Today’s menu of new music cocktails is full of sensual treats. These six songs from American, Australian, and Greek artists range from funky beats that will move your body to introspective rock that will speak to your mind. We kick things off with a favorite duo whose third album arrives in October.
Cults – “I Took Your Picture” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Chvrches, Warpaint, Bananarama
Now that Cults have shared a second single from their forthcoming Offering album, we are counting down the days until its release date in October. The title track left us breathless last month, to the point that we called it a “synth pop dream.” A month later, “I Took Your Picture” is having the same effect.
The vocal chemistry between Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion continues to amaze us. This duo can achieve warm harmonies in one passage and icy cool backing vocals in the next, all without diminishing the energy of the song. Faint echoes of ’80s-era synth pop reverberate throughout, but it’s a perfect balance of retro and modern. Follin channels a bit of Bananarama without veering too far into Missing Persons territory. Her voice is simply too lush to ever have the staccato spikes of Dale Bozzio, and the result is three-plus minutes of delirious, closed-eyed head swaying. One spin of this gem will convince you that Cults are soon to deliver one of the year’s best albums.
Polyrhythmics – “Spider Wolf” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: Antibalas, Toubab Krewe, Tinariwen
A caldera is the crater left after a volcano erupts. It’s also the perfect title for the new Polyrhythmics album since their music is hotter than molten lava. The eight-piece Seattle instrumental funk collective are, quite simply, a force of nature. They bring fire to their live shows and deliver scorching licks on their albums, as you can hear on their newest single, “Spider Wolf.”
This three-minute joy ride will leave you energized and mesmerized. A seamless fusion of Afrobeat, funk, and psychedelic rock, “Spider Wolf” is an instant classic. Crank this one first thing in the morning for a feel-good jolt that will keep you going all day. Your soul will thank you. And by all means, if Polyrhythmics come anywhere near you, be sure to go see them. Words will never do justice to the incredible performance that awaits you when they play.
Caldera is available for pre-order now from the band’s Pledge Music page.
Polyrhythmics are: Ben Bloom (guitar), Jason Gray (bass), Nathan Spicer (keys), Art Brown (sax/flute), Elijah Clarke (trombone), Scott Morning (trumpet), Lalo Bello (percussion), and Grant Schroff (drums).
*repeat repeat – “Girlfriend” (Nashville, USA)
RIYL: The Dandy Warhols, The B-52’s, Freedom Fry
If you haven’t discovered Nashville’s hottest indie band, *repeat repeat, we have to ask: where have you been hiding? Calling their brand of surf pop/rock anything but infectious would be a crime. They don’t just write catchy tunes with radio-friendly hooks that stay in your head for weeks. No, they make music that infiltrates your ears and sends ripples of sassy charisma down to your toes. This is summer music. It doesn’t matter that the season is winding down. There is still plenty of time left for carefree drives with the top down on the convertible (or all the windows rolled down) while “Girlfriend” blasts through your speakers.
The band’s 2014 debut LP, Bad Latitude, introduced the world to their sun-kissed sound. Now on their follow-up, Floral Canyon, they continue to deliver margarita melodies that aren’t too sweet or too tart. While they aren’t going for the zany quirkiness of The B-52’s, *repeat repeat have the talent to become this generation’s chiller version of that iconic southern group. The vibrant hues of “Girlfriend” will keep the spirit of summer alive in your headspace long after sweater weather arrives.
Floral Canyon arrives September 15 via Dangerbird Records with pre-orders from the label, Amazon, and iTunes. The band’s upcoming North American tour with Beach Slang kicks off September 4th in Virginia.
*repeat repeat are Jared Corder (vocals/guitar), Kristyn Corder (vocals/keys), and Andy Herrin (drums).
Slum Sociable – “Castle” (Melbourne, Australia)
RIYL: Portishead, Massive Attack, Placebo
Minimalism is a powerful tool in music, as Australian duo Slum Sociable prove on their new single. “Castle” is a coolly brooding piece of downtempo electronic pop-soul that highlights the interplay between the vocals and the understated instrumentation. Much like the shoegaze trip-hop of Portishead and Massive Attack in the ’90s, Slum Sociable follow a straightforward method of getting attention in this song. Edward Quinn and Miller Unchurch are basically whispering to new (or prospective) fans. Instead of delivering a pulse-quickening dancefloor hit for their debut album, they choose to play it cool. They give you a subtle nod as if to beckon you over so they can reveal a secret. This approach works. The secret is steadfastness, with lyrics offering a vow of support:
“Waves of uncertainty
A feeling that you’ve always had
I’ll be there every time you crash”
Hypnotic synth flourishes and rumbling percussion add to the moody atmosphere of “Castle.” It’s more evocative than haunting, yet it is thoroughly engrossing from start to finish.
Keep Shelly in Athens – “Game Over (Daniel’s Scene)” (Athens, Greece)
RIYL: Portishead, Massive Attack, Twin Shadow
Prepare to have the hairs on your neck stand up. The minute-long intro on “Game Over (Daniel’s Scene)” from Greek duo Keep Shelly in Athens is cinematic and chilling. But that’s just the beginning. This tune keeps you spellbound from the first notes thanks to powerhouse vocals from Australian singer/poet Jessica Bell, the newest singer to join founding member and producer RPR.
“Game Over” weaves Bell’s vocal passages into ethereal downtempo instrumentation that is lush and sensual. The identity of title character Daniel remains a mystery, which only heightens the intrigue here. Is this song to be featured in a film or game? Or will listeners discover further clues on the Philokalia album when it arrives next month? This song offers more riddles than answers. Needless to say, we are anxious to hear more. Until then, this gem will be in heavy rotation due to its powerfully addictive tones.
Pre-orders for Philokalia are from their website. The album is out September 29th via their Athenian Aura label.
Duncan Kissinger – “Slower & Slower” (Indianapolis, USA)
RIYL: Kevin Morby, Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs
Finally this week we conclude with a talented new voice from Indiana. Duncan Kissinger is a 26-year-old singer/songwriter whose music has the intimacy of David Bazan with the hazy depth of Kurt Vile. It’s a powerful combination worthy of your attention, so block out a few hours to lose yourself in “Slower & Slower.“ You’ll definitely want to keep it on repeat.
Like many midwestern songwriters (The National’s Matt Berninger, for example), Kissinger employs repeated lyrical phrases. While some may be put off by this, the benefit is that it guides your attention to the music. Here the music has a density that calls to mind both Kurt Vile’s solo work and The War on Drugs’ Adam Granduciel in terms of richness. “Slower & Slower” is essentially a “wine” song to be savored slowly, without distraction. It’s from Kissinger’s upcoming debut album, Make Time Stop. The timing of the album’s release seems especially perfect, since autumn evenings are made for individual moments of contemplation with good wine and music. As Kissinger explains about the album:
“It’s a record about love and how hard it is to know about love. Make Time Stop is meant to empower others to place more value on individual moments and embrace emotion and intuition as the truest thing we have.”
If this first song is any indication, Duncan Kissinger is one of the next emerging indie folk-rock artists to watch.
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