JULIANNA BARWICK - "SAME"
Julianna Barwick has unveiled the next single from her forthcoming album, Will, called “Same” featuring vocals from Thomas Arsenault aka Mas Ysa. It’s the follow up to Will lead single “Nebula.” Conceived and self-produced over the past year in a variety of locations, the ominous and compelling Will is a departure from 2013’s Alex Somers-produced Nepenthe. If that last record conjured images of gentle, thick fog rolling over desolate mountains, then Will is a late afternoon thunderstorm, a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures that sounds looming and restorative all at once. The electric current that runs through the album takes on various shapes of intoxicating instability. Featuring contributions from Thomas Arsenault (Mas Ysa), Dutch cellist Maarten Vos and percussionist, Jamie Ingalls (Chairlift, Tanlines, Beverly), Will is largely a product of ups and downs, a reflection of a life lived somewhere in between transience and standing still. The beguiling, beautifully complicated Will is the result of that curiosity, and proof of Barwick’s irresistibly engaging talent as a composer and vocalist. Will is out May 6th on Dead Oceans.
AUKAI - "CACHOEIRA"
Drawing on influence and comparison to the work artists such as Brian Eno, Nils Frahm, The Album Leaf and more, the first single demonstrates the colorful and delicate palette of songs that you can expect from Aukai's perfectly formed debut. Aukai is a Hawaiian word meaning seafarer or traveler. It’s also used as a proper name, and people who are called “Aukai" tend to have a mystical, philosophical, introspective nature. All of which makes Aukai the perfect name for the new album and project by multi-instrumentalist and composer Markus Sieber. It’s a collection of ambient acoustic soundscapes that take the listener on an inward journey to a place of stillness and tranquil beauty. His debut self-titled album is set for a June 3rd release. Aukai may draw initial comparisons to the work of ambient instrumental artists such as Eno, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Goldmund and Nils Frahm, but ultimately it is an album that belongs in a category all its own—a beguiling collection of autumnal acoustic soundscapes dappled with subtle electronic touches.
GEMMA RAY - "THERE MUST BE MORE THAN THIS"
Gemma Ray's latest opus The Exodus Suite is a dramatic 52-minute odyssey through her unique style of epic torch song psychedelia. Recorded live in seven days at Berlin's infamous Candy Bomber Studios (situated in the former Tempelhof Airport) by Ingo Krauss, the album's title reflects the personal-political themes of the songs within. The Exodus Suite will be released on June 10th via Bronzerat Records, and a first taste of the album, the soulful "There Must Be More Than This," features guest pianist Carwyn Ellis. Ray recorded all her lead vocals live with the band, with only backing vocals, organs, and extra flourishes added in after. Aiming to capture a natural sound that revels in any so-called human "flaws," the album's monumentally ornate sound was sculpted and rose out of basic simplicity, with microphone spill being an integral part of the production approach. The Exodus Suite is performed by Ray on vocals, guitars, Mellotron, and organ, accompanied by Andrew Zammit on drums, percussion, organ, synth, and additional guitar; Fredrik Kinbom on bass and lap steel guitar; and featuring Carwyn Ellis on piano and Wurlitzer.
LENA FAYRE - "CRY"
Lena Fayre has revealed her pulsating new song "Cry" with a cinematic performance video directed by Alan Del Rio Ortiz (St. Vincent, Solange, Blood Orange) in collaboration with creative director Chelsea McCarthy. The track, which is Fayre's first new material to be released following her acclaimed 2015 EP Is There Only One?, highlights her left-of-center take on pop and a newfound interest in edgier electronic elements. Only 19-years old, Los Angeles indie artist has already amassed over 20 million Spotify streams and YouTube views, accumulated over 400,000 monthly Spotify listeners, won multiple songwriting awards including John Lennon Songwriting Contest Grand Prize Winner, self-released a full-length album plus two EPs, and was named "A New Artist You Need to Know" by Rolling Stone. Fayre is currently finishing up a batch of new tracks that test the boundaries of contemporary music. To showcase her new material, she recently did a month-long residency at the Bootleg Theater in L.A. and played 7 shows at SXSW.
WOOLF AND THE WONDERSHOW - "CAGES"
Los Angeles duo Woolf and the Wondershow is thrilled to announce they will release their debut EP We Need To Talk on June 10th. The EP's alt-pop single "Cages" is a look into the curious world that is Woolf and the Wondershow. The video was directed by longtime collaborator David Richardson, who captured the duo's vision to the finale of a dramatic relationship, and includes costuming in classic Baroque suiting with the whimsicality of fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Producer and singer Christopher J Baran and film composer Benjamin J Romans have spent the last two years creating the cinematic world of Woolf and the Wondershow. Previously, the duo released the EP's lead track, "Cloaked," which was followed by a spoken word remix featuring actor Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl). "Cloaked" and "Cages" have each garnered close to a million plays on Spotify. Woolf and the Wondershow recently performed their first-ever live show and concept installment in downtown Los Angeles. For their memorable performance, the two combined the mediums of projection mapped theater, silent film, modernized Victorian fashion, along with an epic performance of their entire forthcoming EP to soundtrack their cutting edge cinematic production. Thematically, their live performance is centered on heartbreak, vulnerability and finding yourself in the aftermath.
OMNI - "AFTERLIFE"
Atlanta-based Omni plays lo-fi pop that channels the specter of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, which brings you back to an era where any sane person was reeling from the unfulfilled promise of the Space Age and Age of Aquarius bleeding into the looming threat of "Morning in America.” Omni distills the buzz and grit that snakes through the best of Television, Devo, and Pylon into surprisingly danceable, hook-laden slabs of raw, angular, sonic bliss. It’s still the summer of '78, and pushing the roots of rock & roll to its limits remains in vogue. Their debut album, Deluxe, serves as a fresh reminder that rock music can work outside of blues rooted, formulaic progressions without playing it safe behind a wall of effects. Arty enough to impress record enthusiasts, yet melodically attractive enough to transcend to those who’ve never asked: “SisterMidnight” or “Red Money?" Deluxe is due out July 8th on Trouble In Mind and the band will tour in support of it later this year. Omni is guitarist Frankie Broyles (Deerhunter, Balkans), bassist and vocalist Philip Frobos (Carnivores) and drummer Billy Mitchell (Carnivores). Check out the new single, “Afterlife.”
MINOR VICTORIES - "SCATTERED ASHES (SONG FOR RICHARD)"
Minor Victories, the indie supergroup comprised of Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite, Slowdive's Rachel Goswell, Editors' Justin Lockey and his brother James, will release their self-titled debut this summer, and they recently shared a stellar new track off of the record. Following the hauntingly cinematic "A Hundred Ropes" and the gorgeous shoegaze of "Folk Arp," "Scattered Ashes (Song For Richard)" takes the band in a brighter direction and features James Graham of The Twilight Sad. Produced and engineered by Justin, and featuring the likes of Graham and Mark Kozelek, Minor Victories will be released on June 3rd via Fat Possum Records. What began as Justin's desire to create an extreme noise EP topped off by a delicate female vocals, Minor Victories became a cinematic 10-track LP, masterfully crafted by four band members who had somehow never even all been in the same room together until after the album was completed. Far more than a side project for its members, this record unveils the real essence of what a group of talented individuals unshackled by convention can attain. Brought together by brief meetings, mutual acquaintances, and overall serendipity, Minor Victories created this album together by swapping ideas, songs, fragments and finished recordings via broadband connections. This unusual process, combined with the members' wide spectrum of musical tastes and experiences converging, ultimately led to something beyond the original vision of any of the contributors that pushes new boundaries and new sounds into uncharted waters.
OXENFREE - "FINE DINING"
The latest single from Brooklyn indie-rock outfit OxenFree, "Fine Dining," is a jangly guitar tune which lead-singer Jeff Doyle's raspy, soaring vocals sit comfortably on top of. The track comes from OxenFree's upcoming debut LP, Beacons, out Friday, May 13th on Sneaky Bear Records. OxenFree is the poppy, earnest, and only slightly despairing brainchild of Doyle, who first started musically exploring the simultaneous torture and ecstasy of youth in his previous project Pompadour. The band released their first EP Fire, If We're Anything in 2014. The resulting tracks were poppy, with chunky guitars; energetic, with body; earnest, with a bit of desperation. Subtle textures and contained melodies combined with distorted guitars and biting horns. Since the EP’s release, the band has drawn nods to the pop sensibilities of The New Pornographers, the elevated vibes of Broken Social Scene, and the raw energy of The Replacements. After spending time on the road from New York to New Orleans and all the way back up to Montreal in the summer of 2015, OxenFree put the final touches on its first full length album, Beacons.
TREVOR SENSOR - "JUDAS SAID TO BE A MAN"
Following the release of his debut EP, Texas Girls and Jesus Christ, Jagjaguwar’s Trevor Sensor announces a standalone digital single, “Judas Said to be a Man.” This track includes a special B-Side, “Endless Shame,” that will become available for download on May 27th. Following a hugely successful run of shows at SXSW, Sensor announces his first ever North American tour dates supporting British folk-rock trio, The Staves. The Illinois-born 22-year-old singer-songwriter’s distinctive burr of a voice sounds aged decades beyond his years, and the rest of Sensor’s music follows suit, with timeless-sounding melodies and a sense of songwriting that exudes maturity while still feeling fresh. An English major with an affinity for writers ranging from Marcel Proust to Dave Eggers, Sensor crafts lyrical atmospheres stuffed with confessional lines that leave a mark and visual allusions that aren’t easily shaken. Sensor wrote the music featured on Texas Girls and Jesus Christ on a borrowed acoustic guitar that he has yet to return, composing songs that sound deeply felt and from a place of truth and honesty.
ARI - "TEACHERS"
Indie songstress ARI premieres her new track off her debut EP Tunnel Vision to be released this summer. "Teachers" features a lone delicate piano melody allowing her soulful vocals to take center stage and tears apart the ancient sexual double standard women remain subjected to. "The track is about sexual double standards and how guys tend to get high fives for being sexually adventurous and women tend to get shamed," says ARI. On ARI's debut EP Tunnel Vision she continues to break down the walls of conformity offering a beautiful collection of songs with the right amount of grit that enables her to make statements she hopes will help others. Musically, the Toronto songstress deftly dances in and out of genre lines, moving from entrancing alternative pop to gritty hip-hop production under a cover of electronic elegance. At the same time, the visceral lyrics transmit messages of hope as often as they ponder tragedy. Her sound comes to life in the middle.