This week’s serving of new music cocktails includes hot tunes from across the globe, with a focus on indie rock from the U.S., U.K., and Denmark.
Viola Beach – “Boys That Sing” (Warrington, UK)
We begin this week paying respects to Viola Beach, the Warrington, UK-based indie band who had a great sound and a promising future. This single had just been released January 22 on Communion Music’s singles club. The band had been slated to make their U.S. festival debut next month at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Texas until the accident in Sweden last weekend claimed the lives of the band and their manager.
In their brief time together (they’d officially formed in May, 2015), they created remarkably energetic indie music akin to Foals and The Maccabees. These “boys that sang” were Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe, and Jack Dakin. We have included links to their social media sites out of courtesy.
Augustines – “Are We Alive” (New York City, US)
Augustines dedicated their show last night in Edinburgh to Viola Beach. The New York City-based indie rockers are one of America’s best-kept musical secrets, though their popularity in Europe has skyrocketed recently thanks to their extensive touring there.
Formerly called We Are Augustines, the original band members (Billy McCarthy and Eric Sanderson) had previously been in the indie rock outfit, Pela. Ten years later, the band now includes British drummer Rob Allen. They have two full albums under their belts with a third on the way. They are also the subject of an upcoming documentary about the rise of the band through adversity and struggle. This new single, “Are We Alive,” channels the driving energy of the band, their resolute focus, and their ambitious hearts. It’s everything that’s great about this hardworking group: uplifting and exhilarating with lots of grit and soul. While we wait for the release of their next album, we will gladly keep this incredible new song on repeat.
RNDM – “NYC Freaks” (Brooklyn/Seattle, US)
RNDM is another trio we love, and they’re back with a funky new single, “NYC Freaks.” If you’re yet not familiar with the band, the members include singer/songwriter and artist Joseph Arthur (Fistful of Mercy), bassist Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam), and noted Seattle drummer Richard Stuverud (The Fastbacks).
This track features a bass-heavy disco vibe and Arthur’s distinctive vocals. This is one of the catchiest songs we’ve heard in a while. It practically begs you to dance, so don’t be surprised if you can’t get this riff out of your head once you hear it. It’s from the band’s upcoming LP, Ghost Riding. This follow-up to their 2012 debut, Acts, is out March 4 via Dine Alone Records. The album release coincides with the start of their seven-city U.S. tour that begins in Seattle and concludes March 15 in Chicago.
Palace Winter – “Positron” (Copenhagen, DK)
We last featured a track from experimental indie rock duo Palace Winter back in September prior to the release of their debut EP, Medication. Since then, the global pair (Carl Coleman is an Australian singer/songwriter and Caspar Hesselager is a Danish pianist and producer) has continued their collaborative work on their full-length debut album. Last week they released the first single from that upcoming LP. With its Smiths-like jangly guitar and instantly addictive synth hooks, “Positron” would have sounded right at home on late ‘80s-era college radio stations. But the vocals (which are reminiscent of The Shins’ James Mercer) and the psychedelic layers on the extended outro make this song a modern masterpiece. Waiting For the World to Turn (not to be confused with the obscure ‘80s indie pop hit “Waiting for the Worm to Turn” by Bourgeois Tagg) is due out June 3rd via Tambourhinocerous Records.
Fronteers – “Idol” (Birmingham, UK)
Upcoming British indie band Frontiers is another band that has a bit of a throwback sound. These talented young lads from Hull have a sound that’s reminiscent of late ’90s Britpop acts like Supergrass or Oasis. While they may have drawn inspiration from that era, they’re far from drowning in nostalgia. Traces of Arctic Monkeys can also be heard, but Frontiers have forged their own modern sound since forming less than two years ago.
Fronteers are Andy Towse (vocals, guitar), James Taylor (vocals, guitar), Ellis Keogh (bass), and Lloyd Tuton (drums). “Idol” released digitally February 12 on King Tut’s Recordings (EU) and Caroline Interational (US). It will be out March 11 on vinyl.
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