Today’s mid-week serving of new music cocktails has a unifying, one-word theme: calming. These are great rainy-day tunes. We are all seeking relief from the stress of life and the chaos of the world. What better way to find solace than with six new singles from artists in Canada, USA, and Netherlands? All of the artists have one-word band names, so let them work their magic as you go through your day. We kick things off with the newest release from one of our Canadian favorites.
Destroyer – “Sky’s Grey” (Vancouver, Canada)
RIYL: Dan Bejar, The New Pornographers, Swan Lake
Fans of The New Pornographers wondered why Dan Bejar was not featured on their latest album. As it turns out, it’s because he has been busy making the 12th Destroyer album, ken, that is due in October.
The lead single from the 11-track album follow-up to his 2015 Poison Season LP proves yet again why Bejar is a force of nature. The gentle unfolding of “Sky’s Grey” is a lush, rewarding experience. As with everything Dan Bejar song, there are multi-dimensional layers to absorb here. It unfolds gradually with the steady rumbling of a plane on the runway. The synths explosion at the 1:52 mark is when the song takes off. “Should have seen it coming / should have tried pretending / that anything was there / Come one, come all / dear young revolutionary capitalists,” he beckons mid-way through.
Skies may be grey, but Bejar creates perfect weather for flying.
Friendship – “If You See My Beloved” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Destroyer, The National, David Bazan
Somewhere in the center of a Venn diagram between Destroyer, The National, and indie folk-pop (Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion) lies Philadelphia band Friendship. Their name is fitting since they’re located in the City of Brotherly Love, though most of them came from Maine originally. When you listen to their newest song, “If You See My Beloved,” you may be struck by just how refreshing its tones are. Have you ever been caught in a gentle rainstorm that made you feel grateful to be alive? The tones of this song evoke such imagery.
Frontman Dan Wriggins draws you into the song with an almost conversational approach. He’s not singing to you; he’s telling you a story that just happens to be set to music. The beauty of the song is that every instrument shines with subtlety, from the synths and pedal steel to the soft percussion that maintains its relaxing tempo. The lyrics will have you saying prayers for a lazy, rainy day so you can fully savor lyrics like these:
“Now it’s starting to rain on the only day we have off
It’s starting to rain
If it don’t bother you,
then it don’t bother me.”
Call it ambient Americana or neo-folk-pop, just don’t let this song pass you by. It’s from their forthcoming Shock Out of Season album that’s due November 3rd from Orindal Records. You can pre-order it here.
Friendship are: Dan Wriggins (vocals/guitar), Peter Gill (guitar/pedal steel), Evangeline Krajewski (synths), Jon Samuels (bass), and Mike Cormier (drums/vibraphone).
Beliefs – “1994” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: My Bloody Valentine meets Sonic Youth
The year 1994 conjures memories of grunge and flannel, of Seattle and its trademark pluvial weather. That same misty haze pervades “1994,” the new single from Toronto indie duo Beliefs. Prepare to swoon over the song’s delirium-inducing tones. It’s haunting and lush, similar to their “1992” song from two years ago, though far more mellow.
Lead vocalist Jesse Crowe describes “1994” as “…a love affair between human and concrete that explores the relations we have to the high rises around us, as living, breathing entities.” It’s hard to disagree with that assessment, especially since the song excels at being melancholy and introspective. Beliefs are pros at making emotionally-charged music; “1994” simply takes it to a new level of divine.
Beliefs are Jesse Crowe and Josh Korody.
Florist – “Glowing Brightly” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: eskimeaux, Torres, Todd Slant
Brooklyn-based Florist make music so calming it could be prescribed in lieu of Xanax. Their new “Glowing Brightly” single is just as effective. This gently introspective tune from their forthcoming If Blue Could Be Happiness album is the perfect accompaniment to a rainy day. This is the kind of mellow bedroom indie pop that envelops you in a warm, intimate embrace.
While this song is lo-fi, it’s far from being a pity party anthem. Emily Sprague delivers the lines “I just want love / I just want someone / I just want your company,” with an honest blend of melancholy and pragmatism. She doesn’t shy away from her feelings; in fact, she admits that she “woke up feeling bad again.” Can you expect anything else from someone grieving the loss of a parent? This approach – of understated, straightforward honesty – only makes the song lovelier. Pour yourself a cup of tea and curl up with this gem as it caresses you.
Florist are Emily Sprague (vocals/lyrics), Jonnie Baker (guitar), Rick Spataro (bass), and Felix Walworth (drums).
Ducktails – “Maps to the Stars” (Ridgewood, NJ USA)
RIYL: Real Estate, Surfer Blood, Tame Impala
As much as we music fans hate lineup changes in our favorite bands, those changes often bring a wealth of positive results. Former Real Estate member Matt Mondanile is a prime example. He began Ducktails in 2006 and continued to release albums in that side project while in Real Estate. His sole focus over the last year or so has been on new Ducktails material. “Map to the Stars” is the first we’re hearing of his upcoming sixth album, Jersey Devil. This gorgeous fusion of indie bedroom pop with elements of ambient lo-fi and jazz is a treat for your senses.
The instrumentation takes you to a place of calm after a storm has passed. Your spirit will be refreshed and inspired by the lyrics, especially the life-affirming mantra on the chorus: “Look up / follow your own star / there’s nothing you can’t do.” Thanks for the reminder, Matt.
Jersey Devil arrives October 6th via his own label, New Images Limited. You can purchase the single here and pre-order the album here. Ducktails’ upcoming world tour starts September 7 and includes dates in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Kitchenette – “Upon the Shoulders” (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
RIYL: The War on Drugs, Real Estate
Chris Kikić, the Bosnian-born, Netherlands-based artist behind Kitchenette, is a name you probably don’t know yet. But thanks to his impressive debut single, you will soon know him and love him.
It’s always great to hear new music from established bands you have long followed, but there is an even greater thrill in discovering new artists who make inspiring music. Kitchenette has a bold, textured sound that echoes The War on Drugs, so fans of Adam Granduciel should definitely pay attention to this emerging Dutch band.
“Upon The Shoulders” speaks to the pressure facing everyone who feels trapped by the demands of life. You are expected to get a steady job to ensure financial freedom, but at what cost? Too often your day job can crush your dreams and make you lose hope. “Upon the Shoulders” is a soaring anthem that will stir your heart and soul. If this single is any indication of what Kitchenette has in store for the full album, we cannot wait until it is released!
Sing along to this song as you make your way into work, and pay attention to these lyrics:
” We keep on walking, keeping on
Feel the weight of our coats upon the shoulders
Although we don’t know what we need
Punching clocks will not make us happy
We are the soldiers upon the shoulders.”
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