Welcome to your weekly serving of new music cocktails! Today we’re serving up six new songs from artists whose music shares a similar theme: powerful vocals. You may even detect the inspiration from Elliott Smith in some of these songs. Whether it’s indie folk from England and Ireland or American indie chamber pop and shoegaze, these six singles promise to be a treat for your ears. Let’s get things started with a rousing ballad from an emerging British trio.
Wildwood Kin – “Warrior Daughter” (Exeter, Devon, England)
RIYL: First Aid Kit, The Staves, Joseph
The Revue often spotlights groups with strong female harmonies, including First Aid Kit, The Staves, and Joseph. Beautiful indie folk is in their DNA – quite literally, as all three groups feature siblings. Now another equally talented group of relatives has emerged on the indie folk scene: Wildwood Kin. A trio of two sisters and a cousin, the group’s sound is powerful and passionate. Their newest single is, quite simply, a force of nature.
“Warrior Daughter” captures the empowerment instilled in a daughter by a mother: “though i made you gentle for a time / your spirit’s strong enough to fight.” The harmonies of the Key sisters, Beth and Emilie, along with their cousin Meghann Loney, will take your breath away. From the intense intro to the subdued bridge, every note of this song is a rousing battle cry for female strength. It’s obvious what landed the group invites to play this year at Glastonbury and Cambridge Folk Festival. Their fierceness, both musically and lyrically, is refreshing and inspiring.
“Warrior Daughter” is available now on iTunes. They plan to release an EP next month; their 2015 debut EP, Salt of The Earth, is available from their website and iTunes. Their European tour begins this Thursday in London.
Wildwood Kin are: Emillie Key (guitar, vocals), Beth Key (keys, bouzouki, percussion, vocals), and Meghann Loney (drums, vocals).
The Wytches – “Hannover Square” (Peterborough, England)
RIYL: Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, The Amazing, The Pack A.D.
It’s been just over a year since British psych rock trio The Wytches released the sonic fury that was their EP Thunder Lizard’s Reprieve. As if they sensed our anxious impatience, they’re set to deliver a follow-up at the end of the month. All Your Happy Life may sound like it will be a collection of upbeat surfer rock, but c’mon – this is The Wytches we’re talking about. Based on this single, it’s a safe bet that the album will sound more like a wild midnight acid trip at the beach. The album’s first single, “C-Side”, is the louder, in-your-face counterpart to the subdued vibe of this track.
“Hannover Square” elicits justifiable comparisons to Elliot Smith in terms of introspective moodiness. (It bears noting that frontman Kristian Bell’s vocals and phrasing are eerily reminiscent of Smith’s here.) The song flows in a hazy dream state of psychedelic-tinged layers. Chances are you’ll feel quite mellow upon its conclusion. Due to its trippy, calming effects, listeners should exercise caution whilst operating heavy machinery afterwards.
All Your Happy Life is out September 30 via Heavenly Recordings with pre-orders from the label. The Wytches will play London’s Psych Festival on September 24 followed by nine UK tour dates in November.
The Wytches are: Kristian Bell (vocals, guitar), Daniel Rumsey (bass), Mark Breed (guitar, keys), and Gianni Honey (drums).
Bellows – “Thick Skin” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stephens, Death Cab for Cutie
What do you get when you combine the best elements of Elliott Smith, Modest Mouse, and Bon Iver? This isn’t a rhetorical riddle; the question actually has an answer. What you get is Brooklyn indie artist Oliver Kalb – aka Bellows. On this single from his forthcoming third LP, Fist & Palm, Bellows creates bright, multi-faceted dream pop with lyrics that belie its surface charm.
Poetic phrases like “I saw an ending in your face” and “I’ve grown so thick skinned lately that I want to cry” exude the melancholy of Elliott Smith set to a more jovial tempo. Call it salubrious sorrow or joyful desolation, but “Thick Skin” will make you do anything but cry.
The musical therapy of Fist & Palm also features some of Kalb’s indie musician friends lending support, including Felix Walworth (of Told Slant, a project that Kalb plays guitar for) on drums and Gabrielle Smith (of Eskimeaux) on violin.
Marissa Nadler – “The Best You Ever Had” (Boston, USA)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Julianna Barwick
We last featured a new Marissa Nadler single back in February when her seventh album, Strangers, album was due in May. Not one to rest on her talented laurels, Nadler is now preparing to release yet another album this year. The forthcoming Bury Your Name is an eight-song companion piece to Strangers that features home recordings made during the Strangers sessions. “The Best You Ever Had” is a serene acoustic ballad with layers of harmony that soar at a languid pace.
Nadler is an artist of unparalleled talent. She creates hauntingly beautiful original music and equally mesmerizing covers (last year’s rendition of Black Sabbath’s “Solitude” and her 2014 cover of Father John Misty’s “Hollywood Forever Cemetery” are both must-hear tracks!), so the lush depth of this song will surprise no one. What is surprising is that she is not a universally recognized artist with a long list of awards. Surely it’s just a matter of time before the rest of the world loves her as much as us we do at The Revue.
Bury Your Name is scheduled for release on September 23 via Sacred Bones Records. It’s available for pre-order from her Bandcamp page. Her autumn U.S. tour starts September 25 in Boston and runs through mid-November.
Feather Beds – “Play Dead” (Montreal, Canada via Dublin, Ireland)
RIYL: Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens
Michael Orange has been making lushly beautiful indie shoegaze under the name Feather Beds for several years now. While he hasn’t yet achieved the same level of recognition as indie artists like Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes, his music shares much of their ambient charm. Take this new single, “Play Dead”, for example: your ears will delight in the warm, atmospheric layers that float with gossamer grace. The song evokes imagery of sunlight peeking through a canopy of evergreens. Its peaceful tranquility paired with its steady tempo creates quite a breathtaking aural treat.
You can find this song on the Feather Beds Soundcloud page. His follow-up album to last year’s The Skeletal System should be out later this year. His Bandcamp page includes his back catalog of more electronic-oriented music. Either way, this Irish singer/songwriter is an artist to watch whose talent deserves far more recognition than he’s received.
And speaking of Ireland, here’s another emerging band to watch. Their songs are so new that they’re not even on the group’s SoundCloud page. That’s why we’re sharing their brand-new video which was released just yesterday. Stay tuned for more from this talented group as soon as we have more info about an album.
The Ocelots – “Lover I Need You” (Wexford, Ireland)
RIYL: Damien Rice, Glen Hansard
From humble beginnings comes great success for many Irish street buskers. Renowned performers like Damien Rice and Glen Hansard (not to mention Hothouse Flowers) can trace their career paths back to their days busking on Dublin’s Grafton Street. It will be no surprise when a currently unsigned duo from Wexford experiences similar success. Their talent – on par with Hansard, for certain – is highlighted in this single. It’s jaw-droppingly brilliant.
“Lover I Need You” might be the first you’ve heard of The Ocelots, but it certainly won’t be the last. Based on this one song, teenage twin brothers Ashley and Brandon Watson offer a glimpse into what promises to be a stellar career. They first began playing together whilst in school, which led to street busking and playing in pubs. Earlier this month they performed at Ireland’s Electric Picnic festival, which hopefully will lead to more festival invitations throughout Europe and North America.
Their recently completed EP is due out later this year. To say we’re excited is a gross understatement!
The Ocelots are: Ashley Watson (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Brandon Watson (vocals, harmonica).
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