Welcome to this week’s first serving of new music cocktails! We’re feeling relaxed now that summer days are at last getting slightly shorter and cooler. Today’s six singles reflect that mellower state of mind with a tone that’s neither too loud nor too heavy. Let’s ease into Monday with some all-American indie folk harmonies before diving into the rest.
Joseph – “Blood & Tears” (Portland, OR USA)
RIYL: First Aid Kit, Lucius
We first featured the indie folk-pop trio Joseph in May with the lead single (“White Flag”) from their new album. Now that I’m Alone, No You’re Not is due out this Friday, we’re thrilled to share a second harmonic home run. Portland-based siblings really knock it out of the park with “Blood & Tears.” It is yet another example of the smart, emotion-driven songs these three sisters do best. Refreshingly organic – that’s one way to describe their sound. One listen will charm you; repeated listens will convince you that Joseph are one of the most promising and talented new groups on tour today.
Joseph has performed at several U.S. festivals this year, including Bonnaroo, Pickathon, and Sasquatch. Their North American tour continues through the end of October before they head to Europe in November supporting Michael Kiwanuka.
I’m Alone, No You’re Not (produced by Mike Mogis, who has worked with the likes of Jenny Lewis and First Aid Kit) releases August 26 on ATO Records. You can pre-order it from Amazon, iTunes, and their website.
Joseph are: Allison, Meegan, and Natalie Closner.
Pavo Pavo – “Wiserway” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Grizzly Bear, Beach House, Flaming Lips
Brooklyn-based five piece indie dream-pop group Pavo Pavo capture a psychedelic summer vibe here on their newest single, “Wiserway.” Drenched in warm sunset hues, this song floats with carefree ease marked by trippy organ tones awash in layers of Beatles-esque harmonies. Their sound has a depth and maturity usually found only in veteran bands, which technically they are. The three core members (Nolan Green, Oliver Hill, and Eliza Bagg) spent five years together as Plume Giant before closing that chapter last year and regrouping with two new members as Pavo Pavo.
Pavo Pavo are: Eliza Bagg (vocals, violin, synth), Oliver Hill (vocals, guitar, synth), Nolan Green (vocals, guitar), Ian Romer (bass), and Austin Vaughn (drums).
Black Marble – “Woods” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: LCD Soundsystem, Dan Deacon, Aphex Twin
Indie electro/synthpop outfit Black Marble – the creative outlet of formerly New York-based artist Chris Stewart – releases his second album next month. Fans of Stewart’s work probably know he is now based in Los Angeles. Location isn’t the only thing that has changed for Stewart: his upcoming It’s Immaterial album, the follow-up to 2012’s A Different Arrangement, is his first on Ghostly International.
“Woods” is fluid, dynamic electronic pop with bright synth flourishes that call to mind electronic juggernauts M83. Just as Black Marble started out as a creative outlet for Stewart, “Woods” is the soundtrack to creativity you probably didn’t even realize you needed. It’s inspiring with subdued vocals that whisper in your ear. Sometimes restrained vocals give a song an added element of ambient balance. Stewart’s focus here is more on the music than the vocals, so you can definitely lose yourself in this song while keeping the creative fires stoked.
Marching Church – “Heart of Life” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Iceage, Choir of Young Believers, Destroyer
What do you get if you cross The Clash with Destroyer and Choir of Young Believers? If this unlikely pairing were possible, it would probably sound a lot like Danish indie/post-punk band Marching Church.
Lead by Iceage’s Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (whose vocals at times resemble Joe Strummer’s) and an expansive roster of supporting members, Marching Church bridges the gap between old-school punk and modern-era indie pop/rock. This isn’t straightforward punk. This isn’t the kind of music that makes you want to thrust a defiant fist in the air, nor does it lack substance characteristic of some indie rock. “Heart of Life” transcends genres much like Dan Bejar’s Destroyer: it flirts with genres yet refuses to be categorized. Its restrained energy pulses with polished sophistication, leaving us in full anticipation of the full album.
Marching Church include: Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Anton Rothstein, Kristian Emdal, Bo Høyer Hansen, Frederikke Hoffmeier, Cæcilie Trier, Asger Hartvig, Sonja La Bianca, Alex Zhang Hungtai, Jakob Emil Lamdahl Pedersen, and Johan Suuhrballe Wieth.
Daniel Woolhouse – “Map of the Moon” (London, England)
RIYL: Bon Iver, Bright Eyes, How to Dress Well
Daniel Woolhouse (fka Deptford Goth) is often described as the British Bon Iver. Sure, his style bears sonic parallels to Justin Vernon. Both artists create intimate music full of yearning that speaks to the heart and soul. Both of these bearded artists wear multiple hats as singers, songwriters, and producers. If the similarities far outweigh the differences between the two, we’re not complaining.
Woolhouse’s “Map of the Moon” caresses the ears with gentle melodies that elicit contended sighs while it plays and again when it is over. The lush layers of its five-plus minute length will make you think time has stood still. It’s just that soothing. Don’t be surprised if this song compels you to spend a contemplative evening gazing at the night sky, either alone or with someone you love.
Middle Kids – “Your Love” (Sydney, Australia)
RIYL: The Jezebels, Bec Sandridge, Boy & Bear
The wealth of great music coming out of Australia lately is making our heads spin! Sydney-based indie trio Middle Kids released a new single on Friday, and we’ve been playing it non-stop since. The jangly guitars give it a bit of a vintage vibe, as do lead singer Hannah Joy Fitz’s commanding vocals. The song’s foundation is pure indie rock, but there’s an element of dream pop in its production that makes this an irresistibly delicious single. The talent runs deep here, and we’re hooked. Look no further than Middle Kids (especially the closing lyric “Sometimes I want to give up on it all but then I feel your love”) if your life needs a foot-tapping, smile-inducing, soul-reviving boost.
They’re currently on tour in the U.S. with a show tomorrow at New York City’s Mercury Lounge and on Thursday in Los Angeles at The Echo. Their forthcoming EP is due soon on Mirror Music Group.
Middle Kids are: Hannah Joy Fitz, Tim Fitz, and Harry Day.
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