The menu for the Saturday Sampler November 11th edition features an enticing array of new music entrées. Some of the offerings will brighten your palette. Others are more subtle, but when you’ve finished sampling them you’ll be asking for more. There are also some sweet notes to finish that provide the perfect ending to this nine-course music feast.
Black Honey – “Dig” (Brighton, England)
RIYL: Portugal. The Man, Anteros, Wolf Alice
And they’re back! Black Honey, who are undeniably one of the great indie-rock bands of this decade, unveiled their first single in over seven months the other day, and “Dig” is a breathtaking banger. Yes, that’s what we wrote, and it seems virtually impossible that a brooding and edgy rocker can leave you gasping for breath. Then again, nothing is impossible for the Brighton-based quartet. They have gradually grown into one of the UK’s most exciting and inventive bands. “Dig” just might represent the epitome of their craft.
The song echoes the soul-infused indie-rock of Portugal.The Man in their early days, but they’ve added an extra layer of sultriness and urgency. Front woman Izzy B Phillips’ vocals, in particular, are fuller and richer; every word she sings has a delirious effect. Although there is a seductiveness in the song, it is anything but a love song. Rather, it is gentle fuck you to anyone who dares to double-cross her and betray her trust. It’s the soundtrack for anyone looking to move on while shoveling the last bit of dirt on to the past – or, in the case of the Quentin Tarantino-style video – get a bit of revenge.
The single is out now via Foxfive Records. Given their past history, we’re anticipating something big for 2018.
Black Honey are Izzy B Phillips, Chris Ostler, Tommy Taylor, and Tom Dewhurst. They have a handful of shows scheduled for this month across the UK, with dates and information available here. Hopefully they’ll make it overseas soon.
Bee Bee Sea – “Sonic Boomerang” (Castel Goffredo, Italy)
RIYL: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Dune Rats, Wooden Shjips
A few weeks ago when we came across psychedelic rockers Bee Bee Sea, we stated they could be Italy’s answer to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. The comparison seemed a bit bombastic and premature at the time, but after hearing “Sonic Boomerang” we understated their ability. They ARE Italy’s answer to the Aussie psych kings.
It’s not just that the song makes a reference to the Aboriginal flying object, but for nearly five minutes they unleash a frenetic energy on this zany number. This is a monster of a track that gets the adrenaline flowing, puts the mind into overdrive, and just blows the glorious daylights out of you. Who cares if the vocals cannot be discerned? The fiery guitar riffs and the jackhammer rhythms are awesome. There is one subtle difference between King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and the Bee Bee Sea: the Italians’ songs are a bit shorter. If this was an 8- or 10-minute scorcher like what the Gizzards release, we would absolutely lose our minds. Are you awake yet? We sure are!
The Dunts – “Dimitri” (Glasgow, Scotland)
RIYL: The Libertines, The Stone Roses, Estrons
We have no idea how old The Dunts are, but from their photos they look like high school students or four blokes just starting university. Yet they are another example that no matter the age of a band, if they make great music, people will listen. Even our 30- and 40-something bodies are feverishly jumping around and dancing to “Dimitri”, the latest energetic and outrageous single from the Glaswegians.
From the pummeling rhythms to the burning guitar riffs and the soaring vocals, “Dimitri” is a 211-second riot. This song was made for the grungy, underground dive bars or secret shows held in abandoned warehouse factories that populated the UK in the ’70s and ’80s (and to some extent still do). Only in such places could you and your pals completely lose yourself with a bunch of strangers, flailing against one another all drenched in sweat. Now that’s a way to spend an evening. Man, do we miss them, but thanks to The Dunts we get to re-live those memories.
By the way, don’t sleep on this tune’s lyrics. The band cleverly describe the fine line a lot of people walk between fact and fiction, particularly while under the influence. If that’s not your cup of tea, then imagine a man named Dimitri trying to escape his life as a KGB spy.
The song is taken from the band’s forthcoming EP, Not Working Is Class, which is out November 24th.
The Dunts are Rab Smith, David McFarlane, Kyle McGhee, and Colin McGachy.
Fovea – “Cost Of” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Yes, Roxy Music, Vampire Weekend, Destroyer
Brace yourself, for you are about to be taken on quite a sonic adventure courtesy of New York City band Fovea. Your ears may not know what to think of their dreamy, psychedelic prog-pop. Let’s face it: it’s not every day you hear those genres fused together with such intriguing success. But their “Cost Of” single is a kaleidoscopic meld of swirling sounds that is both irresistible and unforgettable. It is, simply put, out of this world.
The opening strains of this five-plus minute journey evoke warm, tropical breezes. The interplay of synths and calypso beats quickens your pulse, but your heart will skip a beat once the vocals come in. Fovea sound like no one else in music, yet there is a familiarity you can’t quite place. Much like Dan Bejar sounds like Bowie one moment and Sinatra the next, Fovea echo the past four decades at various points in the song. “Cost Of” is a time-traveling, genre-defying work of indie perfection. Cool and eclectic, this cosmic delight will have everyone who hears it wanting more.
Fovea are: Steve Shaw (bass/guitar/vocals), Max Weigel (guitar/keys/electronics/vocals), Halley Furlong-Mitchell (vocals/keys/violin), and Jake Denicola (drums).
Greta Van Fleet – “Edge of Darkness” (Frankenmuth, MI, USA)
RIYL: Led Zeppelin, Wolfmother, Jet
Music writers inevitably compare an emerging band to well-known artists; it’s just the nature of the business. Usually the comparisons are more like ballpark approximations. Not this time. Emerging indie rockers Greta Van Fleet are the new Led Zeppelin. There is no question. Are those weighty projections to make based on hearing just one single? Sure. But is it spot-on? Have a listen to “Edge of Darkness” and we’d bet our last dollar you will agree.
The similarities aren’t only musical. This Michigan four-piece are roughly the same age Robert Plant and John Bonham were when Led Zeppelin released their debut album in 1969. Greta Van Fleet consists of 20-year-old twin brothers Josh and Jake Kiszka along with their 17-year-old brother Sam and their friend Danny who is also just 18. If their youth doesn’t boggle your mind, then Josh’s jaw-dropping vocals and the band’s overall scorching sound will. The band has been honing their sound for the last several years, gigging in venues none of them were old enough to enter legally. Those years of hard work have turned this emerging band into the next big thing.
“Edge of Darkness” is fierce from the first note to the last, with enough force to make your jaw drop. Ordinarily we would extol the intricate dexterity of the guitar work or praise the skillful percussion. You don’t need to read anything more; just press play and let their music speak for itself. Trust us on this one. Then go get their new EP, From the Fires. It is available from these streaming and purchase links via Lava Records. Their upcoming tour kicks off November 30 in Chicago.
Holly Miranda – “Exquisite” feat. Kyp Malone (Detroit, USA)
RIYL: Angel Olsen with TV on the Radio, Prince
As 2017 slowly fades into the horizon, we’ll remember it for two things in music. One is dozens of bands and artists making their returns after a long hiatus; the second is the all the numerous great duets. This year was full of surprising collaborations that left us constantly blown away by the beauty of their voices and songs. Another unexpected pairing arrived yesterday in the form of veteran singer-songwriter Holly Miranda teaming up with TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone on the “Exquisite” ballad.
Just as the song’s title says, this song is exquisite. It could be considered the modern-day remake of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” as seen through the visionary eyes of Prince. Like those two legends, Miranda has crafted a song that is incredibly intimate, emotional, and endearing. The opening lyrics of “Exquisite” are also a subtle tribute to Lennon’s masterpiece:
“I didn’t want to hurt you
I never meant to make you cry.”
Later in the track, Miranda and Malone share their apologies. But instead of either of them saying s/he is jealous, they ask, “Please forgive my foolish heart.” Gorgeous. We cannot wait to hear this in a featured film someday.
“Exquisite” is taken from Miranda’s forthcoming album, Mutual Horse, which is due next February from Dangerbird Records.
Makeout Point – “Audrey” (Stockholm, Sweden)
RIYL: Lush, Memoryhouse, Slowdive
Swedish five-piece Makeout Point don’t have a very long history. They have only three songs to their credit, which were all released in the last four months of 2017. And yet, we cannot stop gushing over their talents. They first overwhelmed us with their thoughtfulness on “My Name Is Blank” then had us saying “Wow!” with the emotional number, “Indie Girlfriend”. Now they steal our collective breaths with their third single, “Audrey”.
This ravishing piece of dreamgaze is astonishing. It is reminiscent of the shoegaze heard in coming-of-age movies in the ’80s, but it is even more beautiful and stunning. The song’s crescendo raises our anticipation about what is to come; when it reaches its apex, Makeout Point deliver a moment that is simply unforgettable. The only thing that would make this song better is if it was longer than three minutes because we could listen to these crunchy riffs, the crystalline guitars, the fluttering rhythms, and the heavenly vocals all day long. We have said it before but it bears repeating: Makeout Point have what it takes to be Sweden’s next big sensation. We hope it happens as soon as 2018.
Makeout Point are Shiva Kazemi (vocals), Andreas Gustafsson (guitar), Theo Brus (guitar), Alma Broman (vocals/bass), and Simon Hjort (drums).
Now, Now – “Yours” (Minneapolis, USA)
RIYL: Phantogram, Sylvan Esso, Tegan and Sara
If you don’t know the Minneapolis-based duo Now, Now already, you will soon. They are poised to take the world by storm next year. They aren’t a new group (they actually formed in 2003) but are returning to the scene after a five-year hiatus in a big way: they just filmed a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR Music that will coincide with the release of a new album in early 2018. The latest single is the sultry and effervescent “Yours.”
What strikes you first about “Yours” is the synergy between lead singer KC Dalager and Brad Hale. Their chemistry makes the song sizzle as much as its intoxicating, radio-friendly pop hooks. But this isn’t lackluster pop of the more-style-than-substance variety. “Yours” is a polished gem that gleams from every angle. Dalager’s ethereal vocals soar above Hale’s rhythmic pulse. As they draw you into the song, everything else around you dims and you become entranced by the vivid tones they have created. What better way to escape the insanity of the world than by stepping into their dazzling labyrinth of sound?
Sigrid – “Strangers” (Ålesund/Bergen, Norway)
RIYL: Lorde, Dagny
When we look back at 2017 many years from now, one artist will stand out for her meteoric rise to stardom. Sigrid Solbakk Raabe – known simply by her first name, because she has earned her Sigrid mononym – is setting records for how quickly an artist can launch a career. Maybe it’s not accurate to call her an “overnight success” though it’s not far off.
Consider this: when we shared her debut single “Don’t Kill My Vibe” back in February, we predicted she could be a major pop star; that song now has more than 100 million streams. Between then and now she has played numerous festivals (SXSW, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza Paris) and been lauded by BBC Radio and Apple. Next month she will perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. And if those accomplishments aren’t notable enough, her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” was just included on the Justice League soundtrack. Somehow the 21-year-old singer found time to record a heart-crushing new single called “Strangers.”
Sigrid unleashes waves of emotions not just through her powerhouse vocals but through lyrics we can all relate to:
“Memories in photos
Too easy to rewrite
Left us lonely shadows
Holding each other tight and we fall.”
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