Your mid-week serving of new music cocktails should help steal your focus from all that’s going on in the world. Today we’re dishing out six scorching new tracks, including alt-rock from established artists plus some softer fare from emerging bands. Dive in and give your senses a much-deserved oodingeak.
Mark Lanegan Band – “Nocturne” (Ellensburg, WA, USA)
RIYL: Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Queens of the Stone Age
The latest single from Mark Lanegan Band is a swirling maelstrom of brooding chords. “Nocturne” is the first we’ve heard from Gargoyle, Lanegan’s upcoming solo 11th album. This follow-up to his 2014 Phantom Radio features his frequent collaborators and fellow bandmates from his previous projects (Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and Afghan Twigs’ Greg Dulli). Track titles like “Emperor” and “Drunk on Destruction” seem especially apropos for today’s political climate.
There’s an edginess to this song that gets under your skin from the start. The ominous intro sets the pace and grabs you by the neck. It will sinks its fangs into you if you’re a fan of Queens of the Stone Age, Nick Cave, or Tom Waits. Lanegan once again reminds us that he remains a masterful creator of powerhouse rock with a bite.
The Relationship – “Break Me Open” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Weezer, The Strokes, Big Star
When he isn’t in the studio or on the road as guitarist for Weezer, The Relationship frontman Brian Bell keeps creatively busy. While the band isn’t as prolific as some fans would like (hey, there is only so much free time for writing and recording!), their newest single is worth the wait. “Break Me Open” is relentless in its delivery of solid rock hooks. The buoyant bass line intro is deceptively low-key at first, paired with lightly psychedelic guitar. But the chorus ushers in some fierce riffs sure to keep you singing along at the top of your lungs. You might mellow out a bit at the bridge, though only long enough to catch a breath before belting out the chorus again.
The Relationship are: Brian Bell (guitar/vocals), Brandon Graham (guitar), Jon Larue (bass), and Justin Goings (drums).
Mr. Elevator – “Sunshine Daydream” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Thee Oh Sees, MGMT, The Black Angels
Close your eyes and take a trip back to the psychedelic ’60s with “Sunshine Daydream” from Los Angeles-based indie rockers Mr. Elevator. This Friday they’ll release their new album, When the Morning Greets You. The trippy vibe on this song makes it the perfect companion piece to “Sunshine Starlight” from their 2013 album, Nico & Her Psychedelic Subconscious. Back then they still went by their longer name: Mr. Elevator & The Brain Hotel. While their name is shorter now, their sound is just as full. Even if you’re only discovering this band today, you can still bask in the sun-kissed splendor of their sound. Why pop a multi-vitamin when you can get just as much mood-boosting joy from this tune?
Mr. Elevator are: Tomas Dolas (vocals/keys) and Wyatt Blair (vocals/bass/drums).
St. Tropez – “Democracy” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: Night Beats, Desert Mountain Tribe, The Black Lips
The best argument against democracy, according to Winston Churchill, is a “five minute conversation with the average voter.” If that’s the case, then the best argument for democracy is this blistering new single from Dutch garage punk rockers St. Tropez. It’s a short tune (clocking in at just under two minutes), but “Democracy” quickly raises a clenched fist in the air. It tackles timely issues, including immigration, populism, and the media. Over a full-throttle pulse and churning guitars they ask, “Are you out of your mind?” and “Are you scared to fight / Are you scared to choose?” You’ll want to keep this one on repeat to soak up all the lyrics.
While the band prefers anonymity regarding their identities, the lack of personal info is not a deterrent. If anything, that shroud of mystery adds to their appeal. Their forthcoming album, Debate, is due February 23rd. Until then, you can get their self-titled debut from 2016 here. Fans in Texas can catch their two performances at SXSW Festival in Austin next month. This single is out now on iTunes.
JFDR – “Airborne” (Reykjavik, Iceland)
RIYL: Björk, Samaris, GANGLY
Icelandic artist Jófríður Ákadóttir (formerly of bands Samaris, GANGLY, and Pascal Pinon) will release her debut album next month under her solo moniker, JFDR. Her name might not be familiar to you, but she already has a well-known fan: Björk. It’s easy to understand why. One listen to hear crystalline vocals will take your breath away.
“Airborne” shares the sonic qualities of Samaris and GANGLY. Back in September we described the latter’s “Holy Grounds” as “ethereal and spine-chilling” – and this single is equally devastating in its beauty. Icelandic artists excel at creating evocative ambient/electronic music that haunts your dreams in a beautiful way. Spin this track to hear why Björk considers JFDR an inspiration. It’s from her album, Brazil, which arrives March 17 via White Sun Records. Amazon and iTunes have pre-orders.
Alex Napping – “Living Room” (Austin, TX, USA)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Alvvays, Stars
The dreamy, lo-fi sound of Alex Napping is wistful and full of longing. It’s hard to suppress a sigh when singer Alex Cohen sings “I can dream all day / about what it’d be like / for our pictures to share walls.” Her vocals soar with gentle grace as the fuzzy guitar and bass swell into a wave of indie bedroom pop perfection. With tender honesty, “Living Room” explores the feelings of making room – sometimes, quite literally – for someone else in your life.
We can all relate to the first time we moved in with someone. The process of stirring up dust as you move your belongings to accommodate their things is a relatively mundane act. Yet the mundane becomes real and quite powerful on this song. You can find “Living Room” on the band’s sophomore LP, Mise En Place. It’s due May 5 from Father/Daughter Records with pre-orders from the label.
Alex Napping are: Alex Cohen (lead vocals, guitar), Adrian Sebastian Haynes (guitar), Tomas Garcia-Olano (bass), and Andrew Stevens (drums).
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