Whether you’re nursing the hangover after celebrating St. Patrick’s Day or just need a boost to get the weekend going, let the Saturday Sampler March 18th edition be your remedy. We have nine cool new tunes to brighten your day.
Chastity Belt – “Different Now” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Beach House, Melody’s Echo Chamber, Wild Nothing
The world today has us all feeling certain levels of dread or annoyance. Things are different now, and remaining positive can be a challenge. Whether you call it ennui or malaise, those feelings visit us every now and then. Seattle indie band Chastity Belt understands. On their new “Different Now” single, lead vocalist Julia Shapiro sings about “all those little things that keep you up at night” over subdued layers of hazy, moody ambience. While their sound can vary from dream pop to post-punk, “Different Now” greets the ear with the gentleness of a dear friend’s comforting hug. Its evokes a sense of calm, not dread. In fact, it is nearly impossible to avoid comparing this song’s lush tones with the often damp, foggy Portland climate where they recorded their upcoming third album, I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone.
The extended intro on “Different Now” features dynamic guitar interplay of a Television-meets-Alvvays variety, and it’s stunning. Chastity Belt have genuine chemistry that they have been honing since they formed in 2010. Their talent has been on display since their 2013 debut, and with this album they are at the peak of their career.
Chastity Belt are: Julia Shapiro (guitar/vocals), Lydia Lund (guitar), Annie Truscott (bass), and Gretchen Grimm (drums).
Confidence Man – “Bubblegum” (Brisbane, Australia)
RIYL: EMF, Deee-lite, The Belligerents, Jungle Giants
There’s a new signee to the Heavenly Recordings label that has everyone abuzz Down Under. With just two songs in their repertoire, emerging indie groove-pop sensation Confidence Man are selling out shows all over Australia. Now they’ve got a string of UK summer festival appearances on the horizon. But what’s the scoop on this elusive group whose new “Bubblegum” single is in irrepressibly addictive ear worm upon first spin?
Frankly, no one outside their inner circle really knows. Perhaps they are a combination of two other popular emerging Aussie acts (The Belligerents and Jungle Giants), though speculation looms larger than fact at this point. All we’re sure of is this tune’s ability to get you up and moving with its funky, retro-inspired grooves.
“Bubblegum” harkens back to the early- to mid-’90s club days when EMF’s “Unbelievable” dominated airwaves and dance floors along with Deee-Lite’s “Groove Is in the Heart.” In fact, some enterprising DJ really should mash up this song with those for a face-melting treat.
Doesn’t Rhyme With King – “Can’t Tell the Difference” (Germany)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, The Kills, Black Honey
As emerging stars are getting signed by labels, new bands are arriving on the scene waiting to be discovered. They ply their trade in every corner of the planet, hoping for that big break. Most will never get very far, but there are the rare few that you know will eventually generate buzz. Wolf Alice and Black Honey have become two of the biggest indie bands in the UK, and their popularity has expanded beyond its borders. We anticipate similar success for Germany indie-rock group Doesn’t Rhyme With King – or DRWK for short.
Comprised of siblings Inken and Henken März, DRWK are a band to remember. Case in point, their debut single, “Can’t Tell The Difference” with Cosmic Star Records is a seismic indie rocker. If measuring on the Richter scale, it would be an easy 8.0, shaking every single body to the core. From Inken’s powerful vocals to the memorable, edgy approach, this band has the potential to be Germany’s answer to The Kills. They are that good.
The Feelies – “Gone, Gone, Gone” (Haledon, NJ, USA)
RIYL: Velvet Underground, Yo La Tengo, The dB’s, Dandy Warhols
Gather ‘round for a quick refresher course in Indie Music History 101. Today’s lesson begins in the mid-1970s when New York bands like The Ramones, Television, and Velvet Underground were releasing debut albums that would become classics and playing packed shows at the famed CBGB club. Meanwhile, over in New Jersey, a group who called themselves The Feelies also emerged onto that burgeoning scene. Does their name ring a bell with you? Maybe you’ve heard their debut album, Crazy Rhythms, since many critics call it one of the Top 50 alternative albums ever made. (Not to mention they’re a huge influence on R.E.M.)
But in case you aren’t yet on The Feelies’ bandwagon, their newest single is sure to make you a fan. Last year marked their 40th anniversary as a band, yet they have made just six full-length albums. Their newest, In Between, has all the markings of an instant classic. We praised the “tremendously catchy” lead single (“Been Replaced”) back in December; now we’re again in awe of this band’s enduring relevance. When you bask in the sonic glory of “Gone, Gone, Gone,” you’ll realize why The Feelies are legends.
The Feelies are: Glenn Mercer, Stan Demeski, Bill Million, Brenda Sauter (bass), and Dave Weckerman.
First Tiger – “Falling Elevator” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Belle and Sebastian, Owl John, Elbow
If you’re like many folks who today are nursing hangovers, you’ll appreciate any remedy that can soothe your aching noggin. As you sip your coffee (or hair of the dog), let this ace tune from emerging Scottish band First Tiger work its restorative magic. “Falling Elevator” is one of several songs from their recent debut album, Dedicated, that has us utterly gobsmacked. Few bands in recent memory have stopped us dead in our tracks the way they have. If you love engaging, smart indie pop steeped in culture and off-beat fun, then put First Tiger in heavy rotation.
Their seamless blending of multiple genres – from baroque pop, New Wave, vintage jazz and indie rock – is a testament to their talents as musicians. Although they draw inspiration from across the musical spectrum (Jacques Brel, Prince, Radiohead), these guys have a fresh sound all their own. You’ll hear similarities to more obscure ‘80s artists (Bourgeois Tagg) and modern Scottish indie stalwarts (Belle and Sebastian, Frightened Rabbit/Owl John). Indeed, frontman “Shorts” McGinty’s vocals at times echo both Stuart Murdoch and Scott Hutchison, both in warmth of tone and a distinct Glaswegian lilt. The jaunty, sun-kissed exuberance of “Falling Elevator” will cure whatever ails you. Dive head-long into this tune (and the entire LP) for instant mood elevation. They are gaining attention thanks to airplay on BBC Radio, so it won’t be long before the festival circuit comes calling.
First Tiger are: Pete “Shorts” McGinty (vocals), Stevie McCormick (guitar), Iain Boyd (bass), and Paddy Douglas (drums).
Lovely Bad Things – “Hiding to Nothing” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Dinosaur Jr., Pavement, Pixies, Jacuzzi Boys
Has it really been five months since we were singing the praises of Los Angeles-based indie DIY punk outfit Lovely Bad Things? Their “Teenage Grown Ups” single swept us up in its “gravitational pull” back in October. Since then the band have been focusing their energy on touring instead of recording – or so we thought. To our surprise, they pulled a stealth move this week and dropped a new, equally irresistible tune. “Hiding to Nothing” is the hot-off-the-press surf/garage punk single from their forthcoming EP, Homebodied. It arrives at the end of this month on cassette via Burger Records.
The band describe this track as a sort of rallying cry in the face of struggle:
…even when the odds are stacked against you, you can still beat those odds by realizing that sometimes the world is spouting total bullshit that you can’t make room for anymore. It’s a song about finding the strength to be true to yourself and keep on going, even when you don’t know where to begin.
If any group in L.A. have a lock on the indomitable indie spirit, it’s Lovely Bad Things. They simply don’t know the meaning of the word quit, and for this their fans are grateful. Look for Homebodied on March 31st, the date that coincides with their new string of tour dates. Until then, you can find their previous releases on iTunes.
Lovely Bad Things are: Lauren Curtius (guitar, vocals), Camron Ward (guitar, vocals), Tim Hatch (guitar), Wesley Baxter (bass), and Brayden Ward (drums, vocals).
Mind Rays – “Follow Suit” (Ghent, Belgium)
RIYL: PUP, Dune Rats, DZ Deathrays
Move the furniture to the walls, stretch out the limbs and back, call all your friends, put in the ear plugs, and turn up the volume because a two-and-a-half minute party is about to break out when you blast “Follow Suit”, the latest single from Belgium punk rockers Mind Rays. This is the perfect song to end the work week and welcome the weekend. It is fun and unpretentious and wild and fiery. Better than any caffeine-fueled beverage you could have, “Follow Suit” is an unrelenting ball of energy. It’s one of those songs that deserves a “F*ck yeah!”
Apparently, the ladies and gentlemen at PNKSLM Recordings because they’ll be releasing Mind Rays’ debut LP, Nerve Endings, on March 24th.
The New Respects – “Frightening Lightning” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: The Seratones, The Suffers, Sly & The Family Stone
With been shouting about the exploits of family band The New Respects Octobersince , and it appears more and more people are getting on the bandwagon. The real question, though, is, “Why aren’t more people getting excited about them?” Their take of rock ‘n roll, southern rock, and soul music is right out of the ’70s and ’80s, which only means one thing – it’s memorable.
Last week, they released their debut EP, Here Comes Trouble, which can be heard in its entirety here. From the record is “Frightening Lightning”, a jubilant and raucous number that will have every soul in the building up and dancing. The guitar riffs are catchy, the rhythms are gyrating, and Jasmine Mullen’s vocals have the intoxicating flair of Janelle Monae. If rock ‘n roll was a church, “Frightening Lightning” would be its anthem.
The band features siblings Zandy Fitzgerald (guitar), Alexis Fitzgerald (bass), Darius Fitzgerald (drums), and their cousin Jasmine Mullen (lead vocals/guitar). Their debut EP, Here Comes Trouble, is out now.
TOPS – “Petals” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Mozart’s Sister, Tennis, Empress Of
If you detect a certain amount of sassy attitude on the new “Petals” single from Montreal-based indie pop band TOPS, there’s one possible reason that has nothing to do with music. The album was recorded in a former brothel located in California. Even the album’s title – Sugar at the Gate – is a sly wink at orgasm. If that’s not reason enough to love the song, its insatiable hooks will lure you in for a guaranteed happy ending.
From the start, lead singer Jane Penny sets a playful mood. Her vocals have a bright red lipstick quality that instantly grab your attention and beckons you closer. Paired with the warm, bouncing guitar line, “Petals” becomes hypnotic. This playfully seductive tune is the first we’ve heard from the Canadian group since their 2014 LP, Picture You Staring. We have no complaints about them taking some time to deliver this third album now that we’ve got this teaser of what’s to come.
TOPS are: Jane Penny (vocals, keys), David Carriere (guitar), and Riley Fleck (drums).
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