Here are our top ten international picks from across the pond.
1. Brett Poliness and Katie Scott release Estonia
Brett Poliness and Katie Scott today announce their debut collaborative album, A Chance to Fail, out April 9. The five track album is dark, visceral and drenched in an otherworldly psychedelia that only the most affecting art could muster. They celebrate the announcement by sharing searing opening cut, ‘Estonia’.
Instigator of the collaboration, Brett Poliness, is known to Australian grunge and art-rock audiences of the noughties as the drummer for Melbourne-based outfit, Silver Ray, having released four highly lauded studio albums and joined Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds on tour. Poliness later appeared as drummer for ex-Bad Seeds member, Hugo Race & The True Spirit, and featured on stage and on record with Mick Harvey, Brian Henry Hooper (Beasts of Bourbon, Kim Salmon, Rowland S. Howard), and many more.
2. Gareth Thomas shares ‘Cyber Star’
New Zealand artist, Gareth Thomas, today shares a new single, ‘Cyber Star’ taken from his upcoming album BITS, due for release later this year. Renowned for his left-of-centre, avant-garde approach to crafting catchy hook-laden indie-pop gems for Goodshirt and beyond, Gareth continues to live up to that reputation with ‘Cyber Star’.
Gareth says “I wrote ‘Cyber Star’ as essentially, a tongue in cheek observation of selfie-culture. These days, to go viral is an ambition, to be famous-for-being-famous is an aspiration and whole careers are forged from social media accounts.”
As Andy Warhol stated, “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” Gareth believes, “now is the future”. He deftly sums up this phenomena on ‘Cyber Star’, with a nod to Andy Warhol, singing “…with all your fingers in it, you’ll live up to your 15th minute…”
Featuring a singing baseline, a bouncy guitar strum and a kooky vocal effect, the song’s musical style was inspired by Lou Reed, the rawness of The Clean and the quirkiness of Devendra Banhart.
3. Soft Cult release new track ‘Gloomy Girl’
Canadian newcomers Softcult release new single ‘Gloomy Girl’, a song for everyone who is currently struggling with their mental health and pretending to be fine. Taken from debut EP ‘Year of the Rat’, due for release on 16th April via Easy Life Records. The new single is accompanied by the beautiful kaleidoscopic video.
Of the track, vocalist and guitarist Mercedes Arn Horn explains: Gloomy Girl is a song about depression. Not only the emotional and physical toll it can take on you as a person, but also the people in your life. Emotional baggage can be a burden not only on you, but your friends and family as well. There’s a lot of guilt and frustration that comes with that. When you have people that love you trying to cheer you up, sometimes your immediate response is resentment, even if they mean well. There’s nothing worse than being told “don’t be so gloomy” when you feel like you’re at your lowest. It’s really not that simple.
4. Dom Dolla releases ‘Pump The Breaks’
Having kept fans eagerly awaiting the next thumping instalment, Australia’s crowned electronic talent Dom Dolla hits the mark with the bold new single ‘Pump The Brakes’, out now on RCA UK. Taking the world by storm with a series of hypnotic house heaters, including his international breakthrough single ‘Take It’, earning over 100 million streams worldwide, the Melbourne talent followed it up with the ultimate ode to dance floors ‘San Frandisco’. With both records being accredited gold, the latter went on to earn him a multitude of accolades including #1 most played triple j, whilst charting at #33 on triple j’s prestigious Hottest 100 list, before earning himself an AIR award for Best Independent Dance Release, as well as an ARIA award for Best Dance Release following two previous nominations.
The signature Dom Dolla sound shines through in all of its modulated tech-house glory on ‘Pump The Brakes’, whilst lyrically paying homage to his much loved and beat up first car. Although now looking a little tired and dishevelled, the car reflects a moment in time where Dom was just getting started on the club scene, with the song invoking that sense of anticipation and excitement. Dom shares “I produced this record specifically to play at the Shrine in LA in early 2020 (which turned out to be a few weeks before the world shut down). It was written as a tongue in cheek story partly inspired by my first car, an old Camry that collects dust in Melbourne while I’m away on tour. I wasn’t sure what to do with the record when dance floors paused around the world. But I’ve received requests for it every other day since. All things considered, I figured it’s probably time to get it out there into the world. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed giving it a rev on the dance floor”.
5. Nadia Vaeh releases ‘Never Leave The Basemant’
Pop artist Nadia Vaeh has released her upbeat new single, “Never Leave The Basement.” The lively new track expresses the social anxiety perpetuated by societal systems and social media, especially during an extremely vulnerable and stressful year. In keeping with that message, Vaeh is donating proceeds of the song to AKFSA – Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety, an organization dedicated to educating people who struggle with social anxiety. “Never Leave The Basement” is now available to stream on all digital music platforms worldwide.
Inspired by the pandemic and quarantine, “Never Leave The Basement” reveals how many individuals cannot cope with society when experiencing social anxiety, like herself. “I am naturally an introverted person…the world can be kinda intimidating. I am a very sensitive and empathic person, and I just get overwhelmed,” explains Nadia Vaeh. The thought-provoking and introspective upbeat single talks about how every day feels the same, like you’re stuck in a basement with life on repeat and the toll that can take on your mental health.
6. Fred Lee releases ‘Who Do You Want to Be’
Fredrik Lindkvist, mostly knowns as the former singer and frontman of Swedish hardcore band Totalt Jävla Mörker, has signed to Lövely records. Under the artist name Fred Lee, he will release his solo debut album “Sleepwalking in Daylight” in summer 2021. Embracing a completely different sound and style of songwriting, Fredrik’s solo project sounds like nothing he’s done before. Traditional storytelling, bittersweet vocal melodies, and clean guitar licks add up to a colorful and exciting take on folk-rock.
The first single released by Fred Lee and his backup band -The Restless, is called “Who Do You Want to Be?” and is out on all streaming platforms now.
7. The Sarandons release ‘Lately, I Believe’
The Sarandons’ newest single, “Lately, I Believe,” is about restlessness and fighting against the inevitable and the potential for hope and purpose despite it all. The Myth of Sisyphus comes to mind. Yes, life may be hopeless in a sense but we can find beauty and meaning in the psychological struggle. Hence, the heartfelt apology at the end of the song – Didn’t mean to bring you down.
The Sarandons hail from Toronto. Influences like Wilco, Kurt Vile, Dr Dog, and Cage the Elephant percolate through their brand of rock & roll, which spans Americana, neo-psychedelia, and indie rock. The Sarandons is the fully collaborative endeavour of Toronto music stalwarts Damian Coleman (vocals, bass), Edmund Cummings (vocals, keys), Craig Keeney (lead guitar), Phil Skot (drums) and Dave Suchon (vocals, guitar).
Dripping guitar tones, billowing keyboard melodies, and defiant bass and drums all contribute to the textured sound of The Sarandons. Songs are bittersweet, rich with nostalgia and tell stories that are familiar but just out of reach. While loose and lo-fi, their music is succinct and fastidiously arranged with action packed songs topping out at the 3-4 minute mark.
8. Olivia Lane releases ‘Boys Still Got It’
Following the release of ‘I LET THE DEVIL IN’, which premiered on BBC Radio 2 last month, and follow up track ‘WHY DON’T WE’ – the videos for both approaching 350k combined views in just a few weeks – rising singer-songwriter Olivia Lane has shared another new song from her forthcoming album HEART CHANGE. Listen to ‘BOY’S STILL GOT IT’ here.
The official music video will premiere on Lane’s YouTube channel at 5pm GMT / 12pm CT, following a live chat with the artist.
“This song is about acknowledging all the small things we love about our person,” said Olivia. “It takes extreme vulnerability to share all the parts of ourselves with our loved ones, always risking that that relationship may go away one day. Even in the most difficult aftermath of my heartbreaks, I’ve always been proud of myself for putting my heart out there and taking a chance on the greatest gift we have on earth, love.”