The Saturday Sampler November 18th is another global affair, featuring nine songs in four languages from artists in three countries. With styles ranging from soul to psych rock to New Wave and pop, these tunes offer something for everyone. Check back tomorrow when our Weekend Showcase playlist includes everything we have shared this week. Today we begin by remembering the great Sharon Jones who left us on this date last year.
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – “Come and Be a Winner” (Brooklyn, USA)
RIYL: Sharon Jones (she has no equal!)
One year ago today the world lost soul singer Sharon Jones. With her powerful voice and indomitable spirit, Jones led a soul revival late in life, much like her Daptone label mate, Charles Bradley. Despite the brevity of their careers, Jones and Bradley left an indelible mark on the music world. The arrival yesterday of Soul of a Woman, the final album from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, reminds us how much we miss Sharon, but it also puts a smile on our faces.
The album’s fourth track, “Come and Be a Winner,” is pure gold. Try not to cry when you hear these lyrics:
“Now if you seem to get off-track
I’ll be there to get you back
Don’t you worry, I’ll be in your corner
When the chips are stacked against you
Just remember that I’m with you
Keep on moving right past the finish line.”
If we can’t have Miss Sharon Jones with us, then those lasting words of encouragement will keep her alive in our hearts. “Now you’re a winner, ’cause you got me,” she sings
The Dap-Kings are: Joseph Crispiano, Cochemea Gastelum, Binky Griptite, Dave Guy, Bosco Mann, Homer Steinweiss, Neal Sugarman, and Fernando “Bugaloo” Velez.
Deep Frosty – “Fire” (Encinitas, CA USA)
RIYL: Comets on Fire, Roky Erickson, Tom Petty, Strand of Oaks
Full disclosure here: we don’t know much about Deep Frosty. Sometimes we discover a band whose music blows us away, and we can unearth all kinds of pertinent details about everyone involved in a project, from the band members to the color of the carpet at the studio where the album was recorded. Not this time. But when the music is this good, do you really need more info? We are willing to bet that the scorching sounds you hear on “Fire” will sell you on their new Blues Band album regardless of background biographies.
“Fire” is a grimy, sweaty, exhilarating rocker. The song unfolds with snarling guitars that call to mind Roky Erickson (13th Floor Elevators), Tom Petty, and Strand of Oaks. That thunderous rumbling continues as frontman Steve Ruecker bellows “There’s fire pouring from the sky” and doesn’t let up until the final notes. Adding to the sonic depth here are four members of former California psych-rock band Comets on Fire. This is pure, blistering rock ‘n roll that deserves to be played at full volume for an intense, cathartic experience. Trust us on this.
Deep Frosty are Steve Ruecker, Ben Flashman, and Utrillo Kushner with additional support from Ben Chasny and Noel Von Harmonson.
Ethica – “Alarm” (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia)
RIYL: Lush, Slowdive, No Joy
We must ask Ethica for forgiveness because we had to look up where Nizhny Novgorod is, as we did not realize it was formerly known as Gorky. For those similarly geographically challenged, the city lies just over 400km east of Moscow and has a population of more than 1.2 million people. Now that this is out of the way, we’ll forever remember Nizhny Novgorod because of Ethica, a dreamgaze band everyone should know. For shoegaze fans, imagine a mix of Lush and Slowdive while contemporary music fans can consider them a blend of Trementina, No Joy, and Hater. As you think about these names, an overwhelming feeling of excitement starts to overcome you. This is exactly the effect Ethica’s music will have you, particularly their newest single “Alarm”.
This four-minute piece of exhilarating euphoria could be the soundtrack to anyone seeking new beginnings or just wanting to be free. It is the type of song that makes you want to feel the fresh air on your skin, the grass under your bare feet, and the sun beaming down on you to warm your soul. For us, this is the ideal song for the weekend and for any day of the week.
“Alarm” and other Ethica songs are available on Bandcamp. Take a listen to discover why they have a pretty large following in Russia. Hopefully the rest of the world catches on to them like we have.
Pearl Charles – “Night Tides” (Los Angeles, USA)
RIYL: Fleetwood Mac, Christine McVie, Jenny Lewis
Have we already expressed how much we adore Pearl Charles? Even if you have read our past pieces where we gushed over her classic rock approach, we surely have not extolled her brilliance nearly enough. Her self-titled debut EP was a gem of a psychedelic folk-rock record that sounded like it came right out of the Laurel Canyon neighborhood of the 1970s. She continues to travel along this path of retro goodness with her new single, “Night Tides”.
Just like Fleetwood Mac and the later songs by Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks, the song is grace personified. The breezy vibe that streams throughout the track is cool, refreshing, and inviting, like a sunset drive along the California coastline. There is also a touch of funk in the song thanks to the groovy bass line. Charles’ vocals, meanwhile, are lush and dreamy, sounding like the heavens have delivered her for all to revere. There is even an element of the supernatural in her lyrics as she sing about a person wchasing after “ghosts” – i.e., trying to recapture the past and desiring something “she just couldn’t have”. In Charles’ case, however, she’s not only able to resurrect the sound of a bygone era, she also has mastered it.
Charles’ new album, Sleepless Dreamer, arrives February 2nd, 2018 via Kanine Records, and it’s available for pre-order on Bandcamp. This will likely be one of our most anticipated LPs of the new year, and it will hopefully catapult Charles into the mainstream spotlight.
PUMAROSA – “La Guarida Del Leon” (London, England)
RIYL: Savages, Desperate Journalist
Numerous artists released debut albums this year, but (in the humble opinion of one of our writers) there is a single LP that stands above the rest. It is also a strong candidate to be among our Favorite Albums of 2017. That record is Pumarosa‘s The Witch, one that pulverized listeners with its stark mixture of cinematic indie rock, indie-electro rock, and post-punk. Every song on the album is an experience. If you missed it completely, the quintet of Isabel Munoz-Newsome, Henry Brown, Tomoya Suzuki, Neville James, and Nicholas Owen shared a surprise new single the other day, and it reveals the band’s brilliance. Well, it’s more like a reinterpretation of a song from the LP.
“La Guarida Del Leon”, which translates to the “Lion’s Den”, is a thing of dark, cinematic beauty. From the very start of this near six-minute epic, hypnosis sets in on all those who listen. It is that rare song that has all eyes and ears transfixed on the subtly searing guitars, the quiet throbbing of the rhythms, and Munoz-Newsome’s bewitching vocals. While she sings in Spanish, no one can peel themselves away from the power and intensity of “La Guarida Del Leon”. This is nothing short of a masterpiece and a great reminder of Pumarosa’s talent.
They are currently on tour until December 16th but will resume the tour in January.
Sailor Boyfriend – “No More Heroes” (Jersey City, NJ USA)
RIYL: The B-52’s, Gang of Four, Operators
Prepare yourself for a fusion of high energy genres on this new single from emerging New Jersey duo Sailor Boyfriend. On the indie New Wave-pop-rock outfit’s debut album, True Romantics, members Alex Mercuri and Andy Waldron unleash furious grooves that are paired with politically-inspired lyrics.
“No More Heroes” proves you can raise a fist of protest against systems of oppression while still dancing your ass off. This track opens with a thick, tasty groove of bass and horns that calls to mind early-’80s legends The B-52’s and Gang of Four. While the music may be steeped in the Cold War era, the song’s message speaks to current world leaders who inspire more division than unity. It’s both catchy and relevant – a combo that’s often lacking in modern music. Don’t be surprised if this chorus stays on a constant loop in your head for the rest of the year:
“Become a vessel
And levitate us to a higher ground
Learn when to shut your mouth
And when to join the chorus and shout
No more heroes
‘Till the institution of discrimination
Meets its crumbling fate
No more heroes
‘Till we all get capes.”
You can find the True Romantics album in digital format on Bandcamp.
Sailor Boyfriend are Alex Mercuri (vocals/guitar/bass) and Andy Waldron (synth/vocals/programming).
Shame – “One Rizla” (South London, England)
RIYL: Eagulls, Iceage, Dead Pretties
Despite the high probability they may never achieve stardom, bands and artists still go to great lengths to do what they love: share their music for the world to hear. English post-punk quintet Shame have experienced bankruptcy, toured endlessly for three years while living in their tour vans, encountered pretty much every insult, and overcome self-doubt. However, they remain standing, and their long-awaited debut album Songs of Praise will soon see the light of day. The latest single from the LP – which happens to be the band’s oldest song – feels like a cause for celebration and understandably so.
“One Rizla” is one outstanding and euphoric song filled with both optimism and vengeance. On the former, the band acknowledge the shit they’ve endured and how they got to where they are today by following their own rules. With respect to the latter, the song is a big middle finger to the former doubters who are now are running back to them. It is a song of triumph, perseverance, and hope, and “One Rizla” is as much Shame’s song as it is for anyone who has overcome (or still faces) obstacles to achieve their dreams.
“My nails are not manicured
My voice ain’t the best you heard
And you can choose to hate my words
But do I give a fuck?”
Shame are Eddie Green, Charlie Forbes, Josh Finerty, Sean Coyle-Smith, and Charlie Steen. They are currently at the end of their tour but will be back on the road in February. Dates and information are available here.
SOFI TUKKER – “Energia” (New York City, USA)
RIYL: Lao Ra, Elohim, Anna of the North
What is not to like about SOFI TUKKER, the jungle-pop duo comprised of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern? These two hard-working New Yorkers are entertainers to the nth degree, treating every performance like it’s their last (yes, we realize this is a cliché, but it applies in their case). For instance, when the duo and their bandmates attended SXSW this year, Tucker climbed the walls and hung from the ceiling beams. And the artwork for their new single, “Energia”, perfectly describes the two: fun, energetic, usually having a good time and enjoying life. This song, too, will get you up and moving.
The duo deliver a rapturous number with Sophie singing in Portuguese and infusing Brazilian influences into the song. It’s not your typical electro-pop / dance-pop number because of its dark, gritty atmosphere. In addition, just as you think the production work will take over and the typical bombastic bass drops are used, SOFI TUKKER throw a curve ball by allowing the beats to fade and the electric guitar to take over. “Energia” is not just cathartic; it is also immensely clever and innovative.
SOFI TUKKER are currently touring with ODESZA until December 15th, and then after the holidays they will be overseas. Details are available here. Get to know this duo before they really explode.
Twin Ritual – “Angry” (San Diego, USA)
RIYL: Blondie, La Roux, Metric
Everyone loves to hear a DJ spin the classics because we all know the lyrics and nothing matches the exhilaration of a great retro tune. Those songs feature fiery guitar riffs, groovy bass lines, stirring synths, and a pulsating drum beat. Then there are the front women with voices that pierce the air and stick with you until the end of the night. Sometimes we long for those days of the ’80s. If we were able to rewind the clocks, we are positive that Twin Ritual would be heard on every radio station because they have the sound of Blondie and The Go-Gos.
This new-ish band from San Diego (featuring bassist Anthony Ramirez from Glass Spells) formally announced themselves about a month ago. In this short time they have released two singles, including “Angry”, which takes us back to our youth. This catchy, synthy, dance-rock tune will have you jumping and bopping around. Heck, it might have you taking out the leotards and bandanas and getting “Physical” like Olivia Newton-John once did. Come to think of it, the upbeat nature of the song makes it a great workout tune. It is also a great little anthem for anyone who feels disenfranchised (listen closely to the lyrics).
The song is available on Bandcamp. Twin Ritual are Laura (vocals), Anthony (bass), Nate (guitar), and Lionel (drums).
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