We’re not covering too much geographical ground on the Saturday Sampler October 21st edition, but we are spanning a few genres. Whether you’re in the mood for some instrumental funk, boisterous garage rock, innovative alt-pop, or some hip-shaking old-school soul and indie pop-rock, we have you covered.
Dutch Party – “Now and Later” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Destroyer, MOONFACE, Paper Pilots
We first came across Ken Franklin’s project, Dutch Party, in August, and at the time we sought his forgiveness for not jumping on his bandwagon sooner. Franklin is basically a younger American version of Dan Bejar, which explains our appeal to his work. Like the great Canadian artist who moonlights as Destroyer and performs with The New Pornographers, Franklin has knack for creating addictive melodies with imaginative storytelling. His latest single provides all the evidence in a tidy three minutes and nine seconds.
“Now and Later” is a sugary, delightful earworm that will, at a minimum, put a smile on your face. For the energetic types, the tune will have you bopping around and thinking summer has returned. While the upbeat, breezy melody will sweep you off your feet, Franklin’s songwriting is impeccable. In this song, he channels his inner Spike Jonze to tell of one person’s state of mind in today’s maddening world. The video for the song is also well worth watching, as he and his friends mix Pulp Fiction with The Hustler into an entertaining short film.
“Now and Later” is from Dutch Party’s upcoming sophomore EP, Combat Pop, that is due later this year.
Gaffa Tape Sandy – “Beehive” (Bury St Edmunds, England)
RIYL: The Strokes, Estrons, INHEAVEN
Saturdays are opportunities to let yourself go, assuming that didn’t already happen the night before. But if you’re like us (the type who wait until Saturday to go full throttle), then you’ve come to the perfect song that could be the soundtrack to your entire day. That song is “Beehive” from young English trio Gaffa Tape Sandy. How they came up with this name is beyond us, but who really cares when they’re creating music that gets us up off our seats and has us doing things we normally wouldn’t be doing.
“Beehive” is an explosive, anthemic garage rocker that starts off as a spark before exploding into a frenetic maelstrom of dueling vocals, hammering percussion, sizzling guitar riffs, and probing bass lines. The song is a reminder that it is OK to write music that is heavy, hard, and fun, and not everything has to be poppy. Even the most raucous songs can make people bop around, just like this one. So people, let yourself go!
Don’t sleep on the lyrics, though. They’re a lot more serious than the fun-loving nature of the music, as Kim Jarvis agonizingly describes the disintegration of a relationship and him waiting in the bathroom for his baby to come to apologize.
The song is out now via Antigen Records. Gaffa Tape Sandy are Kim Jarvis (vocals/guitar), Catherine Lindley-Neilson (vocals/bass), and Robin Francis (drums/percussion).
Ikebe Shakedown – “Blue Giant” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Antibalas, The Dap Kings
Your weekend soundtrack needs some soul. Even if soul isn’t the genre you listen to most (or at all), trust us when we tell you that the “Blue Giant” single from Brooklyn soul collective Ikebe Shakedown is exactly the groovy tune you need in your life right now. It’s smooth and sultry with horns so hot they’re damn near incendiary. The percussion will have you grooving to its sway-inducing tempo. Whatever activities you have planned this weekend, “Blue Giant” will enhance all of them.
Brooklyn has long been a hotbed of soul activity, thanks to the spotlight shone on it by the amazing Miss Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley. Though their stars no longer shine in this mortal realm, their funky energy now flows through the Brooklyn musicians who carry their torch. Like their soul/funk cousins The Dap Kings and Antibalas, the members of Ikebe Shakedown bring fierce vitality to the music they make. Look for “Blue Giant” on their latest album, The Way Home. It is out now via Colemine Records from the label, Amazon, and iTunes.
Ikebe Shakedown are: Barnaby Alter (drums), Dave Bourla (percussion), Mike Buckley (sax), Vince Chiarito (bass), Jason Colby (trumpet), Nadav Nirenberg (trombone), and Robin Schmidt (guitar).
Rews – “Your Tears” (London, England and Belfast, Northern Ireland)
RIYL: Deap Valley, Veruca Salt, Bully
One of our London-based photographers, Paul Lyme, told us that Rews are a fantastic band. So we had to check them out. Fortunately, the garage-rock duo of Shauna Tohill (vocals/guitar) and Collette Williams (percussion/vocals) shared a new single yesterday, and let’s just say Paul should make more suggestions from now on.
Tohill and Williams aren’t the typical two-piece that tries to imitate either The Black Keys or Royal Blood. Instead, they add more grit, darkness, and explosiveness into their songs. They’re not here to make you dance, nor are they here to make friends. Their sole goals are to make us rock out while carefully considering our everyday situations; they achieve this on “Your Tears”.
The song is a methodical number that slowly develops from calm and melodic into a gnarly, menacing rocker. The approach brilliantly complements Tohill’s story of revenge, where she essentially is telling another person (possibly a cheating and lying partner) to fuck off because she’s not going to fall for his alligator tears. This is a message that a lot of us should follow everyday, particularly the guy in the White House.
Sego – “Sucker / Saint” (Los Angeles via Sego, UT, USA)
RIYL: Broken Social Scene, Prism Tats, Grouplove
It’s been over 18 months since we last shared a song by pop-rock duo Sego, the project of Spencer Peterson and Thomas Carroll. They did release a single last month in the form of “Whatever Forever”, but we sort of missed it. Fortunately, they’ve released another cool new tune this week with “Sucker / Saint”.
This song is made for a drive along the Pacific coastline where you can put the top down, feel the ocean breeze blow through your hair, and escape the urban jungle. In other words, this single is an exhilarating experience, and it’s arguably the duo’s best song to date. The bridge is outstanding, where the sweltering vibe turns into a Beck-ish, Midnite Vultures-era number. This is the moment where you really lose yourself, and it’s awesome.
Lyrically, too, the song is quite clever, as Sego share the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in all of us. There are times when we are all perfect little angels, then suddenly we can be the stupidest people on the planet. But, as the two state in the song, we have to carry on, which is exactly what we’ll do with this awesome track.
The Slow Readers Club – “Lunatic” (Manchester, England)
RIYL: Eagulls, City Calm Down, Depeche Mode
It has been a long time since we’ve shared anything from The Slow Readers Club, who formed way back in 2003 and slowly worked their way up into the upper echelon of the UK indie scene. Despite their rising popularity, they have remained independent and unsigned, even after touring with James last year. Granted, their doom-electro-rock isn’t for everyone, but the Manchester-based quartet are one of the most forward-thinking bands around. Proving they are still one of the best indie-rock bands on the planet, they released “Lunatic”, which should be heard with the lights dimmed and a glass of whiskey in hand.
The track demonstrates why tens of thousands have gravitated to The Slow Readers Club over the years. The layers of synths, crystalline guitars, stark bass lines, and heart-pounding drumming combine with Aaron Starkie’s hallow vocals to create a foreboding atmosphere. It’s bone-chilling, particularly when the guitar kicks in halfway and the song takes on a new character. Starkie’s lyrics stimulate the imagination as we follow one person’s fall into “oblivion”. It’s a brilliant piece of storytelling that arrives just in time for Halloween.
The Slow Readers Club are Aaron Starkie (vocals/keys), Kurtis Starkie (vocals/guitar), James Ryan (bass), and David Whitworth (drums). They’re heading off on a mini-tour of Ireland and the UK. Dates and information are available here.
Thea & The Wild – “Paved The Way” (Oslo, Norway)
RIYL: Fever Ray, HAIM, Lykke Li
Back in June, Thea & The Wild shared “City of Gold”, which remains to this day one of the most impressive songs of the year. Seriously, we still go back to it every once in a while because it was a piece of refreshingly bright alt-pop. This time around, they go in the opposite direction and share a song that is a bit more on the creepy and chill side.
“Paved The Way” is a song that one may mistaken as one to be on Fever Ray’s forthcoming new album. Instead, it belongs to a young Norwegian woman, specifically Thea Glenton Raknes, and her band mates (Kamilla Waal, Jørgen Apeness, and Filip Roshauw). And yes, their potential is that of Karin Dreijer Andersson’s alter-ego, and this latest number is all the evidence one needs. It is a piece of dark, alt-pop perfection. Every element is perfectly mixed, creating the feeling that one is slowly spiraling from the sky and into an unknown rabbit hole. Raknes’ vocals, meanwhile, are enrapturing, and her songwriting further accentuates the Alice in Wonderland-like atmosphere.
“You paved the way for me, and I got bold
And I just flew higher.
Show the way so I could see what I could do,
You set my soul on fire.”
Thea & The Wild’s sophomore album, Ikaros, arrives February 2nd via Propeller Recordings. It has a good chance of being one of our most anticipated LPs of 2018.
Thee Conductor – “Ditty #8” (Austin, USA)
RIYL: Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Damien Jurado, Clem Snide, Damien Jurado
Austin, Texas-based singer/songwriter Jason Butler – aka Thee Conductor – grew up watching spaghetti Westerns and later discovered the music of Vince Guaraldi, the composer best associated with the Charlie Brown cartoons. Those seemingly disparate styles can be heard in his debut album, Cotton Tornado, and its “Ditty #8” single. A dusty frivolity permeates this Americana pop tune, from the jaunty tempo and the guitar riffs that are delicate one moment and downright blazing in others. But the lyrics offer plenty of sage wisdom, too, as Butler sings about things that don’t serve him well, including overstimulation and never sitting still:
“I’ve gotta get my head right / it’s overtaking me
Now that my head’s right / I can start again
Now that my head’s right / finally I can see”
Butler’s vocals have a honeyed richness that make you forget the world around you. His voice draws you into his music while his technical prowess keeps you transfixed. The guy is a storyteller with a style comparable to Damien Jurado, so add this to your playlist when you’re sitting around a campfire with friends – or when you’re flying solo. You’ll never feel alone listening to a voice this warm.
Cotton Tornado is out now on his Sixgunlover Records label. The album includes guest musicians Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Will Oldham), A. Sinclair and more.
Trudy and The Romance – “Twist It. Shake It. Rock ‘n Roll” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Mac DeMarco, King Krule, The Stray Cats
Liverpool trio Trudy and the Romance have perfected the concept of standing out from the crowd. They formed two years ago yet continue to increase their popularity thanks to retro-sounding bangers like their latest single, “Twist It. Shake It. Rock ‘n Roll.”
Call it modern doo-wop or vintage rockabilly or (as, the band calls it, “mutant ‘50s pop”) – but regardless of what genre label you use, no term will succinctly capture the raucous fun these guys create. Last month we shared “Is There a Place I Can Go” from their upcoming Junkyard Jazz EP, calling it “impossible to resist.” Yet again they warrant that same accolade.
Trudy and the Romance are: Oliver Taylor (vocals, guitar), Lewis Rollinson (bass), and Brad Mullins (drums).
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