We’ve truly gone global for the Saturday Sampler December 10th new music edition. Nine songs from nine countries are featured today. From stirring, introspective numbers to shoegaze-y goodness, there’s something for pretty much everyone.

Aly Tadros – “Your Escape” (Brooklyn via Laredo, TX, USA)

RIYL: Fiona Apple, Norah Jones

It’s one thing to have lyrics like “I’ve got the red dress / if you’ve got the time” to conjure visual imagery. It’s another to deliver those lyrics with a come-hither whisper that sends a shiver up your spine. You’ll be muttering lots of “oohs” when you hear “Your Escape”, the sexy new song from soulful “anti-folk” singer/songwriter Aly Tardos. This isn’t your average folk music, because Tardos isn’t your average folk singer. This half-Egyptian, half-Texan singer has a sultry sound you won’t soon forget. Combine the warmth of Norah Jones with the smoldering appeal of Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel, and you’ve got Aly Tadros.

The first thirty seconds of “Your Escape” set the tone for this slow-burning single. But when Tardos utters the line “I want some mischief” just before the swell of strings begins, you know you’ve found your new music crush. This is sensual music that hits you with all the delicious potency of a fine whiskey. If your cold winter evening needs some heat, this is the only song you need. Escape into its lush, seductive layers, then head over to the artist’s Bandcamp page to grab the album. Hungry Ghost is also available from Amazon and iTunes.

Aly Tadros (guitar, vihuela) is joined on the album by Amy Kang (cello), Caitlin Mahoney (backing vocals), Rebekah Durham (backing vocals, violin), Alex Minier (upright bass), and Cody Rahn (drums, percussion).

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Chain Wallet – “Faded Fight” (Bergen, Norway)

RIYL: Caveman, Wild Nothing, Beach Fossils

We cover hundreds of Scandinavian artists each year, because countries like Norway produce amazing music faster than we can hear it all. The only downside to this is our inability to cover it all when it first releases. That’s the case with emerging indie pop band Chain Wallet. Their debut album has been out for a few months, but it somehow escaped our notice in August. One thing is certain: you can’t help but notice what a gem “Faded Fight” is!

Between the shimmering synths and sun-kissed vocals, you might think this group hails from a warmer climate like southern California. Dream pop with an ’80s current like this song is nothing new. The retro, synth-heavy trend has been big in 2016, not that we’re complaining. What makes this song so infectious is its balance of upbeat music with melancholy lyrics. Fans of modern indie bands with a retro-inspired sound (Caveman) and their influences (The Church, Echo and the Bunnymen) will be delighted at the fresh brilliance of Chain Wallet. There’s a reason these guys have been invited to play SXSW next year: it’s clear they are talents with a bright future ahead of them.

Their self-titled debut album is out via Jansen Plateproduksjon and is available from iTunes.

Chain Wallet are: Stian Iversen, Christian Line, and Frode Boris with support from Marius Erster Bergesen, Adrian Søgnen, and Lars Finborud.

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L CON – “Form Of Space” (Toronto, Canada)

RIYL: Portishead, Massive Attack, Archive

There is no question that Canada’s music scene has reached a level it has never experienced before. Whether it is pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, electronic, or adult contemporary, Canadians are among the top-selling artists and constant occupiers of the Billboard Charts. The country, however, has not produced a talent akin to the cinematic and widescreen exploits of Portishead, Massive Attack, and Archive. That is until now.

L CON is a Toronto-based collective that is the brainchild of the multi-talented and entrepreneur Lisa Conway. In October, their debut album, Moon Milk, was released, and its highlight is the “Form Of Space”. Like the aforementioned legendary groups, L CON deliver a song that is majestic and mind-altering in its delivery and breathtaking, intoxicating, and dreamy in its effect. “Form Of Space” is not just a trip; it is a visceral experience to behold.

Moon Milk is out via Conway’s own label Wildlife Sanctuary Sound Recordings, and it can be purchased on Bandcamp.

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Rebekka Karijord – “The Orbit” (Stockholm, Sweden via Norway)

RIYL: Cat Power, Cate Le Bon, Hannah Georgas

Plenty of artists have crafted a career of writing music for plays, musicals, operas, and dance, but rarely do audiences recognize for their work. It is not a surprise, as such, to see dozens of songwriters emerge from behind the curtain and release their own solo material. Scandinavian music and composer Rebekka Karijord is one of them.

For nearly two decades, she has written and scored music for more than 30 theatre and dance productions. In that time, she has intermittently released music on her own, but in 2009 she began to primarily focus on her solo career. Since then, instead of her music being shared on stage, her songs have been placed on BBC and ABC (the US station) programmes. The next medium she aims to conquer is the radio, and her new single, “The Orbit, could very well be her mainstream breakthrough.

The song is simultaneously a theatrical production and a euphoric pop tune. Its jittery, piano-driven melody is body swaying and verges on euphoric, but these feelings are offset by Karijord’s deep vocals and the tribal-like percussion-work. As “The Orbit” reaches its zenith, the drama and suspense intensify, as Karijord repeatedly reminds her prey that she is always watching. Pretty soon, everyone will be watching her.

“The Orbit” is the lead single from Rebekka Karijord’s new record Mother Tongue, which will be released January 27th, 2017 via Control Freak Kitten Records.

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Roni V – “Confetti” (Tel Aviv, Israel)

RIYL: Lana Del Rey, Lee Triffon, Katie Dey

Remember everyone’s disappointment regarding Sam Smith’s song for the last James Bond movie, Spectre? Let’s be honest, it wasn’t very good. So if the executives at Pinewood Studios are already searching for an artist who could write the theme song for the next installment of 007, they should look no further than the Israeli newcomer Roni V.

A week ago, the singer-songwriter released her debut single, “Confetti”. The track beautifully blends dark pop with downtempo textures to create a futuristic vision of a Bond song. It’s dramatic, cinematic, and gripping, as Roni V with her sultry vocals tells a tale of a November escapade. What an introduction to a young artist with tremendous potential.

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Silver Rose – “Take Me Home” (Mexico City, Mexico)

RIYL: The Jesus and Mary Chain, David Bowie, Shana Falana

Very few artist introductions make us go, “Hello!”, but that was the reaction when we accidentally came across Silver Rose‘s single, “Take Me Home”. After doing some research and learning she has established a sizable following in her native country of Mexico, we were left pondering the question, “How come we didn’t know about her before?” We’ve received submissions from some 15,000+ artists this year, yet it took scanning SoundCloud to discover this talent.

Less than two months ago, Silver Rose released her self-titled debut EP which consists of Spanish and English songs. The six songs, though, are founded on ’80s- and ’90s-inspired shoegaze and dreamgaze with My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins, and How to Bury Strangers being noticeable influences. The EP’s star, though, is “Take Me Home”. The song radiates with the blistering charm of The Jesus and Mary Chain while, if you listen closely, the melody has dashes of Bowie’s “Heroes”. Meanwhile, the project’s mastermind Carla M. Sari’s vocals are stunning, elevating the song to daydreaming heights. So good. Just so, so good.

To hear the rest of the EP, head on over to Spotify and SoundCloud.

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Totally – “Falling Apart” (London, England)

RIYL: Bonnie Tyler, Chris Isaak, Kim Wilde

At what point can one say a song is perfection? Can it occur after a single listen or does it need to stand the test of time? Categorizing a song in such a manner is obviously subjective, but the latest single by Totally comes awfully close to being perfect.

“Falling Apart” is stunning. It possesses the intimacy of the ’80s, particularly with co-frontwoman Jade’s vocals reaching a Bonnie Tyler-level of transcendence. The lo-fi approach, the radiant chords of the electric guitar, the pulse-like rhythms, and the cool, whispery harmonies combine to create a breathtaking and deeply immersive soundscape. “Falling Apart” is heartbreaking yet endearing, and you’ll have trouble keeping yourself together as you listen to the lyrics.

Waves crash around me.
My body is out to sea. My mind is out to sea.
So if you’re gonna sail away from me,
Now come back and set me free.
You’ve got my heart up in your nave,
And now I’m full of regret.

What a powerful introduction to a relatively new group. 2017 should be a tremendous year for Jade, Laurel, Fliss, Franny, and Susan. 2016 ended on a high for them, as the the single is out now via Art is Hard Records.

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TomLark – “WILL” (Christchurch, New Zealand)

RIYL: Daywave, Postal Service, Washed Out

Another one to file under the “surprise” category is New Zealand genre-bending artist TomLark. His earlier works, including his debut EP which was released two years ago, leaned more towards the alt-pop side. Think Conan Mockasin meets Mac DeMarco. For one of his more recent singles, however, TomLark opted to change course, setting aside the classical instruments in favor of a synthesizer and digital elements. The result is a single that is perfect for the New Zealand summer months.

“WILL” is an easy, breezy song, possessing the warm and soothing soundscapes created by Daywave and Washed Out. Yet beneath the summery vibes is a song about hope and perseverance. A song that reminds us that better days are ahead.

TomLark has another new single out, called “DONNA GRADUATES”, which is more typical of his previous work.

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The Valkarys – “Crazy Shoes” (Edinburgh, Scotland)

RIYL: Psychic Ills, Christian Bland & The Revelators, The Coral

There is nothing quite like discovering a band that makes your ears perk up, that gives you goose bumps, and that just makes you sigh in utter contentment. Discovering that band and then getting to share that joy is what drives this post.

While The Valkarys hail from Edinburgh, Scotland, you would never guess that here, and though they typically have a strong bent toward psych/garage rock, it’s their fascination with spaghetti westerns that flavors their new EP, Since I Was Fifteen. On their new track, “Crazy Shoes”, an acoustic guitar tune, they show their range and ability to strip things down. Though acoustic, this number is anything but simplistic. An addition of pedal steel adds to the longing, plaintive notes of the song. Scott Dunlop lets his honesty and earnestness come shining through. Further into the tune some tambourine kicks in, giving off some sparks and adding to the layering. This is just a gorgeous song that I have listened to on repeat along with the rest of the EP.

“Crazy Shoes” is on The Valkarys’ second EP, Since I Was Fifteen. It is available via Wrong Way Records. The Valkarys are: Scott Dunlop (guitar/lead vocals), Sarah Ross (vocals/percussion), Kier Lavin (guitar), Stephen Paget (bass), and Wayne Hoy (drums).

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