Join us for a globe-trotting trip on the Saturday Sampler July 8th edition. Today’s playlist jets from Sweden to Los Angeles to bring you the best new music for your weekend, including dreamy new singles from Shout Out Louds and Loney dear to sizzling rock and soul from Texas. Enjoy your weekend with these nine gems!
Cults – “Offering” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Cathedral Pearls, CHVRCHES, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
In the early part of his decade, Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion became overnight sensations through their synth-pop project Cults. For over three years, they toured endlessly in support of their first two albums and EPs, but when the toil of their frenetic pace was too much to handle, the duo took a much-deserved break. In the years since 2014’s Upstairs at United, Volume 10, Follin and Oblivion have been slowly and meticulously writing songs for their third album, and the first single from the record has arrived.
“Offering” is a synth-pop dream that sounds as refreshing and scintillating as when the band first arrived with their 7″ debut in 2010. It’s like Cults never left. Oblivion’s production is masterful and elegant, giving the song a cinematic, spatial vibe that is truly breathtaking. Follin’s vocals are like ice – smooth and cool to the senses and refreshingly enticing on these sweltering days. Although the lyrics center around a person making sacrifices to make things work, the song feels like the band extending an olive branch to all their fans and apologizing for the hiatus. But with this offering, all if forgiven. Welcome back to one of the great duos of the decade.
Catholic Action – “Propaganda” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: The Cure, The Wombats, Catfish & The Bottlemen
Brace yourself for one of the boldest slices of indie goodness you’ll hear all weekend: emerging Scottish rockers Catholic Action have some “Propaganda” to share. And it’s an absolute banger.
This tune is as tight as it is short. Clocking in just under two minutes in length, the only way we could love it more would be if it they’d extended the song with another verse or perhaps a longer bridge or outro. Still, as it stands, “Propaganda” is pretty damn perfect. It’s an instant jolt sure to waken your senses. From the opening notes that call to mind The Cure (especially with the jaunty synths and bass line) to the percussion so fierce you wonder if sparks flew from the toms during the recording session, you’ll be hooked. And don’t even get us started on the insane catchiness of the “I will never be like you” refrain. Seriously, good luck trying to get that out of your head!
It blows our minds that Catholic Action are such a new band; you’d never know it from how well-tuned their music machine sounds. They first burst onto the UK scene last year with their debut single (“L.U.V”), and they show no signs of slowing down. Look for their debut album, In Memory Of, when it arrives this autumn via Modern Sky. Until then, dive into their entire catalog on SoundCloud. Trust us: your ears will thank you.
Loney dear – “Sum” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Bon Iver, S. Carey, Axel Flovent, Brian Wilson
Fans of Loney dear have been waiting for new material from the Swedish songsmith – six long years, to be exact. But the period since his 2011 album, Hall Music, has been productive for Emil Svanängen: he’s taken his time crafting gorgeous songs inspired by plenty of soul-searching and, interestingly enough, Nina Simone.
While you’re more likely to hear echoes of Bon Iver in his new “Sum” single than jazz, the similarities between Simone and Loney dear lie in the intimacy of their music – the kinds of songs you savor alone, perhaps with a bottle of fine wine. “Sum” is a lush track that begins with shimmering synths that immediately grab your attention. But it’s the honeyed vocals (eerily reminiscent of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson) that take your breath away.
If you’re new to this incredible artist, let us be the first to say: welcome to your new music therapist. The journeys you take while listening to Loney dear will be moving and cathartic. Just close your eyes while the video plays and you’ll understand:
The Mynabirds – “Cocoon” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Imogen Heap, Ladyhawke, La Sera
Protest songs about dystopian places are supposed to sound dark and gritty. They’re supposed to be hard and unrelenting, reflecting the oncoming (or existing) apocalypse at the hands of an oppressor. The new album by The Mynabirds may buck the trend, assuming the lead single is any indication (of course we know not to judge a book by its cover).
At first listen, “Cocoon” is a spellbinding love ballad founded in the intimate dream-pop of the ’80s. The light buzzes of the keys and synths and the cool rhythms (particularly the heart-pounding bass line) are enchanting, and Laura Burhenn’s voice is absolutely dazzling. She lushly sings to her partner:
I just want to stay cocooned
Right here with you
Even as the sky
The sky is falling
Even as the stars burn out
I’ll know that I’m safe and sound
Holding onto you
And you to me.
This place, however, is somewhere unrecognizable. It doesn’t currently exist, but it may one day. This is Burhenn’s image of the not-so-distant-future, where everything around her comes crashing to the ground and the only place she can find solace is in the arms of her loved one. “Cocoon” is just the appetizer for what promises to be one of the most intriguing protest albums of the year (if not history). Take a moment to watch the stunning video here.
Omni – “Equestrian” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: Parquet Courts, Preoccupations, Devo
You know the feeling when that fourth cup of coffee kicks in and you find yourself practically levitating with palpable energy? On the days when you need that rush, we offer a non-drinkable option: crank up this new tune from Atlanta-based indie trio Omni. We guarantee that “Equestrian” will provide the exact same boost in a fraction of the time. In fact, the results you’ll get from the hooks in this song will be damn near instantaneous.
If you’re only now discovering the feverish genius of this band, our biggest question is: Where have you been?!? These guys have been slowly conquering the world since the release of their debut album last year. After a recent tour with Franz Ferdinand this spring, they will deliver their sophomore effort, MULTI-TASK, in September. Fans of Parquet Courts and Preoccupations (and even Devo) will find plenty to love with “Equestrian” thanks to its post-punk energy. Bassist Philip Frobos and former Deerhunter guitarist Frankie Broyles deliver more punches than a heavyweight boxer, while Doug Bleichner’s percussion will have you working up a sweat as you dance along to this gem. When they belt out “You can’t afford it / You know you’re worth it”, don’t be surprised if you find yourself belting it out in agreement. Who needs coffee when you can simply crank this tune?
The Rich Hands – “Weekend Blues” (San Antonio, Texas USA)
RIYL: drivin’ n’ cryin’, Drive-By Truckers, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Futurebirds
Southern alt-rock bands all have one thing in common: they’ve got a big, bold, no-holds-barred sound. From the early days of drivin’ n’ cryin’ to the modern, sweaty sounds of Drive-By Truckers or J. Roddy Walston & The Business, you can count on southern rockers to deliver rousing bar-room anthems. If you like bands whose music makes your hair vibrate, then you need The Rich Hands in your life right now. There is no doubt that these Texas-based rockers will jump-start your heart with their new “Weekend Blues” single.
The Rich Hands released their debut EP five years ago, but for some ungodly reason the world just hasn’t paid proper attention to them yet. Hopefully this tune from their new Take Care album will be a much needed wake-up call. “Weekend Blues” isn’t a crying in your beer tune; it’s a triumphant rocker that makes you want to hit the road and let the warm winds blow your hair back. It’s an ode to not “having shit to do” but not really giving a damn. This is quintessential American southern rock with Texas-sized hooks. Somebody should tell Drive-By Truckers they’ve found their next tour mates in The Rich Hands. Together those two bands could blow the roof off every venue they play.
The Rich Hands are Cody Mauser (vocals/guitar), Jimmy Wildcat (guitar), Matt Gonzalez (bass), and Nick Ivarra (drums).
Shout Out Louds – “Jumbo Jet” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Air, Phoenix, Peter Bjorn and John, Stars
Swedish indie music legends Shout Out Louds continue to impress with their chameleonic sound. With each album their tone changes to reveal new aspects, whether it’s the upbeat, jangly pop of their 2007 breakout hit (“Tonight I Have to Leave It”) to the soaring bliss of their newest single. “Jumbo Jet” shows them at the height of their career, orbiting an elevated plane of breathtaking beauty. This song is simply breathtaking.
Anyone who’s ever peered out an airplane window mid-flight and gazed in wonder at the scenery below will appreciate the rapturous soundscape they’ve created here. This five-minute journey is mellower than much of their previous output. It’s more cinematic in scope, with Bebban Stenborg adding ethereal backing vocals while frontman Adam Olenius serenades listeners with the refrain of “This is just the beginning / this is just the start.” This is a song you can escape into to forget the cares of the world.
“Jumbo Jet” is from their upcoming fifth album, Ease My Mind. This follow-up to their “Oh Oh” single from April has us convinced the album will be one of our top picks for 2017. Ease My Mind arrives September 22nd via Merge Records.
The SoundCloud link may only be a preview for those in some parts of the world. In this case, click this link to be taken to the YouTube audio.
Shout Out Louds are Adam Olenius, Eric Edman, Ted Malmros, Bebban Stenborg, and Carl von Arbin.
Sugaray Rayford – “Take Me Back” (Los Angeles via Texas, USA)
RIYL: Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones
It might be Saturday, but it’s time to go to church. However, this is no ordinary place of worship. This establishment is headed by Sugaray Rayford, and his congregation is filled with soul, blues, funk, and gospel lovers. His religion’s patron saints are Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Bill Withers, and other legends of these iconic genres. You may not have heard of Mr. Rayford yet, but you will shortly. Today’s sermon is the perfect introduction to his old-school sound.
Kicking off the proceedings is his latest single, “Take Me Back.” As he hollers, “Can you dig it?” at the start, raise your hands and holler back. When the horn blasts, groovy bass line, and searing organ strikes arrive, get down and get funky to this soulful tune that is an instant classic. Don’t, however, just get lost in the music. You absolutely must listen to Rayford’s message because he’s giving us a reason to persevere and never give up. More importantly, he’s telling us that forgiveness is one of the most powerful things anyone can do. Can we get an “Amen?!” Well, or at least a thank you for being introduced to this fine Texas gentleman.
“Take Me Back” is from Sugaray Rayford’s debut album, The World That We Live, due later this year via Blind Faith Records. This boutique Italian label has one purpose – to bring great soul music back to the forefront, and we are extremely grateful for their work.
Yassassin – “Cherry Pie” (London, England via Stockholm/Tuscany/Cambridge/Malmö/Brisbane)
RIYL: Berries, L.A. Witch, Death Valley Girls
Excuse us for a moment as we just have to say this: “It’s about bloody time!” After winning us over with their in-your-face brand of post-punk and being listed as one of our favorite hidden gems of 2016, Yassassin have finally released their first single of 2017. They’ve made us wait seven months for new music, but all is forgiven because “Cherry Pie” is one gnarly little rocker.
The song actually might be the scuzziest love song in some time. During the first 3 minutes and 40 seconds, the quintet melodically and seductively lull us into this song about desperately wanting someone. “Time to surrender, a blink of an eye. Breathe on me lover until I get high. I’ll get so high!”, sung lustfully by the three-part harmonies. But then in the final 40 seconds, the song spirals into a chaotic cascade of manic rhythms, fiery lyrics, and a few shrieks. This is the Yassassin we originally fell for being unleashed, making us lose our minds like the song’s protagonist falling into the despair of her obsession.
“Cherry Pie” is from the band’s forthcoming debut EP, Vitamin Y. It will be out September 1st via BABELOGUE.
The band is comprised of Anna, Joanna, Moa, Raissa, and Ruth. None are originally from London, but hail from different parts of the globe: Stockholm and Malmö, Sweden; the Tuscany region of Italy; Cambridge, England; and Brisbane, Australia.
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