The Saturday Sampler January 13th edition includes nine sizzling tracks from across the globe. Featuring artists from Australia, Canada, England, Germany, New Zealand, and the USA, these tunes offer plenty of sonic richness for all your weekend plans.
Caroline Rose – “Soul No. 5” (New York City via Burlington, VT, USA)
RIYL: Bec Sandridge, Alex Lahey, Lisa Prank
Is there any limit to Caroline Rose‘s talents? The woman we like to call a fireball because of her endless energy returns with another single that sees her delve deeper into the pop-rock genre and further away from the rockabilly, roots, and Americana of her debut. The song is “Soul No. 5”, which, well, defines exactly who Rose is. It is fun, energetic, and humorous as Rose hollers in the song, “I have soul!” This tune is not just about the Vermont native; it is also a song that encourages everyone to be themselves, even if it means going against the grain. If Rose can fearlessly do the Macarena on a public beach (go right to the end of the song’s amusing video), then you know you’re not alone in being different.
JAGUWAR – “Crystal” (Berlin, Germany)
RIYL: The Cure, My Bloody Valentine
Listening to German trio JAGUWAR is a rapturous experience: the soaring melodies of their latest single elevate your mood to new heights while waves of nostalgia wash over you.
“Crystal” is a seamless blend of modern synth pop with old-school New Wave and shoegaze. Plenty of bands draw inspiration from ’80s legends like The Cure and My Bloody Valentine. But few modern bands can fuse elements of those bands into their own unique sound like JAGUWAR. While the band have been gaining popularity in Europe, they have yet to crack the American music scene. This will change in March when JAGUWAR play SXSW Festival. Hopefully then this talented group comprised of Lemmy Fischer, Oyèmi Noize, and Chris Krenkel will receive the acclaim they deserve.
Karen O – “Yo! My Saint” (feat. Michael Kiwanuka) (New York City, USA & London, England)
RIYL: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The surprise release this week was the duo between Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka in a short film for the French fashion house KENZO. “Yo! My Saint” is sensual, intimate, and tender – but it’s also fierce. Despite a breathy, nearly whispered delivery at times, Karen O projects an air of defiance while Kiwanuka’s rich baritone vocals add warmth and depth.
These two might seem an unusual pairing at first, but damn if they don’t sound perfect together. Maybe this song is a one-time collaboration, but we certainly wouldn’t mind if they recorded a full album of duets. Hearing these lines simply makes you believe they should:
“I used to rule the streets
I was young enough to know that
There was something to believe in
I’m tired of the lies they tell
I’m trying to disguise myself”
You can watch the video here. The song will be available on January 22.
Long Neck – “10,000 Year Old Woman” (Jersey City, NJ USA)
RIYL: Joni Mitchell, Julien Baker, Eddie Vedder
For nearly four years, Lily Mastrodimos has been endlessly releasing singles and EPs under the moniker Long Neck via her Bandcamp page. Now the super indie label Tiny Engines will release her debut album, Will This Do?, on January 26th. Maybe this year people will recognize the immense talent of this young singer-songwriter. Her newest track, “10,000 Year Old Woman”, is a magnificent work of art and a wonderful introduction.
The song recalls the Laurel Canyon era in its beautiful simplicity, intimate and introspective storytelling, and a voice that defines classic. Older music fans will hear Joni Mitchell while younger ones may hear Julien Baker. For us, images of Eddie Vedder playing his folk-rock songs solo linger in our minds. In other words, this young New Jersey native’s potential is limitless.
Marlon Williams – “What’s Chasing You? (Lyttleton, New Zealand)
RIYL: Roy Orbison, Alex Cameron, Elvis Presley
If you think skinny blokes in white shorts and wearing shin-high socks and sneakers while walking topless on the beach are sexy, then you have to watch Marlon Williams‘ video for his new single, “What’s Chasing You?” The New Zealander’s self-deprecating sense of humor comes out in his videos. Musically, though, he’s one of the world’s most outstanding singer-songwriters and storytellers.
On this track, the multi-octave artist channels his inner Roy Orbison and shares a classic tune straight out of the ’60s. His lyrics are lighthearted and even a touch humorous, but there’s a sentimental element in it as he sincerely wants to know what’s bothering his companion. Hopefully, s/he won’t reply that it’s some skinny bloke in white shorts and wearing shin-high socks and sneakers while walking topless on the beach.
Rhye – “Count To Five” (Toronto, Canada and Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Rhye, Cigarettes After Sex
Just when you think Rhye –the project of Canadian-born singer-songwriter and vocalist Mike Milosh and Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Hannibal– exhausted all possibilities to create breathtaking ballads, they find another way. In the past, they astonished us with their delicate complex arrangements and Milosh’s incomparable voices. However, on “Count To Five” they turn to simplicity and still deliver an incredibly beautiful number. The song’s composition might be the duo’s most stripped back, yet it remains sensual and sultry. It begs to be played with your loved one lying beside you so you can feel each other’s heartbeats.
Sleepclub – “Cut You” (Brisbane, Australia)
RIYL: Cloud Tangle, Sweater Curse
We love discovering emerging artists early in their careers. Nothing makes us happier than hearing a band’s debut single, then tracking their rise to stardom with each album. One band who caught us by surprise is indie newcomers Sleepclub. Despite their newness as a group, the Australian trio of Amber Ramsey, Monica Sottile, and Vanessa Marousopoulos prove with their debut single they have what it takes to become indie superstars.
The lush, languid tones of “Cut You” are built upon a foundation of dream-pop that is actually pretty substantive. This song is more than gauzy vocals and sleepy instrumentation. While the opening verse is mellow, the textures become deeper and richer with each minute. The final half of the song features a dazzling crescendo of mildly psychedelic synths, percussion, and harmonies that leave you breathless.
If this is how great Sleepclub sound on their first single, imagine how incredible a full album will be. We can’t wait to find out.
Grab your copy of this single from Bandcamp while you wait for more releases to come. Hopefully the wait won’t be too long.
Sunflower Bean – “Crisis Fest” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Wolf Alice, The Bangles
It’s official! Sunflower Bean’s sophomore album, Twentytwo in Blue, will be released on March 23rd via Mom + Pop Music, with pre-orders here. Why are we excited? Well, besides being fans, their new LP was on our list of Most Anticipated Albums of 2018. One reason was that we expected the trio of Jacob Faber (drums), Julia Cumming (vocals/bass), and Nick Kivlen (vocals/guitars) to achieve something few bands can claim – to become the voice of a frustrated generation. With their new single, “Crisis Fest”, they meet expectations and then some.
“Crisis Fest” isn’t just another example of the band brilliantly merging ’70s rock with contemporary indie; it also demonstrates the continued evolution of Sunflower Bean into a political and social force. The song is the anthem for a people tired with the antics and hate that emanates from the White House. It is a song that reflects the growing tidal wave of people wanting change immediately. As Cumming succinctly sings, “We brought you into this place / you know we can take you out”. Let’s hope it happens whether soon or in 2020.
Sunflower Bean head out on a massive tour at the end of the month, so people can get a sneak peek of the album. Dates and tickets are available here.
Wilderman – “Cog” (Marfa, TX, USA)
RIYL: Midlake, Wye Oak, John Grant
There must be something in the Texas water supply that boosts artistic creativity. That’s our theory on why so many artists from the state create such amazing music. Indie groups from all genres, from Midlake, Shearwater, and Spoon to Cigarettes After Sex and The Suffers, capture the Texas spirit with bold sounds on their own. But when those artists collaborate with side projects that become indie supergroups, the result is hot Texas magic. One prime example of this is Wilderman.
The mastermind of Robert Gungor, this project also features his brothers Michael (of Gungor) and David (The Brilliance) along with friends from other indie bands like Midlake and Wye Oak. The result is a master class in indie rock perfection. From the jazzy/progressive time signatures to the funky bass lines that call to mind Tony Levin’s work with Peter Gabriel in the ’80s, “Cog” is a rebel’s call to resist the status quo:
“I can see the day when we’re all moving as one
It’s the silent death of the individual
All the edges smooth, all human flaw is gone
I say fuck that, you gotta do your thing.”
Wilderman’s forthcoming sophomore LP, Artifice, arrives April 20th. You can pre-order it from Bandcamp.
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