The Saturday Sampler August 19th edition features nine tantalizing singles from across the globe. Artists from Australia, Canada, Russia, Sweden, and the US infuse this playlist with a wide range of genres. Whether you’re a fan of indie rock, gothic Americana, disco pop, psychedelic folk-pop, dream pop-rock, or David Bowie, these tunes are sure to spice up your weekend. Check back tomorrow when our Weekend Showcase will include every song we have shared since Monday.
Church Girls – “Breaking Bones” (Philadelphia, USA)
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Avers, Twin Limb
Weekends are times to escape, whether that is to take a short road trip or get absorbed in a wonderful piece of literature. Or if you’re like us, music is the tonic that eases our nerves and soothes the soul. There are moments that call for rocking out and others that scream it’s time to dance and let go. But every Saturday or Sunday requires a moment to settle down and just get lost within a song – or in the case of Church Girls to be overcome by their music.
Earlier this month, they left our mouths agape with the stunning “Better Off”. Their new single, “Breaking Bones”, has us collapsing under the weight of the band’s majestic dreaminess. The song starts with a little tantalizing groove and even a touch of darkness, but as it progresses it turns into a breathtaking, cinematic adventure. The final minute, in particular, is dazzling, as the guitars get a bit shoegaze-y, the rhythms become more urgent, and frontwoman Mariel Beaumont’s vocals turn angelic. This is a moment where you wish time would stand still, as all your worries are washed away and your lust for life is rekindled. Unfortunately, we all have to wake up eventually.
“Breaking Bones” is the second single from Church Girls’ forthcoming new album, Hidalgo. It is expected September 15th.
Church Girls are Mariel Beaumont (vocals/guitar), Robert Dwyer (guitar), Will Schwarz (bass/vocals), and Zakary Iannitelli (drums).
JOSEPH OF MERCURY – “Angel” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Alex Cameron, Marlon Williams, Elvis Presley
The world is filled with great mysteries, such as does the Loch Ness Monster exist? Is Elvis alive and walking among us? And how in the world is JOSEPH OF MERCURY still a relatively unknown quality within the music world? The Toronto-born singer-songwriter is a throwback with his classic soft-rock style, a booming voice that borders between Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley, and stories that will melt your heart. A talent like his cannot be ignore for long, and maybe things change on September 1st when his debut self-titled EP is released (pre-order it here). He’s already shared two songs from the record, and yesterday he revealed track #3 and it’s another stunner.
As the organ-like keys commence on “Angel”, the song takes on a hymnal quality and immediately our attention has been fixated on the song. Then JOSEPH OF MERCURY’s stunning, crooner-like voice arrives, and a whole level of spirituality is experienced. His sermon is endearing and uplifting, as he recounts the life of a person who inspired him and how this “Angel” made him appreciate life for all its offerings. But unlike many pastors, Joseph doesn’t overexaggerate the protagonist’s influence nor does his voice get overdramatic. Instead, he allows his words and the stunning beauty of the song to move the listener. Only the truly talented artists are able to make restraint sound so powerful.
Men I Trust – “Tailwhip” (Montreal, Canada)
RIYL: Yumi Zouma, Ghostly Kisses, MADEIRA
Some people may prefer the intensity and buzz of EDM tracks or booming hip hop and soul on a Saturday night. For us, the perfect song is one that allows us to mindlessly float along the dance floor (or honestly our living rooms) and just be consumed by its stunning beauty. For the better part of the past fifteen months, Men I Trust has been the band we’ve looked to in order to turn our weekend evenings into lavishing, sultry affairs.
The trio recently moved back to Montreal after spending the past few years in Quebec City, and their relocation is the subject of their terrific new single, “Tailwhip”. The song personifies a late summer’s night, as the simple percussion and probing bass line create a groovy atmosphere while the dissonant guitar provides the enchantment. Frontwoman Emmanuelle Proulx’s intimate, breathy vocal is intoxicating, and its whispery quality creates the feeling she is lying next to us and sharing her thoughts about moving home. There is a delicate excitement in her voice, yet a slight reticence lingers as she knows that coming home doesn’t necessarily mean new opportunities.
“Days will be the same in a different way.
Going to a place where I use to stay.
Writing something new in this home I know.”
Someone needs to sign this band!
Men I Trust are Dragos Chiriac (keys/mastering), Jessy Caron (guitar/bass/keys), and Emmanuelle Proulx (vocals).
Milk Teddy – “New York Rhapsody” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Belle and Sebastian, New Order, High Highs, The Shins
Say hello to Australian indie newcomers Milk Teddy, purveyors of some of the brightest shimmering pop hooks we’ve heard in a while. Their debut album, Time Catches Up with Milk Teddy, is prime weekend soundtrack material, as you can hear on “New York Rhapsody.”
This emerging five-piece channel the pop sensibilities of Belle and Sebastian with the sun-kissed warmth of fellow Aussie indie dream-pop band High Highs on this track. You’ll even hear echoes of ’80s-era New Wave (specifically, New Order) on the synths and hints of The Shins on the vocals. In other words, this band draws from a rich well of influences to create a sound that is uniquely modern with just the right amount of retro flair. Milk Teddy provide the cool sonic refreshment you crave on a hot summer day.
Milk Teddy are: Thomas Mendelovits (vocals/guitar), Bot Potts (guitar/accordion/bass), Rachel Stanyon (keys/bass/accordion/vocals), Al Hall (keys/bass), and Jonathan Mendelovits (drums).
Pinkshinyultrablast – “Find Your Saint” (St. Petersburg, Russia)
RIYL: Slowdive, Portishead, Cocteau Twins
These days, any news about Russia hasn’t been overly positive in this side of the globe, although recent events have refocused people’s attentions. The world’s largest country, though, will again be in the headlines, but this time for a reason that is a cause for a celebration. Specifically, Russian dream-pop giants Pinkshinyultrablast will be releasing their third album later this year, and yesterday they unveiled its lead single.
Exactly what we needed to momentarily escape the chaos, “Find Your Saint” is an exquisite piece of art. Like observing the great paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Claude Monet, the song will leave your mouth agape and steal your breath away. In the process, you’ll slowly lose yourself within its beauty, as the stunning production and crystalline guitar create a dreamy soundscape and the ethereal vocals of Lyubov take you high into the heavens. Simply gorgeous.
Pinkshinyultrablast’s third album is coming soon via Club AC30. The trio are Lyubov (vocals), Rustam (synths/electronics), and Roman (guitars).
Ramonda Hammer – “The Man Who Sold the World” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: David Bowie, Nirvana
We don’t share too many cover songs, let alone a cover of a cover. However, when one of our favorite bands is resurrecting the perfect song for these unusual times, exceptions must be made.
Forty-eight years ago, David Bowie wrote “The Man Who Sold The World”. It’s incredible to think this song was written in the midst of the Vietnam War and just as Neil Armstrong was setting foot on the moon. Just goes to show how far ahead of his time the Starman was.
This classic song, of course, was given new life in 1994 when Nirvana covered it as part of their MTV Unplugged performance. The Seattle grunge rockers turned the glam-rock number into a gritty, alt-rock masterpiece. Building upon their approach, Ramonda Hammer have take the song and made it even edgier and harder. The guitars roar more loudly, Devin Davis’ vocals are more urgent, and a ferocity vibrates throughout. The LA-based have essentially turned the classic into the political anthem for these times. No wonder we have a crush on this band.
Ruby Fray – “Honor” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Neko Case, Marissa Nadler, Warpaint
It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since we first fell under the spell of Ruby Fray. Back in 2014 we found ourselves beguiled by the Austin-based band’s Grackle LP. The “bewitching” psychedelic vocals of Emily Beanblossom are just as lush as ever on the new “Honor” single.
One of the things we love most about Ruby Fray is their flawless fusion of old-school girl group harmonies with fierce lyrics set to gothic-tinged melodies. “Honor” finds them at their peak with this cautionary tale. Echoes of Neko Case (especially her “Furnace Room Lullaby”) ripple throughout the song as Emily’s powerhouse vocals send chills up your spine. Meanwhile the band sets a tone of disapproval that makes you want to hang your head in shame for whatever wrongs you have committed. Can’t you picture each of them wagging their index finger in your direction as if to indicate “No, no, no”? This song will have you on your knees begging for mercy and forgiveness, even if your honor has never been in doubt:
“You’re still curious, betrayed, you fell in a ditch
of who’s to turn to but your pretty baby bitch
Curious, betrayed, you look at my face
You still know your honor til the day that you die
Honor, Honor means losing your head
in someone’s back yard, losing your head
Of course I still wanted you, all the signs pointing to,
Aim for the things we have left to define”
Ruby Fray are Emily Beanblossom (vocals/omnichord), Corey Anderson (guitar), Danny Metcalf (bass), and Danielle Rose Moran (drums).
Sam Evian – “Need You” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Celestial Shore, Cass McCombs, Andy Shauf
Lazy summer days call for leisure time spent in total relaxation mode. Grab your beverage of choice and head out to a nice shady spot as Sam Evian‘s latest single, “Need You,” serenades your cares away. The sunset glow of this song’s harmonies will transport you to a place of serenity. We won’t call it psychedelic since the term gets bandied about so often that it’s become generic. But there is an element of breeziness here that pairs well with the mindset that often accompanies that genre. “Need You” is definitely a song that invites you to explores its rich textures and promises to leave you with a smile on your face. If you loved Sam Evian’s 2016 debut album, Premium, as much as we did, you’ll agree that “Need You” has just as much charm as the sultry, groovy “Dark Love” that we raved about last year.
On this song, Sam Owens (the singer/songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist of the project) has teamed up with indie music veteran Chris Cohen for a three-song EP. While you may not recognize Cohen’s name, you have definitely heard his music. (We shared his “Torrey Pines” single last year.) His previous work with Deerhoof, Ariel Pink, Cass McCombs (as well as his solo albums) makes him the ideal choice for this Sam Evian piece. The vocal chemistry between Owens and Cohen has us hoping they will head back to the studio for a full-length. This song is so hypnotic and addictive that we need more of it as soon as possible.
Shout Out Louds – “Porcelain” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Foster the People, Peter Bjorn and John, Broken Social Scene
Five weeks from now, Shout Out Louds‘ first album since 2013 arrives. The Swedish indie giants have slowly been rolling out singles since April, beginning with the summery “Oh Oh” and the breathtaking “Jumbo Jet”. The two songs were microcosms of the quintet’s sonic range, and their latest number sees them launching themselves into disco orbit.
“Porcelain” is reminiscent of the addictive indie pop-rock that swarmed radio in the mid-2000s. This is music that swells chests with its intoxicating melodies, groovy textures, and warm harmonies. But where Shout Out Louds consistently separate themselves from everyone else is their ability to create stories that make us feel like we are the protagonists. “Porcelain” is no different. Listen closely and hear the band’s uplifting message to never let anyone tell you who are and to not allow material things to define you.
If the audio clip above is only available as a preview for you, here is the video.
“Porcelain” 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.
Shout Out Louds are Adam Olenius, Eric Edman, Ted Malmros, Bebban Stenborg, and Carl von Arbin.
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