MØ, Never Wanna Know (from No Mythologies to Follow, 2014)
Mø is a Danish electropop singer whose clear and powerful vocals cut into your heart with raw emotion. I feel complete solidarity with her stories, whether I can relate to them or not (but yeah, I can…).
Check out more on her debut album No Mythologies to Follow, and find out even more on her website.
GLASS ANIMALS, Gooey (from Zaba, 2014)
Slow, soulful, and dreamy are the few adjectives that come to mind when I listen to Glass Animals’ debut album, Zaba. The band is comprised of four youngster lads hailing from Oxford who grew up together, got through college and embraced music full time on the other end. This album truly sets a calm mood that lets your mind expand and your thoughts wander.
This band is touring all over the globe this fall, so check em out.
SHARON VAN ETTEN, Your Love is Killing Me (from Are We There, 2014)
Gosh, I’ve been so lax on posting songs in the past few months that I didn’t even realize that I never shared anything from the new Sharon Van Etten album that I’ve been listening to daily since it came out in May…Van Etten is by far one of the best young singer/songwriters currently writing and recording and spreading their magic all around us. This album makes me feel less alone in the world, and really isn’t that what music is truly meant to do?
ANDREW BIRD, Tin Foiled (From Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of…, 2014)
I was never a huge Andrew Bird fan. I always found his music to be comfortable and accessible but at the end of the day - kind of boring. Today I heard a track from his just-released album and all of a sudden it sparked something in me. I like its urgency coupled with its paired-down composition—what can I say, it got me hooked. I listened over and again. Now, to the rest of the album!
Tour etc. info here.
SYLVAN ESSO, Coffee (from Sylvan Esso, 2014)
So to say that life has been stressful in the past month would be a gross understatement. But like with most things, I found help in music with the beautiful debut album from the duo Sylvan Esso (who share a member with the eccentric Mountain Man!), and especially this track, Coffee. It calms me, it makes me smile and most importantly - it’s gorgeous. If you’re going through a high-anxiety period, I can’t recommend this album enough…Enjoy!
Tour info here.
KISHI BASHI, Carry on Phenomenon (from Lighght, 2014)
If you don’t have Spotify, listen to this song here!
I love love pop music when it comes in the form of Kishi Bashi! K Ishibashi is back this month with his second solo album and it has some great moments on it. I think, so far, this song is the most addictive of the lot, but I need to explore the album further to find the one with the most emotional surge (my preferred tracks, generally speaking…).
He’ll be touring the U.S. until late June and then Europe in the fall in support of this new album. Check it here!
DAMON ALBARN, Heavy Seas of Love (with Brian Eno. From Everyday Robots, 2014)
Damon Albarn tends to be quite intense as front man for the Gorillaz (and Blur). But as a solo artist, he seems to cut loose and mellow out. In this single from his first solo album, Everyday Robots, he offers up a catchy song that he collaborated on with Brian Eno. It ain’t deep, but it’s pretty!
Official video (and recording) available here.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Broken Bones and Pocket Change (from Half the City, 2014)
This soulful song is brought to you by a group of seven nerdy white lads hailing from Birmingham, Alabama. The lead singer, Paul Janeway, lends his incredible lung capacity to producing a set of powerful (and sometimes cheesy) songs that evoke traditional southern church singing in their intensity and soulfulness.
The band’s first album came out this past winter and they’ll be hopping around the European festival circuit this summer. Catch up with them here.
KINS, Absblurd (from Kins, 2013)
I first heard of the band Kins where I usually hear of the awesomest of bands - KEXP. This time it was through an in-studio performance they were giving, which is really worth a listen. I followed up with a quick listen of their debut album and located my favorite track, Absblurd, where the instrumental bits of bass, drums and guitar swirled around me until I was definitely, without a shadow of a doubt - hooked. I have to say, the band itself sums up its sound really well with this one-liner on their website saying they “specialise in the sound of doubt, detachment and muted aggression.” Pretty spot-on from what I’ve heard.
Looks like I just missed their U.S. tour with yesterday’s featured artist, Courtney Barnett—what an amazing show that would have been! But you peeps out in Europe still have a chance to catch them. Click over here to find the details. Love!
COURTNEY BARNETT, Avant Gardener (from The Double Ep: A Sea of Split Peas, 2014)
Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett penned this catchy single, Avant Gardener, that really shouldn’t be all that catchy - it doesn’t have a ton of structure (chorus/verse etc.) and instead comes off as a ramble about a gal tending to her garden during a heat wave. But yet it is addictive, and I’ve been humming it for days. So enjoy and you’re welcome.
And hey, looky here - she’ll be touring Europe and the U.S. from now until the end of the summer.
THUMPERS, Sound of Screams (from Galore, 2014)
London-based band THUMPERS is exactly the kind of bombastic, energizing and textured sound that I require on this Monday, in the midst of a winter that refuses to end. Childhood friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. joined forces in 2011 and finally signed with Subpop to releasedtheir debut Galore (officially) in early 2014. This probably isn’t going to sound like an earth-shattering revelation to you, but it’ll rock your day. And for that, I find it worthy!
More info here.
BE FOREST, Captured Heart (from Earthbeat, 2014)
This Italian band returns this year with a new album made up of a beautiful collection of ethereal-sounding songs. They are sparse yet filled with emotion, almost cinematic. Captured Heart is one of the catchier tunes, but there is also the stunning Totem - a two-minute track with no vocals, just gorgeous layers of guitar and percussion wrapped up in the band’s signature a gauzy haze.
Check them out here.
HOSPITALITY, I Miss Your Bones (from Trouble, 2014)
The sophomore album from Brooklyn indie rock trio Hospitality carries an intensity that I enjoy. In I Miss Your Bones Amber Papini’s vocals forge ahead with determination over the strong and jagged sounds of drums and bass. Given the subject of the song, this forcefulness gives me the sense that I should steer clear from this chick…But the album sounds amazing.
Happy frigid Monday!
More about their current tour here.
ASAF AVIDAN, Different Pulses (from Different Pulses, 2013)
I’m late to this party, and I feel ashamed! I should know about Asaf Avidan for many reasons, but better late than never. Yes, I said HIM. This is a skinny white dude. His voice is like that of a rusty angel and he is the Israeli male version of Nina Simone. Doesn’t make sense? That’s OK. Just listen, you’ll get it.
The whole album is this kind of beauty, therefore I highly recommend you shell out a few bucks for it. He’s currently touring the U.S., then over to Europe before he heads back to Israel. Share this widely and make him even more well-known so that he’ll come back for a more comprehensive tour!
More info here.
NOAH GUNDERSEN, Poor Man’s Son (from Ledges, 2014)
I’ll be the first to admit that some of the songs I post are pretty random and obscure to most readers. Case in point - Noah Gundersen. How many of you have heard of this talented singer/songwriter? It’s likely that very few. Washington native Gundersen partners with his equally-talented sister and brother on his first full length album, Ledges, that was just released a couple of weeks ago. The Gundersen tribe was raised in a very religious household, a fact that is apparent in their beautifully soulful songs, and especially in the gospel-esque Poor Man’s Son. Noah has stated that he no longer subscribes to a religious lifestyle, but the spirituality definitely seems to linger on in his music—to our advantage.
Now back to how I post lesser-known artists. Lots of people ask me how I find out about all these great musicians, and I say with confidence that it is 90% owning to the amazingness of a Seattle radio station (that I stream in NY) called KEXP. The station is having its pledge drive now, so not only do I recommend you tune in to their broadcasts but I would also like to ask you to become a fellow member. Not only will you be supporting commercial-free radio but you will become a part of an awesome community. Stream and support here.
And for more about Noah Gundersen, click here.
Watch them perform this live in studio here.