With winter drawing to a close DZ Deathrays have knocked us over the head with a reminder that summer’s almost here and it’s time to get the party started. South Coast duo TEES build on their momentum with the instantly catchy ‘Let Beauty Be’. For those brooders equally hungry for something heavier, we’ve collected moody new numbers from Bully, Alex Cameron, Soccer Mommy, Grouper and The War on Drugs.
DZ DEATHRAYS – SHRED FOR SUMMER (I OH YOU)
‘Shred for Summer’ is the latest single from the boys from Bundaberg. It sounds like the pair have been spinning some Jane’s Addiction while working on some clever guitar parts of their own. The end result is equal parts rough rocker and summer anthem. A bouncy reminder it’s time to ditch the winter blues.
Available for purchase here.
TEES – LET BEAUTY BE (Farmer & the Owl/Inertia)
TEES' 'Let beauty Be' backs an empowering thematic with catchy vamps and a drivingly rhythmic undercarriage. The track throws back to the club/Eurodance/house/Italio-pop of the early ‘90s and suffices to say it’s high NRG. For vocalist Lizzy Tillman, it’s about throwing inhibitions to the side and discovering piece of mind in the things that really matter. “Let Beauty Be is about acknowledging that something makes you happy, for what it is, for what it was and letting it exist...It’s about allowing something to be in its most pure form, free from hatred, free from pride,” she reveals in the accompanying press release.
Grab it here.
SOCCER MOMMY – INSIDE OUT (Fat Possum Records)
A pure cut bedroom pop, Sophie Allison's heartsick lyrics and detached vocals hit the mark. As Allison trades melody with a naive synth line, it’s difficult not to be drawn into her swirl of introspection. The track comes as part of her latest release Collection, which collects and re-records many of the Nashville songwriter’s previous cuts.
ALEX CAMERON – STRANGERS KISS (DUET WITH ANGEL OLSEN) (Secretly Canadian)
Some have hailed Cameron as taking cues from ‘80s Bruce Springsteen, but let’s face it here he’s recasting himself as a modern-day Meatloaf. Hammy but surprisingly functional instrumentals accompany aching vocals from Angel Olsen and the deft production of Foxygen’s Jon Rado. ‘Stranger’s Kiss’ doesn’t take things in half measure. It’s a melodramatic, schmaltzy and completely over-the-top rock opera. But then again let’s face it, it’s when Cameron is jumping the shark that he’s at his best.
THE WAR ON DRUGS – PAIN (Atlantic)
Another spark of melancholic genius from The War on Drugs, ‘Pain’ is the fourth track which has dropped ahead of the group’s forthcoming long-player ‘A Deeper Understanding’. Innumerable groups have chased a similar sound in the wake of War’s 2014 epic Lost In the Dream, yet Adam Granduciel sends them all running. There’s an effortless ease with which it all hangs together, gradually warping focus from bittersweet vocals toward a mood setting instrumental conclusion.
YUMI ZOUMA – DECEMBER (Cascine)
Building from the viral success of their debut EP in 2014, Christchurch outfit Yumi Zouma have been cutting their teeth live supporting Lorde, the artist formerly known as Chet Faker and embarking on their own sold-out international tour. ‘December’ typifies their gauzed-out approach to pop. Drifting in a thick molasses of production, it cuts a fine balance between animated guitar and subtle touches of decorative electronics.
sGROUPER – CHILDREN (Independent)
Set aside after Liz Harris couldn’t find a place for it on 2014’s Ruins, the Portland minimalist has dusted off the track for a release in support of transgender rights. It carries forward the sparseness which defines her work, with barely audible vocals alluringly wrapping around resonant piano chords. As always, Harris’ musical vision is a sombre one. She experiments and emotes without restriction, managing to create moments of meditative bliss in the minds of even the most busiest of listeners.
BULLY – FEEL THE SAME (SUB POP)
Alicia Bognanno can scream like Courtney Love and shred like Joey Santiago. Uninhibited, her wounded lyrics pull no punches. For the first release in anticipation of her second album she’s also blended some of the downtown cool and angular fretwork of Sonic Youth into her signature sound. ‘Feel The Same’ turns angst and heartbreak into compelling music.
Losing by Bully is out Friday, October 20 on Sub Pop via Inertia Music. Pre-order here.