Today’s mid-week serving of new music cocktails is on the milder side. These six singles complement the season with equal amounts of autumn warmth and cool breezes. From Americana, indie dream folk and electronic pop to cinematic art fare, this mostly American mini playlist brings you the freshest sounds of the week.
Shallow Lenses – “Take It To The Table” (Seattle, USA)
RIYL: The Head and the Heart, The Maldives, Mikey & Matty
Any music fan worth their salt knows Seattle has a vibrant music scene. Artists there have a long history of collaboration, and indie folk-rock outfit Shallow Lenses is proof. Their debut single evokes the close-knit bonds of family and friendship, which is fitting since the group is connected to beloved Seattle-area bands like The Head and The Heart and The Maldives in multiple ways.
“Take It To The Table” reminds us that the most rewarding gambles in life are those based on love and family:
“There’s nothing you can do in this silly little world
Find yourself a good job and try to make it work
Start a little family and build a little house
I know it isn’t easy but it’s what it’s all about.”
This heartfelt slice of Americana is destined to be a crowd-pleaser. With its rousing chorus and advice to “Take it to the table and bet it all on black,” Shallow Lenses have delivered one of this year’s best songs.
Shallow Lenses are: Matt Gervais (lead vocals/guitar/keys), Mike Gervais (backing vocals, guitar), Navid Eliot (bass), and Faustine Hudson (drums).
Sedgewick – “To Fold” (Chicago, USA)
RIYL: Fleet Foxes, Gomez, Midlake, Shearwater
There is a sweet spot on an indie music Venn diagram between Bon Iver’s ambient pop and the folk of Fleet Foxes and Midlake. Many bands occupy the latter end of the spectrum; few achieve the unique balance of the middle realm. This separates Chicago’s Sedgewick from their peers and increases their appeal a hundredfold.
Faint echoes of Wilco and Gomez in the first half of their single “To Fold” become increasingly chill toward the half. The last two minutes achieve a level of ethereal calm usually heard from Sigur Rós, Bon Iver, and José González. Never have the words “I’ve been waging war” sounded so peaceful. Do yourself a favor and isolate yourself for five minutes while this song plays. Then exhale a blissful sigh knowing you just discovered your new favorite method of stress relief.
Sedgewick are Sam Brownson, Oliver Horton, and Jake Hawrylak.
Cut Worms – “Like Going Down Sideways” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: The Everly Brothers, Lou Reed, Kevin Morby
Max Clarke – a.k.a. Cut Worms – has one of those voices that instantly sounds familiar, but in ways you can’t quite place. On his new single, “Like Going Down Sideways,” the Brooklyn-based singer taps into the lonesome yearning of legends and rising stars alike – namely, The Everly Brothers and Kevin Morby. So maybe that explains the familiarity of his tone, a modern sound with sepia-toned edges.
“Like Going Down Sideways” was originally released last May on Cut Worms’ debut 7″ vinyl, Don’t Want to Say Goodbye. It may have taken a while to complete the EP, Alien Sunset, but we aren’t complaining. Clark was working on the album while trying to move, and we all know how frustrating moving is. Alien Sunset features demos recorded in Chicago on Side A while the Side B tracks were recorded following his relocation to New York City.
Mt. Doubt – “Mouthwash” (Edinburgh, Scotland)
RIYL: The National, Frightened Rabbit, First Tiger
Scottish indie rock outfit Mt. Doubt seem eternally married to comparisons to The National, even though this newest single is much brighter than the most recent fare from Matt Berninger and crew. “Mouthwash” finds the Edinburgh band veering away from the style of their “Natural Swimmer” single that first captured our attention back in July. But don’t worry: the core of their sound is still very much in place. This tune may be sunnier in overall tone, but the clouds are still present within the soundscape. They are from Scotland after all, not sunny southern California.
Once again, Leo Bargery leads with robust vocals at the fore while Ryan Firth and Annie Booth offer backing enhancement. Mt. Doubt continue to impress critics and fans alike with the scope of their talent.
MGMT – “Little Dark Age” (Middletown, CT USA)
RIYL: The Cure, Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys
MGMT fans have waited four long years for a follow-up to their self-titled last album. Now just in time for the upcoming spooky holiday, the electronic pop icons have shared the title track to their fourth LP.
“Little Dark Age” finds Andrew VanWyngarden channeling the late-’80s Goth scene, complete with Robert Smith-worthy teased hair and heavy black eyeliner. The song’s strong synth lines also recall that iconic era, but with a tone more playful than brooding. Stylistically it tips its hat to The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Pet Shop Boys without entering derivative territory. In other words, it’s delicious fun.
Little Dark Age is expected in early 2018, if not sooner. The single is out now at these streaming/purchase links.
MGMT are: Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser, James Richardson, Matt Asti, and Will Berman.
Suno Deko – “Feel It More” (Atlanta, USA)
RIYL: My Morning Jacket, Fleet Foxes, Sigur Rós, Hundred Waters
Brace yourself when you first hear Suno Deko. If you are unfamiliar with the Atlanta native (né David Courtright), his ethereal vocals will astound you. But unless you have heard of this emerging artist (or have seen him perform), you probably are not prepared for the emotional vulnerability of the “Feel It More” single from the new self-titled album. It’s gorgeous and moving, so hit play to fully understand.
Your initial reaction may be to compare the vocals to My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James or Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold. These comparisons are warranted considering the warm timbre and soaring range Suno Deko possesses. (Actually, he sounds more Scandinavian than American, with an almost Jónsi-esque falsetto.) But the charm of this song is the intimacy of his delivery and the richness of the layered textures that call to mind Hundred Waters or The Antlers. The hypnotic crescendo of looping guitar and percussion in the last minute are a dizzying interplay that make “Feel It More” even more memorable. Get to know this artist. You don’t find art this cathartic every day.
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