th edition offers a feast for your ears, with 10 new singles from across the globe. This week’s artists hail from Australia, Denmark, England, Sweden, and the U.S., so crank up these tunes to get your weekend off to a smashing start.
Arc Iris – “Paint with the Sun” (Providence, USA)
RIYL: The Low Anthem, Laura Marling, Cross Record
We featured “Kaleidoscope” from Arc Iris’s upcoming Moon Saloon album back in June. Now that the album is due to be released this Friday on Bella Union, we’re excited to share “Paint with the Sun” today. Lead singer Jocie Adams once again dazzles with her ethereal vocals. The cosmic indie vibe is strong here, heavy on languid chillness that leaves your head slightly spinning from all its vivid layers. You can’t just listen to this song once: multiple spins reveal greater depths and subtle nuances that you may have missed before. That’s the beauty of Arc Iris: every song is an audio adventure waiting to be experienced.
Just as with the dynamic twists and turns of “Kaleidoscope”, what awaits you on “Paint with the Sun” is more sweeping textures of piano, cello, strings and horns. Based on what we’ve heard so far, we suspect the full album will be a sumptuous feast for the ears.
Arc Iris are: Jocie Adams (vocals), Zach Tenorio-Miller (piano), Ray Belli (drums), Max Johnson (bass), Robin Ryczek (cello), and Mike Irwin (trumpet).
Bonfire Nights – “Easy Touch” (London, England via Brisbane, Australia)
RIYL: Programm, The Raveonettes, The Jesus and Mary Chain
Music is not only meant to be heard; it should be experienced. The best songs are not merely meant to entertain but to take us on unexpected journeys. A band that is taking us on a psychological adventure are Bonfire Nights. Bonfire Nights was originally formed in 2010 in Brisbane by Stephen Foster, Ruth Nitkiewicz (who also performs with the awesome all-female group Yassassin), and Nicole Hoaran (who is no longer with the group). Recently, Foster and Nitkiewicz moved to London, which is the ideal place to refine their intergalactic sound (the Royal Observatory in Greenwich is, after all, a short tube ride away). Now a quintet with James Boyd, Suzie Creevey, and Leon Ferbrache joining them, Bonfire Nights are preparing the release of their debut album. The lead single is “Easy Touch”. The spatial, shoegaze guitars; the bubbling electronics and synths that sound like orders sent from HAL 9000; and the soft vocals of the band’s principal songwriters collide to create a cosmic wonderland. “Easy Touch” is a song that transcends space and time, where for a few minutes we feel like Matthew McConaughey floating between time and dimensions.
The sonic ride will continue on October 21st when Entopica Phenomica arrives via Holy Beatnik Records.
Forth Wanderers – “Slop” (Montclair, NJ, USA)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Slothrust, Sunflower Bean
For the better part of three years, New Jersey quintet Forth Wanderers have achieved a status that could only be described as “cult”. Their melodic yet gritty indie rock and their stories of disenfranchisement have struck a chord with both young and older generations. Now the rest of the world gets to discover what the fuss is all about as the band have signed with House Anxiety (Europe) and Father/Daughter Records (USA). Their debut single for the labels is “Slop”. The song is a quiet anthem for everyone, as frontwoman Ava Trilling recounts the days of being isolated and alone and the fears that come with them. It is an experience we all can relate to at one point in our lives, and this young band (they aren’t old enough to legally purchase alcohol in the US) have captured in a beautiful and frighteningly real way. The sound and approach are skin to Sharon Van Etten’s early work, and that may not be a coincidence since the star singer-songwriter grew up in nearby Clinton.
“Slop” is the title track from the band’s forthcoming EP, which is expected November 11th via House Anxiety (Europe) and Father/Daughter Records (USA). Forth Wanderers are Ava Trilling (vocals), Ben Guterl (guitar), Zach Lorelli (drums), Duke Greene (guitar), and Noah Schifrin (bass).
Grapell – “Some Places” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Gayngs, Rhye, George Michael
Thirty months ago, we reminisced about Gayngs’ great album, Relayted. We openly wondered at the time if Ryan Olsen (Marijuana Deathsquads, Poliça) would reunite the 22-member strong collaboration that included, among others, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Har Mar Superstar, and Phil Cook (Megafaun). As we continue to wait for that day to arrive, we have discovered a band that is equally spectacular. Grapell, like Gayngs, is a shifting collaboration of artists, but the principal artists are Emil Erstrand and Nils Nygårdh. Together the two are creating music that is sultry and sexy. Their latest single, “Some Places”, is sexy personified. The song has the titillating sensuality of the aforementioned Gayngs and the steaminess of Rhye. The sax-driven, jazz-pop arrangement, though, may remind older fans of George Michael’s classic “Careless Whisper”. Either / or, “Some Places” is gorgeous piece of work that will have you longing to grab hold of your loved one.
Gringo Star – “Get Closer” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: Diamond Rugs, Deer Tick, HOO HAS
Some of the songs already shared may make you want to get closer to someone important. Gringo Star‘s latest single, though, may not quite have that same effect despite its title. “Get Closer” is not a love song by the traditional definition. Instead, it is a fun, raucous, and unabashedly whimsical rocker. This song isn’t meant to be played in bedrooms; instead, it was created for rambunctious atmosphere of a bar. This tune, as such, will have people jumping, screaming, and just having a good time. The song’s lyrics, though, are a bit serious, albeit sung halfheartedly.
The party is only getting started with this tune. Things will be full bore when The Sides and in Between, the band’s fourth full-length arrives August 26th. It will be distributed by Nevado Music.
Gringo Star are: Peter Furgiuele, Nicholas Furgiuele, Jonathon Bragg, and Josh Longino.
IRAH – “Fast Travelling” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins, Enya, ABBA
Danish indie ambient rock trio IRAH will blow you away with their music, so prepare to be wowed. “Fast Travelling” is a lush, atmospheric single that positively soars. With its layers of synth-enhanced harmonies, you may find yourself drawing comparisons to Cocteau Twins or ABBA, but only because no other group sounds quite like IRAH. Their two previous singles (“Into Dimensions” and “Mirroring”) both feature ethereal vocals and a dreamy vibe, and this single is no different. If you love gently ambient music that transports you to a stress-free place, then IRAH provides the perfect soundtrack for your journey. This is a soundscape you can truly lose yourself in, so sit back and relax while they work their musical magic.
IRAH are: Stine Grøn, Adi Zukanovic, and Oliver Louis Brostrøm Laumann.
Kyle Craft – “Before the Wall” (Portland, USA)
RIYL: Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger
We’ve been following the career of Louisiana-born, Portland-based singer/songwriter Kyle Craft for a while now, and he just keeps getting better. From his debut album, Dolls of Highland, which released earlier this year, to his appearances last month at Newport Folk Fest, Craft keeps giving us more reasons to love him. His newest single, “Before the Wall”, is yet another example. The sleepy, harmonic-enhanced acoustic intro heralds a protest song that would make folk pioneers Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie proud. This song is a “reminder of how far we haven’t come.” Perhaps the time he spent collaborating with all those folk artists in Newport inspired this new song? One thing is certain: Kyle Craft is an underrated songwriter who deserves far more credit than the mainstream has afforded him thus far. Hopefully songs like this one will win him more fans who appreciate honest lyrics from a socially-conscious soul.
The Lemon Twigs – “These Words” (Hicksville, NY, USA)
RIYL: Allah-Lahs, Foxygen, Diane Coffee
Let it never be said that social media isn’t a prime tool for music discovery, because that’s exactly how The Lemon Twigs found the spotlight. They were discovered through Twitter by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, and this single from their debut album was recently praised by NPR. That’s quite the feat for any band, never mind one that’s fronted by two teenage brothers.
The Lemon Twigs have a bold, vintage sound that’s steeped in the psychedelic tones of the late ’60s/early ’70s. “These Words” is a song you’d expect from a band from that era, not one whose members weren’t even alive to experience polyester double-knit and mutton-chop sideburns. Despite their young age, the D’Addario brothers (Brian, 19 and Michael, 17) have captured the best of a bygone era and infused it with modern flourishes. This is brilliant psych-pop (and we mean brilliant in a “Song of the Year” contender kind of way) that delights with every note. Their debut album, Do Hollywood, is out October 13 on 4AD Records. Pre-orders are available from the label and iTunes.
The Lemon Twigs are: Brian D’Addario, Michael D’Addario, Danny Ayala, and Megan Zeankowski.
Teeth & Tongue – “Turn, Turn, Turn” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Psyche, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ladytron
In June, Melbourne quintet Teeth & Tongue shared a mind-blowing, groovy single, “Dianne”. The song was the perfect introduction to a band known for its creative forays across different genres. Previously, it was alternative and alt-rock, but the band fronted by Jess Cornelius have turned towards a more synth- and electro-pop direction.
Many bands and artists have taken this approach (see Taylor Swift), but very few have succeeded as they attempt to replicate what is already out there. Teeth & Tongue, though, have avoided the pitfalls of their contemporaries by not emulating modern approaches that focus more on synthetics and beats. Instead, they have learned from their predecessors and found the perfect marriage between effects and melodies. Their newest single, “Turn, Turn, Turn”, exemplifies the quartet’s studious work. The song is smooth and dreamy yet at the same time it is gritty and dark with its disco-punk tinges. The song is like Yeah Yeah Yeahs on helium – uplifting, mind-boggling, and utterly tantalizing. This song… This song is so, so good!
“Turn, Turn, Turn” is from Tongue & Teeth’s forthcoming album, Give Up On Your Health. The LP will be released on September 2nd via Remote Control Records (worldwide) and Dot Dash / Captured Tracks (North America). Teeth & Tongue are Jess Cornelius, Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, Damian Sullivan, and James Harvey.
Tom Chaplin – “Hardened Heart” (London, England)
A decade ago, the soaring melodies of indie pop group Keane dominated global airwaves. Now their former frontman Tom Chaplin is preparing to release his debut solo album, and “Hardened Heart” is our first glimpse of the new sound. Chaplin is known for his commanding vocals, and nothing has changed here. But what is different about the older, wiser version of the eternally youthful singer is the lack of piano. Keane was primarily a piano-driven band, but Chaplin’s solo effort here finds his vocals taking center stage without keys. “Hardened Heart” still has the pure indie pop elements that were Keane trademarks (heartfelt lyrics, dynamic melodies and choruses) with an added element of honest maturity. When he sings about driving his heart “to the point of madness just to feel something real”, you realize this isn’t just another sappy love song. The Wave releases October 12 via Island Records with pre-orders from his website and iTunes.
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