The Saturday Sampler September 10th features exactly 10 songs designed to move you from head to toe. Whether it’s chill electronica from Seattle or funky world beats from South Africa, these singles are the soundtrack for all of your weekend activities. Check back tomorrow when these songs will join the other hidden gems we’ve featured this week in our Weekend Showcase.
Ainslie Wills – “Drive” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: The Jezebels, Teeth & Tongue, FEW BITS
Earlier in the week, Noisey shared an article concerning Norway replacing Sweden as the new capital of indie pop. While we are strong proponents of Norwegian artists, Australia should not be overlooked. Just this week, we’ve featured a bevy of Aussie artists – Teeth & Tongue, Bloodhounds On The Trail, The Ocean Party, and Wild Meadows. This doesn’t account for the likes of indie darlings Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Dick Diver, or some of our favorites such as The Belligerents and Bec Sandridge. Furthering the case for Australia is Ainslie Willis.
Willis and her creative partner Lawrence Folvig are already favorites within the Australian and UK indie circle. Their music has also been featured on Triple-J and BBC, so the buzz behind the duo is real. Willis’ new single, “Drive”, is a great introduction to their progressive pop sound. Like a great cinematographer, Willis and Folvig take us on a beautiful and dramatic journey. Calm and captivating at the start, “Drive” unfurls into a wall of scintillating guitars, heart-pounding rhythms, and Willis’ vocals hollering in the background. This is the rare track that will cause your heart to race and leave you catching your breath at the end. What a wonderful ride “Drive” is.
The song is taken from Ainslie Willis’s forthcoming EP, Oh The Gold. It will be released on September 30th.
Bloodboy – “Keep Your Disease” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Karen O, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bec Sandridge
Just like how she conquered the fierce waves as a champion surfer, Lexie Papilion is masterfully weaving her way through the indie music world as Bloodboy. Her previous songs were rambunctious pop numbers, including her deliciously melodic last single, “Hey Kid”. For her latest single, she channels her inner rock goddess.
“Keep Your Disease” is a monster of a track. An absolute mind-warping epic that mixes post-punk brashness and art-rock euphoria, the song echoes Karen O and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s brilliance. It is highly infectious, immensely gritty, and full of attitude. Like her previous songs, Papilion once again finds a not-so-subtle yet clever way to say “fuck off” to those who have either hurt or used her. This awesome song, though, will have you saying, “Fuck yeah!”
Papilion’s debut album is expected this fall, at which time she will likely be crowned as indie music’s next great champion.
Cheshires – “Wish Something Would Happen” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Remy Zero, Guster, The Dandy Warhols
“In the old days when the world was young and bright,” an indie alternative band called Remy Zero ruled the ‘90s-era college rock airwaves. They opened for Radiohead before they had released their first album. You’ve probably heard their music on movie soundtracks or TV shows. But sadly, Fate interfered and the band dissolved in 2003. Fast-forward to next week when three core members of the band release their self-titled debut album under their new name, Cheshires.
“Wish Something Would Happen” is a melodic indie pop gem that will delight longtime Remy Zero fans and charm the newly converted. Bright and soaring, this single strikes the perfect musical balance. The wistful chord changes keep it from veering into pedestrian pop territory while the lyrics reflect hard-earned wisdom. This is smart indie pop/rock for realists, not starry-eyed teens. Simply put, Cheshires have us eating out of their hands as they flash a sly grin.
Cheshires releases next Friday with pre-orders at iTunes.
Cheshires are: Shelby Tate/aka Remy Zero (vocals, guitar), Louis Schefano (vocals, drums), Leslie van Trease (guitar, bass, drums).
Eric Krasno – “Waiting on Your Love” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Soulive, Lettuce, Gary Clark, Jr., The Roots
You know that feeling you get when you hear a song so good it makes your jaw drop? That was our reaction when we first cranked this new single from jazz/funk master Eric Krasno. The acclaimed Grammy-winning producer and songwriter is best known as a guitarist for Soulive and Lettuce – two groups he co-founded back in the ‘90s. He’s written songs for other artists; now he’s singing his own tunes.
His debut solo album, Blood From a Stone, is a star-studded production featuring several of his friends, including Derek Trucks, Soulive, Lettuce, and The London Souls. Now that he’s released an album where his vocals are on display, we have to wonder: what took so long? Whatever the reason, we’re thrilled with the funky, soulful result. It’s as if he’s channeling Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia on “Waiting on Your Love”, and we are blown away.
Blood From a Stone is out now via his Feel Music Group and available from his website plus Amazon and iTunes. Krasno’s current U.S. tour (including some dates with Phil Lesh, Dumpstaphunk, and Marco Benevento) is underway now through late November.
Favela Ninjas – “Kameha Monday” (Pretoria, South Africa)
RIYL: Moby, Tame Impala, Toro y Moi
The best surprises are the ones you don’t expect. That’s what we think anyway. A prime example is a brand new duo from Pretoria, South Africa called Favela Ninjas, which just popped on our SoundCloud feed. The project started last month and involves multi-instrumentalist Raimund Nel and producer/DJ Nelson Matlaila, who joined forces to advance an initiative they call African Contemporary Lounge. We won’t pretend to know what this means, but their latest single, “Kameha Monday”, indicates a fusion of multiple influences.
There is a clear downtempo element with Matlaila’s sooth and breezy production work, which is akin to Chaz Bundick (Toro y Moi). Nel’s guitar work has a psychedelic tinge, where the recurring riff echoes Tame Impala’s “Let It Happen”. Then there are the groovy but spatial beats, which are Moby-esque. The product is a sound that transcends anything currently out there in the instrumental and electronic spaces. “Kameha Monday” is just pure gold. Follow these guys!
By the way, from what we could find, Kameha means duality of personalities, where a person can be happy at one time and then suddenly upset and depressed. Moody might be a synonym, although this song is anything but.
Icarus – “I Can’t Hide” (Athens, Greece)
RIYL: Elliott Smith, Father John Misty, The Tallest Man on Earth
Another in the “surprise” category is Greek newcomer Icarus, the project of Andrew Lovely. What immediately strikes you is his voice. It is one that will melt even the coldest heart and brightened up the gloomiest of days. Lovely’s whispery and delicate vocals are akin to Elliott Smith, yet at the most dramatic moments he channels Joshua Tillman (Father John Misty).
Early in the summer, Lovely released his debut album, The Projector. From it comes the beautiful and tender “I Can’t Hide”. The instrumentation is stripped back and minimalist, giving it a bedroom intimacy. The songwriting on this track is superb, mimicking the introspective and honest storytelling of Smith. For instance, Lovely reveals:
Everything I say is a lie
Everything I have is a lie
It’s all lies!
What a voice. What a talent. Soon, people will be writing stories about Andrew Lovely. For now, hear the endearing The Projector in its entirety on SoundCloud.
Maddie Ross – “Cruel Is The Love” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Liz Phair, Sadie Dupuis, Waxahatchee
Everyone knows about the Laurel Canyon neighborhood that in the ’60s and ’70s birthed some of the greatest singer-songwriters. Could this phenomenon be occurring again in Los Angeles? Currently there is a group of musicians, some of whom graduated from the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, who are growing together and creating awesome new music.
From that group is Maddie Ross, who together with Caitlyn Notey and Madison Scheckel, formed Identical Triplets (the trio graced our pages back in October with their perfectly creepy single “Wolfcop”). Their individual solo projects, however, have been their focus with each one taking on a specific genre. For Ross, she is not reinventing Laurel Canyon-era folk and folk-rock music. Instead, she is looking towards ’90s-era indie rock as inspiration, as heard on her new single, “Cruel Is The Love”.
This little punk-pop gem sounds blissful and like ear candy at first. But as it progresses and as you listen more carefully to the lyrics, there is a cantankerous bite in the song and Ross’ delivery. It’s a clever formula – draw in listeners with a catchy melody, but then blow them away with real, honest lyrics. The approach reminds us of the forerunners of infectious, biting pop-rock music – Liz Phair.
Pip Blom – “Taxi Driver” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: Courtney Barnett, Lucia Fontaine, Zuzu
Since Courtney Barnett burst on the scene in 2013, many young women have followed in her footsteps and started creating sometimes whimsical but often thoughtful for music. We have profiled a few of them like Great Profile, Zuzu, and Lucia Fontaine. The next one is Dutch teenager Pip Blom.
The 19-year old from Amsterdam has already released several singles, performing all the instruments and producing all of her songs. The young woman is a huge talent. Her new single, “Taxi Driver”, is not only impressive but pretty awesome. The song has a Barnett vibe with the catchy melodies and the oft-kilter story about the manners and habits of a taxi driver in Amsterdam. Specifically, Blom shares the experience that we’ve all encountered before – the cab driver who refuses to take a certain route because “he knows all the shortcuts”.
Blom will be releasing her debut EP, Are We There Yet?, on September 28th. Given the record’s title, we wonder what other traveling or transportation experiences she will share. We hope there is one about a bus being driven by Sandra Bullock.
Secret School – “New Language” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Atoms For Peace, M83, Hammock
When life causes your stress levels to skyrocket, it’s wise to have several go-to artists who can provide music therapy. Seattle ambient/electronic artist Andrew Sutherland – aka Secret School – is one you can add to your list. He has an uncanny ability to make transcendent music that stimulates your senses while also soothing your soul. This is not “background noise” that washes over you the way some chill ambient does. No, this single from his new album, Heal, is like your morning java jolt in reverse. With its eclectic intro and lush, atmospheric layers, it maintains a steady pace that gradually soars into a hypnotic groove. By the time its four minutes have passed, you’ll feel more inclined to exhale stress and inhale blissful calm.
Tiny Dinosaurs – “Shut Out The Light” feat. Peter Silberman of The Antlers (Los Angeles, USA via Cannes, France)
RIYL: Sharon Van Etten, Julien Baker, Sufjan Stevens
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” ~Vince Lombardi
We have all encountered moments in our lives where we have fallen and been knocked down to our knees. But for Julie Jay, she overcame improbable odds to get to where she is today. Yet through her project Tiny Dinosaurs and the support of friends like Sharon Van Etten, she did not lay on the mat. She instead took charge.
The native of Cannes, France is now about to release a two-part EP. The first volume, Awake, will be released on October 21st. As she explains, “(T)he project was born after a traumatic surgery that led to a coma. I had no idea if I was ever going to get my voice back to normal, let alone my singing voice. As soon I woke up from the coma, I asked my sister to bring me my guitar at the hospital and started writing songs.”
The lead single from the new project is “Shut Out The Light”. Despite the stunning, melancholic alt-folk approach and the beautiful, sullen atmosphere, the song is gut-wrenching and soul crushing. The song is shrouded in memory and fear, as Jay simultaneously pays tribute to someone she has lost and relives the pain of the past. Whether the person whom Jay sings about is someone dear or a part of her that was lost is a mystery. One thing, however, is very clear: Jay sings with the quiet conviction of a person who will overcome anything. With “Shut Out The Light”, Jay has given us a captivating anthem for moving forward.
The song also features The Antlers’ Peter Silberman, whose voice provides a soothing complement to Jay’s haunting vocals.
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