Saturday Sampler for July 16th features plenty of musicians and bands that we have huge crushes on ummm… we are huge fans of because their music makes us feel really goooood. There are, of course, several newcomers whose music might also leave you infatuated. We’ll try to keep the musical matchmaking brief so you can enjoy the music.
Andrew Keoghan – “Everything” (Los Angeles, USA via Christchurch, New Zealand)
RIYL: David Byrne, mellow Beck, Anthonie Tonnon
In 2014, New Zealand maestro Andrew Keoghan eased our minds and took us back in time to our youths on his wonderful debut album, Arctic Tales Divide. Now with a new album on the way, Keoghan is taking us to the future.
His latest single, “Everything”, is everything we love about Keoghan. First off, he has the ability to create music that makes us feel cool, relaxed, and even sexy. “Everything” is all of the above. Second, the Christchurch native is always taking risks in order to make music that is new and refreshing. On this song, he blends orchestral arrangements with an R&B vibe and an electro-pop pulse, and the result is a tune that is sultry yet theatrical, personifies cool yet is still intimate. In many ways, these would be the adjectives we could use for this rising star.
Keoghan’s sophomore album, Every Orchid Offering, will be released July 29th via Fuchsia Kick. Two other singles, “Queues at Dani Keys” and “Stuck in Melodies” can be heard on SoundCloud.
Hot Dreams – “Plungepool” (London, England)
RIYL: Foals, White Lies, Half Moon Run
If musical success is a deep pool, then London-based emerging indie rock band Hot Dreams aren’t content to cautiously approach the shallow end. No, these guys are jumping into the deep end and making quite a splash with their first single.
“Plungepool” will have Foals fans salivating, because Hot Dreams share a similar style that features dynamic guitars, hypnotic bass lines, fierce percussion, and vocals that will quicken your pulse. There are elements of subtle brooding in their crescendos (think Editors, White Lies, or Faunts), but this isn’t a “dark” song. It’s just a perfect balance of yearning and tension that releases around the two-minute mark. Play this one at full volume, maybe even late at night on a deserted highway. Catharsis awaits. Trust us: with this song, you’ll find yourself hitting repeat many, many times. We don’t have info on a full album (yet!), so for now you can get your Hot Dreams fix via this single over at iTunes.
Hot Dreams are: Cam Fyall, Kai Fennell, Aaron Clarke, and Alex Bloomfield.
Jalen N’Gonda – “Holler (When You Call My Name)” (Liverpool, UK via Wheaton, MD, USA via Zambia)
RIYL: Leon Bridges, Sam Cook, Lee Fields
While a lot of artists and bands head in the “progressive soul” and “electro-R&B” directions, no reinvention can replace the classic, traditional forms of the genres. Fortunately, there are artists who share this opinion, such as newcomer Jalen N’Gonda. Originally from Zambia before moving to a suburb of Washington, D.C. and now based in Liverpool, N’Gonda has adopted the old-school approach made famous by the likes of Sam Cook, Otis Redding, and Ray Charles. His debut single, “Holler (When You Call My Name)”, is just awesome. It mirrors the coolness and vibrancy of the aforementioned legends’ work, but N’Gonda offers his own little wrinkle: an anti-climatic ending that leads into a terrific second denouement.
Could N’Gonda be the next Leon Bridges? We think so, as the young American artist N’Gonda is putting the soul and rhythm & blues back into music.
“Holler (When You Call My Name)” is the first half of N’Gonda’s forthcoming debut, double-A side single, which will be released later this summer/early autumn.
Julia Jacklin – “Leadlight” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Patsy Cline, Sadie Dupuis
Back in March, we commented that Julia Jacklin could be 2015’s version of Julien Baker – a young singer-songwriter who comes quietly out of nowhere and skyrockets to indie stardom. So far, the prediction is looking pretty good with Jacklin soon to embark on her first international tour. It will, however, be her debut album, Don’t Let The Kids Win, that will have more people noticing, especially with songs like her stellar “Pool Party” and the latest one, “Leadlight”.
On this song, Jacklin radiates with an old-school southern charm à la Patsy Cline, lulling us into a drunken stupor with her soothing vocals. At the same time, there is a modernity to her indie rock and songwriting. The lyrics, such as “I love you my darling, I do, but I can’t promise I’ll be here seeing this whole love”, and the sultry yet gritty guitar lines are Angel Olsen-esque. This complete package leads to the question of not if Jacklin will be a star but when.
Kishi Bashi – “Say Yeah” (Athens, Georgia, USA)
RIYL: Jupiter One, of Montreal, Andrew Bird
When American violinist Kishi Bashi released his debut album in 2012, critics delighted in his inventive musical style. The pairing of classical violin with vocal loops and beat boxing wasn’t exactly common then. The former member of indie rock band of Montreal curated his own approach and found a very receptive audience. When his songs were featured in commercials for Microsoft and Sony, some hardcore fans worried if the corporate world might ruin his indie brilliance. Rumors of a new album having an EDM influence caused even more concern. But never fear because his new single released on Thursday, owes more to Herbie Hancock than Skrillex in terms of influences. The first few seconds of bleeps and bloops on “Say Yeah” soon become faint flashes in the rearview mirror as this tune takes you for a stylish ride.
“Say Yeah” is danceable with a sweeping elegance that gives it a “dancing to jazz under moonlight on the beach of a posh resort” vibe. Try it on for size and see if you don’t feel like swaying with an umbrella-garnished cocktail. By the time the chorus arrives around the 2:25 mark, you’ll likely be overcome with euphoric feelings. (We know we were.) It’s from his upcoming fourth studio album, Sonderlust, out September 16th on Joyful Noise Recordings. You can pre-order it from the label here.
Le goût acide des conservateurs – “Hot Rod” (Normandy, France)
RIYL: The Wytches, Sonic Youth, The Horrors
One of the best band names this year is Le goût acide des conservateurs, which in English translates to “The acidic taste of perservatives.” While the Normandy-based trio’s name is whimsical, their music is anything but a joke. Their latest single, “Hot Rod”, is dark and gritty. Despite the melodic approach and the song never going overboard, a menacing quality lingers beneath the track. Meanwhile, frontwoman Frédérique Lélias Louvat’s whispery soft vocals offer the perfect contrast, playing the role of the spell that brings us into their claustrophobic world.
“Hot Rod” will be on the band’s forthcoming debut EP, Vision, which arrives July 22nd via Soundress. The band is comprised of Marc Levillain, Frédérique Lélias Louvat, and Yann Lélias.
Mandolin Orange – “Wildfire” (Chapel Hill, NC, USA)
RIYL: Nickel Creek, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings
No other music genre exemplifies the state of North Carolina quite like indie Americana/folk. An elastic genre, it runs the gamut from bluegrass to indie rock, with guitars and banjos its constant foundation. The only thing that pairs better than those two instruments are beautiful harmonies, which means Mandolin Orange have perfected the recipe for a classic southern sound. “Wildfire” is a gentle caress of a song, laid back and mellow to its core. If you’ve never experienced summertime in the south – especially watching the sunset through tall pines from a front porch swing – just listen to this song. It captures the southern spirit: easygoing yet determined not to repeat historical injustices that spread, as the title suggests, “like wildfire.”
Originally a duo of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, the expanded group is now larger without sacrificing the homespun intimacy of their sound. Mandolin Orange now includes drummer Kyle Keegan, Clint Mullican on bass, and Josh Oliver providing vocals, guitars, and keys.
“Wildfire” is from their fifth studio album, Blindfaller, the follow-up to last year’s Such Jubilee. It’s due September 30 via Yep Roc Records with pre-orders offered from the label, Amazon, and iTunes.
Panda Riot – “June 20th” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Dream Boat
Remember the famous line from Jerry Maguire, “You had me at hello”? Well, Chicago’s Panda Riot won us over immediately with the stunning new single, “June 20th”. We were reeled in right away with the shimmering reverb and crystalline guitars that dominate the opening seconds. Our hearts then skipped a beat and were left in the hands of frontwoman Rebecca Scott, whose lush vocals arrive at the 25-second mark. Sure, there are plenty of artists and bands who are creating some great shoegaze and have blown us away. Very few, however, have been able to successfully blend the mind-bending approach of My Bloody Valentine with the scintillating and dreamy atmospheres of Lush – that was, until Panda Riot came around.
In addition to Rebecca Scott, Panda Riot are Brian Cook, Jose Alejandro Rodriguez, and Cory Osborne.
PSYBLINGS – “Lemon Whiskey In Herbal Tea” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Temples, The Music, Black Angels
PSYBLINGS, the emerging Manchester psych rockers, have delivered a scorching sound on this new single. Clearly this is a band headed for shows at packed arenas. It may take a few years, but based on the sonic fury they’ve unleashed on “Lemon Whiskey in Herbal Tea”, it won’t be long before they join the ranks of other psych rock bands like Temples and The Black Angels as festival mainstays. But give them time, since they only formed earlier this year.
This song has a subdued intensity that isn’t immediately revealed. It builds slowly, with each instrument making a separate entrance without much fanfare. Soon you realize you’ve been sucked into a maelstrom of swirling riffs and driving percussion. It’s controlled chaos that hints at what lies in store when they deliver a full album. Until that happens, you can stream this (and their newest single, “Where’s Your Moon?”) from their Soundcloud page.
PSYBLINGS are: Greg Dixon (vocals, keys), Dan Coleman (guitar), Sam Bullock (guitar), Jordan Lythgoe (bass), Ellis Cullen (drums).
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – “I’m Still Here” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Sharon Jones…for she is incomparable
Everyone who has come across Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings will tell you they became immediate fans when they heard her voice and the band’s Motown soul/R&B style. Their live performances are legendary, but it is the rags-to-riches, once-forgotten-twice-discovered story of cancer survivor Miss Jones that moves people. Later this month, we will get to know more about the soul singer as a documentary on her life will be released. Not surprisingly, Miss Jones and her band The Dap-Kings provide the original soundtrack (out on Daptone Records), and the lead single is the rapturous “I’m Still Here”. The four-minute song is a quick rundown of her life, from being raised by a single mother to working as a corrections officer at Rikers Island in New York City, to being re-discovered by The Dap-Kings despite being well into her 50s, and then beating cancer. Miss Jones is still here, and we are forever grateful for that.
View the movie trailer here. The movie will be premiered in New York City on July 29th then released nationwide in August. There will also be special screenings as part of a tour with dates listed here. Catch this inspiration and juggernaut of an artist, either on the big screen or live in concert.
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