POP ETC - "WHAT AM I BECOMING?"
“I can’t stress it enough, I feel kind of crazy if I’m not writing all the time,” says Chris Chu, whose Brooklyn-based band is set to release Souvenir, their second full-length album as POP ETC. But unlike previous efforts where the trio would write fifteen to twenty songs at most, each influenced by certain cohesive elements, and then whittle down their favorites to a manageable album’s length, this time around Chu decided to chase his muse wherever it might take him. And by letting the creative waters flow—and flow—POP ETC have landed in a new sonic territory resulting in their most exciting work to date. POP ETC share their new track, "What Am I Becoming?" from the trio's forthcoming LP, Souvenir, due out worldwide January 29th. The group has kept busy having just finished up a group of tour dates in Japan supporting Galileo Galiliei and in the US with The Wombats and Royal Teeth.
AVENUE - "LAST ONE OUT"
Toronto-based producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Avenue will release his debut EP in early 2016, and last week he premiered a genius new single. "Last One Out" - a bass-driven, New Wave-inspired, 80s throw back - is the opening track on the forthcoming Keep Counting EP. Avenue will release Keep Counting - an EP full of slick basslines, shimmering synths, and catchy-as-hell melodies - on January 8th via Dine Alone Records. The classically trained 21-year-old Sam Willows is responsible for some of Hype Machine's most-loved remixes, including those of Tears of Fears, Miami Horror, Carousel, Lemaitre, Citizens! and more. As Avenue's first foray into original music, Keep Counting is the perfect introduction to this up-and-coming artist and producer, and proves Avenue has much more than top-notch remixes up his sleeves.
SHIELDS - "FACE TO FACE"
Shields embody the Playlist Generation. While other artists publicly decry music streaming services, Shields have been shaped by the diverse artists whose music they might never have heard through more traditional means. Shields’ musical output is a reflection of these diverse influences, and their forthcoming debut album, How Can We Fix This?, has a genuinely broad appeal whilst at the same time refusing to conform to a simple description. The recent single, “Face to Face,” captures the kind of innovative alt-pop instrumentation and delicate harmonies that saw 2012 single “Mezzanine” (also on the album) featured as iTunes’ single of the week and garnering praise from sources as diverse as Kylie and Zane Lowe.
THE ALTERED HOURS - "SILVER LEATHER"
Following the organic buzz that arose from “Way Of Sorrow”, The Altered Hours are set to make a further mark on the flourishing psych-rock scene with the direct, sultry follow-up “Silver Leather”. The band, whose sound has been continually honed over the last few years, has been building a solid identity that will be truly apparent from their upcoming debut, In Heat Not Sorry, due out January 29th. Already a real prospect live, their shows are known for their intensity and the band's ability to envelope both themselves and the crowd in their sound – but where so many focus on the textures, The Altered Hours set themselves apart with as much a focus on the songs themselves. The group has toured Ireland, the UK and Europe and has won critical acclaim along the way.
THE CAVE SINGERS - "CHRISTMAS NIGHT"
The Cave Singers are excited to share another song off of their upcoming album Banshee entitled "Christmas Night." Just in time for the holidays, "Christmas Night" premiered last week via KEXP. Banshee brings The Cave Singers back to their original 3-piece of vocalist-songwriter Pete Quirk, guitarist Derek Fudesco and drummer Marty Lunda. The album was recorded live in July of 2015 over six days with producer Randall Dunn who also produced 2011's No Witch. The record is warmly anchored in the members' creative familiarity with one another. Yet there is a new thirst to Banshee, one that can be attributed to the combination of the band taking a year off to work on other projects, Pete Quirk's solo album and the Kodiak Deathbeds debut record, and their return to songwriting from distanced correspondence.
PRINCE RAMA - "BAHIA"
Prince Rama, the Brooklyn psych-dance duo of sisters Taraka and Niami Larson, is thrilled to announce their forth-coming new record Xtreme Now, due out March 4th on new label home Carpark Records. Xtreme Now is the most extreme album Prince Rama has ever made, as it’s themed around extreme sports; its adrenaline-high songs reflect what it's like to dance on the edge of mortality. Perceiving a great void in the world of extreme sports for music that could match the metaphysical intensity of near death-defying feats, Prince Rama set forth to make Xtreme Now, the first real foray by any musician to create a new "extreme sports genre." For inspiration, the sisters looked to their own flirtations with death and time-dilation, along with countless hours of obsessively watching extreme sports videos and consuming dangerous quantities of Monster Energy drink. The band has released “Bahia,” a glimpse into the extreme album to be expected early next year.
HARRIET - "I'M TRYING"
Harriet has premiered their new alt-pop track "I'm Trying,” which is in support of the LA four-piece's forthcoming debut album American Appetite. The track centers around frontman Alex Casnoff's lyrical meaning behind "I'm Trying," as well as the album's all-around inspiration: exploring the American condition, and the power and greed that it ensues. Produced by Sean O'Brien (The National, Jeff Bridges) and Tony Berg (Nickel Creek, The Replacements), the upcoming LP sonically showcases new lavish textures to band's indie-rock elements and signature, progressive pop production. The debut project will be released worldwide on January 29th, 2016 on Harvest Records.
CAGE THE ELEPHANT - "TOO LATE TO SAY GOODBYE"
Grammy-nominated rock band Cage the Elephant premiered the third new song, “Too Late to Say Goodbye,” from their forth-coming fourth album Tell Me I'm Pretty on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 show. Tell Me I'm Pretty was produced by Dan Auerbach (Lana Del Rey, Ray LaMontagne, The Black Keys, The Arcs). Singer Matt Shultz said, "Working with Dan was the perfect balance to our approach. The end result was a great experience that really brought on a lot of growth." The album was mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Amy Winehouse, Adele, Florence + the Machine) and recorded at Easy Eye Sound in Nashville, near the band's home town of Bowling Green, KY. Rolling Stone said, "Tell Me I'm Pretty reflects everything from psychedelic bubblegum pop to, not coincidentally, the spare tautness of the Black Keys." Tell Me I'm Pretty will be released on December 15th via RCA Records.
STARWALKER - "LE PRESIDENT"
It's been over a year since we've heard from Starwalker - the electro-pop duo comprised of Air's Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Bardi Johannsson of Iceland's Bang Gang. "Le President" is a gorgeous, hypnotic and otherworldly mantra. The song's swirling synths complement Johannsson's hushed, repeated delivery of "You will remember me," such that by the end of the song you most certainly will. Starwalker released their debut EP entitled Losers Can Win last year, and will release their first full-length effort in early 2016. While JB Dunckel (Air, Tomorrow's World, Darkel) and Bardi Johannsson (Bang Gang, Lady & Bird) are well known for prior endeavors, Starwalker is by no means just a side project - it is the coming-together of two musical innovators, creating the music they were destined to make.
MATT KIVEL - "JAMIE'S"
"Jamie's" is the second single from Matt Kivel's upcoming LP, Janus which will be out on Friday, February 5th, 2016 via Driftless Recordings. The album was produced by Alasdair Roberts (Drag City) and engineered by Sam Smith at Green Door Studio in Glasgow, Scotland. In late 2015, Kivel joined Roberts in his native city of Glasgow to record his third full-length album. Roberts produced the project, and assembled a stylistically diverse supporting cast of local musicians to supplement Kivel’s desolate, acoustic songs. Over 11 musicians contributed to the music on the album, and their improvisations and sensitive instrumental interplay draw from the realms of avant-jazz, traditional folk, classical, outer experimentalism, and straightforward melodic pop. Kivel’s vocals are pushed to the front and his lyrics cut clearly through the shifting instrumental backdrops. The album is simultaneously calm, warm, and uneasy.
M. WARD - "GIRL FROM CONEJO VALLEY"
M. Ward returns with his eighth solo album, More Rain, which will be released on March 4th via Merge Records. Having spent the last decade-and-a-half based in the perennially damp Portland, Oregon, the singer-songwriter and producer has learned how to shine through the soggy gloom by simply embracing its inevitability. With his new album More Rain, Ward has made a true gotta-stay-indoors, rainy-season record that looks upwards through the weather while reflecting on his past. This album finds Ward picking up the tempo and volume a bit from his previous release, 2012's A Wasteland Companion. Where that record introspectively looked in from the outside, More Rain finds Ward on the inside, gazing out. Begun four years ago and imagined initially as a DIY doo-wop album that would feature Ward experimenting with layering his own voice, it soon branched out in different directions, a move that he credits largely to his collaborators here who include R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Neko Case, k.d. lang, The Secret Sisters, and Joey Spampinato of NRBQ. The result is a collection of upbeat, sonically ambitious yet canonically familiar songs that both propel Ward's reach and satisfy longtime fans. Check out "Girl From Conejo Valley," which is a nostalgic trot through people he used to know and a place he used to be.