NEW INDIE MUSIC - WEEK 20
Greetings, readers! Thank you for joining me at We Are: The Guard after what's been a shitty fucking seven days in this reality television show entitled “America!” Our President may be growing increasingly out of control with each passing day, but instead of dwelling on what kind of asshatery awaits us this week, why not refocus your energies into an activity decidedly more positive, like, say, listening to the following edition of New Indie Music? Featuring Mr. Probz, Sundara Karma, Rationale, Tove Styrke, Jessie Reyez and plenty of others, there's something here for everyone!
FROTH – PETALS
Los Angeles four-piece Froth continue to refine their soporific breed of shoegaze on “Petals,” the latest extract to be unveiled from their recent album Outside (Briefly). Combining the lethargic, haze-inflected vocals of frontman Joo-Joo Ashworth with an almost narcotic cascade of guitars, “Petals” comes accompanied by an animated set of aesthetics that director CLOAKING describes as “an exploration of longing and space.”
TINY EYES – FALLING
This is the first time that Tiny Eyes has featured on We Are: The Guard, but if the romantic grandeur of “Falling” is anything to go by, it certainly won't be his last. Featured on his self-titled debut EP, “Falling” finds the British troubadour's John Lennon-like vocal melodies gliding over an elegantly resounding piano, resulting in a timeless, enduring piece of classical songwriting that's certain to resonate with you long after listening.
MR. PROBZ – TEARS GONE BAD
Dutch singer-songwriter Mr. Probz follows up his international smash hit “Waves” with his mind-blowingly soulful latest single “Tears Gone Bad.” A chugging, foot-stomping piece of guitar-driven blues that acts as a showcase for Mr. Probz's formidable croon and thoughtful lyricism (not to mention the virtuoso guitar skills of collaborator Rory de Kievit), I recommend “Tears Gone Bad” to fans of Rag'n'Bone Man and Jacob Banks.
SUNDARA KARMA – EXPLORE
Sundara Karma – the British four-piece comprising of singer Oscar “Lulu” Pollock, guitarist Ally Baty, bassist Dom Cordell and drummer Haydn Evans – resurface this Monday with “Explore.” The first of three bonus songs to feature on the forthcoming expanded edition of their debut album Youth Is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect, “Explore” is an explosive, infectious art pop anthem that comes packed full of stadium-sized ambition.
RATIONALE – DELIVERANCE
It's no secret that we're big fans of Rationale at We: Are The Guard, and the Zimbabwean-British soulster ascends to even more grandiose heights on his latest single. An ode to those moments after a breakup when you're still holding out for hope for some kind of reconciliation, “Deliverance” is a transcendent piece of gospel pop, with a production that acts as an effective showcase for Rationale's majestic vocal prowess.
MXMS – I REVENGE
One week after unveiling “I Revenge,” MXMS – the funeral pop duo comprising of singer Ariel Levitan and pianist Jeremy Dawson – return this Monday with the We Are: The Guard-premiered lyric video. Ariel's scorned narrative bleeds over scenes of destruction, desolation and occultist imagery in the shadow-dappled clip, which plays out like a Zeitgeist tape as we descend further into this American post-apocalypse.
TOVE STYRKE – SAY MY NAME
Two years after the release of her second album Kiddo, Swedish artist Tove Styrke is back this 2017 with “Say My Name.” Produced by Elof Loelv, it's a colorful piece of indie pop confectionery built around a funky ukulele riff, bouncy beats and an infectious vocal hook that promises to stick in your neural pathways for the rest of the week: “Wear it out like a sweater that you love/'Cause I can't get enough when you/Say my name!”
JESSIE REYEZ – GATEKEEPER
Toronto artist Jessie Reyez calls out the sexist bullshit that continues to pervade the music industry in her harrowing latest single. A true story about the disturbing, devastating misogyny that Jessie faced early on in her career, the gut-wrenching “Gatekeeper” – which hears Jessie juxtaposing her fragile singing voice with raw rapped verses – is a truly powerful listen that comes accompanied by an equally powerful short film.
GABRIEL GASSI – HEARTBREAKER
What do you get if you combine Justin Bieber, Drake and, well, Sweden? Gabriel Gassi! The rising Nordic pop savant follows up “Street Phone” with the vibrant “Heartbreaker” this May. An infectious slice of tropical house that blends Gabriel's Biebs-esque vocals, effervescent flutes and the kind of dancehall beat made ubiquitous by Champagne Papi, “Heartbreaker” is an essential addition to any summer playlist in the making.
FREYA RIDINGS – BLACKOUT
Once in a while, a voice comes along that completely stops you in your tracks. Case in point: Freya Ridings. The London singer-songwriter has stirred my soul with her debut single “Blackout,” an emotional piano ballad that makes for an imposing introduction to the 22-year-old's pipes. Sonorous, full-bodied and compelling (comparisons to Hannah Reid of London Grammar are inevitable), I'm sure that you'll agree that this voice is here to stay.
Until next week, readers! x
“Photo” by Jimmy Bay is licensed under CC0 1.0 (cropped and resized).
Jess Grant is a frustrated writer hailing from London, England. When she isn't tasked with disentangling her thoughts from her brain and putting them on paper, Jess can generally be found listening to The Beatles, or cooking vegetarian food.