The Saturday Sampler August 20th edition has Olympic fever! Well, sort of. While we don’t have any Brazilian artists, this week’s mix does feature 10 songs from pairs of international artists. We’ve got two singles from Brooklyn-based indie artists, two more from sunny U.S. cities (Miami and Los Angeles), a pair from both Norway and England, and two equally upbeat hits from Australia and Scotland. Let the musical games begin!
Allen Tate – “Being Alone” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: San Fermin, TV on the Radio, The National
Those of you who love the rich baritone of San Fermin’s Allen Tate will relish this new single from his upcoming solo debut. Exquisite in its dynamics, “Being Alone” has a subtle jazz undercurrent woven into its soulful indie rock fabric. It’s the perfect choice to showcase his individualism, since the song (and the album it’s from) were written and recorded during a more isolated time. While in Copenhagen between shows, Tate and several of his San Fermin bandmates recorded what would become Sleepwalker. Lush and lyrical, this song has the potency of a vintage wine: you’ll want to savor it and let its warmth wash over you while you reach for more. Fortunately, you won’t have to wait much longer to hear the rest. Sleepwalker is out October 28 on Votiv Records with pre-orders from Amazon and iTunes. His next show is slated for September 22 at Baby’s All Right in New York City.
Belle Mare – “Feel You Against My Heart” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Frankie Rose, Bats for Lashes, Belle Game
When Amelia Bushell (vocals/guitar/songwriter) and Thomas Servidone arrived on the scene in 2013 as Belle Mare, they captivated indie music pundits with their immersive dream-folk. Their debut extended EP (some would consider it an LP), The Boat of the Fragile Mind, was, to say it simply, stunning. After a few false starts and stops, their long-waited debut album is on the horizon. The latest single is “Feel You Against My Heart”. The song represents a departure from the band’s original sound to one that is synth-heavy but equally as tantalizing and intimate. The synths, keys, and percussion swirl in the air to create a chest-swelling soundscape. Bushell’s voice, meanwhile, feels distant at first then slowly approaches to the point she is right next you, whispering sweet nothings in your ear. If you haven’t fallen in love with Belle Mare yet, this song will steal your heart.
Belle Mare’s debut album, Heaven Forget, arrives September 30. Mark it down in your calendar.
Death By Unga Bunga – “Fight!” (Moss, Norway)
RIYL: Cloud Nothings, Ty Segall, White Denim
Death By Unga Bunga not only have one of the best names in indie rock, but they are also one of the genre’s best and hardest-working bands. The quintet are considered Norway’s answer to indie-rock luminaries Cloud Nothings and Ty Segall with their mix of garage/psychedelic rock and nonchalant attitude. DBUB’s latest single, “Fight”, is the perfect example. The blistering guitar riffs and the catchy melodies perfectly complement this party anthem about an eventful night out. Hopefully, though, your night won’t end the way the song’s story does. As frontman Sebastian sings, “Come a little closer and I’ll kick your ass for a last time. I’m never going out with you again!”
“Fight” is the lead single and title track from the band’s forthcoming EP which arrives September 9th via Jansen Plateproduksjon. They will also re-issue their debut album, Juvenile Jungle, on the same date.
Death By Unga Bunga are: Sebastian Ulstad Olsen, Preben S. Andersen, Stian S. Gulbrandsen, Even Rolland Pettersen, and Ole S. Nesse.
The Glass Children – “Do Well” (London, England)
RIYL: Boards of Canada meets The xx, DREAM BOAT
Back in 2008 when Phantogram released a handful of lush, ambient/electropop tracks (before their anthemic club/electronic sound), we thought, “This duo is going places.” We share this same sentiment for London-based duo The Glass Children. Their debut single, “Undone”, which was released as a demo two years ago, was a cinematic beauty. “Do Well”, their newest song, sees the band adopt a new approach and offer a haunting, melancholic number. The slight production and programming of David Fairweather are frighteningly beautiful while Daniella Kleovoulou’s slight yet hallowing vocals are piercing. “Do Well” is a song that will not only be ingrained in your mind but also deep into your soul. This duo is going places – big, big places.
Jacuzzi Boys – “Boys Like Blood” (Miami, USA)
RIYL: Diarrhea Planet, King Tuff, PAWS
We are big fans of Jacuzzi Boys, having followed them since their early days. What has impressed us over the years is that this band shows no signs of slowing down. Quite the contrary: they continue to make boisterous indie rock like “Boys Like Blood”, their latest badass single. The song represents a slight change in Jacuzzi Boys’ sound, learning more towards bombastic garage rock than their previous psychedelic surf rock. Despite the new approach, the song is a crowd-pleaser. (That actually might be an understatement.) “Boys Like Blood” is an anthemic track that will have people jumping, head-thrashing, and fist-pumping. It is another song made to be played, heard, and experienced live.
“Boys Like Blood” is from Jacuzzi Boys’ fourth album, Ping Pong. It drops October 21 on their Mag Mag label.
Jagwar Ma – “Give Me a Reason” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Love
“Now we’re back to the start” is more than just the opening line of the new Jagwar Ma single – it heralds another instant classic from the Australian indie psych-pop trio. Aside from their “O B 1” single released last month, we haven’t heard new material from them since their 2013 debut, Howlin’. The wait ends in October when they release their follow-up album, Every Now & Then.
“Give Me a Reason” percolates with Madchester-era synths (with a recurring bass line that echoes The Soup Dragons’ 1990 cover of The Rolling Stones’ hit “I’m Free”). It’s fun, it’s danceable, and it’s everything we’ve been waiting to hear. We love that Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa contributes percussion on nearly every song.
Every Now & Then is out October 14 on Mom + Pop Music with pre-orders at iTunes. The band kicked off a jetlag-inducing world tour (they’ll cross the Atlantic four times between now and November!) yesterday in Austria.
Jagwar Ma are: Jono Ma (synths, production), Gabriel Winterfield (vocals, guitars), and Jack Freeman (bass).
Kadhja Bonet – “Honeycomb” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Minnie Riperton, Erykah Badu, Xenia Rubinos, ANOHNI
The first few bars of “Honeycomb” will have you convinced you’ve traveled back to the 1970s. Emerging soul singer Kadhja Bonet (her first name is pronounced “kad-ya”) has a unique sound that defies classification. It’s steeped in a sultry, vintage vibe, but there’s more to it than just soul or R&B. No matter what you call it, Bonet’s vocals will amaze you. This talented artist (and alum of the 2014 Red Bull Academy of Music in Tokyo) performs violin, guitar, and flute on her upcoming debut album, The Visitor. The album was initially released last year on her Bandcamp page, but now it’s being officially released on Fat Possum Records. We think the world will soon be as mesmerized by this enchanting chanteuse as we have been.
The Lapelles – “Grab Life By” (East Kilbride, Scotland)
RIYL: Arctic Monkeys, The Last Shadow Puppets, The Strokes, Phoenix
This year has not been kind to musicians, or to music fans, for that matter. When legends like David Bowie and Prince and emerging talents like Viola Beach leave us suddenly, we feel cheated by their untimely passing. Fans of upcoming Scottish indie band The Lapelles now share that sentiment. Last weekend their frontman, Gary Watson, died early on the morning of his 22nd birthday. But instead of dwelling on the tragic loss, we choose to celebrate his talent that is on full display in their latest single, “Grab Life By”. Equally prescient and sage, this catchy number reminds us of two things: that life should be grabbed by the hand, and music this good should be played at full volume. It’s an absolutely brilliant tune.
The band performed to huge crowds at their first festival (London’s T in the Park) in July and were set to open for fellow hometown band Jesus and Mary Chain at the end of this month. Their live version of “Grab Life By” recorded in June for Tenement TV is here.
The Lapelles are: Gary Watson (lead vocals, guitar), Leon Green (lead guitar), Jack Anderson (vocals, bass), Christopher Ballantyne (synths), and Jamie Holmes (drums).
Sophie Longshaw – “In The Morning” (Sheffield, England)
RIYL: Lucy Rose, Adele, Marika Hackman
Every once in awhile, an artist arrives on the scene who just blows us away with a voice that can only be described as memorable, such as Sophie Longshaw. This week, the 20-year-old singer-songwriter released her debut single, “In The Morning”. The song is stunning and breathtaking. The simple piano is beautiful and complemented by a warm swirl of synths. Longshaw’s voice and its raw emotion draw you in where you are hanging onto every single note she sings.
The storyline is also remarkably mature and complicated. The story is not for the faint of heart, as Longshaw recalls an experience of feeling controlled and imprisoned. But with her amazing vocals, the Sheffield native entraps you, and all you can say is, “Wow!”
The single is out now on Twin Records.
Strange Hellos – “Summer” (Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: Cocteau Twins, Beach House
With summer slowly winding down, we feel it’s fitting to end on a sunny note. What better way than with this breezy new single from Strange Hellos. Don’t confuse them with the Torres song of the same name. No, they’re a new Norwegian supergroup who are making gorgeous music. We might not be familiar with all of the bands the members are from, but we’re hooked on their sound nonetheless. Their melodic shoegaze on “Summer” takes us to a carefree place full of sunshine. They were just signed to Brilliance Records and have only released two songs, this one and “Broken Teenage Heart“. Hopefully we will hear more about a full-length album soon.
Strange Hellos are: Odd Martin Skålnes (O. Martin, Aurora), Birgitta Alida Hole (Lumikide), Fredrik Vogsborg (The Megaphonic Thrift, Casiokids), and Even Kjelby (Great News).
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