I am such a sucker for nostalgia-drenched ‘70’s-style retro synths. Add to that a heavy Japanese city pop influence and a dash of elevator music with a sprinkle of soul, and you have Ginger Root’s “Juban District”. It’s a new take on completely evolved bedroom pop (of sorts) that is totally fresh and unique, and I honestly can’t say I’ve ever heard anything quite like it before.
Self-described as ‘Aggressive Elevator Soul’, it’s kind of like ‘70’s Western disco-pop found its way into an ‘80’s-era Tokyo and then time-travelled to 2021, just to find a bit of edge and modernity. And somehow, it just totally works. “Juban District” is one of those tracks that would work in any decade, despite it’s genre-hopping tendencies running the risk of making it a bit niche. It walks the line between kitsch and cool so perfectly, never wavering or overbalancing on either end.
It’s a fun little nugget that’ll have you bobbing along and smiling within two bars. Enjoy!
The dreamy atmospheric splendor of “75” is only elevated further by the floaty, expansive vocal collaboration by Valeria Stoica. There’s a lofty, emotive element that furnishes the melodic selection of undulating synths, creating a tranquil, expansive feel throughout the track. The combination of electronica and acoustic instruments provides a much-needed human feel that I feel is often lacking in electronic music today.
While this is a relatively different and somewhat surprising avenue for Golan to explore, they’ve absolutely nailed it. “75” is a textured and spacey soundscape built of fog and waves – it’s the sonic equivalent to watching swirls of mist waft across the ocean as you sit on the beach nursing a coffee: moody, comforting, and euphoric all at once. You can dance to it, you can chill to it; the choice is yours. What isn’t a choice though, is losing yourself completely to the all-encompassing exquisite ambiance that is “75.”
There’s a new trend lately of young female singer-songwriters who are full of talent, skill, and dynamic magnetism putting out absolute bangers that they self-produce, and I am so here for it. Indigo De Souza’s “Hold U” is no different. This bright, poppy, synthy tune is the second single from Any Shape You Take, which is out 27 August, and is composed of a beautiful balance of pretty vocals, soft synths, vibey guitars, and fun percussion. Vibrant and heady indie-pop, “Hold U” artfully walks the line between vulnerable and confessional, and uplifting and enjoyable.
In a press statement, De Souza describes the meaning behind the track:
“I wanted to write about a really simple kind of love that isn’t necessarily romantic, but that is just about holding space for other people to fully express themselves and to feel celebrated.Just simply seeing someone in their humanity and loving them.We are constantly evolving and we only truly have space to process our lives openly if we feel safe and are encouraged to love ourselves and celebrate our bodies. I am really blessed with the sense of community that I have in my life, and I wanted to highlight that in this video. Community is the purest kind of magic and can heal so much trauma and pain. We all just want to feel truly held by the people around us!”
Ah, brash electro-pop a la Remi Wolf – where have you been all my life? “Liquor Store” is bold, colourful, and nakedly honest, but there’s a playfulness to it that prevents it from taking itself too seriously. It’s pop, but in a totally unconventional way that embraces quirkiness and eccentricity, and is totally unapologetic. It’s anthemic and vibrant and guaranteed to wake you the hell up. Wolf wrote the song after spending a chunk of quarantine in rehab, where she was finally able to get sober.
“In the song, I’m talking about my sobriety and codependency and my fear of being cheated on. It’s honestly such a personal song to me. I want you to feel really good when you’re listening to my songs, and when I’m listening to my songs, I want them to be upbeat and danceable, you know? But in this one specifically, I feel like I was really sad and really expressing some deep shit, like some deep personal trauma. … I’m really proud of the song.”
“I want people to feel like, if they’re going through that, I understand it, and I’m there with them and that they’re not alone. But if they don’t relate to it at all lyrically, I just want them to think it’s a fuckin’ banger. I want people to feel the bones and the meat in the song, because musically, I think it’s also a really strong song. I hope that, if nothing else, they’re like, “This slaps.””
And slap it does. The woman is a powerhouse, and so is this track.
A happy/sad mashup alt-rock track that approaches a noise that isn’t always too easy to grasp and yet here I am, happy/sad and bopping.
It’s a very niche idea to be happy/sad. I think as a small kid it’s a far harder experience to be anything but a 100% one or the other, but after a while, as one grows older you become aware of that beautiful feeling of bittersweet — especially as a young adult filled with the storms of anxiety. “Okay” is that made physical (audible).
It’s a booming track filled with unsettling sounds that are almost impossible not to jam to and yet are so immensely destructive in their ideals and themes. A homage to the era of youthful angst layered with new-age sounds.
The romantic sounds of the 80s are a noise I will never get tired of — the synth pulses, the wispy voices, and the all-powerful electric keys. “Party Again” is pure 80s romance.
I cannot explain how immensely touching this song is for someone born out of their time: I wish, for the life of me, I was in my teens in the 80s. I wish I could listen to songs pulsing with this sound whilst being romantically stuck in my mind. A booming sound of pure unhinged synth-pop joy makes its way into your head and it’s amazing and I just don’t want it to go away!
You’re gonna want to put headphones on for this song. Once things kick in at 0:50 you’ll thank me.
I’ve always been a sucker for chilled out liquid drum & bass. Patagon’s latest single “Lost Inside” manages to strike the perfect combination of melody and tempo, fitting the exact mould of what I’d consider “my favorite D&B” approach.
Austrian producer David Gössl is the man behind this song, and from what I can tell this is his debut single. Here’s hoping that we manage to give him a bit more of the attention he deserves 🙂
Honeywhip aren’t strangers to Indie Shuffle. I’ve picked up on them twice in the last year, which means their third appearance isn’t a fluke.
“George Peach” is a lovely lofi indie rock song that is, well, sweet. Y’know… like a Georgia peach ought to be.
I don’t know if this song is supposed to be part of an album or not (is anything, these days?). What I can say is that I’ve listened to it about 20 times now without growing tired, and it’s high time I actually get it up on the website. For more by the band, peep their Spotify.
Welcome to the light shop – bulbs blowing left right and center and the grid is overcharged – angst is the best power source.
Wye Oak is pure indie rock – pure emotionally pulsing circuits of teenage youth, adult stresses, and the always present edge. I haven’t gone down an Indie Rock hole in a long time, but Wye Oak triggered something in me – a need to run away from something – something I know is coming – something I know I need to be afraid of, and yet I wanted to run. I wanted to run, run into something joyful, run to a vie, run to the beach, run in a mall it didn’t matter I just wanted to run.
“Electricity” is a pulsing track of electric emotions.
Kid Travis’ Cover of “Peaches” is a stripped-down and far more personal version of an already booming pop track, making for a good old earworm.
When people do covers, especially covers in the style they are known for, there is always a big chance that it might not come out better or even remotely the same. Yet with Kid Travis, the sound created from their cover of “Peaches” makes for a far more pulled back and softer sound that takes a bop all the way down to a good old sunset number – filled with Americana and a social sound reminiscent of the classic barbeque.
Don’t let it fool you it’s beautifully simple, but the sweetest fruit.
A driving alt-rock sound pulses through this track pushed by an overwhelming urge to ‘go’ and to ‘commence’…to just move.
It’s not hard to find an alt-rock track to run with – something to exercise with – but what gets activated by this track isn’t the inherent need to exercise, but rather the need to cause unabashed chaos — rob a bank not for the money, but the reactions.
A slamming bass riff makes sure you don’t want to stop and you’ll quickly find yourself upgrading from one chaotic choice to the next while this track booms and slams further down its cathartic road of emotional excess.
A synthpop slow-burn that takes me from 2021 to the new era of 3056 full of electric lights, flying cars, and a heartbeat at 160 bpm — yes I love this song.
The geek in me shuddered when the song starts, the strange alt-synth noises reminded me of a movement in music reminiscent of euro industrial tracks of the 2000’s — I’m talking synth chords, bass builds, and the always present feeling of a coming break.
Visually this track takes me far from the earth. It’s like a sci-fi opera of beaming lights, bright cities, crowded streets, and humming vibration viewable in everything around me.
I opened this track expecting Chet Faker to boom into my ears, but what I got was them swooning over someone, and it’s beautiful.
I like soft pop very openly. I like art that takes sounds we think will go one way and then says “There’s more here than that.” The track takes me to a place I’m not always capable of going — a quiet and beautifully numb space. I am caught up on my reminiscing, my romantic past, my romantic future, my breakups, and my connections.
“It’s Not You” is a track that gives me the unexpected, from an already entrancing artist, and leaves me missing people but needing to go.
I love how floaty this track is — it’s massive in its sound, like a big creature moving slowly through a beautiful landscape of soft noises, electric clouds, and twilight horizons.
Like a single violin in an orchestra chamber, this track sounds like an echo of vast ideas. “Only Love” is a big sound diluted into a single concentrated idea, a sound that’s alive and independent, growing and traveling away into the distance.
Tycho and Benjamin Gibbard have molded a creature unto its own. This audio sea mammal takes you on a flight to any destination you want to go.
The first time I listened to “Interior People,” I watched the music video at the same time. I was so distracted by the absolute trip-fest occurring before my eyes that I actually forgot to listen to the song.
It’s like a full-on short film of animated psychedelia of a butterfly-person riding an actual butterfly as it flies past dilapidated purple castles, pink clouds, and curly green foliage backdropped by a star-speckled black sky.
There are also a bunch of odd-looking green alien-like creatures (caterpillar things, maybe?) and a couple of questionable pinkish things (don’t ask, I’m really not sure at this point). Are they cocoons? Maybe they’re cocoons. Anyway, butterfly-lady punches out the green alien-caterpillar guys, sheds her butterfly-suit and we see that she is actually a human woman! Then she climbs inside the giant pink cocoon. She gestates for a bit amid flashing images of brightly colored shapes and emerges as a beautiful actual butterfly as the aforementioned purple towers explode into oblivion.
The last shot is of her flying alongside the butterfly she was riding earlier (who I’m going to assume is her best and only friend in this world of utter psychedelic chaos) as they cross fields of green and brown. Is she an interior person? Are the butterflies interior people? What does it all mean?!
I can’t tell you. But I can tell you one thing. This is a great, retro-esque, fantastical song, and a true testament to why King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are 18 studio albums into their unbelievably prolific oeuvre, with their latest album Butterfly 3000 (noticing a trend here?) released last month. Lead songwriter Joey Walker described “Interior People” as:
“The internal battle of questioning your own sanity, and the joy that comes in letting go and surrendering to the void”.
“I keep thinking someone
Is standing beside me
But when I turn to grab them
They jump back inside of me
They tell me to do things
And so does the radio
And learn from the satellite
That orbits my shadow, yeah”
It’s a cosmic, bold, psychedelic rock, space odyssey that’ll have you questioning your sanity in the most enjoyable way possible.
Sun-soaked and warm, Still Woozy’s new single, “Get Down”, is an ode to the magic and euphoria of infatuation. Lifted from his eagerly-awaited debut album, If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is, this track stays true to form in terms of the album title; it is, indeed, incredibly nice.
It’s a glittering little alt-pop gem that encapsulates the dreamy, spontaneous nature of holiday romance: you meet a beautiful stranger on the beach, or maybe a dancefloor. You spend the evening sharing drinks, swapping plans for adventure, discussing your love of the beautiful tropical new land in which you both find yourselves…at the end of the evening you share a kiss, and suddenly, you’re head over heels in love with a person you don’t know from a loaf of bread. You know they’ll end up hurting you and it’ll end terribly when you both leave to go home, but it doesn’t matter, because freedom and lust have wound themselves around you like sweet and sticky vines and they don’t intend on leaving any time soon. And truth be told, neither do you. Need some extra proof? Take a look at the lyrics:
“She’s gonna break me
But I don’t give a damn right now
She wanna get down, I wanna get down
We’re gonna get down, so”
“Get Down” is about the impending heartbreak borne of breezy decisions; maybe you’ve had too much sun and the alcohol’s gone to your head, or maybe that beautiful stranger really is your dream person. Only one way to find out, right?
“Manila Palm” is vocal sample-driven progressive electronica that is atmospheric and ethereal to start, and builds into something other-worldly and groovy-as-hell. It’ll have your body moving of its own accord midway through.
This song is a sonic journey of melody-laden beats and percussion with a definite shimmering, twinkling, rounded edge. There’s a spaciousness in its progressive style that exudes freedom and expansion, with a vaguely tribal element that really drives the track home.
All of this is emphasized in the music video, which is beautifully shot and directed, and features a juxtaposition of scenes that move seamlessly from naturalistic outdoor environments and animals to cityscapes and rooftops – both of which feature groups of people dancing together to the beat of “Manila Palm.” The same Japanese girl is featured in both, as she tries to find her place in the world.
The bulk of the song is made up of its crescendo, bookmarked on either end by slow, pretty, almost haunting lighter notes. It’s supple, laidback, and moody. It’s mysterious for sure, but therein lies its beauty.
Parra for Cuva’s new album Juno was released on July 16th 2021.
I was listening to some Alan Watts chillstep today. It was a lecture about not really having control and that once we realize what we really are, we can let go and trust. All the while we can think we’ve made a decision but it’s simply just a ‘happening.’ The thinker is thought, the experiencer is experienced. It all comes down to arriving here, now.
Sometimes I’m left feeling like the present moment is a million miles away when it’s ironically right here, right now. All the scribbles of past and future that we trace and retrace could all fade to nothing if we were just able to be present.
Italian outfit Palmaria have released “Lluvia,” a song about trusting our own destiny and continuing to walk our unique journey through life. A journey of a million miles, simply to arrive right where we started. At least there’s great music such as this along the way.
Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy this. From us to us.
Is this the prettiest break-up song that ever was? Damn right it is. While the lyrics tell a lonely story of heartbreak and never being able to go back, the perfect juxtaposition created by the way the light, twinkling melodies wind around the softly spoken, dreamy vocals makes “Now I’m Alone (feat. Sofía Valdés)” gorgeously palatable without being even slightly woe-is-me. It’s a wavy and pensive offering from the alt-pop duo, and Valdés’ vocals add a distinctive, gentle edge that’s very welcome.
HONNE is teasing the release of their upcoming album with a three-song EP called PART 1: WWYD, which features “Now I’m Alone,” as well as “IDGAF About Pain” and “What Would You Do?”
Their new album, Let’s Just Say The World Ended a Week From Now, What Would You Do?is due out October 22nd. Written last year amidst the global pandemic, it’s a poignant title for the troubling times in which we find ourselves, and a reminder to put pride aside and resolve past regrets or unfinished business where we can.
In an official press statement, HONNE say on their forthcoming album:
“In the past, we’ve limited ourselves. We might get to a section of a song and things are getting really exciting, but we then pull ourselves back and say, ‘Can we really do that?’. Now, we’ve sidestepped the rules and done whatever we wanted to do.”
Jungle are masters of putting a new-school edge on old-school nostalgia and then adding a whole bunch of contemporary texture that makes it impossible to sit still. You only need to watch one of their music videos (seriously, any of them) to see the absolute power they have to make their listeners get up and dance.
Their latest single from their upcoming album, Loving in Stereo, also marks their first feature collaboration with Dreamville rapper, Bas. It’s straight-up, feel-good hip-hop at its finest. It may not be quite as energetic and joyous as previous single “Keep Moving”, but it more than makes up for it in funk, style, and groove. It’s Jungle all right, but a laid-back, cheery, chilled-out version. And while I miss Jungle’s usual vocal additions, Bas absolutely kills it by adding his own spin to the sound of the track, while ensuring Jungle’s usual unstoppable magic is maintained throughout.
Speaking to NME earlier this year, Jungle said of Loving in Stereo:
“It’s all kind of chaotic and magical, and I think that that’s why there’s that energy to the record – everything just went up a level.”
This song, in its entirety, is a lo-fi wave just blowing over your ears, a smooth alt-rock blues boat sailing through the breeze.
Charlotte Day Wilson’s vocal timbre is beautifully comforting and immensely expressive. It’s an amazing experience to listen to a vocal range that not only adds an emotional track to beautifully stimulating instrumentation and have it mould in such a complimenting way.
“I Can Only Whisper” isn’t all waves though, at a point this boat docks at a Persian market, slow-burning into the closing hour. A heart-warming sound from a heart-warming artist.
There’s something special about this song. I can’t quite put my finger on it though. But that’s the thing with that which is special, it’s often abstract, obscure, a quality that cannot be grasped and yet is felt.
“Animals in The Kitchen” is the kind of song I sit down to write about and have to crane my neck so as to be able to glance far above me in order to catch a glimpse of the musicianship and talent that places such artists high above the ordinary.
The music video too, leaves me in awe, as I take in the music with a deep respect for creativity, artistry, and the coming together of ideas to produce something wholly unique.
A glowing write-up you say? Sit back and be wowed just as I was. Enjoy.
Music – the best thing on the planet that brings pleasure™. It’s uncomplicated and the worst it can do is ‘miss the mark.’
Klaz’s “Give In” does just what it’s supposed to do — create a world of sound that is so engrossing and transportive so as to make you lose your way just long enough that you end up giving in, without ever having to put in the effort to let go.
“Give In” makes me want to float amidst the good vibes that abide when all non-sense dissipates. It is so beautiful, serving as a reminder as to just why I’m so drawn to music.
If you want to give in and float on by too, I’d recommend adding Klaz’s “Give In” to your best playlists. Enjoy.
There is something animalistic and yet extremely otherworldly about Royal Canoe’s “Surrender.” It’s quite a little experience, a trip down a garden full of electric sounds and poisonous plants.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been attracted to someone you should not be attracted to, or in another sentence, is an immediate red flag, but you just can’t help yourself – you have to surrender – this is that feeling. Royal Canoe has created a track that warps and bends itself into exactly what you want. Its whole game is conformation in hope of satisfaction. This song wants you to listen to it and only it – no one else.
“Surrender” is like a mesmerizing audio escape into a dangerous place — just surrender.
“Fine and Peachy” is like the lovechild of Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morissette; a definitive, blunt but playful nod to the plain-speaking pushback of the female greats of the ’90s.
Eliza Shaddad sticks her middle finger up to the liars, cheats, and gaslighters of the world with a mesmerizing voice and sardonic lyrics. The Scottish-Sudanese songstress nakedly confesses her truth, commanding space completely and unapologetically. The lead single of her latest album, The Woman You Want, is refreshing and righteous with opening lyrics that sucker-punch straight to the point:
“F*ck you, just tell me what you want me to sayInstead of screwing with my head for days”
It’s ‘90’s-era indie rock with gnarly roots, emotive femine power, and exquisite vocals. Shaddad says in a press statement:
“It’s a groovy, loose, rebellious, sick-of-this-sh*t kind of song which delights in some of the country influences I’ve been enjoying over the last few months. It’s super fun to sing, jump and get all your frustrations out to. I had so much fun too, making the music video for this at home with the wonderful Jodie Canwell who’s collaborated with me on all the beautiful visuals for this album.”
It’s scathing and blunt, with a bluesy swing that’ll have you feeling so full of female empowerment and assertiveness, you’ll be calling up that person who’s been stringing you along and demanding an answer in no time flat. A powerful song by a powerful woman.
Geez, this song pulls my heartstrings. Not sure which ones really, but there’s something really emotive about it that has grown on me with each subsequent listen (and there’ve been a lot of listens to date).
In case it’s not obvious by the pronounced accent, The Ninth Wave are from Glasgow, Scotland. Their latest single “Maybe You Didn’t Know” manages to blend indie rock with art pop and something from the 80s, resulting in a song unlike any I’ve heard in the last few months. Heck, maybe ever, as I’m struggling to put my finger on who to compare this to.
Bottom line is this is a front-runner for my favorite song of July.
A wave of self-conscious romance beams through this synth-pop track and leaves a reverberating feeling of romanticism until the next loop.
I’ve grown to quietly love the synth-pop sound of The Jungle Giants. I’ve also grown to love the self-contained story arc of their new upcoming “Love Signs” tour, what didn’t grow on me however was this song, no it leaped on me, hugged me, and asked me out for a coffee at the local neon buzzed diner. “Love Signs ” is a pulsing track with an ironically floaty narrative that makes me want to slam on my headphones and do some footwork.
The Synthetic cuddle is real and the warmest thing around.
Oooh, but Phil from Havêa’s remix of Url’s “Honey” is smooth as a knife through melted butter. The original is great in its own right, but this remix lays on the groove so thick it’s transportive.
Two bars in, you’re suddenly at a beach party on some tropical island in the early hours of the morning; it’s mid-Summer, the people are beautiful, your drink is delicious, the stranger at the bar is eyeing you as you sway around the dancefloor without a care in the world. Maybe there’s a flower in your hair. Maybe the stranger gave it to you. Maybe you want him to give you another. Doesn’t matter, as long as “Honey” is providing the soundtrack.
“Honey” is a super laid-back, nu-disco-inspired funky house jam with tight and refined mixing and quality. There’s a retro feel that presents itself as a fresh take, and it works beautifully. It’s unique and minimalist, with a swelling warmth and sparkle. It’s got a sophisticated, sensual vibe with a definite hedonistic undertone (maybe the aforementioned stranger does too?), and I am absolutely here for it.
Manchester Orchestra has explored some decidedly unexpected directions in their latest album, The Million Masks of God, that have taken them out of their post-hardcore comfort zone. The benefit of this is no better exemplified than by the ability of microhouse artists, Local Natives, to remix their tracks into brighter, more danceable numbers.
“Bed Head” is one such track, wherein the brooding, glitchy original is turned on its head to become upbeat, playful, and considerably brighter. The remix sees singer Andy Hull’s vocals altered into an airy falsetto presented alongside softened melodies, sparkling synths, and grooving bass. And of course, the trucking, resonant beat typical of the microhouse genre is ever-present. Did I ever think I’d want to get up and jam to Manchester Orchestra? No, I did not. Did Local Natives not only make this notion accessible but entirely impossible not to do? You best believe they did.
The core of the song shines through like a golden thread, despite the added keys and sun-kissed dance beat. There’s a lot of pop and sparkle that wasn’t there before, but the initial sound is still kept somewhat intact.
The original version of “Bed Head” features on Manchester Orchestra’s sixth studio album, The Million Masks of God, which was released in April of this year via Loma Vista Records.
Funky, textured, lo-fi beats so full of nostalgia they’ll catapult you straight back to the early ’90s. With an old-school trip-hop vibe, this dreamlike offering will have you shuffling along in no time.
Originally released by Canadian instrumental group BADBADNOTGOOD and American vocalist Samuel T. Herring (of Future Islands) in 2016, “Time Moves Slow” is the basis of the main looped sample of “Running Away” by VANO 3000. Bringing new attention to the original track courtesy of a viral TikTok video (what a time to be alive, right?), VANO 3000’s version was officially released with the original artists in June of this year.
As of the 8th of June 2021, “Running Away” has been used in nearly two billion TikTok videos, and as of the 18th of June, VANO had been tagged in over 500 000 TikTok videos and received over 2.7 billion listens. Yeah, you read that right. Billions. We’re living in a new age, ladies and gentlemen; VANO 3000 broke the TikTok fourth wall so hard, he managed to get an official release.
And as for the vocal loop, courtesy of Herring?
“Running away is easy. It’s the leaving that’s hard.”