By Mandi Kimes
SUGAR CANDY MOUNTAIN - "WINDOWS"
Joshua Tree-based Sugar Candy Mountain deliver carefully built psychedelic odes in the style of Jacco Gardner and Tame Impala. Their newest album 666 feels like something unearthed from a box of records found in your dad's garage, glowing wistfully with vintage inspired tones rambling organs, fuzzed out guitars, shimmering keys and sprawling drums. Ash Reiter's woolly voice croons with icy warmth of Francoise Hardy, while Will Halsey's tender John Lennon-esque vocals uncoil with easy languor. Recorded with Jason Quever of Papercuts, the band’s sophomore album sits comfortably between 60's Laurel Canyon bliss and more modern production of Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Tame Impala). Sugar Candy Mountain stands apart from the growing number repetitive drone-psych bands, for its dedication to subtlety and devotion to melody. Since moving to Joshua Tree in November, the band has been busy touring the west coast and setting up a new home studio and has already tracked albums for The Blank Tapes and fpodbpod and even a few of their own songs. The band plans to spend the majority of the year touring the US and Europe and is currently joined by Peter Maffei (The Electric Magpie) on bass. The band has shared their hazy, melodic new track "Windows," which was inspired by Wool’s "If They Left Us Alone Now."666 will be available July 8th on People In A Position To Know. Sugar Candy Mountain will be playing Hickey Fest on June 18th, a festival founded by Reiter. The festival takes place in the Mendocino Redwoods and supports the local Bay Area music scene.
CHAIN WALLET - "MUTED COLOURS"
You can’t deny that there is something sorrowful behind the Norwegian-based, lo-fi dream-psych pop trio Chain Wallet, and you can’t hide that their music suits the environment wherein it was created. It may be a cliché that it always rains in the band’s hometown, but when you play Chain Wallet’s self-titled debut album, it’s not too difficult imagine the mist hanging heavily over their indie dystopian vision of their hometown of Bergen. Even though feelings of nostalgia and melancholy lurk in the Scandinavian shadows, it’s not difficult to find indie-pop gold in its purest form, glittering below the heavy layers of synth and reverb. The dreamy psych ballad “Muted Colours” occupies a rich and hazy middle ground between DIIV and Wild Nothing. On their debut album, Chain Wallet explore themes of betrayal, idleness and crushed dreams against the backdrop of an existential breakdown; The album is loosely based in the same universe, and portrays different aspects of the quarter-life crisis, ensuring that Chain Wallet hits on a visceral, teenage level, amongst the shimmer and haze of the lo-fi soundscape that they conjure. Their self-title debut album is due out October 7th via Jansen Plateproduksjon.
THE HUNNA - "STILL GOT BLOOD"
With roots that bury themselves deep in the urgency of rock and a sound that’s dappled with a carefree indie aesthetic, The Hunna want you to take a leaf out of their book, let go of your inhibitions and be young, be free, and be whoever the hell you want to be. Making their debut in October 2015 with their first single “Bonfire,” the UK four-piece have already carved out handful of songs with a sonic bombast that has garnered millions of Spotify streams and video views, as well as praise by the likes of Zane Lowe, Annie Mac and Huw Stephens. The Hunna are set to be the first band on your playlist, the one you listen to when you’re driving around with the top down. Bleeding of a wistful nostalgia and teamed with an unremitting lust for life that is as infectious as it is relentless, The Hunna’s unabashed sound has seen them play in front of sold out rooms across Europe on a headlining tour and will bring them to the States in Spring of 2016. The Hunna began to take shape when the band met in college. A sucker for a good chorus, the boys like to work from the outside in when it comes to writing. Working with esteemed producers Tim Larcombe (Halsey, Lana Del Rey) and Duncan Mills, the band returns with their new track, “Still Got Blood.”
ART D'ECCO - "SHE'S SO HOT"
Art d’Ecco has spent the last three years living in a cabin on the Gulf Islands, a remote group of islands off the coast of British Columbia, Canada and Washington. Art d’Ecco decided to relocate here for a chance to escape the city and start a new life for himself. He began working for his father’s business to earn money, sold all of his guitars, and more or less quit making music while he acclimated to his new, semi-isolated lifestyle. He also began taking care of his grandmother, who was overcome with dementia, and would sooth her anxiety by playing piano for her in the evenings. This time spent at the piano and Art d’Ecco’s isolated experiences in nature pushed him to dive back into songwriting. Art d’Ecco shared “She So Hot,” the first single off of his debut album Day Fevers. Calling it “teenage angst meets nostalgia,” Art d’Ecco delivers “She So Hot” as an homage to 70s glam rock. The single boasts themes of desire and isolation matched with a mix of 12-string acoustic guitars, electric guitars, moog synths, and a bold horn section. This gives the commanding single the essence of early David Bowie and T. Rex and brings new life to glam rock.
CHARLOTTE CARDIN - "FAUFILE"
French-Canadian singer Charlotte Cardin is quickly making a name for herself for mixing contemporary electronic production with the tried-and-true traditions of jazz and classic pop. Restrained and vulnerable, Cardin's artistry brings to mind performers like Lianne La Havas and Jessie Ware who put their own enticing spin on R&B. Recently, Cardin announced her debut Big Boy EP and shared a new cut from the album called "Faufile," which means to slip or sneak away. Hauntingly and nostalgically beautiful, Cardin's sultry croon is reminiscent of a bygone era. Her emotionally-charged vocals carry the minimal instrumentation, her sentimental serenade lightly punctuated by the accompanying piano. “Faufile" is an exhibition of Cardin’s vocal prowess - soft but strong, captivating but eerie, all at once.
CHIMES - "COME GET IT"
CHIMES is the collaborative project between British producer Draper and multi-genre songwriter and vocalist Paul Aiden. Forged through a speculative songwriting session in mid-2014, Draper and Aiden discovered both a creative chemistry and a shared love of constructing crossover dance-pop music. Several late-night writing sessions and live rehearsals later, CHIMES was born. The duo's first release "Silvia" was a pounding house track that received praise from BBC Introducing, DIY Magazine, and Breaking More Waves, naming CHIMES as one of the most promising artists of the year. They quickly followed up with "PIECES," a three-minute and thirty-second burst of euphoric energy while conversely the lyrics expose the insecurity and battle for self-confidence. The pair's latest release "Come Get It" is their first since last August, revealing a funky synth-pop sound backed by swirling guitars and irresistible rhythms. It's provocative in its composition and lyrically.
THE HECKS - "THE THAW"
Chicago’s The Hecks features Andy Mosiman on guitar, Dave Vettraino on guitar, and Zach Hebert on drums, yet all three share roles on vocals. The Hecks have been skulking around Chicago's DIY scene for some time now honing their unique twin-guitar sound, weaving tense and beautiful sonic passages of dissonance and harmony into weird and infectious compositions. Throughout their debut album, The Hecks find different ways to remake and remodel pop songs through an art-rock lens; the descriptor “post punk” applies, but isn’t quite accurate. The Hecks manage to cram knowledge gleaned from years of absorbing sounds and tones both ugly and beautiful, hitting all the wrong notes in all the wrongs ways to deconstruct sound into their own vessel. The album was recorded by the band at Vettraino’s house between July 2014 and January 2016 on assorted tape machines of varying degrees of quality and working order, and they worked to create an album that exists independently from their identity as a performing group, purposely juxtaposing content and non-content so that a listen through is an engaging balancing act between space and chatter. The band debuted the album’s first single, “The Thaw” from The Hecks, out September 2nd via Trouble In Mind Records.
VIIGO - "PARANOIA"
Shrouded in synths, Viigo’s “Paranoia” reads like a hazy electro-pop dream. Paired with funky retro melodies, MJ Hancock’s vocals feel strangely intimate as he sings, “Still I look around in disbelief // Waiting for a hammer to fall.” With “Paranoia”, Viigo has artfully mastered the blend of lo-fi musicality with a hint of 90's R&B while still sounding melodically futuristic. On the group's other breakout singles so far, Hancock's documented close-up the emotion of falling in love, moving in with that person and wondering how easily his path could have been different. "Paranoia" is Viigo's most personal moment, though: an honest postcard from the brink of an anxiety attack, at a point where there's something still taboo about the subject. It's not just musical barriers then that Viigo seek to smash through. Check out the single, out now on 10K Islands.
LANY - "YEA, BABE, NO WAY"
Los Angeles based genre-bending band LANY unveil their new single "yea, babe, no way," an effortless alt-pop track with an indelible hook today via Interscope Records. When discussing the meaning behind the track, lead singer Paul Klein says, "It's about that exact back and forth emotion. Like...'Wow, I miss you and what we had was pretty amazing and actually how did this not work out and yeah this hurts a ton and sometimes kinda a lot of times I wanna call you and try again, but then I'm like no I can't, I just can't' ... ya know? It's that kind of feeling." Comprised of Klein, Les Priest and Jake Goss, LANY happened organically. It began when the old school friends collaborated on songs that Klein had written, and within days they had created a clutch of anthems that were too good to ignore. The band records and produces everything themselves in their apartment in Malibu. Even at this early stage, their songs have connected on a large scale. LANY create music that makes the intimate feel universal and connects them indelibly with their growing army of fans.
PINK MILK - "DETROIT"
PINK MILK have premiered the video for their second single “Detroit.” PINK MILK are singer and drummer Maria and guitarist Edward from Gothenburg, Sweden. Influenced by the dreamy bubblegum shoegaze and gothic minimalism of 90s acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, and Cranes - as well as cult movies like Twin Peaks, True Romance and the work of Sofia Coppola - the duo's gloomy, glittering sound casts a languid, moody spell that demands repeated listens. Speaking about “Detroit” they say, ”The song is written to a childhood friend. We were kids trying to be cool, smoking candy, blowing fake smoke in the air, dreaming about freedom.”