This week’s serving of new music cocktails spans the globe – from Athens, Greece to Athens, Georgia in the US. These six singles offer delicious flavors of indie folk, art pop, indie psych rock, Americana, and even some old-school jazzy torch singer fare. Artists today represent England, Greece, Scotland, Sweden, and the USA. We kick things off with a gorgeous tune from a new favourite Scottish band.
DANTE – “Beachcomber” (Perthshire, Scotland)
RIYL: Frightened Rabbit, The National, Mt. Doubt
When we compiled our list of Most Anticipated Albums of 2018, the Scottish band DANTE were not on our radars. Had we known about them sooner, their upcoming release, I Wear Your Weight With Mine, would have been included. But as frontman Seán McLaughlin sings on their new “Beachcomber” single, “the best things are hidden” – at least for a time.
Fans of Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit and Mt. Doubt will find DANTE a brilliant representation of the genre. While the band draw warranted comparisons to The National, the beauty of DANTE’s music is their warmth. Each layer – from the foggy synth intro accented by sparse percussion to the ethereal backing vocals and jaunty bass line – draws you in and keeps you enchanted. Each listen reveals new depths to be explored. Produced by Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan, “Beachcomber” is a dazzling gem of a tune.
Dante are: Seán McLaughlin, Stephen Thom, Vicky Gray, Ruaridh Kidd, Stuart Hosking & Craig MacLeod.
Jane Weaver – “The Lightning Back” (Liverpool, England)
RIYL: Cat Power, The Mynabirds, Maria Taylor
For reasons that defy logic, British indie singer Jane Weaver has yet to become as successful in North America as in her home turf. The Liverpool-based artist with sun-kissed vocals and a genre-defying, kaleidoscopic sound will soon tour with Belle and Sebastian, though only in Europe. (If only Stuart would bring her along for their American tour dates!)
Last May she released her ninth LP, Modern Kosmology, which may make you wonder why “The Lightning Back” from that album is featured here today? The twofold reason is simple: first, you should know this talented artist. If you love impassioned singers whose creativity knows no bounds, then Weaver offers much to appreciate. Also, an exclusive remix of this single is slated for this year’s Record Store Day. Do yourself a favor and follow this single down the rabbit hole of music discovery it opens. You’ll be glad you did.
Marie/Lepanto – “High Desert” (Lepanto, AR, USA)
RIYL: Lord Huron, Jason Isbell, Jason Molina, Son Volt
The new Americana duo Marie/Lepanto make music for traveling. Their debut album’s cover art features a car’s front windscreen while their “High Desert” single echoes the lonesome radio sounds you might hear on a cross-country trip across America’s heartland. Rumor has it they picked their name from a highway exit sign leading to a sleepy town in Arkansas. If these facts don’t make you want to take to the open road with this song as your soundtrack, nothing will.
While the duo is new, its members are seasoned musicians. Will Johnson (Monsters of Folk) and Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster (Water Liars) imbue their songs with a southern authenticity that will appeal especially to fans of My Morning Jacket and Jason Isbell. The song’s languid tempo reminds you there is no need to rush. So whether your journey leads you across a “bridge to nowhere” or to some “high desert town,” you won’t feel alone with Marie/Lepanto coming through your speakers.
I’m Kingfisher – “What Good Would Loving Do Me Now?” (Lund, Sweden)
RIYL: The Tallest Man on Earth, Damien Jurado, Jason Molina
Earlier this week we discovered an artist whose mellow indie folk took our breath away. Singer/songwriter Thomas Jonsson records as I’m Kingfisher, but you can call him the Swedish Damien Jurado or a young Scandinavian Neil Young. Despite having released two albums as I’m Kingfisher since 2010, this single is our introduction to this talented artist.
“What Good Would Loving Do Me Now?” shimmers with the ambience of Bon Iver and Lord Huron fused with the rich textures of Damien Jurado and José González. Prepare yourself for a breathtaking experience. The organic purity on display here calms the soul and warms the heart. Jonnson strums his acoustic guitar with a delicate grace, as if to prevent additional pressure on the strings that might disturb the peaceful balance he has created. And this is exactly what this song feels like: a sort of refuge where you can be alone with your thoughts and emotions as the music plays. If this song is any indication, his upcoming album, Transit, will be a welcome escape from the world.
of Montreal – “Love Isn’t a Right” (Athens, GA, USA)
RIYL: The Beatles, Nick Drake, Rufus Wainwright
Valentine’s Day fast approaches, and with its arrival comes mixed emotions about love. Those deep in its throes celebrate the day while those whom Cupid has spurned drown their disdain in wine (or chocolate). But surely both sides can agree that music can make this holiday more enjoyable. As of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes sings on this Molly Drake cover, “Love’s a flame that could blow out” so “don’t take it for granted.” (Now you know where Nick Drake got his melancholy side – from his poet mother who wrote this song.)
“Love Isn’t a Right” appears on the Amazon Music soundtracks, aptly titled “Love Me” and “Love Me Not” for those who either adore or loathe the day. You can stream or purchase it here.
The Noise Figures – “Lethargy” (Athens, Greece)
RIYL: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Stone Roses
We first featured The Noise Figures back in 2015 when we shared the “Holy One” single from their stunning Aphelion album. Now the duo of George Nikas (vocals/drums) and Stamos Bamparis (vocals/guitar) deliver a fresh taste of their unmistakable brand of indie rock on “Lethargy.”
Beneath the song’s opening Britpop tones flows a current of brooding, melancholy psych rock. This adds an edgier element that diminishes comparisons to The Stone Roses, though traces of Mancunian elements remain. The Noise Figures excel at creating bold, instantly addictive riffs. The hypnotic melodies on Aphelion are still present on this single, so we anticipate its follow-up, Telepath, will be equally impressive. This band continues to amaze us with their sound.
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