On an exceptionally chilly Monday night on the Near West Side of Chicago, a few hundred people gathered at House of Vans for a remarkably intimate set from The National. The band had flown into town from Europe for a special performance at the Obama Foundation Summit, but arrived a couple days early to give fans an extra special treat. Tickets to the show were being given out for free through an online lottery, and considering the 500 person capacity of the venue, it’s safe to assume that a lot more people entered than actually won. Those with luck on their side were treated to an engrossing and often aggressive performance that skewed towards the dark and political.
The new Blondage single “Call It Off” reminds me of Charli XCX, and I mean that in the most complimentary way. It’s well written, with a catchy chorus and a few experimental elements thrown in for good measure. Not sure what I was expecting from Mr. Yolk’s new song “Star Light Head Light”, but lightly psychedelic indie rock was not it. That said, I was pleasantly surprised and enraptured with the track, and encourage you to give it a shot to see if it effects you in the same way. Hoping you’ll also find the bright, folk-strewn energy of Peter Matthew Bauer’s latest track “Full Moon In The Sky” to your liking. The former Walkmen member has really come into his own as a solo artist, and this one absolutely soars. Make like Van Halen and take the jump to discover more new music from the likes of Darius (ft. Wayne Snow), Donna Missal, GHITA, Jack Massic (ft. Julia Ross), Jason Nolan, Kiana Lede, The Rentals, Silvia Kastel, and Tempesst.
Blondage – Call It Off
Mr. Yolk – Star Light Head Light
Peter Matthew Bauer – Full Moon In The Sky
It’s funny – I’ve always kind of placed The Tallest Man on Earth and Asgeir into a similar sonic basket, pretty much counting both as being indebted to the folk roots of Bob Dylan for their sound and success. Well, now Asgeir has gone ahead and covered one of The Tallest Man on Earth’s best songs, creating a fun little bit of cross-pollination. It’s a nicely different interpretation of “There’s No Leaving Now” than the original, so I encourage you to check it out. Fans of super catchy synth pop should be hip to BOYBOY, who’s got a dynamic new single out to enjoy and maybe even dance to. Additionally, let me throw some weight behind the new song “The Fool” from OCS, which is an offshoot of (fka Thee) Oh Sees. The difference between the two projects is the sound, as Oh Sees are loud and brash garage rock, while OCS is quiet and delicate. “The Fool” certainly makes that abundantly clear, with string and horn arrangements shifting in and out of this sedate ballad. Get sucked into its beauty. You may also enjoy other tracks in this set from artists such as Bermuda Triangle, Boys, Ella Grace, Geographer, Louis the Child (ft. Ashe), Mielo, Palms Trax, Sam Evian, and STRFKR.
Asgeir – There’s No Leaving Now (The Tallest Man on Earth cover)
BOYBOY – U
OCS – The Fool
The electro-pop duo known as Kllo has been making music for a few years now, but have yet to release a full-length album. That’s set to change in about 3 weeks when Backwater makes its way into the world. Get a taste of their unique sound with the subtle yet addictive new song “Dissolve”. I’ve always had great admiration for Miya Folick’s voice, which is used to powerful effect on her singles and EPs. Her new one Give It to Me will be out in exactly one month, and on it she covers Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”. It provides an excellent way to show off her range, proving she still sounds amazing even when she’s not wailing against a storm of guitars. There’s something very ’90s about the new Plush song “50/50 20/20”, and I think it’s the guitars, which fall somewhere between Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, and My Bloody Valentine. It’s really impressive stuff, and I’d strongly encourage you to take the 6.5 minute trip as Plush cements their status as a band to watch. Beyond that, fly past the jump for more songs from the likes of Antwon (ft. Wicca Phase Springs Eternal), Chad Valley, DJ Seinfeld, HICARI, Ivan Dorn, Jay Pryor, Satica (ft. Sakima), Sharon Van Etten, and T-Mass & Jaxxtone (ft. Bianca).
Kllo – Dissolve
Miya Folick – Woodstock (Joni Mitchell cover)
Plush – 50/50 20/20
What a tragic day, and a tragic way to start the month of October. It was heartbreaking to wake up this morning to the news coming out of Las Vegas, with the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history taking place at a music festival on Sunday night. At least 59 people have lost their lives so far, and hundreds more have been injured. As if that wasn’t depressing enough, we also lost music legend Tom Petty today. He was found in total cardiac failure, and after being taken to the hospital, wound up passing away. He was 66. There’s so much to say about both of these things, and while I could realistically write long essays about them, they’d probably only reiterate what so many others are already saying or have already said. We need more common sense gun control. Petty inspired generations of musicians and he will be missed. Right now I’m a little too sad and heartbroken to really dive any deeper than that. Do your best to take action by contacting lawmakers, volunteering, and contributing money or blood to Las Vegas victims. Listen to some Petty while formulating those plans. When you’re ready, maybe give some of the songs below a shot too. Allow me to recommend downloads in this set from Alex Bent + the Emptiness, Etches, George Ryan and Static In Verona. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from BORNS, BRIDGE, CYN, EDEN, Elohim, Heartstreets, Jesse Kivel, Kotek & Littlemore, Lil Sko, Lil Yachty & Young Thug, T-Pain (ft. Blac Youngsta), and Yaeji.
If there’s one thing you can count on from Lindstrom, it’s consistency. The Norwegian producer has been a steady presence in the world of electronica for awhile now, and his new track “Tensions” holds steady while hopefully inspiring you to do the opposite. Members of Chastity Belt, TacocaT, and Lisa Prank have formed Who Is She?, which makes dizzyingly simple yet addictive guitar pop that’ll leave you charmed in quick fashion. Their debut album is out next Friday, so if you like what you hear, maybe pick that up? Also out next Friday is Wild Ones’ Mirror Touch, and you can stream new song “Invite Me In” below. It’s a gorgeous, atmospheric pop song that reminds me of Purity Ring but with more overdubbed harmonies. Take a close look past the jump for other new tracks from the likes of Future Animals, Moullinex (ft. Shermar), The Patient, Peter Oren, Pink Kink, salute (ft. Gabrielle Aplin), Trippie Redd, plus a couple of remixes from the likes of Jamie LIdell and Yeasayer. Enjoy!
Lindstrøm – Tensions
Who Is She? – Seattle Freeze
Wild Ones – Invite Me In
A jangly slice of country-fried folk is the way I’d describe the latest track from A. Savage (Parquet Courts), who is preparing to release his solo debut in mid-October. So far, so good in previews for that record, even of it’s likely to be a more minor release compared to anything his main band puts out. Elsewhere, I’d encourage you to drink in the smooth atmospherics and head-bobbing beats that come with Dresage’s “Renaissance”. Some very Zero 7 vibes radiating off of that one. Those interested in taking a long, strange trip should (re)visit with Half Waif’s “Dream Cycle”. A 9.5 minute journey divided into five distinct yet seamless parts, this was originally composed as part of 2016’s self-released Probable Depths, which will be getting a reissue and first-ever vinyl pressing thanks to Cascine. Other artists in this set include Cautious Clay, FEHM, Jeremy Zucker, Lieza, Pepe, Sure Sure, Tre Sera & Sevim, Twain, plus Ellie Herring’s great remix of a track by Dream Wife.
A. Savage – Phantom Limbo
Dresage – Renaissance
Half Waif – Dream Cycle
Chicago is getting an early fall heat wave, and in all honesty I couldn’t be happier about it. Well, outside of the whole climate change factor that’s probably behind it. But I’m not ready for pumpkin spice and Halloween just yet (we’re still over a month away), so an extra dose of summer will always be welcome. Let’s get into today’s Pick Your Poison, which has a bunch of hot tracks to hopefully match the weather. Notable downloads in this set come from The Lymbs, Shining Mirrors, Tony Range, and Warning Light. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream new stuff from Cults, Dark0, DJ Snake (ft. Lauv), Document, Emma Jensen, Hoodie Allen, Luna Shadows (covering Brand New), Shy Luv (ft. Bakar), Strange Ranger, Upstairs Open, VON GREY, and Warm Brew.
Torch songs are typically at their best when paired with a compelling voice. Jesse Jo Stark has that type of voice, and her “Deadly Doll” is all the better because of it. If you like Lana Del Rey and Lykke Li, don’t miss this one. Similarly, Kristin Kontrol is back with another strong synth pop single. “Concrete Love” might not be the best thing she’s ever done, but her vocals and lyrics get very high marks. Then there’s Stone Temple Pilots, reaching back into the archives as they prepare to re-release their debut album Core for a special 25th anniversary edition. You can hear a demo cut “Only Dying” in remembrance of Scott Weiland. Cross over the jump and discover more new music from the likes of Emancipator, John Marera & Will Martin, LEViTATE & Macntaj, OMD, Pale Grey, Rina Sawayama, Shannon Lay, The She’s, and Trevor Hall.
Jesse Jo Stark – Deadly Doll
Kristin Kontrol – Concrete Love
Stone Temple Pilots – Only Dying (Demo)
Jessica Boudreaux of the garage rock band Summer Cannibals will be putting out her solo debut this November, and you can get a taste of what it sounds like below. She worked on some of the tracks with Hutch Harris of The Thermals, and I’d like to think that it’s helped. Meanwhile, I also can’t seem to resist the tracks being put out by Novo Amor & Ed Tullett. “Silvery” continues to harness some powerful folk and falsetto pairings. This is a must for any fans of Bon Iver. Similarly, fans of Washed Out and Jamie xx might really latch onto Superheart’s “Count On Me”, which is the perfect soundtrack for wandering around a glowing city in the middle of the night. If you’ll be so kind as to join me past the jump, you’ll be able to hear additional tracks in this set from Cosmos & Creature, Falcons (ft. KingJet), Herobust, I’m Not A Band, KRANE, The Man Who, Max Styler (ft. CXLOE), Noah Kahan, and TACHES.
Jessica Boudreaux – Ask Me to Stay
Novo Amor & Ed Tullett – Silvery
Superheart – Count On Me
There’s a very ’80s vibe to Now, Now’s new single “Yours,” though it also feels like the sort of song that’d be right at home on the latest Haim record. In other words, it’s pretty good and quite catchy, so give it a shot. Speaking of the ’80s, Ski Lodge’s latest track has a similar synth-heavy vibe, but with reflections of The Psychedelic Furs and The Cars echoing throughout. The synths continue on Slow Magic’s “Drum”, but the sound is far more modern, with intense beats and samples cycling through most of it at the frenetic pace of a helicopter blade. It’s a boss instrumental that might be a little too fast for most to dance to, but that’s perfectly okay. Other artists you can find after the jump include alxxa (covering Rihanna), Andrew Applepie (ft. Bjurman), Cardiknox, Demo Taped, MADDEE, Post Malone (ft. 21 Savage), Sean Christopher, Swimming Tapes, and Tove Stryke.
Now, Now – Yours
Ski Lodge – Secure
Slow Magic – Drum
It was a great weekend at Riot Fest, but boy am I tired today! Let’s just get right to it with the new music, shall we? Don’t miss downloads in this set from Broke Royals, Orbital, Tree Machines, and Way Yes. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Airiel, BADBADNOTGOOD (ft. Colin Stetson), Chams, Grooms, HAN, Jamie Lidell, Jesse Kivel, Keep Shelly in Athens, Marged (ft. AOBeats & Jailo), Slothrust (covering Marcy Playground), Smut, and Wild Ones.
Riot Fest 2017 officially kicks off in Chicago’s Union Park tomorrow afternoon. If you’ve been paying attention all week, you may have seen my very, very minor preview coverage for the first two days. Today we tackle the third and final day, where I’ll once again provide a list of artists you should absolutely check out if you’re going. On Sunday, you won’t want to miss sets from (in order by time) Beach Slang, Downtown Boys, Dessa, That Dog., The Orwells, Built to Spill, Cap’n Jazz, Minus the Bear, TV on the Radio, Dinosaur Jr., M.I.A., Paramore, and of course Jawbreaker. Should be a fun weekend. Hope to see you out there!
Pick Your Poison today has some fun tracks that’ll help you ease into the weekend. I’m really enjoying Kllo’s latest song off their new album out next month. “Nylon” is a pretty piano ballad with flourishes of R&B and electronica blended in, making for a captivating listen. Similarly, Weyes Blood has just released a 7″ featuring two covers, one of which takes on Soft Cell’s “Everybody’s Talkin'” while transforming the folk song into a glacial synth ballad. There’s also a new song from Chicago’s own Wild Belle in this set, who seem to be having lots of fun with the catchy “Untamed Heart”. Journey beyond the jump for additional tracks in this set from Coucou Chloe, courtship., Giraffage (ft. Japanese Breakfast), G-Worthy, Jordan Rakei, LEVITATE & Macntaj, LondonBridge, Ryan Vail, and more!
Kllo – Nylon
Weyes Blood – Everybody’s Talkin’ (Soft Cell cover)
Wild Belle – Untamed Heart
The unofficial, half-assed guide to Riot Fest 2017 continues today with a super-brief list of artists worth seeing on Day 2 (aka Saturday) at Douglas Park here in Chicago. If you’re going, I’d advise taking the time to check out (ordered by set time) Slaves, Fishbone, Peaches, Shabazz Palaces, FIDLAR, Bad Brains, Potty Mouth, The Regrettes, Gogol Bordello, At the Drive-In, and Queens of the Stone Age. Check back tomorrow for my picks for the final day!
On to today’s Pick Your Poison. Grandaddy are re-releasing their 1997 debut Under the Western Freeway this October, and it comes with demos and bonus tracks. You can hear the unreleased “Hawaiian Island Wranglers” below. If you like ambient electronica, Lone’s latest “Saturday Night” feels like the appropriate soundtrack to either play in the club or on your way to the club. Sometimes though, it’s just nice to enjoy a folk song with only an acoustic guitar and a voice. Michael Nau has you covered with a waltzy ballad that positively shines. After the jump, you’ll find some additional tracks in this set from DJ Different, Djib Mo, The fin., Jvck James (ft. Jade Maria & Venna), Mike Dunn, Oscar & the Wolf, The Score, Skye Morales, and Sofi Tukker (ft. NERVO, The Knocks & Alisa Ueno).
Grandaddy – Hawaiian Island Wranglers
Lone – Saturday Night
Michael Nau – Diamond Anyway
Okay, as part of unofficial Riot Fest week, I’m going to provide an ever-so-brief preview of each day of the festival, essentially just giving you a list of artists to see and not anything else. As bare bones as it gets. So if you’ll be heading to Douglas Park this weekend, here are some names you want to keep an eye (and ear) out for on Friday (in order of set time): Skating Polly, Tobacco, Liars, Saul Williams, X, Buzzcocks, The Hotelier, Death From Above, Ministry, The Cribs, New Order, Vic Mensa, and of course Nine Inch Nails. I hope that helps, to some minor degree. I’ll have a list of Saturday artists for you tomorrow!
In today’s Pick Your Poison, get another dose of beautiful synth pop for your Tuesday with another new one from Anna of the North. Give a proper welcome to fall with Josh Ritter’s latest folk track, which includes a guest spot from the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir. Also, enjoy a bouncy and rather addictive Britpop-styled song about William Shatner from The Wedding Present. Take a trip past the jump, and you’ll also find new tracks from A Boogie wit da Hoodie (ft. PnB Rock & YoungBoy Never Broke Again), EXSSV (ft. Pixel Terror), filous (ft. Klei), The Fluids, Human Heat, Maty Noyes, No Warning, and Synead.
Anna of the North – Always
Josh Ritter – When Will I Be Changed (ft. Bob Weir)
The Wedding Present – Shatner