Saturday Sampler for April 16th features new music as always, but as a change up there are a couple of songs from the not-so-distant past in order to highlight the work of some underrated and understated bands.
Big Deal – “Say Yes” (London, England)
London-based indie rock duo Big Deal on their newest single. They don’t hold back on either the lyrics or the music on “Say Yes” – they’re too busy dealing with an ended relationship to sugar-coat matters. “Say Yes” (from their upcoming third studio album due out this summer) completes a trilogy theme from their first two albums. It started when American musician Kasey Underwood gave British singer Alice Costelloe guitar lessons. Their debut dealt with being apart; the follow-up (2013’s June Gloom) was about togetherness. But after touring with Depeche Mode and splitting up, they poured their feelings into this new, self-funded release. With bold hooks tempered with fuzzy shoegaze distortion, “Say Yes” is therapeutic in dealing with whatever source of stress is in your life.
Big Deal are: Alice Costelloe (vocals/guitar) and Kasey Underwood (guitar/vocals).
BRONCHO – “Señora Borealis” (Oklahoma, USA)
BRONCHO is one of those great little rock bands most people have heard about but have yet to fully embrace. That should change this year when they drop their new album, Double Vanity. The lead single, “Fantasy Boys”, was gleaming shoegaze, but the second single, “Señora Borealis” is a smokey slow rocker. The gritty, reverb-entrenched guitars and echo vocals give the song a hypnotic, ’70s psychedelic-rock feel. As your head throbs to the layered rhythms, visions of Jim Morrison and The Doors will be spinning in your head.
Double Vanity drops May 27th via Dine Alone Records. BRONCHO are Ryan Lindsey, Nathan Price, Ben King, and Penny Pitchlynn.
GLYPTØTEK – “CLEOP▲TRA” (feat. ASSEM) (Copenhagen, Denmark)
A brand new electro-pop-rock group from Denmark is GLYPTØTEK, who take their name from Copenhagen’s famous art museum Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. They’ve released a handful of singles whose themes correspond to the Danish institution – i.e, songs based on actual history or historical items. Their latest song is “CLEOP▲TRA”. Like the renowned last pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, the song is breathtakingly beautiful yet haunting and immersive, complementing the lyrics that acknowledge her mysterious nature. It’s a stunning track by a band who is creating music that falls between London Grammar and Ratatat.
Handsome Ghost – “Graduate” (Vermont, USA)
Handsome Ghost are back with a new single, “Graduate”. Tim Noyes and his band have been positively received ever since releasing their debut EP, Steps last year, thanks to the success of the single “Blood Stutter”.
“Graduate” provides a strong dose of indie synth pop which uplifts and ignites your mood. The track is a positive one that states “the time has come to let it go”. It’s a declaration of moving on from the past and graduating on to something even better.
Handsome Ghost have been working on new material and they are also currently touring, which you can check out dates here.
Hunter As a Horse – “Fallen Leaves” (London, England & Berlin, Germany)
Last month, Hunter As a Horse – the electronic project of Mia van Wyk (vocals/guitar) and Paul Gala (piano/synths/machines) – enthralled us with “The Passenger”. This week, they enchant us with the stunning “Fallen Leaves”. Besides the fantastic production on the song, Mia’s seductive vocals, and the cosmic beauty of the music that could pierce one’s soul, the true standout of Hunter As a Horse’s music is the songwriting. The duo create engaging short stories with their music, describing events of the past that extend over weeks, months, or in this case fifteen years. Their songs are memories that are not just their own but ones we all share. Hopefully, our fandom for Hunter As a Horse will also be shared by all.
Mira Aasma – “Whale Song” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
While we are seeing a huge influx of new singer-songwriters arriving on the scene from numerous countries, very few are producing the quality that Sweden is. The latest arrival is Mira Aasma. Only 19-years old, this protege is following in the footsteps of fellow Swede Lykki Li and New Zealand sensation Lorde, and her new single, “Whale Song”, is tantalizing. The short electronic bursts at the start of the song reel you in, Aasma’s hypnotic vocals keep you transfixed, and the horns at the end of the song just blow you away. Here’s a young talent to watch in the coming months and years, as we could be witnessing the evolution of Sweden’s next great export.
Aasma’s “Whale Song” is available now via Birds Records.
Mt. Si – “Oh” (Los Angeles, USA)
Some singers have voices that are so ethereal they stop you in your tracks. Sarah Chernoff (of Superhumanoids) is one such singer. On this single from Mt. Si, her collaborative electro-dream pop side project with members of Classixx and Kisses, her angelic vocals provide a soft balance to the shimmering electronic layers. “Oh” is sheer and breezy on the surface with a mid-tempo vibe similar to Metric or Broken Social Scene. Play this one on those relaxing weekend days as you transition from being half-asleep to fully energized. This song perfectly bridges the gap in those hazy hours. But be warned: we guarantee you won’t be able to get this addictive ambient tune out of your head. “Oh” is not a brand-new track (they recorded it in 2014), but it has finally gotten a proper release on their debut four-song EP.
Mt. Si are: Sarah Chernoff, Jessie Kivel, and Michael David.
Mock Orange – “Too Good Your Dreams Don’t Come True” (Evansville, IN, USA)
Mock Orange is like New Zealand’s version of The Phoenix Foundation – an immensely underrated indie band that has developed a habit of creating music that moves you. With more than a decade under their belt, the Indiana-based band is still looking for its breakthrough. With their latest single, “Too Good Your Dreams Don’t Come True”, that opportunity might just be around the corner. The song is a lush interpretation of ’90s indie rock and college radio, a track that is engaging from start to end as a result of the lush vocals and the awesome collision of sound that results from the crystalline guitars, excellent drum work, and the vibrant bass line.
“Too Good Your Dreams Don’t Come True” is from Mock Orange’s forthcoming new album, Put the Kid on the Sleepy Horse” , which will be released May 20th via Topshelf Records. Mock Orange are Ryan Grisham, Joe Asher, Heath Metzger, and Zach Grace.
SUSAN – “I’ve Been Known” (Los Angeles, USA)
More than a year ago, LA power-punk-pop trio SUSAN were a hidden gem, but they’re getting ready to shake the label when they release their new album Never Enough. Their latest single is the infectious “I’ve Been Known”. The song starts off with a twist from the band – melodic and with an easy, breezy feel before the tempo accelerates into catchy garage-pop tune. This is the type of song that Sleater-Kinney probably would create if Debbie Harry did a guest appearance as their frontwoman. We don’t know about you, but “I’ve Been Known” will leave a permanent smile on your face.
SUSAN’s forthcoming album, Never Enough, will be released on April 27th via Volar Records. SUSAN = (Bobby B + bass) + (Jessica O + guitar) + (Katie Fern + drums).
Vök – “Waiting” (Hafnarfjörður, Iceland)
An easygoing, sauntering pace. Understated electronic beats. Cool, confident vocals. These phrases can describe numerous Icelandic bands because this is the kind of music that Iceland does best. (What’s in the water or air over there that creates so many talented groups?) Maybe the icy climate contributes to the general feeling of coolness on emerging electronic indie pop group Vök. Whatever the explanation, “Waiting” has all the trademarks of being another fantastic Nordic export thanks to the arresting vocals from Margrét Rán and hypnotic melodies. The group cites Portishead and Massive Attack as influences, but we also hear a bit of Poliça and Phantogram. Vök formed a few years ago just before entering a music contest. After they quickly wrote some songs (and won the competition), they released their debut EP in 2013 and put out their sophomore effort last year. We don’t have any details on when their next release is due, so for now, “Waiting” is more than just a song title. Hopefully the wait will be short for new material from this group. Until then, you can find more of their music at their online store and iTunes.
Vök are: Margrét Rán Magnúsdóttir (vocals/keys/guitar/bass), Andri Már Enoksson (saxophone/synths), and Ólafur Alexander Ólafsson (lead guitar/bass).
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