“Fetch You Roses” by Sail By Summer has a power and elegance like a late 70s Giorgio Moroder song transmogrified into a melancholic modern pop song. The bright synths, the luminous melody, the emotionally soaring melody and Casio tone arpeggiation recall Neon Indian’s evocation of nostalgia and reverie in “Fallout.” If “Fetch You Roses” is any indication, William Hut and Jens Kristian of Sail By Summer have created a vehicle for transforming personal gloom and regret into uplifting music without dishonoring the feelings and experiences that inspired the song in the first place. Follow and explore the duo’s work further through any of the links below the song.
The beginning of Ghassan’s song “Break Some Shit” has that kind of shimmering bass tone that sounds like you’re about to hear a version of Tricky’s “Black Steel” (which is, of course, a masterful cover of Public Enemy’s “Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos”) but the meditative/metronomic percussion, wind-like, gritty synth swells and expansive dynamics underlying the dark poetry waxing frustrated nearly to the point of nihilism is a bit what it might be like to hear Tom Waits collaborating with MC 900 Ft. Jesus. Industrial, post-punk Americana? With the rippling soundscape, accented beat and expansive sounds, an impending existential, maybe literal, beatdown has rarely sounded so contemplative.
On “Dreamin,” San Francisco’s Lofi Legs leave out all sonic distractions from the brilliance of its spare composition. Just Maria Donjacour and Paris Cox-Farr harmonizing with minimal guitar accompaniment. Its charm rests in part due to how it recalls stripping 90s indie pop to the bare essentials, or Low’s more intimate songs or even “After Hours” by The Velvet Underground. It is a prime example of how a few elements can articulate so much with creative arrangements and unvarnished emotional honesty and an elegant delivery. The group has an album called Lamb in the works and you can check out more from Lofi Legs and keep up with their happenings at the links below the song.
Listening to “Strange to Know Nothing” by Glasgow’s Walt Disco it’s impossible to anyone relatively familiar with glam/Goth/post-punk not to be struck how it’s reminiscent of the eccentric and energetic weirdness of Sparks or The Pop Group with a Heaven 17-esque pop baseline. The impassioned, warbling vocals and the minimalistic guitar riff and synth swells executed in a wonderfully melodramatic fashion makes me personally wonder if San Francisco’s The Sleepers got in a time machine and recorded a new record after listening to only post-punk and ska from the UK made between 1981 and 1986. If this is retro it’s at least borrowing after an original fashion. If that’s the band on the cover, and even if it’s not, rarely has a group of eccentrically dressed yet indisputably cool Goth misfits been so perfectly rendered as a representation of a song as rambunctious yet as haunting as “Strange to Know Nothing.” Listen for yourself below.
“Ceasfire” by Brooklyn, NY-based The Bergamot has a downtempo anthemic quality that reminded me a bit of Low in the past decade and a half. The fantastic vocal harmonies between husband and wife duo Nathaniel Hoff and Jillian Speece going from gently textural verses to ethereal yet forceful choruses is utterly entrancing. All the while the music starts in simple, interweaving layers of percussion, glistening guitar and breezy synths and resolves into triumphant tones. Fans of The Besnard Lakes will appreciate the bright and scintillating take on a psychedelic indie folk. Keep with The Bergamot at any of the following and listen to “Ceasefire” below.
Afternoon Author is a band from Phoenix, Arizona that is currently in a cycle of releasing a song every six weeks until the release of its album later in 2019. “Gila Bend” is the group’s third single and what struck me about the song was how it captured a deep sense of introspection by employing multiple layers of sounds, a variety of textures and tones that not every band would think to place in a chill track. In some ways its reminiscent of 90s indie pop weirdos like Olivia Tremor Control, at times of a non-rock Shriekback for the sheer otherworldly quality in the realm of pop. The use of organic samples and ending on a passage of what sounds like what represents the track breaking down or the tape warping down into slow motion. The song’s hypnotic intro and whispery vocals really bring you into this dream journey of a song. Get lost in the song below.
Keep up with Afternoon Author and its progress toward album completion at any of the following links: