Welcome to the year’s first serving of SPRINGTIME new music cocktails! This is the time of year when there are as many new music releases as blooming flowers, so we’re excited about hot tunes and warmer temps. Let’s get started with some indie folk duet action before exploring a variety of genres from Canada to Sweden.
Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop – “Every Songbird Says” (Durham, NC, USA & Manchester, UK)
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Sam Beam (better known as indie folk artist Iron & Wine) has been on quite a collaborative kick lately. He teamed up with Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses) last year and contributed his warm vocals to Glen Hansard’s last album. Perhaps the only person in the music industry who’s busier than Beam is producer Tucker Martine. He has produced dozens of indie artists and many of the biggest indie albums of 2015, including The Decemberists, Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, and Sufjan Stevens. It’s only fitting that Martine produced Beam’s latest project, a collection of duets with indie singer/songwriter Jesca Hoop.
California native Jesca Hoop (who now resides in Manchester, UK) is no stranger to working with big stars. She has toured with Peter Gabriel, Elbow, Andrew Bird, and more, so her addition to Beam’s album is a natural fit. Her presence on this album lends a delicate touch to the intimacy that is Beam’s style. “Every Songbird Says” is a light and sunny, making it a perfect anthem for spring. It’s from their debut duet album, Love Letter for Fire, which releases April 15 via SubPop, with pre-orders available from iTunes and from the artist’s online store.
Andy Shauf – “The Magician” (Regina, SK, Canada)
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Andy Shauf is one of Canada’s undiscovered gems, in our opinion. While he’s toured around the world in the last two years, he hasn’t quite gotten the attention he so richly deserves. Hopefully the release of his upcoming album will change that. It’s a collection of 10 songs he started writing two years ago, only to put them on the backburner as he was touring. This talented multi-instrumentalist did almost everything on the album, from songwriting to playing all the instruments, as well as mixing and recording. There’s a mellow, introspective calm on “The Magician” that makes you wonder if he’s channeling John Lennon. There is just enough of a Beatles-inspired dreamy psychedelic undercurrent here that it feels not so much a direct homage but a gentle tip of the hat to the masters. Shauf seems too modest to allow such lofty comparisons, regardless of their validity. He is a musical craftsman unencumbered by ego, and perhaps that’s what makes his music all the more charming.
Shauf’s European spring tour kicks off April 14 in Bristol and runs through June 2 in Barcelona (including many dates supporting The Lumineers); his North American tour runs June 9 in NYC through August 9, with many dates supporting Son Little and the new super-trio, case/lang/viers.
A.Sinclair – “Liars in the State of New York” (Austin, USA)
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Pure, loud, unpretentious rock & roll as American as BBQ, cheeseburgers, and cold beer: that’s what you’ll hear on “Liars in the State of New York” from Austin indie rockers A.Sinclair. This single has more powerful urgency than the six tracks from their 2014 EP, Pretty Girls. They were already tight and focused on those songs; now they’ve flexed their muscles even more here. It’s from their upcoming album, Get Out of the City, which drops May 13 on Dangerbird Records with pre-orders at iTunes.
A.Sinclair are: Aaron Sinclair (vocals, lead guitar), Ben Lance (guitar), Benjamin Houtman (keys), Jud Johnson (drums, vocals), Brendan Bond (bass, vocals), and Michael Booher (guitar).
Savoir Adore – “Giants” (Brooklyn, USA)
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Savoir Adore began nearly a decade ago, and within one year they’d released their debut EP. Their current lineup has changed since then following the departure of founding member Deirdre Muro. However, lead vocalist Paul Hammer remains and is stronger than ever on this new single. “Giants” has the group’s signature big, bold, positive pop sound, à la Passion Pit or MGMT. With lyrics like “we’re never gonna quit / not even just a little bit / we are tryin’ tryin’ tryin’,” their optimism is infectious and energizing.
Maybe that positive energy is what helped get them through a trying time last weekend. While en route to perform at SXSW, their tour van blew a tire, causing them to miss their first show. Undaunted, they continued on their journey and made it to Austin where they performed Saturday night. Their official U.S. spring tour launches today in Los Angeles and runs through mid-May in Washington, D.C.
The Love That Remains will be released later this year on Nettwerk Music. We will share more music and details as soon as the label confirms a release date.
Savoir Adore are: Paul Hammer, Lauren Zettler, Alex Foote, Ben Marshall, and Andrew Pertes.
Summer Cannibals – “Say My Name” (Portland, OR USA)
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Portland-based indie alternative-punk band Summer Cannibal‘s first two albums were self-released on their own label. Now they’re signed to Kill Rock Stars – a label known for supporting and promoting fierce female bands like Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill. “Say My Name” is a deceptively demure sizzler that commands your attention, gets in your face, and refuses to blink. With its Courtney Barnett-esque vibe, layers of fuzzy guitar, and driving percussion, this song doesn’t snarl but rather it sneers in your general direction. Make no mistake: Summer Cannibals have plenty of bite; they’re just baring their teeth here instead of going for the full chomp.
Summer Cannibals are: Jessica Boudreaux (vocals, lead guitar), Jenny Logan (bass), Mark Swart (guitar), and Devon Shirley (drums).
Vita Bergen – “Replace” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
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We last featured Swedish indie rockers Vita Bergen last September. The same powerful sound from that first single is even bolder on “Replace.” The driving bass and urgent tempo will leave you inspired and ready to tackle the world. It’s got such a jolt that it just might be an audio substitute for your morning espresso or coffee. Crank it up and see for yourself.
Their new album, Disconnection, released March 4 on Glitterhouse Records.
Vita Bergen are: William Hellström, Robert Jallinder, Bénédicte Piauger, Jakob Kullberg, Andreas Jallinder, Hampus Bergh, Dan Augustsson, and Gustaf Gunér.
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