Another month, another roundup of eardrum tinglers. Here are five of my latest finds, an eclectic bunch of sound sparklers to razzle-dazzle your speakers.
1. Night Panther – Pleasure To Meet You
Pleasurable. Yep, that’s how I’d describe this souped-up synth track from Philly’s very own glam sex rockers. From the way it opens with larger-than-life church organs, to its spacey accents that create a semi-alternate dimensional experience, it’s pure ear crack that I can’t stop coming back to. I’m addicted to its disco swagger and reverb-soaked falsetto. It gives me an enormous dopamine rush, sending me to a place somewhere between euphoria and I’m-too-high-to-give-a-funk.
2. Augustines – Cruel City
Augustines is no stranger to magic. In 2011, iTunes named the Brooklyn-based trio’s debut Rise Ye Sunken Ships the “Best Alternative Album of the year.” Three years later and the Brooklyn trio have returned with their impressive follow-up album – a self-titled second record that proves these guys are no sophomore slump chumps. This track is my favorite off of Augustines. Contrary to its name, “Cruel City” is a sea shanty of a song that imitates dappled sunlight.
3. Gregory Alan Isakov – Light Year
Listening to this song may give you chills that aren’t winter-related. The muted tranquility of an acoustic guitar creates a stark atmospheric note that’s bittersweet and very human. However, attention is focused on the singer-songwriter’s precise words and clear intonation, which shine through the darkness.
4. Kovacs and the Polar Bear – Dandelion
Dandy “Dandelion” comes from little-known Asheville folk-rockers Kovacs and the Polar Bear. It’s a shame more people don’t know about these guys, because their unique blend of shaky folk vocals and echoing electronic keys offer the indie scene something that’s both tasty and refreshing. But at least you know them now. So swirl this song around your indie palate, and get the most out of its sweet succulent sorbet of sound.
(Download for free on Bandcamp.)
5. Givers – Saw You First
This upbeat number moves along jauntily and playfully like a bubbling stream. It paints pictures of expansive life-affirming countrysides, yet it doesn’t sacrifice momentum for prettiness. The live version of this song is also killer. I enjoy it just as much as the original, which rarely ever happens. Check it out if you’re fond of homegrown folk.