Welcome to your mid-week serving of new music cocktails! SXSW is in full swing, so today’s collection of five new tunes begins in Austin with a group who got their start at the festival. The other singles include British post-punk, Italian New Wave, American indie synth pop, and a sweeping instrumental track that defies genre norms. Let’s kick things off in the Live Music Capital of the World.
The Wild Now – “Run For Your Life” (Austin, TX USA)
RIYL: Sylvan Esso, Local Natives, Blondfire, Phantogram
Magic happens in Austin, Texas, during the SXSW conference and festival. Paths cross, connections are made, and careers blossom. Taylor Baker and Drew Walker – aka The Wild Now – can thank SXSW for their budding career. Since meeting at a Local Natives show there in 2013, this group has been on a fast track to indie fame. Their newest single, “Run For Your Life,” proves why they’re one of the hottest Austin groups since Spoon. Their 2016 debut EP, Tides, delivered infectious, synth-driven grooves. Adding to their musical arsenal is their brand-new single, “Run For Your Life,” a scorcher sure to delight fans of Sylvan Esso and Phantogram.
The “You found me” refrain seems autobiographical when you know their backstory. They found in each other a creative mirror off which their chemistry and talents are reflected. The heart of that chemistry lies in Taylor Baker’s sultry vocals. She owns every note and turns up the heat with each whispered utterance of the phrase “Gettin’ higher.” That heat quickly becomes a sizzle thanks to the funky bass line and guaranteed-to-make-you-move percussion. Even if you’re not at SXSW, you can feel the Texas heat in this tune.
The Orielles – “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” (Halifax, England)
RIYL: Hinds, The Babies, Thee Oh Sees
It’s absolutely amazing how much growth a band can experience in a short time. Take, for instance, the British trio The Orielles. This time last year we raved about the “sonic sunshine” of their “Jobin” single. We fell under the spell of its jangly surf pop, not realizing this band would soon hit its growth spurt. A year later, it’s a flashback to that summer when your cute classmate blossomed into a toned, stylish heartthrob. Sure, this is the same band, but wow! What a difference a year makes.
The Orielles still have the ability to make happy dream-pop. But as they embark on a new chapter (they’ve just signed with Heavenly Recordings), their foray into deeper psychedelic exploration on “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” is a fitting segue.
After an extended intro, The Orielles punch the accelerator and the wild, post-punk journey really begins. Things get especially hallucinogenic around the 5:40 mark. If this song were featured in a Quentin Tarantino film (a plausible notion, since the song’s title is from his 2007 thriller, Death Proof), it would play when the protagonist has a revelatory experience involving copious quantities of blood, bullets, or drugs. Or all three. This tune is a wild, weird, wonderful head trip. You can stream or purchase it via links found here. Their month-long UK tour kicks off April 5th in Edinburgh.
The Orioles are sisters Esme and Sidonie Hand-Halford and Henry Wade.
Electric Floor – “Bluedive” (Cosenza, Italy)
RIYL: Depeche Mode, White Lies, Interpol
When New Wave icons Depeche Mode tour later this year, they should bring along Italian trio Electric Floor as their opening group. Electric Floor make evocative, emotionally-charged music that bridges the gap between the dark synth-pop of the ‘80s and modern indie shoegaze rock. Their sound has an authenticity that will trigger waves of nostalgia for anyone whose youth consisted of hours spent listening to The Cure and Bauhaus. While frontman Emanuele Chiarelli sounds more like Dave Gahan than Peter Murphy, the brooding energy those singers are known for permeates Electric Floor’s sound. What’s missing, however, are the darker tones, and it’s easy to understand why.
Where many New Wave bands hail from dreary cities in the UK, Electric Floor are from the beautiful Calabria region in southern Italy. Living in a Mediterranean climate with such magnificent views tends to alleviate melancholy. Indeed, the driving tempo of “Bluedive” will quicken your pulse and make you feel alive. Ideally, this song should be played loudly while driving in a convertible along the coast. But if that’s not an option, then picture yourself doing just that with this song cranked in your headphones. You’ll get the same exhilarating rush, but without a speeding ticket.
Electric Floor are: Emanuele Chiarelli (vocals/guitar), Simone Constantino DeLuca (keys/programming), and Fabio Cosentino (bass)
GEMS – “Peacefully” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Goldfrapp, The XX, Phantogram
Full moons tend to bring out the crazy in people, but that magical silver orb stirs up the creativity of Los Angeles duo GEMS. Their delivery of a new single on each month’s full moon makes us anticipate the new lunar phase instead of dreading it.
Like the three previous singles on their Every Full Moon EP, Lindsay Pitts and Clifford John juxtapose sensual beats with personal lyrics for an intimate result. “Peacefully” – like its February predecessor, “X-Valentine” – takes its inspiration from the pair’s breakup. But the message isn’t negative, choosing instead to focus on the final outcome. No matter how many high or low points you may have experienced during a relationship, there is a certain peace that comes from the ending.
Pitts’ beautiful vocals are subdued at the start as she sings, “There was nothing I could do / to take away the loneliness that’s haunting you.” That low-key prelude then morphs into a hypnotic groove accentuated by warm, mellow layers. By the time she gets to the “I am not your lover anymore” refrain on the chorus, the peaceful feelings of high-soaring freedom seem almost tangible.
Threefifty – “Crossing State Lines” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: NY Philharmonic, Caspian, Explosions in the Sky, Philip Glass
Remember the last time you were so thirsty that every cell in your body seemed to cry out for hydration? Maybe it was a hot summer day when the sun’s rays had baked you. Or perhaps you’d spent hours conquering alpine slopes. No matter the season, you felt immediately revived after a cool drink, right? This single from Brooklyn-based indie octet Threefifty will give you that same satisfaction. Theirs is music that revives your soul with the purest invigorating melodies. “Crossing State Lines” has restorative powers you might not even realize you need right now. But oh, how you do need them. While most of their songs are instrumental, this one features ethereal backing vocals. Together, these eight classically-trained musicians capture the emotional soundscape that put Explosions in the Sky on the map, yet on an even grander scale.
“Crossing State Liens” piques your interest from the first notes. Then it keeps you mesmerized as its multi-faceted layers unfold. It’s a dazzling symphony of sound that flirts with multiple genres from post-rock and ambient to Americana and Baroque. Each listen reveals new depth, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself asking, “Who are these guys?” The answer is easy: Threefifty are the soundtrack to life’s every mood. Their music is fresh air, sunlight, placid lakes, rushing rapids and rainstorms simultaneously. Why it isn’t featured in film scores and TV soundtracks is a mystery.
Their upcoming self-released fourth album, Gently Among the Coal, is due May 12th. You can find their previous releases at their website.
Threefifty are: Brett Parnell (guitars), Geremy Schulick (guitars), Joanie-Leon-Guerrero (vocals), Eleonore Oppenheim (bass), Kenji Shinagawa (mandolin), Andie Springer (violin), Jennifer Stock (keys), and Evan Mitchell (drums).
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