The Saturday Sampler November 25th edition brings you nine sparkling music gems from across the globe. Featuring artists from Belgium, Denmark, England, Spain, Sweden, and the USA, today’s playlist will warm you on this final weekend of November.

Dahlia Sleeps – “Rise” (London, England)

RIYL: Cults, Phantogram, BROODS

The word “stunning” is often overused when writing about music, and we’re guilty of this faux pas. Every once in a while a song comes along that not only deserves this descriptor but redefines it. Such is the case with Dahlia Sleeps‘ latest single, “Rise”. It is stunning in more ways than its cinematic synth-pop vibe or the pulsing rhythms and trembling guitar riffs that leave you craving more. Or the lush vocals of Lucy Hill. It is stunning in the message it conveys and the emotion it evokes. This is a song written for all, but for one community in particular. As Hill writes:

“Very few members of the LGBTQIA+ community will have made it to where they are today without having had painful experiences of homophobia. ‘Rise’ is about one particular run-in I had when I was in the early stages of coming out and was told by a young man that I must have been abused to ‘turn out that way’. I look back at that moment now with a sense of empowerment because of the strength I have built from being part of this amazing, supportive, loud community of queer people. It was a really important song for me to write — to show that these people will never win.”

Is this a song of the year candidate? You better believe it. “Rise” is available on Olympia Records.

Dahlia Sleeps are Lucy Hill, Luke Hester, Spencer Buckley, and Callum Sharp.

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Esther & Fatou – “At Night” (Leuven, Belgium)

RIYL: First Aid Kit, The Staves, Joseph

Splendid. That is the easiest way to describe the debut single from Belgian indie dream-folk duo Esther & Fatou. Their gorgeous voices dance around a bonfire of tribal, rhythmic percussion and rich melodies on “At Night” while simultaneously taking your breath away.

Esther Artois and Fatou Jans may be new to the music scene, but the talent they display on this song is remarkable. Their harmonies caress you with the warmth of a cashmere scarf on a winter’s day. It may seem strange to label a Belgian band “Americana”, but in their case, the term fits. Fans of intimate indie-folk like First Aid Kit and The Staves now have a new group to fall in love with.

Esther & Fatou have announced themselves to the world as future stars. Anyone with discerning ears will start following this promising duo now.

The single is available on iTunes via [PIAS] Belgium. Their debut EP is expected sometime next year. It is already on our list of Most Anticipated Albums of 2018.

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The Foreign Resort – “Suburban Depression” (Copenhagen, Denmark)

RIYL: The Cure, Joy Division, A Place To Bury Strangers

Last year Danish trio The Foreign Resort traveled across North America, performing at festivals and small venues to spread their post-punk / New Wave genius. While in Los Angeles, they recorded four songs live, and yesterday they opted to release them as part of an EP. Available on Bandcamp for the outrageous price of name your own, Part Time Punks Sessions Live EP demonstrates how great The Foreign Resort sound regardless of the setting, which partially explains why people in Denmark flock to their gigs. As a sample of what to expect from the record and the band as a whole, take a listen to “Suburban Depression“, originally from their 2015 EP, The American Dream.

With the harrowing dark tones of Pornography-era The Cure, the starkness of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, and the luminescent shoegaze of A Place To Bury Strangers and My Bloody Valentine, “Suburban Depression” is a hammering number whose sole purpose is to nail us in our place and experience its episodic nature. Listen closely to the lyrics as well because, despite it being written over two years ago, the song’s message still very much applies to modern times. Ours is a world that is losing its mind, and we’re all crumbling down into our “own private hell”.

The Foreign Resort are Mikkel B. Jakobsen (vocals/guitar), Morten Hansen (drums/vocals), and Steffan Petersen (guitar/bass). Given their track record and the release of this EP, something – either singles, an EP, or an album – should be coming in 2018.

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Golden Boots – “Somebody’s Knockin'” (Tuscon, AZ, USA)

RIYL: A cross between Calexico, Cake, and Deer Tick

Dusty shenanigans. Desert hijinks. “Somebody’s Knocking” from Arizona trio Golden BooTs captures the carefree, playful spirit of the weekend. If you’ve ever seen the bright lights of Las Vegas from a convertible land yacht (picture a big ’70s-era Cadillac Eldorado with fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror), then you will appreciate the liveliness of this tune. If not, then substitute that scenario for any Quentin Tarantino movie, since “Somebody’s Knocking” would fit perfectly on any of his film soundtracks. In fact, the extended intro of nearly 50 seconds sets a cinematic tone for an epic robbery or chase scene.

Part of the Golden BooTs charm is their ability to take a cover from 35 years ago and make it sound like their own. Many listeners won’t know this was originally a country tune performed by blind singer Terri Gibbs, so the band’s admission in the song’s last few seconds may send some Googling. But those of us who heard the first version in the pre-Internet era prefer this modern update. So if you are just now discovering Golden BooTs, this is a fine introduction to their zany talent.

The song is actually taken from the band’s record, H.A.L.T., which was released last year via Baby Tooth Records. Burger Records is re-issuing it on cassette (of course) on December 1st. If you don’t wish to wait until then, the LP is available on Bandcamp.

Golden Boots are Ryen Eggleston (vocals/guitar/omnichord), Dimitri Manos (vocals/guitar/omnichord), and tidypaws (sax).

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Josh Rouse – “Love in the Modern Age” (Spain via Nashville, USA)

RIYL: Dan Bejar, Leonard Cohen, M. Ward

“This one’s for the lovers who stick with it,” sings Josh Rouse on his newest single, “Love in the Modern Age.” While a jazzy saxophone croons in the background, Rouse delivers that line with the gravelly intimacy of Leonard Cohen or Destroyer’s Dan Bejar. Warm breezes linger throughout, taking your mind to the south of Spain where Rouse now lives.

When the percussion comes in just before the one-minute mark, you’re probably already in love with the song. And it’s pretty difficult not to be, since Rouse has an innate knack for making music that fires an arrow directly at your heart. Whether he’s releasing an album of indie folk-pop (11 so far) or more cosmopolitan fare like this, there is no denying Rouse’s talent. On this vivid picture of “the modern age” he charms listeners by crooning in a lower register on the verses and opting for his smooth falsetto on the chorus. The backing harmonies add an extra pizzazz that will have you reaching for a martini while you wait for your loved one to join you for a night on the town.

This single is out now via Yep Roc. You can get it from Amazon and iTunes.

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Lady Legs – “No Job” (Auburn, AL, USA)

RIYL: Parquet Courts, Car Seat Headrest, Foxygen, Cloud Nothings

Auburn, Alabama, isn’t known for its jangly slacker indie rock scene. No, the small southern town is on the map due to its a huge college football program. But emerging indie band Lady Legs are trying their best to change that perception, and their newest single is a hook-filled step toward that goal.

“No Job” takes a look at what happens to recent college graduates who have more dreams than paychecks. Hey, we’ve all been there. You feel like “time is running out” to get a start on your independence, but that’s a Herculean task when funds are low. Still, with an insanely catchy like this as the soundtrack, reality feels much more tolerable.

The opening hypnotic riff sets the tone for an instant indie classic. “No Job” may not be an exciting position to be in, but the song is sure to be one of your favorites. Fans of scuzzy indie rock with an understated punk current (Parquet Courts, Foxygen) will want to keep this one on constant rotation.

“No Job” is from the group’s upcoming Holy Heatwave album that is due in 2018 from Communicating Vessels.

Lady Legs are: John Sims (vocals/guitar), Grant Galtney (vocals/guitar), Seth Brown (vocals/bass), and Ellis Bernstein (drums).

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No Kind of Rider – “Distinct” (Portland, OR USA)

RIYL: TV on the Radio, Stereo Honey, A Festival A Parade

No Kind of Rider is a Portland, Oregon-based band you should get to know ASAP. Their lush single “Distinct” is all the proof you need that this emerging five-piece outfit will soon grace the stages of larger venues and festivals. Granted, they’ve been “emerging” since the release of their first EP some six years ago following their relocation to the Pacific Northwest from Oklahoma. But “Distinct” marks their arrival into the bigger leagues when doors to stardom begin to open. While we are neither booking agents nor stardom prognosticators, we can easily envision seeing these guys playing SXSW, Sasquatch Festival, and an in-studio performance at Seattle’s KEXP next year.

What makes “Distinct” such an aural treat is its originality. These days it is more common to find a band that sounds like a scattered hodgepodge of their influences. Not so with No Kind of Rider: their sound is unlike any of their modern counterparts. Sure, you may hear faint echoes of TV on the Radio in their richly textured instrumentation, but they are in no way derivative. What you get here is a talented, cohesive group creating vivid tones on a blank canvas of indie dream pop. They add bolder touches at the bridge and outro, but the warmth of the vocals keeps “Distinct” fluttering inside the shoegaze realm. This is the soundtrack to a gorgeous fever dream you want to remain in for as long as possible. We cannot wait to hear the full album. Hopefully they will announce a 2018 release date soon. Until then, we recommend following their social media channels for updates.

No Kind of Rider are Sam Alexander, Joe Page, Jeremy Louis, Wes Johnson, and Jon Van Patten.

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PARKER – “Doubles” (London, England)

RIYL: Austra, Lorde, Phantogram, Zola Jesus

A few months ago we discovered the brooding indie synth pop of PARKER, the young Australian singer now based in London. The “sultry midnight vibes” of her “Runs & Rides” debut single took our breath away – not merely for its alluring tones but for the artist’s maturity. Now 22-year-old Bryony Parker has shared an equally impressive follow-up that should bring the young artist waves of new fans.

“Doubles” finds the Australian native admitting that “The voices in my head won’t quiet” over a pulsing beat that quickly induces hypnosis. The sleek production here blends layers of electronica, R&B, and rock for a stunning final result that calls to mind Lorde and Zola Jesus. You can hear biographical elements when Parker apologizes to friends and family:

“I told you I’d be home soon
I’m sorry that I lied to you.”

Parker has no need to apologize to anyone for creating hit songs. Surely everyone back home will agree that her decision to leave Australia to pursue a music career in London was a wise move.

This single is out now on iTunes and streaming at these links via Killing Moon Records.

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Sarah Klang – “Lover” (Gothenburg, Sweden)

RIYL: early Angel Olsen, Hamilton Leithauser, Nicole Atkins, Karen Carpenter

We cannot help but smile when we see an independent artist’s popularity grow from the day we first discover them. The increase is usually incremental, but reaching 1,000 followers on any social media platform is an achievement. At the same time, we wonder why some of these artists aren’t more popular, such as Swedish singer-songwriter Sarah Klang. She melted our hearts 18 months ago with “Sleep” and then left us on our knees with the intimate ballad, “Strangers”. The latter convinced us that she’s a star in the making. While she still has not reached star status quite yet, she’s inching her way up the charts and onto more people’s radars. Her newest single will accelerate her rise.

With the dazzling, cinematic grandeur of ’70s and ’80s folk-pop which has been re-interpreted these days by the likes of Nicole Atkins, Angel Olsen, and Hamilton Leithauser, “Lover” is eye-opening and spellbinding. It is the perfect song for a cool autumn evening because it warms you like a burning fire and leaves you basking in its radiance. Klang’s voice is magnetic and classic. You can only imagine that if she was performing at the same time as Karen Carpenter, Joan Baez, or Dusty Springfield, she would be considered a legend now. In the meantime, we’ll just have to enjoy the remarkable talents of this young Swedish singer-songwriter and tell people we told them so when she hits the big time.

The single is out now on iTunes via Pangur Records.

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