Imagine the twee and off-kilter vocals of Jens Lekman, add a major power boost and you’ve got the New Zealand musician Anthonie Tonnon. Every now and again you one can hear Lekman-esque inflections in his voice, but whereas that Swedish singer’s delivery can often be cloying and (intentionally) corny, Tonnon’s vocals are powerful right when they need to be, just as they are on the song “Water Underground”. The track, a cut off of his forthcoming Successor LP, finds Tonnon’s voice met by a catchy strumming pattern on the guitar, which then builds into a simple yet especially effective chorus.
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“Charles and Michael are KNTRLR”, reads the bio of this electronic duo. While the photo of the two men above might alarm some—clearly that bartender has not had her ID checked—there’s nothing overly mysterious about what they do, even though they elect to only go by their first names in press materials. For instance, take the track “Halogen”, a number off of the duo’s forthcoming debut The Great Filter: sure, there’s plenty of vague and attention-arousing lyrics (at one point it’s sung that “we’re reptilian”, whatever that might mean), but above all else it’s all about the hook and the ability to get feet moving on the dance floor, which “Halogen” has in spades. Then again, that’s not to say this is an ordinary collaboration; after all, they’ve been described as “[if] the Walkmen joined with Death Grips and toured brothels.” To figure out what that might just mean, stream “Halogen” below.
Wasted Wine hails from South Carolina, but upon hearing the band’s darkly romantic music, one is transported not to the American South but rather to an imaginary Eastern European cabaret where wine is aplenty—far from wasted. Evoking the macabre hues of Matt Elliott and the Black Heart Procession, Wasted Wine’s minor key-centric songwriting is lush and enveloping, with the ability to fog one’s mind in shadows. This is plenty evident on “Fall Upon Me”, a track from the group’s forthcoming LP Wasted Wine vs. the Hypnosis Center. The song opens with a sensuous and foreboding violin intro, which then gives way to an intense chorus driven by distorted guitars. The video to “Fall Upon Me”, which you can watch exclusively below, only adds to the tune’s air of intrigue, with mysterious gazes and drawn guns creating an opaque narrative.
Together, Topu Lyo (five string cello and effects) and Mike Thies (drums and keyboards) make up Live Footage, an experimental and eclectic outlet of musical exploration that the duo describes as “IDM: impressionistic dance music”. With this intriguing aesthetic, Live Footage have now taken to covering the music of Frank Ocean, namely the track “Lost”, off of 2012’s critically acclaimed channel ORANGE. Lyo and Thies’ dexterous musical skill and crafty ear for tinkering with melody are alive and well in this inspired take on “Lost”.
The folk music purveyed in by the quartet Pawns or Kings is certainly befitting of their native Ozark Mountains in the American Midwest. However, the group’s music takes on a curious light when one considers its origins: Pawns or Kings arose from the prog rock outfit the Race to Olvido. Listening to the former band’s newest album, 2014’s Pomme de Terre, it’s hard to imagine the music coming from the world of Dream Theater-esque shredding, but lo and behold these four musicians pulled the transition off.
Below you can watch the video for the Pomme de Terre tune “Light Over the Ridge”, which was filmed at a transitory moment in the life of Pawns or Kings.