If you need a wake up call, the Saturday Sampler September 17th edition is your answer. Ten songs occupy the mini-playlist, which includes an epic burner, several rockers, and a couple of smooth but scintillating tracks. The artists featured today are from as far away as the Middle East to the southwestern USA.
decker. – “The Holy Ghost” (Sedona, Arizona, USA)
RIYL: Band of Skulls, Black Pistol Fire, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Picture this: you’re burning rubber on a motorcycle as you race through the desert toward the setting sun. You’re hell-bent on making it to your destination before nightfall. If this scene were in a movie, the new single from Arizona singer/songwriter Brandon Decker – aka decker. – would provide the ideal soundtrack.
“The Holy Ghost” burns with a high-octane urgency. Its steady tempo and dusty desert vibe make you want to head out on the highway and feel the wind in your face. You don’t need to be a restless soul running from something to fully appreciate this song. Wherever the road takes you, you’ll be in fine company with decker. and his brand of bluesy, psychedelic rock & roll.
Living – “Risen” (Bergen, Norway via Brazil)
RIYL: Toro y Moi, Tame Impala, Tycho
Back in February, a little trio called Living caught our attention when they released the sun-drenched single “Cerulean”. The Brazilian-Norwegian band return with another delightful tune, “Risen”. The song breathes of blazing sunsets fading in the late summer evening with its warm Caribbean vibe and shimmering psychedelic undertones. Another way to think of it is a brilliant mash up of Chaz Bundick (Toro y Moi) and Kevin Parker (Tame Impala). Next week might be officially autumn, but Living have given us eternal summer with “Risen”.
MIYNT – “Birds” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: LP, Cat Power, Ofelia K
Yesterday, one of our favorite singer-songwriters finally released her debut EP. You might be wondering why we wouldn’t write a review of MIYNT‘s Ep no. 1, and it’s because we’ve shared almost every single. The Stockholm native saved the best for last with “Birds”. Like LP and Cat Power before her, MIYNT has crafted a beautiful, apologetic song of regret and desire. The melody is warm and cinematic while her soft vocals shimmer like a gentle breeze in the summer air. It is a familiar theme, but MIYNT has added a grace and sensitivity that few have matched. The song is just a glimpse into the potential of this rising star, who surely will be one of Sweden’s next great musical exports.
Modern Studies – “Dive-bombing” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura
Oh, the joy that Scottish indie pop brings! There’s something about the genre that induces feelings of blissful euphoria. Glasgow’s Modern Studies serve up an intoxicating example of chamber pop on this new single. “Dive-bombing” is the kind of song that whisks you away to another place entirely. Its dream-like vibe washes over you instantly. Lead singer Emily Scott’s ethereal vocals work their hypnotic magic, accentuated by a small orchestra’s worth of instruments. In the hands of a lesser band, the combination of double bass, cello, and a Victorian harmonium might seem excessive. With Modern Studies, each note is a study in graceful elegance, and the result is nothing short of perfect.
Swell to Great is out now via Song, By Toad Records. You can grab a copy at the group’s Bandcamp page. Their upcoming 2016 tour dates are listed on their website. Next year they’ll tour with fellow Glasgow band King Creosote.
Modern Studies are: Emily Scott, Rob St. John, Pete Harvey, and Joe Smillie.
My Invisible Friend – “Endless” (Parma, Italy)
RIYL: Explosions in the Sky, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine
Leonardo da Vinci. Michelangelo. Raphael. Titian. Caravaggio. My Invisible Friend? Like the grand masters of Italian art, this quartet from Parma create elaborate and mind-blowing pieces. Their art, though, is of the sonic variety. Like Living, they blew our minds over a year ago with “O.N.S.” Whereas “O.N.S.” had an industrial vibe, “Endless” is a post-rock/shoegaze epic. At nine minutes, this sprawling number takes you to the moon and beyond as the reverb-drenched guitars and Annalisa’s angelic vocals take control of your body and mind. We often say songs are “experiences”, and this is undoubtedly one of the most memorable.
“Endless” is taken from My Invisible Friend’s self-titled EP. It will be released on Monday, September 19th via Fuzz Club Records.
The Shondes – “Carrion Crow” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Bikini Kill, Helium, Sleater-Kinney
The most badass women in music play bass. Rock queens like the Kims (Deal and Gordon) rule the kingdom of rock alongside Este Haim, St. Vincent, and STS9’s Alanna Rocklin, to name a few. That list now includes the fierce Louisa Solomon of Brooklyn indie band The Shondes. Pure, unbridled rock & roll awaits you on this single from their brand new album, Brighton.
“Carrion Crow” also features a dynamic twist courtesy of Elijah Oberman on violin. Don’t be puzzled by a classically trained violinist in a rock band. Trust us: it works, and man, does it rock. The Shondes are a hurricane force that will cure the apathy of anyone who bemoans the lack of truly rockin’ new music. Crank this one and you’ll feel invincible. Brighton is out as of yesterday via Exotic Fever Records. You can find tour details here.
The Shondes are: Louisa Solomon (vocals, bass), Elijah Oberman (violin), Courtney Robbins (guitar), and Alex Smith (drums).
Sonic Avenues – “Future” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, Mind Spiders, Steve Adamyk Band
Montreal post-punk band Sonic Avenues know the recipe for smart indie rock: be direct, keep it simple, and play it loud. They do all that with such skill on their latest song, “Future”. Although the title of their upcoming fourth album is called Disconnector, there is no disconnect in their music. They’re more punk than power pop, and the energy they pour into this song will leave you breathless.
With its jangly riffs and retro-inspired sound (on par with The Kinks in terms of infectious hooks), this song is an adventure waiting to happen! Disconnector is out October 7 from Dirtnap Records with pre-orders from the group’s Bandcamp page and iTunes.
Sonic Avenues are: Maxime Desharnais (vocals, guitar), Sebastian Godin (guitar), Chance Hutchison (bass), and JC Niquet (drums).
Tibet – “There Is A Place” (Cardiff, Wales)
RIYL: The Strokes, The Dandy Warhols, Jet
Weekends are meant for letting go, where we throw aside our work clothes. Where we let our hair down. It is the time when we can just scream and everyone joins us. That’s how the new single by Welsh quartet Tibet makes us feel.
“There Is A Place” is an anthemic, classic indie rocker that defines what weekends are. Heck, there’s a lyric that personifies Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – “And I’ll fade away!” You will be hollering, dancing, and jumping throughout this awesome, 2½ minute track. We certainly were. If Tibet continue to create such ear-popping music, they will be the UK’s next big thing.
Zahed Sultan – “Cake & Butter” (Kuwait City, Kuwait)
It’s been a year since we first featured the talented Kuwaiti artist/producer Zahed Sultan. His musical style continues to evolve. The socio-political electronic vibe of his 2015 song “Hakatha هكذا” now sounds like it was created by an entirely different artist than the one responsible for this new single.
“Cake & Butter” finds Sultan venturing into the alt-rock genre in his own unique way. A subtle undercurrent of blues pulses through the four-minute song. It adds a nuanced tone that makes it even harder to pinpoint its exact genre. But if you’ve ever listened to Sultan before, you know he’s a chameleon of sorts, ever-changing in style. In fact, his vocals on “Cake & Butter” bear some resemblance to the Lizard King himself, The Doors’ Jim Morrison. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Zahed Sultan will change the way you think about Middle Eastern artists. This song is further proof that his is a talent you definitely should not overlook.
You can stream this song (and his earlier releases) at his Soundcloud page.
ZOHARA – “Play” (Tel Aviv, Israel)
RIYL: Lowell, Grimes, Maya Payne
ZOHARA – the project of Zohara Niddam – may be a relatively new name in global indie circles, but she is a rising star in Israel and for good reason. While she dabbles in electro- and synth-pop, she is not doing the typical music nor singing about the usual subjects. The twentysomething resident of Tel Aviv instead is offering her own unique style. Her new single, “Play”, demonstrates her creative. The arrangements are slightly oft-kilter, blending ’80s Brit-pop and New Wave with ’90s-era Japanese synth-pop. Lyrically, the song is like listening to a fairy tale, as ZOHARA pens a letter to a daydream. It is a clever track that describes every person’s fantasy – to turn the ideal of utopia into reality. For a few minutes, we are able to do that on “Play”.
The single is from ZOHARA’s forthcoming debut album Growing up Anyways (date TBA). The single is also available for immediate purchase on her Bandcamp page.
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