Welcome to your Monday serving of new music cocktails, where this week’s focus is on powerful female vocalists. Four of the six singles feature talented women whose voices will knock your socks off, if you’re wearing any. So sit back and brace yourself for the intensity that’s coming your way. Let’s get started with a particularly amped-up single that will energize your Monday.
Chvrches (with Hayley Williams) – “Bury It” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Purity Ring, MS MR
This past weekend at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, indie synth-pop trio Chvrches wowed the crowds with a high-intensity performance of “Bury It” from their latest album, Every Open Eye. The set included a surprise courtesy of nearby resident Hayley Williams of Paramore. Williams had joined Chvrches last October when they played Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium, so it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise when the Tennessee native joined them at Bonnaroo. Their powerful vocals perfectly complement each other, adding an extra dose of fierceness to an already euphoric song.
Chvrches are: Lauren Mayberry (vocals, synths), Iain Cook (synth, guitar, bass, vocals), and Martin Doherty (synth, samplers, vocals).
The Jezabels – “Pleasure Drive” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Garbage, Phantogram
Another band with a powerhouse vocalist named Hayley is Australian indie rock quartet The Jezabels. With so much new music coming out all the time, occasionally we miss a true gem at the time of its release. This is the case with The Jezabels. They have been around nearly a decade now, and in February they released their third album, Synthia. The intensity of this stunning single is undeniable. The soaring harmonies are enough to send chills up your spine. “Pleasure Drive” is one hell of a hook-filled, synth-heavy single painted with broad, ’80s-era goth inspired brush strokes. It’s intoxicating and seductive, full of unbridled fervor. This is black leather and red lipstick rock & roll, with irresistible charm.
Sadly, the spotlight of success was never fully shown on this stellar album because keyboardist Heather Shannon underwent treatment for ovarian cancer earlier this year. In an act of solidarity, the band refused to hit the road without her. We hope a speedy recovery will allow a tour in the near future. This music is simply too good not to be experienced in a live setting.
The Jezabels are: Hayley Mary (vocals), Heather Shannon (keys), Samuel Lockwood (guitars), and Nik Kaloper (drums).
Broods – “Heartlines” (Los Angeles via Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: Lorde, Chvrches, Phantogram
“Have you been let down by the ones before,” asks Georgia Nott on the smoldering new single from electronic pop duo Broods. The song is a collaborative effort with fellow Kiwi artist Lorde, and it’s an instant classic anthem with bold synths. Her vocals soar over an urgent beat punctuated by mesmerizing percussion while older brother Caleb adds depth with his backing vocals. This song has such a jubilant vibe that we dare you to listen to it only once. It’s from their upcoming sophomore LP, Conscious, the first album since relocating to Los Angeles a few months ago.
Conscious releases June 24 via Capitol Records. Pre-orders from iTunes include an instant download of “Heartlines” and two other singles. The duo will return home next month to tour Australia and New Zealand before heading back to tour North America through mid-September.
Broods are: Georgia Nott (vocals, instrumentation) and Caleb Nott (production, backing vocals).
Lunavela – “British Amelia” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: M83, The Naked and Famous
More sunniness pervades this new single from New Zealand artist Steve Mathieson, aka Lunavela. “British Amelia” is only the second song from the former Collapsing Cities singer/songwriter. The first, “Burn For You”, dropped this time last year.
“British Amelia” is electronic-accentuated dream pop with a synth-driven focus. The backing vocals from Ali Youngblood (of Florida indie pop outfit Black Kids) bring additional pizzazz to this dreamy track. We don’t have much info about a full album yet, so stay tuned. We’ll update you on the next Lunavela songs as details emerge.
Kate Vargas – “Second Skin” (New York City via Albuquerque, New Mexico USA)
RIYL: Neko Case, Emily Wells
It’s not every day that you discover an artist like Kate Vargas. “Outlaw Americana” is what she calls her brand of indie folk-rock, and she wields her vocals like a smoking hot pistol. There’s a raspy yet sassy quality that channels a bit of Squirrel Nut Zippers’ old-fashioned jazzy style with the grit of Macy Gray – but it’s completely fresh and original. Perhaps it’s her southwestern roots that bring the airy spaciousness to her music. Vargas – who cites Tom Waits and Nina Simone as influences – now lives in New York City but hails from a small New Mexico town just north of Albuquerque. The dusty, earthy magic that abounds in the Land of Enchantment is woven throughout “Second Skin” and its tale of witches. That magical blend of blues, folk, and rock helps this Berklee College of Music grad stand out from her musical peers. We look forward to hearing more from this talented singer/songwriter as soon as possible.
Vargas is joined on the track by Granville Mullings, Jr. (percussion), Caleigh Drane (cello), and The Reckless Daughters (Lizzy Vargas and Lena Kaminsky) on backing vocals.
The single is available directly from her website.
TOBACCO – “Human Om” (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA)
RIYL: Black Moth Super Rainbow
Prepare for an onslaught of digital psych-funk on this new single from Thomas Fek, aka TOBACCO. The frontman for Black Moth Super Rainbow dives deep into a sonic swamp on “Human Om” from his upcoming Sweatbox Dynasty album. A strong undercurrent of distorted synths (plus the unexpected addition of a fuzzed-out sitar) flows with the choppiness of whitewater rapids while Fek’s barely discernible lyrics add to the brilliant chaos. If you’ve never gone down the rabbit hole that is TOBACCO’s audio world, we suggest you hold on tight and brace for a wild ride. “Human Om” might not be for the faint of heart, but it’s quite an adventure if you’re willing to take a chance.
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