Since it is the long weekend in many parts of the world, the Saturday Sampler September 2nd edition has ten songs. Nine of them are new, and one is from a few years ago and a remix at that. We’re sharing it today because it’s one of the great remixes of all-time and features two of indie’s great bands. The rest of the mini–playlist will take your weekend to another level, and we are confident many of the songs will have you doing double takes and hitting replay.
Beach For Tiger – “Something Good” (Essex, England)
RIYL: Temples, Unknown Mortal Orchestra
There are no shortage of great psych-rock bands in the UK, which thrills us. What makes us even happier is when we discover an emerging band who put a fresh spin on the genre. Sure, it’s easy to take a page from the playbook of Temples (or Tame Impala), but Essex five-piece Beach For Tiger instead opt for more sun-kissed beach vibes. This gives their new “Something Good” single a faint hit of The Beach Boys and makes it an instant charmer.
The recurring guitar riff is electrifying in a Temples-esque way, but the seamless blend of soaring vocals and trippy bass proves that Beach For Tiger are not a derivative group. They’re forging ahead with their own original take. The slower tempo at the bridge produces some seriously chill delirium – in other words, it’s the perfect tune for your weekend leisure mode.
“Something Good” is out now on iTunes.
Odonis Odonis – “Check My Profile” (Toronto, Canada)
RIYL: Orbital, Massive Attack, Depeche Mode
If anyone in Hollywood needs to score an post-apocalyptic/sci-fi thriller, they should ring up Toronto trio Odonis Odonis for some gripping, industrial electronic-synth rock. The cinematic quality of their new “Check My Profile” single is powerful enough to enhance pivotal moments with a menacing protagonist.
From the start, the song’s driving synths set a dark tone. You become entranced immediately, and the suspense never lets up. This tune has a laser focus locked in on its target audience – in this case, it’s the listener. It grabs you and makes you a passenger as it pulses its way through the night. Crank this one then buckle up: it’s an hypnotic rush from start to finish.
“Check My Profile” is from the band’s forthcoming No Pop album that arrives October 20 via Felte (worldwide) and Telephone Explosion (Canada). You can pre-order it from their Bandcamp page or these other links.
Odonis Odonis are Constantin Tzenos, Jarod Gibson, and Denholm Whale.
Pale Honey – “Get These Things Out Of My Head” (Gothenburg, Sweden)
RIYL: Wolf Alice, Black Honey, Warpaint
Back in January 2016, we predicted massive things for Pale Honey, as identified them as one of the artists to watch that year. Well, the trio of Tuva Lodmark, Nelly Daltrey, and Anders Lagerfors actually took things slow in 2016, working on their material for their new album. Incrementally, they released a couple of singles, including the dark and hypnotic “Lay All Your Love On Me”. Now with the LP just a mere 6 weeks away, they’ve unveiled its second single, and it is electric.
“Get These Things Out Of My Head” is a feverish and anthemic rocker. In their typical fashion, Pale Honey gradually suck us, teasing us with a shimmering melody and a tingling, nervous energy. Then suddenly the song reaches another level of intensity lead by the driving guitar line and the pulsating bass. For good measure, a hallow synth booms in the background as the song reaches its apex. This number is a roller coaster ride musically and lyrically. Listen closely and you’ll feel the whirlwind of emotions in Lodmark’s words, which describe the inner struggle of one dealing with a mental illness such as anxiety and depression.
Look out Earth, Pale Honey is about to take over the music world, particularly when their new album, Devotion, arrives on October 13 via Bolero Recordings.
PAWS – “Omaha” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: Japandroids, Cloud Nothings, Cymbals Eat Guitars
Some music writers feel that guitar-driven rock is slowly fading away. While there is undoubtedly a move towards electronic- and synth-driven music, great rock bands still exist. One of them is PAWS, the Scottish trio who have been unleashing their classic ‘90s-driven rock ‘n roll since 2010, including last year’s excellent album, No Grace. Now as the band gets ready for a North American tour, they’ve surprised us with a brand new single, and “Omaha” is everything we expected.
This song is meant for unleashing all of your emotions on a long, aimless night drive. The military precision of the rhythms and the driving guitar riff are exhilarating, while Phillip Taylor’s lyrics are superb. Just like the urgency in the song, he shares the pain of being left behind by someone and feeling ignored and neglected. Yet there is a sense of victory in his voice as he has moved on and found happiness while the other person’s situation hasn’t improved. In these occasions, the grass is indeed greener.
PAWS’ five-week North American tour starts September 11th in Pittsburgh. More information is available here.
PAWS are Phillip Taylor, Josh Swinney, and Ryan Drever.
Phantogram – “Black Out Days” (Future Islands Remix) (Saratoga Springs, NY, USA)
RIYL: Phantogram, Future Islands
We don’t often share remixes because, let’s be honest, the vast majority sound the same. They either completely distort the original to make it unnoticeable, and/or they use predictable arrangements and samples. Now if only every producer would take a page out of Future Islands‘ playbook and create a jaw-dropping, hypnotic remix like they did with Phantogram‘s “Black Out Days”, we might change our tone.
Granted, this remix was made in 2014, but Phantogram recently promoted it again and for good reason.This rendition is truly sensational. Future Islands don’t ruin the original’s dark enchantment, Sarah Barthel’s emotive vocals, and her gripping storytelling. They instead work around the edges and add their trademark synth work and make the song sound darker and more haunting. So instead of feeling like we’re being chased down a dark street like the original, we’ve been sent into the deep crypts of an enormous cathedral. The only two things that can be heard are our breathing and our accelerated heart beat. That’s the effect this brilliant remix has.
The original song is taken from Phantogram’s 2014 album, Voices. Last year, they released Three via Republic Records.
Psyence – “Black Hole” (Stoke-on-Trent, England)
RIYL: The Black Angels, Wooden Shjips, Night Beats
Our love for great psychedelic music is well-documented, especially the menacing type. We have our long-time favorites, such as The Black Angels, but one band that has really caught our attention over the past two years is Psyence, the five-piece from Stoke-on-Trent who are taking psych-rock to new destinations.
Their debut EP, A New Dawn, which was released earlier this year, blew us away, and we shared several of the record’s blistering singles. Now the British rockers are melting our faces yet again with their new “Black Hole” single, which is a banger of a single. You might want to warm up your arms first because this song is meant for some serious air guitaring.
The driving guitars are awesome, making us feel like we’re spiraling out of control. They are simultaneously menacing, scintillating, and exhilarating. Meanwhile, the hammering rhythms and the sweet synths turn the song from a plunge off the 10 metre diving board into a 15,000 foot free fall. The swirling vocals further add to the song’s delirium, and an image of Mr. Anderson / Neo falling down the rabbit hole comes to mind as Stephen Pye hollers, “Someone save me, I think I’ve fallen into a black hole.” Let’s say it together, “Fuck yeah!”
Look for “Black Hole” on streaming services on September 4th. Psyence are Stephen Pye, Jamie Cartlidge, Jamie Bellingham, Ben Nixon, and Joe Walsh.
Shapes On Tape – “Get Ready” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: U2, VHS or Beta, Yukon Blonde
What do you get when you combine U2’s anthemic early ’00s rock, VHS or Beta’s infectious take of ’80s rock, and the “oh oh ohs” of Yukon Blonde? You get Shapes On Tape of course!
This relatively newly formed trio based out of Brooklyn features three very distinct and interesting characters. Multi-instrumentalist and producer Adam Kruckenberg was formerly with Midwest glam-pop-rock band Vibralux, which describes his enthusiasm for ’90s groove box. Jason Matuskiewicz is a guitarist and poet who comes from Lexington, Kentucky and played with a band called Candidate. Then there is Justin Heaverin, who is from Louisville, studied in Texas, and now is a multi-talented, multi-occupational drummer. Now keep in mind these guys are children of the ’90s and early ’00s when you blast “Get Ready”.
This song could have been on U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind. Matuskiewicz’s guitar work has an Edge-like vibe, and Heaverin’s drumming is like a super-sized Larry Mullen sans the rhythm machine. But unlike U2, there’s some great synth work, which could be mistaken to be from Future Islands. Yeah, the tune is nostalgic and the “oh oh ohs” are a little cheesy, but that’s why we love it. The song makes us feel young again, like we can take go out and run a marathon (ok, just down the block). “Oh oh oh!”
Sleep Party People – “Poor Leno” (Copenhagen, Denmark)
RIYL: Thom Yorke, Caribou, Boards of Canada
Earlier this year, Brian Batz – a.k.a. SLEEP PARTY PEOPLE – released his fourth album, Lingering, which was not just a remarkable album but also a journey inside the brilliance of one man. We have described him as Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood rolled into a single person, and like these two great innovators there is no limit to Batz’s genius. Just when we thought he couldn’t blow us away any more, he releases a song that just might be his very best to date. And that’s saying something.
“Poor Leno” is absolutely stunning, and it is one of the rare songs that is a grandiose event and not just a piece of entertainment. As a result, the song will have you uttering the words “Holy mother of lord!” or “Good gawd” or some similar phrase. The opening, throbbing bass line gets it all started, inviting us into Batz’s imaginative and engrossing mind. Then we’re introduced to an enchanting yet mysterious voice that seems to be from a distant galaxy. Who is this person or being? It really doesn’t matter in the end because as the dissonant guitar and stammering percussion intensify we get further lost in this surreal but magical world. The bridge, in particular, is a moment of ecstasy and exhilaration.
There is no one making music like Batz right now, so appreciate and treasure his brilliance while you still can.
“Poor Leno” is out now via Joyful Noise Recordings, who also released Lingering.
TOPIA – “Lay It On the Line” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: The XX, Cut Copy, Pet Shop Boys
There is a cool electronic-pop breeze blowing from Los Angeles these days in the form of TOPIA. The duo of Jack Guimon and Jack Payne are making some deliriously delicious synth-driven fare that is both sensual and carefree. Their new “Lay It On the Line” surrounds you with its warm textures and you can’t help but melt a bit. The two Jacks (we’re glad they passed on this for their band name) channel their retro influences (Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode) into thoroughly modern electronic pop perfection here.
Echoes of The XX permeate this track, making it chill and mesmerizing. “Lay It On the Line” is moonlit elegance set to danceable beats you simply cannot get out of your head.
Weakened Friends – “Hate Mail” (feat. J Mascis) (Boston, USA)
RIYL: Swearin’, Dinosaur Jr, Paramore
When a young band is able to get J Mascis to play lead guitar on one of their songs, they must be doing something right. That band is Weakened Friends, a trio out of Boston who have quickly become a New England favorite for their honest mix of alternative and garage rock. But don’t delay to like this band because they could very well be this generation’s Dinosaur Jr. Seriously!
Their new single, “Hate Mail”, channels the garage-rock pioneers, and it’s not because Mascis’ fiery guitar features prominently. The song is raw, cathartic, and just flat out awesome. While Mascis leads the way instrumentally, Annie Hoffman (bass) and Cam Jones (drums) hold their own with their heart-racing, knee-bouncing rhythms.
Front woman Sonia Sturino, meanwhile, is one part Hayley Williams and another part Kim Gordon, as her raspy vocals cut through the noise and grab our attention. Her songwriting is fantastic, as she describes the feeling of being betrayed by someone close. We all know that feeling, but often cannot find the words to explain the rage and disappointment. Sturino, though, has found the perfect combination, where she politely says “fuck off” to the betrayer. You tell them off young lady (and do it for us while you’re at it)!
Weakened Friends are heading out on a mini, two-week tour of the Northeast USA, commencing September 6th in New Haven, Connecticut. In October, they’ll be at Halifax’s Pop Explosion. Tour details can be found here.
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