This week’s serving of new music cocktails includes fresh tunes from five countries (Canada, England, New Zealand, Norway, and the USA) since today is the fifth of July. It’s purely coincidental. Sit back and enjoy the variety on tap; the selections range from psychedelic R&B to Norwegian calypso – all perfect for summer.
Wake Child – “Hangup Blues” (Boston, USA)
RIYL: Michael Kiwanuka, Leon Bridges, Bill Withers
One emerging band to watch is Wake Child. This trio from the Boston area has a sultry, mildly psychedelic R&B sound you won’t find anywhere else. Despite their newness, each member of the group – Danny Silberstein, Terrell Hines, and Austin Max – possess incredible talent. (No surprise, since the three met while students at Boston’s Berklee School of Music.)
What sets “Hangup Blues” apart from typical radio fare is the creative expression they display at every turn. The song begins slowly, accompanied by a simple synth line. By the second verse you have a sense of the magic that’s coming; the chorus then heightens the anticipation. But the suspense keeps building, especially at the very restrained bridge, only to erupt into a brilliant display of sonic fireworks on the outro. The pure jam in the last 90 seconds will have you scrambling to hit repeat as soon as it ends.
Fans of strong, soulful singers like Michael Kiwanuka and Franklin Fisher of Algiers will find a new favorite in Wake Child.
Their next show is July 21st in New York City, followed by a performance in Los Angeles the following week.
While we don’t have details about an album yet, you can stream their music on Soundcloud. Hopefully they will release more music in the very near future.
GREY \\ WATER – “Jimmy” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Alvvays, The Sundays, Two Door Cinema Club
The unspoken rule in music is that it takes about five years for a new band to achieve “overnight success” status. For emerging Canadian indie dream-pop outfit GREY \\ WATER, they’re halfway there, though their newest single may be just the thing that will propel them to success in record time. The sun-kissed warmth of “Jimmy” is the hook-filled summer anthem that will make fans and critics alike sit up and take notice.
Infectious grooves grab your attention from the first notes, but the vocals of Charlotte Grace Victoria truly steal the spotlight here. At times her voice faintly echoes Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays), albeit softer in tone. More a whisper than a scream, her vocals float atop the effervescent instrumentation. “Jimmy” is the tune to crank on a sunny day when you’re either cruising in a convertible or heading to an outdoor adventure. The vitality on this track is contagious.
Charlotte Grace Victoria is joined in GREY \\WATER by a host of musician friends, including: Jonathan Malström, Devon Savas, William Fachin, Ryan Greenlaw, Michael Morabito, and Mac Rogers.
Houseplants – “Honey Garden” (Grand Rapids, Michigan USA)
RIYL: Beach Fossils, DIIV, Real Estate
Another emerging band worth discovering right now is Houseplants, an indie dream-pop duo from Michigan. After multiple listens to their newest single, one thing is certain: their music is ridiculously addictive.
“Honey Garden” enters your headspace the way morning sunshine floods a room: with gentle invigoration. The soft, fuzzed-out tones pair perfectly with the layers of dreamy vocals from Victoria Ovenden and Matt Messore. But where some dream-pop bands opt for languid tones that place the emphasis primarily on vocals, “Honey Garden” is driven by uptempo percussion. Good luck trying to suppress your own rhythmic impulses to sway and dance (or play air drums at your desk) while this one is playing. Don’t fight the feelings this song stirs up; just sit back, let its charm wash over you. Enjoy the three minutes of gauzy bliss that “Honey Garden” delivers.
indi. – “Tablelands” (Christchurch, New Zealand)
RIYL: Agnes Obel, Björk, Regina Spektor, Doprah
All this talk of warm summer tunes can make us forget that it’s far chillier in the Southern Hemisphere now. Who better to remind us of this fact than a young artist from New Zealand?
The singer Indira Force – a.k.a. indi. – simply stopped us cold in our tracks when we first heard her new “Tablelands” single. This beautiful yet haunting tune further explores the soundscapes she has been creating as an ambient-electronic artist.
Unlike her most recent singles (“Precipice” and “The Dying Light”), “Tablelands” centers more on her crystalline vocals. If you’re a fan of Agnes Obel, Björk, or Regina Spektor, then you will no doubt fall head over heels for the icy allure of her voice. She is simply mesmerizing. If you close your eyes while listening to “Tablelands,” you can find respite in the wintry tones of this stunning song.
Tyne – “Crawl” (Cambridge, England)
RIYL: Ane Brun, Halsey, Lorde
Continuing with the international downtempo vibe is the new “Crawl” single from emerging British indie/chill-pop sensation Tyne. Over the last year, the young singer (formally known as Grace Shelley) has slowly revealed her multi-faceted sound in genre-spanning singles, with “Crawl” representing the ambient spectrum of her repertoire. This melancholy single shows the progress Tyne has made in a short time.
From a humble performance at a 2015 Sofar show in London to the polished elegance of this song, this 19-year-old artist is on the cusp of stardom. If her voice alone doesn’t win you over, then the lyrics in “Crawl” will. Here she voices the feelings of every independent woman who refuses to beg for a partner to show love and support:
“Say that you’ll stand by me or disappear
You’ll be behind me or nowhere near
Tell me that you’ll support or not at all
You’re not who I thought and I won’t crawl.”
This single is streaming on Soundcloud. Follow her social media links to stay informed of future releases.
Simon Field & Sverre V – “La La La” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: deep house
This week’s playlist concludes with an instantly addictive track, so be warned.
“La La La” from Norwegian deep house maestro Simon Field is the jolt of pure disco-infused Scandinavian calypso you need today. It’s not just fun; it’s refreshing. This is the tune to crank when you’re easing back into your routine after a holiday. (Or on any weekday morning when the caffeine doesn’t kick in quickly enough!)
“La La La” is infectious, but it’s the caramel-smooth vocals from Australian disco/soul queen Kylie Auldist that give the tune an added dose of vintage ’70s-era sass that would make Diana Ross and Gloria Gaynor proud. Let’s face it: the “La La La” refrain will be stuck in your head all summer, because Field is a genius at composing addictive melodies.
You don’t have to be a veteran of Ultra festival to appreciate the irresistible groove on this tune. It will charm you on a cellular level even if you’ve never heard of Ibiza.
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