[25 May 2012]
To most people, the Memorial Day weekend is the start of summer so why not explore some new music for your own personal soundtrack. With a mix of recent arrivals and established artists, releases abound for the listening to heat things up. Notes are provided with background info for further discovery.
1. “Disparate Youth” – Santigold
This solid single is off Santigold’s second album, Master of My Make Believe. With a mix of reggae, jazz and new wave influences, she continues to forge her own distinctive pop path.
2. “Happy Home” – Onuinu
Onuinu is the musical project of Portland multi-instrumentalist Dorian Duvall, combining an electro pop past into a new genre he likes to call “Disco-Hop”. This shimmering romp of a song is off his upcoming full-length debut, Mirror Gazer.
3. “Heaven” – The Walkmen
The Walkmen are ready to release album number seven after a decade together. This title track highlights their unique sound, featuring Hamilton Leithauser’s passionate vocals over a steadfast foundation. The band members are now living in New York City, Philadelphia and New Orleans, but still present an unwavering united front for indie rock fans.
4. “Bad for Me” – Brendan Benson
This tuneful song is the single off Benson’s sixth album, What Kind of World, which was recorded entirely in analog. In the middle of a busy career as a musician, songwriter and band member of the Racounteurs, he now also has his own record label called Readymade Records.
5. “Good as New” – Vacationer
6. “Trip” – Vacationer
These groove-based songs bring a feel good summer attitude via the new chill wave band Vacationer, embracing all things sunny and cool in the debut release, Gone. Listeners may recognize Kenny Valosi’s fun time vocals from his punk pop band, the Starting Line.
7. “Warbeth” – The Magnetic North
This UK band is an alt-music collaboration between Simon Tong (Gorillaz, the Verve), folk artist Erland Cooper and prolific Irish songstress Hannah Peel. “Warbeth” is a mesmerizing multi-part composition off their debut album, Orkney: Symphony of the Magnetic North.
8. “Act on Impulse” – We Were Promised Jetpacks
We Were Promised Jetpacks is a quartet from Edinburgh, Scotland, generating buzz with their take on indie rock. This building jam is off their second release, In the Pit of the Stomach.
9. “Alpine” – Hands
This single from Australian band Hands will be featured on their upcoming full-length release. Six band members combine to create quirky songs with Scandinavian sounding indie pop sensibilities.
10. “Heart” – Oberhofer
Founder and frontman Brad Oberhofer moved East from Tacoma, Washington to study music at New York University and now his band is based in Brooklyn. He writes and records all the music himself, gathering a tour band to support this second release, Time Capsule II.
11. “Montauk” – Rufus Wainwright
American-Canadian singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright recently released another album of intensely personal songs featuring his signature tenor and virtuosic piano playing. (He has seven albums of original music, ten if you count compilations and other contributions). This one, called Out of the Game, focuses on his new stage of life finding the wonder in marriage and fatherhood.
12. “Higher Palms” – My Best Fiend
This Brooklyn based quintet embraces the psychedelic ways of fuzzy indie pop. Singer Fred Coldwell provides spaced out renditions of melodic vocals for this single and lead track on their second release, In Ghostlike Fading.
13. “Hey Jane” – Spiritualized
14. “So Long You Pretty Thing” – Spiritualized
Jason Pierce (a.k.a. J. Spaceman) has had a tough seven years battling health problems such as double pneumonia and going through chemo for liver disease. So it’s no surprise that the new release for his UK band, So Long You Pretty Thing, is full of soul searching songs contemplating the highs and lows of human existence.
15. “Saint Nothing” – Daniel Rossen
This quiet, solemn song is off Daniel Rossen’s solo EP, Silent Hour. Rossen is originally from Los Angeles, traveling east to study at New York University and then becoming part of the indie bands Department of Eagles and Grizzly Bear.