Welcome to your now mid-week serving of new music cocktails! Much like Bob Geldof, I don’t like Mondays, either, so this column now comes to you on Wednesdays. Today’s artists bring a variety of styles and genres, from Swedish dream pop and Canadian psych rock to American indie folk, indie rock, and a new genre I’m calling cosmic Americana. Let’s kick things off in Scandinavia.
Denver, Colorado – “Eternal Love // Unusual Fog” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, The Raveonettes
You might expect a band named Denver, Colorado to be from, well…Colorado. Much to our surprise, this is actually one guy from Sweden. Sound engineer and musician Simeon Pappinen Hillert hails from Gothenburg, hometown to both José González and Jens Lekman. The amount of talent emerging from Gothenburg these days is impressive; the place has become a hotbed for emerging indie artists. We only wish this sound engineer had not waited so long to deliver such lush shoegaze/dream pop.
“Eternal Love // Unusual Fog” is a multi-layered gem of a song. Lively and bright but not overly spirited, this song is positively dazzling. It begins with a slight electronic flourish while the tempo remains consistent. Imagine sunlight peeking through clouds after a rain: that’s the feeling here, as though the world is awakening from darker days. The backing vocals give the song an additional ethereal value. This is a song that will fill both your head and your heart and put a smile on your face.
The debut EP, “…and it Still Keeps On Rising” is due out later this year. The band’s Soundcloud page has just this one song so far, but hopefully more tracks will be added as they are completed.
Denver, Colorado is Simeon Pappinen Hillert with Elin-Louise Ahlberg (backing vocals) and Claes Fredholm (drums).
And speaking of Denver, Colorado…that’s the current home of this next artist.
Joe Sampson w/ Nathaniel Rateliff – “Songbird” (Denver, USA)
RIYL: Iron & Wine, Ray LaMontagne, Lord Huron, Wolfie’s Just Fine
The stillness of a late summer evening is captured on this acoustic ballad from Connecticut native (now Denver-based) indie folk singer/songwriter Joe Sampson. This beautifully intimate song also features a bit of star power from an unexpected source. The usually boisterous Nathaniel Rateliff (who rose to stardom with his 2015 hit, “S.O.B.”) lends his rich vocals on harmony. With sparse instrumentation, “Songbird” instantly grabs the listener’s attention. The song shares the same striking qualities of a black-and-white photo: its natural beauty truly shines when the layers of color (or, in this case, amplification) are stripped away. That’s the heart of this artist’s appeal – simple, natural, honest storytelling through song. With talent this pure, an acoustic guitar is all that’s needed.
If you crave solace found from losing yourself in a melody, “Songbird” will lead the way. Knock on Joe Sampson’s musical door; what you’ll find on the other side is a welcome retreat. Simply put, his music feels like home. This song is from his Songs of Delay EP that released September 12 via Hidden Shoal Records. It’s available for download from his Bandcamp page while his Soundcloud page includes many tracks from his back catalog.
Soft Pyramids – “Paper Houses” (Boston, USA)
RIYL: Guster, Kevin Morby, Kyle Craft
Mellow indie rock: that vague, often misleading genre tag conjures uninspiring comparisons. It suggests the mildly interesting background tunes you hear piped through a store’s in-house stereo system while you’re shopping for khakis. In other words: functional, but not memorable.
That’s why you probably won’t hear this newest single from Boston indie rock quintet Soft Pyramids playing at the GAP anytime soon. It’s not because they’re not cool enough; that’s definitely not the case. No, it’s because the spacious warmth of this song makes you want to get outside, take a drive, and inhale fresh air. “Paper Houses” has a “breeze on your face” atmospheric quality. Their overall sound often veers into soaring psych rock territory, though this one floats comfortably in the expanse between psych and pop/rock. This is music you play when you want to exhale stress and exist in the now, even if you are wearing khaki pants.
Planes releases October 28 with pre-orders from their Bandcamp page.
Soft Pyramids are: Dwight Hutchenson (vocals, guitar), Jon Christensen (guitar), Shaun Curran (bass, vocals), Aaron Spransy (keys, vocals), and Matthew Glover (drums/percussion).
Now about that soaring psych rock…that’s exactly what we have next. From a band called Soft Pyramids we segue into a Canadian psych rock band whose new song continues the unintentional pyramid theme.
Chocolat – “Les Pyramides” (Montréal, Canada)
RIYL: Black Mountain, Desert Mountain Tribe, The Flaming Lips
It’s no secret that as a music blog begun in Canada, The Revue often highlights Canadian bands. And since we’re fans of psych rock, the news of a forthcoming Chocolat album is a welcome surprise. Recontrer Looloo – the follow-up to their 2014 album, Tss Tss – is due in November. If you’re not already a Chocolat fan, let us introduce you to them, beginning with their latest single.
“Les Pyramides” takes you on a three-minute journey across peaks and valleys of hazy, psychedelic sound. You don’t need to speak French to appreciate this band, though it will help you understand the lyrics since they don’t sing in English. Lead singer Jimmy Hunt’s vocals glide over a repeated (but not repetitious) melody that weaves its way deep into your psyche. Elements of psychedelic prog rock meld with experimental jazz riffs on this track in an effortless fluidity.
(“Les Pyramides” raviront vos sens. Peut-être c’est évident, mais nous aimons Chocolat.)
Rencontrer Looloo is out November 11 via Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records (US/rest of world), Dare to Care Records (CAN), and Teenage Menopause (BL, FR). It’s available for pre-order from the group’s Bandcamp page.
Chocolat are Jimmy Hunt (guitar, vocals), Emmanuel Ethier (guitar), Ysaël Pépin (bass), Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux (keys, sax), and Brian Hildebrand (drums).
Crushed Out – “Cool Clear Water” (New York City & Los Angeles)
RIYL: Black Lips, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Just because summer officially ends today doesn’t mean we plan to reduce our regular servings of audio sunshine. Sonic gold is exactly what the surf-punkish/ cosmic Americana indie duo Crushed Out deliver on this new single. “Cool Clear Water” is the sound of you on the first leg of an adventure, either solo or with a few trusted friends. Bold, ballsy, and scruffy around the edges, this is your soundtrack for when those IDGAF moods strike. Crushed Out’s old-school bluesy rock & roll vibe will appeal to rock purists; the duo’s sexy swagger will fuel your superhero fantasies. Blast this one and you’ll feel like the biggest badass this side of the Mississippi.
“Cool Clear Water” is from their upcoming fourth release, Alien Ocean. It’s due out September 30 on their Cool Clear Water Records with pre-orders from their PledgeMusic page. (All pre-orders get an instant digital download a full week before its official release date.)
Crushed Out are: Frankie Sunswept (guitar, lap steel, keys/synths, organ, vocals) and Moselle Spiller (drums, percussion, vocals).
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