These five delicious new audio cocktails to get you through your Wednesday. Today’s mini playlist shines the spotlight solely on North American artists for a change. Let’s begin in the Emerald City with this dynamic tune.
Zola Jesus – “Exhumed” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Austra, Agnes Obel, Phantogram
The dramatic new single from goth-pop siren Zola Jesus will do one of three things: “Exhumed” will either raise the hairs on your neck, send shivers down your spine, or wake the dead. It might actually do all three. Yet despite the tidal wave strength of Nika Roza Danilova’s vocals, the song has serene moments that will haunt your dreams. It’s empowering, as if she is trying to crumble the walls of a medieval castle by sheer vocal will. Her powerful delivery is matched by the inspiration for her upcoming album, Okovi. She explains:
“Okovi is a Slavic word for shackles. We’re all shackled to something – to life, to death, to bodies, to minds, to illness, to people, to birthright, to duty. This album is a deeply personal snapshot of loss, reconciliation, and a sympathy for the chains that keep us all grounded to the unforgiving laws of nature.”
Luna – “One Together” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Fleetwood Mac, Galaxie 500
Every generation waxes nostalgic for the sounds of their younger years, usually around middle age. Perhaps that’s why indie dreampop veterans Luna are glancing backwards on their upcoming album of covers. A Sentimental Education features their rendition of deep cuts from legendary artists, from Dylan and Bowie to The Cure and Fleetwood Mac. The latter’s “One Together” barely made a splash 47 years ago; Luna’s version still has those hippie vibes awash in sun-kissed hues, but it’s more grounded than groovy.
“Someday together we will fly to the sun
And then we’ll think of all the things we’ve done
Everyone will smile / Happy all the while / Now that we’re one”
Visit the band’s PledgeMusic page for pre-order details on this and their EP of instrumentals called A Place of Greater Safety. Both will be released on the same day.
Luna includes Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips, Justin Harwood, Stanley Demeski, Sean Eden, and Lee Wall.
Alvvays – “In Undertow” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Best Coast, Cloud Nothings, Sylvan Esso
It seems like Alvvays have been touring non-stop since releasing their 2014 self-titled debut album. Fans have wondered if three years of being incessant road warriors would keep the Canadian indie rising stars from the studio. Fortunately, the news this week about the September release of Antisocialites proves otherwise. One thing is obvious: all that time on tour has enhanced their sound. As you can hear on “In Undertow,” Molly Rankin’s vocals are stronger than ever, and the band’s overall output has more density. It’s great to hear this talented group’s continued evolution. They still guide you to the heavens with their soaring melodies, only now they are exploring more of the depths beneath the clouds.
Antisocialites releases September 1 via Royal Mountain Records (CAN), Polyvinyl Records (US), and Transgressive Records (UK) with pre-orders here. The band will kick off their tour August 5th in Chicago at Lollapalooza Festival.
Alvvays are: Molly Rankin (vocals/guitar), Alec O’Hanley (guitar), Kerri MacLellan (keys), Brian Murphy (bass), and Phil MacIsaac (drums).
Twinsmith – “Boji” (Omaha, USA)
RIYL: The War on Drugs, Phoenix, Caveman
Last month we shared “Matters” from Nebraska indie dream rockers Twinsmith, calling it “irresistible, with bright, airy hooks.” Yesterday they dropped yet another tantalizing track from their upcoming STAY COOL album. “Boji” has such smooth, intoxicating allure that you may think you’re listening to The War on Drugs or Phoenix. It’s suave and sophisticated, caressed by Twinsmith’s signature ’80s retro stylings. Most bands who are incorporating vintage sounds do so by using modern equipment; not these guys. They went old school by using Miami Vice-era synths and drum machines. (If you’re over 30, you may find yourself saying “No wonder it sounds so legit!”) While Twinsmith is a thoroughly modern band, there is no way to resist the ripples of nostalgia that echo through their music.
“Boji” is the warm breeze on a summer evening that makes you happy to be alive.
Twinsmith are: Jordan Smith (guitar, vocals), Matt Regner (guitar, keys), Bill Sharp (bass), and Oliver Morgan (drums).
Parker Longbough – “Hall Pass” (Anchorage, Alaska USA)
RIYL: Nirvana, Modest Mouse, Pavement
Alaska indie artist Matthew Witthoeft – aka Parker Longbough – has a voice that stops you cold. You know you’ve heard him before, but where? Its familiarity has you searching your mental database for singers (J. Mascis? Jeff Mangum? David Bazan?) or cities (Seattle? Brooklyn? Athens?) that might solve the mystery. But while you were deep in thought, this song ensnared you.
This is how Parker Longbough becomes your new music addiction. Songs like “Hall Pass” arrest your focus. One listen and you’re hooked. There is a carousel of influences at work here, revealing new hints with each revolution. Subtle elements of the Pacific Northwest (Nirvana, Modest Mouse) fuse with Massachusetts (Morphine, The Pixies, Dinosaur, Jr.) for a true American experience that’s irresistible for fans of substantive indie lo-fi rock. The 11 year wait for the follow-up to his Commander Comatose debut has paid off.
The new Parker Longbough album, Bridges to Nowhere/Delirium in Lo-fi, is out now. You can get your copy here.
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