The Saturday Sampler February 18th edition is a global affair, featuring nine incredible new tracks from artists in England, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA. From stunning harmonies and infectious pop to blistering garage rock, today’s Sampler offers plenty of variety for your weekend. We hope you enjoy these gems! Check back tomorrow when our Weekend Showcase will include all of these songs plus the rest of the week’s offerings.
Hater – “Cry Later” (Malmö, Sweden)
RIYL: Sløtface, Alvvays, Honeyblood
Through their first eight months in existence, there is nothing to dislike about Hater. Absolutely nothing. The Swedish quartet have shared four songs by our count, and number five might be their most stupendous.
“Cry Later” is an anthemic pop-rock tune right out the late ’80s and early ’90s. The ebbs and flows of the song create a number of emotions – from the need to uncontrollably whirl around to wanting to be swept away high above the clouds to thrashing your head as hard as you can. Frontwoman Caroline Landahl’s vocals have this light, sultry vibe that will stay in your head for days. “Cry Later” is a spectacular song that raises the stakes on their upcoming debut album, You Tried. It comes out March 10 via PNKSLM Recordings.
Hater are Måns Leonartsson, Adam Agace, Lukas Thomasson, and Caroline Landahl.
Kraków Loves Adana – “Youth Unbroken” (Hamburg, Germany)
RIYL: Vita and the Wolf, Air Traffic Controller, Bec Sandridge
Over the past year, we have come across artists and bands who have applying their trade for years, yet we’ve only just discovered them. In such moments, we feel like The Grammys’ category “Best New Artist”, and all we can is shrug our shoulders and apologize to the individual or group. As they say, better late than never.
One band we are glad to have discovered, despite them playing for nearly a decade, are Kraków Loves Adana. The German duo of Deniz Cicek and Robert Heitmann are riding a wave of momentum ahead of their forthcoming new album, as many late-comers, like us, are getting on their bandwagon. Their latest single, “Youth Unbroken,” will add to the crowd. This piano-driven ballad is stunning. A slight mournfulness reverberates in Cicek’s beautifully deep vocals while Heitmann’s instrumentation creates a reflective mood, as if one is looking in the mirror. Cicek’s songwriting, though, is what steals the show, as she shares a story of a young person who has lost his way. By now, we should realize that Cicek is an incredible songwriter – maybe indie music’s most underrated and underappreciated. For that matter, Kraków Loves Adana are undoubtedly one of the industry’s most brilliant hidden gems.
Cicek and Heitmann’s new album, Call Yourself New, will be out on March 24th via Better Call Rob.
Midnight Reruns – “Scorpion” (Milwaukee, USA)
RIYL: The Replacements, Husker Dü, Big Star, Pavement
Today we’ve shared plenty of European bands, so let’s shift our focus now to an emerging American band you need to know. If you’re a fan of indie garage rock (like The Replacements and Hüsker Dü) and love to get in on the ground floor before any of your friends, then feast your ears on the pure rockin’ goodness of Midnight Reruns. This four-piece group have been together for several years, and they’ve even opened for their biggest influence – The Replacements. But somehow they haven’t quite broken the mainstream barrier – yet. It’s only a matter of time, as “Scorpion” proves they are definitely a band to watch. Thanks to blistering guitar interplay from frontman Graham Hunt and Karl Giehl, they channel the chemistry of Television and the energy of Tommy Stinson. Their 2015 debut, Force of Nature, may have introduced the music world to their sound, but we feel certain that their upcoming LP, Spectator Sports, will be the album that makes the whole world take notice.
Spectator Sports is due March 24 (digital/cassette) from Forged Artifacts and April 28 (vinyl) via Dusty Medical Records. Pre-orders are at their Bandcamp page. The band will donate proceeds from this album to the ACLU.
Midnight Reruns are: Graham Hunt (vocals, guitar), Karl Giehl (guitar), Brady Murphy (bass), and Sam Reitman (drums).
Peaness – “Same Place” (Chester, England)
RIYL: Tacocat, Lisa Prank, Wolf Alice
The upbeat music of emerging British trio Peaness is so ridiculously catchy that it should come with a doctor’s warning about its addictive properties. Seriously. We’ve not heard tight, melodic hooks like this in a while. Equal parts Tacocat, Lisa Prank, and Belly, the jangly pop here will make it impossible for you to sit still while you listen. And when you consider this is a band who have been together only a few years (their debut EP, No Fun, released in 2015), just imagine what lies in store for them! Their newest single, “Same Place,” has plenty of sweet-sounding harmonies that are deceptively charming on the surface. But as you listen, you realize these aren’t just girls who can sing. Their musicianship is equally tight, with guitar and bass riffs that churn and growl to the fierce percussion. We’re talking total package here.
“Same Place” is a perfectly crafted pop song with enough bite to satisfy even old-school alt-pop fans who think Kim and Kelley Deal are the only true alt/pop goddesses. The new Peaness album, Are You Sure, is available via Alcopop Records/Odd Box Records. You can stream this at Soundcloud or buy it from their Bandcamp page.
Peaness are: Carla Balbenta (guitar, vocals), Jessica Bonbon (bass, vocals), and Rachel Williams (drums).
PUMAROSA – “Dragonfly” (London, England)
RIYL: Maribou State, Poliça, Massive Attack
At long last, it’s coming! After two years of thrilling audiences – including us as early fans – PUMAROSA‘s debut album will arrive to win over more people with their expansive, cinematic sound. From the euphoric, electro-rock of “Cecile” to the haunting enchantment of “Priestess,” the London quintet create music that is gripping, captivating, and immersive. And nothing changes with “Dragonfly,” the lead single from their LP.
This song is frighteningly delirious, and it’s amazing. The hammer of the electric guitar, the stark production work, and the tickling rhythms create a soundscape that is breathtaking and hypnotic. But what sweeps you into the world of the “Dragonfly” is frontwoman Isabel Munoz-Newsome’s stirring vocals which have a mesmerizing quality akin to Kate Bush. And don’t sleep on her songwriting; it’s one of the reasons why we have come to love PUMAROSA and the mystical, fearless realms they create.
In case you don’t have SoundCloud Go:
PUMAROSA are Isabel Munoz-Newsome, Henry Brown, Tomoya Suzuki, Neville James, and Nicholas Owen.
RITUAL – “Exit” (London, England)
RIYL: Bon Iver, James Blake, Doe Paoro
If this new song from RITUAL doesn’t send chills up and down your spine, then you have no soul. While many groups excel at creating hauntingly beautiful harmonies, it’s hard to imagine any voices combining as magnificently as what you hear on “Exit.”
Their last album (Every Night Another but Not You) is an EP with more of an R&B/doul focus. But now with the permanent addition of London-based indie artist Mononoke – whose guest vocals on last year’s “Bottle Tops” single were beyond amazing – the group have a stripped-down sound that will bring tears to your eyes. It’s just that gorgeous. Their voices are the instruments, and they are played with delicate grace. We dare you to have dreams where their “I won’t give you up” refrain isn’t present. This song is the stuff dreams are made of. You can find it on iTunes.
RITUAL are: Adam Gross, Gerard O’Connell, Tommy Baxter, and Mononoke.
Son Volt – “Back Against the Wall” (St. Louis, USA)
RIYL: Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown
We are still processing all the great new LPs that released yesterday (including Ryan Adams and Strand of Oaks!), but the new Son Volt deserves a special mention. Notes of Blue contains this Americana gem that is full of powerful chords and equally powerful lyrics. From the first note, it’s clear that Jay Farrar has penned an instant classic. These lines of sage advice in “Back Against the Wall” are perfect for dealing with the world right now: “No time to be wayward / no time to be unwound / with darkness at your doorstep / keep your feet on the ground. There will be times of injustice / times when there’s more lost than found…”
This is an uplifting anthem. It has the trademark twang of Son Volt with a strong current of Springsteen-esque grit. The lines “What survives the long, cold winter / will be stronger and can’t be undone” are practically medicinal to anyone who feels discouraged.
Notes of Blue is out now via Thirty Tigers.
Son Volt are: Jay Farrar (vocals, guitar), Andrew Duplantis (bass, vocals), Chris Frame (guitar), Mark Spencer (keys, steel guitar), and Jacob Edwards (drums).
Space Above – “Let It Still” (Auckland, New Zealand)
RIYL: The Naked and Famous, Broods, Poliça, The XX
Ethereal and dreamy, “Let It Still” from New Zealand band Space Above is a slice of indie electropop perfection. To sum up their sound in one word: it’s stunning. The secret to this group’s magic is its frontman. While casual music fans may not recognize the name Aaron Short, ardent aficionados will instantly recognize him as producer/keyboardist for The Naked and Famous. This side project has been together since early 2015, and although we adored their first single (“Fall Through”), the wait for a full LP has been a long one.
Yesterday the band’s self-released new album, Still, finally arrived – much to the joy of fans worldwide. The shimmering energy of this song is a treat for listeners because the harmonies between Short and Maddy North (of So Below) are exquisite. Its pulsing rhythms beat in time with your own heart while the synths surround your ears like colorful bursts of fireworks. This is a captivating single that has been on repeat for many, many hours.
Space Above are: Aaron Short, Madeline North, and Sam McCarthy.
Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes – “Closer” (ft. Matilda Wiezell) (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Foals, The xx, Lower Dens
Maybe the best band name today – and up there with the all-time greats – is Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes. Somewhere, the real Steve Buscemi is giggling at the honor, but the group’s music is nothing to laugh about. Instead, it should be celebrated like the talented actor. Their new single, “Closer,” for instance, is a multi-faceted, anthemic rocker. The groovy intro lulls you into a false sense of relaxation as the brooding dreaminess creates a haze over your eyes. Then the song hits its midway point, and a rocker emerges from the transition. The bass line is fantastic, and the final guitar segment is dynamite. The dual vocals, which features singer-songwriter Matilda Wiezell, have an air of The xx’s sensual interplay. Nothing against Steve Buscemi, but he probably hasn’t created something this sexy and infectious.
This single is available now from Rama Lama Records.
Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes consist of Edvin Arleskär (drums), Tilde Hansen (vocals, bass), Siri Sjöberg (vocals, synth) and Elias Mahfoud (guitar) and “Closer” is the first release on Stockholm label Rama Lama Records.
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