The Saturday Sampler October 29th edition offers a balance of American and European artists whose 10 songs cover a variety of genres. We’ve got indie pop, old-school psychedelic folk and modern folk-rock plus African beats from Belgium and dazzling electronic. Dive into this playlist to discover the hidden gems that await you!
Anna Renee – “Dali” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Skott, Lana Del Rey, New Pharaohs
When multiple art forms come together it often leads to something beautiful. It leads to the creation of a product that transcends both fields, leaving one in awe and even in disbelief. The new single by multi-talented Anna Renée Robert – or simply Anna Renee – exhibits all these properties. “Dali” is a story of an illicit love affair between one of art’s geniuses, Salvador Dalí, and his muse, Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, who would later become his wife.
The song is stunning and sensual, as Robert takes us inside the moments of how this unexpected love affair developed. The production work is fantastic, giving the tune a mystical and mysterious atmosphere. Robert’s voice is delicate yet breathtaking, further enhancing the romanticism of the song. Like what Dalí achieved with “The Persistence of Memory” and “Metamorphosis of Narcissus”, Anna Renee has painted her own masterpiece.
Baloji – “Spoiler” (Belgium via Lubumbashi, Congo)
RIYL: Petite Noir, Papa Wemba, Stromae
If your knowledge of Belgian rap is limited to global sensation Stromae, allow us to introduce you to another talented artist. Baloji is the Congolese-born, Belgian-based singer/rapper whose upcoming debut album will have you brushing up on your French tout de suite. Baloji (his name means “man of science” in Swahili) combines infectious African rhythms and French folk with jazz, funk and soul to create a sound that is fresh and modern. The mood of this single is completely infectious. “Spoiler” will have you dancing immediately thanks to the electrifying tempo set by his l’Orchestra de la Katuba backing ensemble. (Baloji also directed the video!)
The next time you encounter a buzzkill, play this song. It’s about those who spoil the good times for the rest of us. He sings, “I left my worries at home,” and you will, too, when you crank this fun tune.
LADY LAMB – “See You” (Brooklyn via Brunswick, ME, USA)
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Joni Mitchell, Julia Jacklin
Whether as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper to now known as Lady Lamb, the Maine-raised Aly Spaltro has long impressed music fans, including ourselves. Her 2015 album, After, amazed us with its fearless creativity, making it one of our favorite albums of the year. So when she announced yesterday that she was releasing a new EP, needless to say we were excited.
The first single, “See You”, is another step in the evolution of Spaltro. The song is one of her most biting yet introspective numbers to date. There is a sense of vulnerability in her voice and words, particularly as she sings, “If I see you when I look in my own eyes, how could I ever despise myself again?” It is that feeling of having one’s soul being overtaken by another and wondering whether this other person will consume us or make us feel whole. The emotions that Spaltro conjures up inside us is one of the reasons why she is one of our all-time favorites.
“See You” is the lead single from Tender Warriors Club. The EP will be released on December 1st (digitally) and later on January 12 (on vinyl) via Mom + Pop Music. Lady Lamb will commence a living room tour in January and will continue right until the end of March. To apply to host or to get on the list for tickets, click here.
Kevin Morby – “Beautiful Strangers” (Los Angeles via Kansas City, USA)
RIYL: Bob Dylan, Woods, The Babies, Cass McCombs, Kurt Vile
When we shared a Kevin Morby song last month, we had no idea he would release another so soon. But the political climate in the U.S. is prompting musicians to voice their concerns about pressing issues – especially gun violence. While this song is less funky than the recent “Here in Spirit” single from My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, the message here is the same.
An ode to the victims of gun violence from Paris to Orlando, “Beautiful Strangers” reminds us that the power of love can overcome the spirit of hate. The poignant lyrics (“If I die too young / if the gunmen come / I’m full of love”) are paired with a rambling, folksy tempo. The soulful backing vocals are the perfect finishing touch that makes this song an instant classic. As an added benefit, Morby is donating all proceeds to Everytown for Gun Safety. “Beautiful Strangers” is the “We Shall Overcome” of this generation. Pete Seeger would be proud.
The Pooches – “New Years” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, Fountains of Wayne, Squeeze
It’s surprising that a band from country known for dreich weather can produce such sunny, upbeat songs. But that’s exactly the kind of feel-good music that Glasgow four-piece group The Pooches make. Equal parts Fountains of Wayne crossed with early Belle and Sebastian (with echoes of Squeeze here and there), The Pooches’ jangly indie pop is the cure for the dreariest of days. “New Years” has as many soaring hooks as their Heart Attack EP which released in January. Bright, effusive, and utterly irresistible, their self-titled full-length LP packs a joyful punch.
These guys have toured with Modern Baseball, Surfer Blood, and Hop Along, so it’s only a matter of time before this talented foursome will be playing festivals worldwide. The Pooches is out now from Lame-O Records and is available from the label’s Bandcamp page.
The Pooches are: Jimmy Hindle (vocals, guitar), Andy Kelly (guitar), Gavin Cormack (bass), and Calvin Halliday (drums).
Sad Palace – “Rainbow Melt” (Hampshire, England)
RIYL: Temples, Arctic Monkeys, Toy
If you are starting to put together a list of artists to watch in 2017, it should begin with Sad Palace. The quartet from the southern English city of Hampshire are just starting out, but their debut single, “Rainbow Melt”, is absolutely superb.
Radiating with the rambunctious indie rock of early Arctic Monkeys and the neo-psychedelia of Temples, “Rainbow Melt” is a whirlwind experience. At times, the song has you anticipating an explosive, groovy refrain but then it turns lush and trippy. Suddenly your mind turns to mush before the band livens up the song and finishes it in a glorious wave of shoegazy, crystalline guitars. Brilliant.
The Stray Trolleys – “A Bluebeat Kid” (Wivenhoe, Essex, England)
RIYL: Cleaners From Venus, The Beatles, Roxy Music
And speaking of neo-psychedelia… Back in the late ’70s, singer/songwriter and poet Martin Newell (later of Cleaners From Venus) was making gently psychedelic folk music in England. Though he may not be as well known as legends like McCartney or Plant, his talent remains time-tested. That’s one reason why his band’s self-released album Barricades and Angels is being re-issued. “A Bluebeat Kid” is from The Stray Trolleys‘ debut LP that was released in 1982. It song bridges the gap between folk and prog rock thanks to its ’60s-era psychedelic foundation enhanced by a very ’80s sax refrain. (Think late-era Beatles crossed with Roxy Music.)
“A Bluebeat Kid” is a glimpse into the early days of this influential psychedelic gardener, both musically and lyrically. Personnel on this album include Malcolm Burch on guitar, Tony Phillips on bass, and Michael “Stix” Natkanski on drums.
Thee Oh Sees – “You Will Find It Here” (San Francisco, USA)
RIYL: Black Mountain, Ty Segall
Remember when Thee Oh Sees announced they were taking some time off in December of 2013? Well, that lasted about 5 months before they released a new album, Drop. Instead of slowing down, the band continues to release music at a breakneck pace. After releasing their awesome album A Weird Exits earlier this year, the psychedelia’s royalty will share An Odd Entrances in a few weeks. The second single is “You Will Find It Here”.
The song is a massive wall of sound and indulgent trippiness. It’s like Black Mountain on Valium chased with a dozen Red Bulls. It is friggin’ amazing, which means An Odd Entrances is sure to be a mind-blowing experience.
The new album arrives November 18th via Castle Face Records. The current roster of Thee Oh Sees includes John Dwyer, Brigid Dawson, Petey Dammit, and Mike Shoun. They’ll be going on tour soon. Check their website for dates.
Valley Hush – “Iced Cream” (Detroit, USA)
RIYL: Phantogram, Matt & Kim, MGMT
The multi-faceted music from producer Alex Kaye and vocalist Lianna Vanicelli – known as Valley Hush – has diamond-like brilliance. Each listen reveals an additional glimmer of sparks, and you find yourself completely mesmerized by their finished product. The fact that they’re a duo prompts automatic comparisons to artists like Matt & Kim and Phantogram, though their sound is neither dance pop nor darker, edgy electronica. Instead, “Iced Cream” is a blissful sonic journey that is a delight from start to finish. Vanicelli’s vocals (crystalline and breezy one moment and smoky the next) will leave you in awe while the fluid beats are positively intoxicating.
whenyoung – “Actor” (London, England via Ireland)
RIYL: The Joy Formidable, Honeyblood, Alvvays
It has been a little while since we’ve heard from Irish trio whenyoung. Back in March, they electrified our ears with their fabulous B-side single, “Show Me How”. Their new single is similarly fantastic.
“Actor” is an explosive and anthemic number, emulating the sonic buzzsaw approach of The Joy Formidable. The guitar and drum work are fantastic while the vocals have a Lauren Mayberry / Holly Rankin infectiousness. While the music is great, the lyrics are even better, as the band tells the story of a person trying to be something she isn’t in order to get ahead. whenyoung aren’t just another alt-pop band; they’re a band making awesome and meaningful music.
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