Today’s mid-week serving of new music cocktails is potent! From elegant indie electronic to blistering psych rock, this is a playlist you can really sink your teeth into. It features six new tunes from artists in Canada, England, France, Greece, and the US. We kick things off with a mysterious new American artist whose secret identity and beautiful debut single are equally intriguing.
Black Fly – “I Don’t Know” (Richmond, Vermont, USA)
RIYL: Red Man Summer, Bon Iver meets Tycho, Ulrich Schnauss, Radiohead
Today’s playlist features an artist so new that we can’t share the typical background info of previous releases or upcoming album information. In fact, we can’t even share the singer’s name since it’s shrouded in a veil of mystery. But that’s fine, because sometimes the music speaks for itself. In the case of emerging talent Black Fly, the music speaks volumes.
“I Don’t Know” is the debut single from this Vermont-based electronic/ambient gothic pop artist. It starts with a mellow, introspective verse accentuated by gentle, shimmering synths. It has a nocturnal hymn quality full of reverence and solemnity inspired by nature. Your first thought it, “Ahh, this has a Bon Iver feel to it.” You’d expect as much from music composed in a snowy, forested area. But as more layers emerge around the one-minute mark, the song reveals a vast expanse of textures more akin to Radiohead. That’s when you realize this song is a dazzling display of sonic fireworks that simply has a very long fuse. Once they erupt, you are left in awe of the display. “You can never make us love you,” he sings. Oh, but after one song, many new fans will love this guy. Or guys…whoever he/they may be.
“I Don’t Know” is produced by David Tolomei (Beach House, Future Islands) and released on Samedi Records. It’s streaming on most platforms.
Thunder Dreamer – “Capture” (Evansville, Indiana USA)
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, Strand of Oaks, Jason Molina
Don’t let the eerie hush of the long, piano-based intro of this song fool you. “Capture” from Indiana-based indie rockers Thunder Dreamer is no quiet lullaby. It’s more of a soul-stirring powerhouse anthem that you’d expect from My Morning Jacket. There are other similarities between Thunder Dreamer and those Kentucky legends. Take, for instance, the finely crafted layers of warm vocals and driving percussion that enhance the band’s full sound. It’s mellow yet inviting and expansive. “Capture” evokes memories of crisp autumn nights spent with friends around a campfire.
With this song, the aptly named Thunder Dreamer join the ranks of other Midwestern bands (Jason Molina/Songs: Ohia) who create music that speaks to your head while warming your heart.
Thunder Dreamer are: Steven Hamilton, Zach Zint, Alex Wallwork, and Corey Greenfield.
Pleasure House – “Calm” (Birmingham, England)
RIYL: Sundara Karma, Black Honey
Like many of us, Pleasure House are sick of the constant barrage of bad news that leaps from our screens 24/7, so they’re taking matters into their own hands. Since every musician’s finest weapon of protest is their instrument, the Birmingham trio channeled that angst into song. The band who wowed fans with last year’s Foals-esque “Like a Drug” from their Show Your Colours EP now launch a full-throttle assault against the system with their newest single, “Calm.” But it’s not an angry song, according to frontman Alex Heffernan. He says, “I wanted to write a song with a message of positivity and resistance that would resonate with everyone who feels disaffected, because we should never allow fear to forget who our real enemy is.”
Despite its title, “Calm” is anything but. It’s a banger with fierce hooks and relatable lyrics: “Sometimes there’s no release / nobody wants to make peace / We’re paranoid and afraid / I’m disappointed and I’m ashamed.” Indeed, in this day of politicians inciting fear instead of promoting peace, it helps to have a cathartic tune like this to help us vent our collective frustrations. Play it loud, then keep it on repeat for maximum results. It’s from the band’s forthcoming Sentient EP that’s due May 26.
Pleasure House kick off their next UK tour April 28 in Leicester.
DBFC – “Sinner” (Paris, France & Manchester, England)
RIYL: The Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre,
When ’60s-era psychedelia meets ’90s Mancunian synths and Parisian cool, the result is DBFC. From the first notes, you know “Sinner” will be your next guilty pleasure. It’s a languid tune with echoes of The Dandy Warhols’ swagger fused with sun-kissed psychedelic tones. If “psychtronica” isn’t an official genre, it should be. DBFC’s hypnotic blend of danceable electronica with trippy shoegaze practically demands it.
The hazy repetition of “give love another try” on the chorus may seem like a retro message straight out of Woodstock, but this song is a modern with vintage vibes. At the heart of this four-piece is the French electro-pop producer Dombrance, who infuses layers of sultry beats to the Madchester sounds created by David Shaw, Antoine Reininger, and Guillaume Rossel. This is the late-night track to keep on repeat when you’ve reached that zone of maximum bliss.
Needles//Pins – “Back To The Bright” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: The Replacements, The Buzzcocks, Social Distortion
The secret to crafting the perfect punk song is simple: keep it tight, and keep it short. Canadian power pop/punk trio Needles//Pins do just that on “Back To The Bright.” Clocking in at a concise 2:19, this tune harkens back to the energetic halcyon days of grunge when rock trios provided the soundtrack to young lives. While their sound draws obvious comparisons to The Replacements (especially when frontman Adam Solomonian sings “I’m up for bad nights and really good fights / I’m up for forgetting your name”) and The Buzzcocks, Needles//Pins capture the raised-fist attitude that made Hüsker Dü pioneers of the alt-rock scene. This is old-school power rock with a bite. The hooks are plentiful, and it’ll give you a feel-good jolt.
If you’re a fan of hard-hitting pop/punk that takes no prisoners, “Back To The Bright” is the quick shot of adrenaline you need. In a perfect world, the guitar solo at the end wouldn’t be so short – but if we lived in a perfect world, there would be less inspiration for gems like this.
Needles//Pins are: Adam Solomonian (vocals, guitar), Tony Dubroy (bass), and Macey Budgell (drums).
A Victim of Society – “The Quick and The Dead” (Athens, Greece)
RIYL: The Black Angels, Black Mountain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
We wrap up this playlist with a song that incorporates elements heard in the other five songs. Greek psych rock trio A Victim of Society deliver enough scorching licks on their new “The Quick and The Dead” single to make your hair vibrate. Their thunderous guitars, reverb-drenched bass, and earth-quaking percussion will either leave you breathless or uttering an emphatic “DAMN!!!” once the song ends. This maelstrom of heavy psychedelic licks grabs you by the collar and never lets go. Fans of The Black Angels and well, any hard-rocking band with Black in their name will appreciate the rugged soundscape created here.
Don’t try to be productive while you’re listening, since you’ll be too swept up in the song to even notice the world around you. This one should be played as loud as possible, but with headphones if you’re in an office with colleagues unaccustomed to having their faces melted by blistering psych-rock.
“The Quick and The Dead” is the first track on their second full-length album, Freaktown. (If this first song is this intense, will we need oxygen for the rest of the LP?) It’s out April 27 from Inner Ear Records with pre-orders at Bandcamp.
A Victim of Society are: Vagelis Makris, Fotis Ntouskas, and Pantelis Karasevdas.
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