Here is our list of top international picks, all are out now across all DSPs.
1. Holm release ‘Flickering Leaves’
Lapping waves of warm sound contrast the frenetic, foam-lipped cascades hitting the streets of Zürich above the heads of post-rock three-piece, HOLM as they release the second track, FLICKERING LEAVES, from their carefully orchestrated, year-long album release. An unrushed road trip that set off in May, the latest release from the subterranean, improvisational trio arrives on Quiet Love Records, suitably evoking a moment of rest amongst the long, late-afternoon shadows of summer.
Flickering Leaves is a perfect example of their craft, opening with slow-changing, reverberating guitars, reminiscent of Durriti Column, before a slow train of percussion eventually makes ground and catches up. Where first single, Our Days And Years, got as close to the gun-slinging kitsch of a Tarantino score as the band can allow, Flickering Leaves dials down the drama to a hum of intent. Future releases promise more of the same shapeshifting, yet coherent diversions across a complete and evocative body of work.
2. Tora release trippy new single ‘Call On Me’
Australian band Tora today release their new single “Call On Me” – the third track to be shared from upcoming album A Force Majeure, out September 3rd.
Endlessly playable, the richly layered track pulls together the band’s eclectic influences, fusing bubbling electro-pop, hushed electronica and trippy atmospherics to form something wonderfully unique, and unmistakably Tora.
Partnered by a feel-good, colourful video directed by Bob Sizoo & Najim Jansen, the band said of the track: “’Call On Me’’is a study of fictional characters pursuing each other whilst trapped within a town or place that feels hostile. The looping of days becoming nights with little to break the monotony, still not able to connect despite the time to do so. The chorus is the release of this feeling, exploring the dichotomy between feeling trapped in a mood or place and then having your location or freedom liberate you. New places, people and landscapes providing perspective to a cloudy mind.”
“Call On Me” follows on from “Why Won’t You Wait” and “When Will I Learn”, all of which will feature on Tora’s upcoming third album A Force Majeure – out 3rd September.
3. Monokino shares his new single ‘Your Underground’
Monokino (alias for Dutch composer George van Wetering) is a protean artist of sorts. Refusing to be placed in a box, his music slips and slides between sonic pallettes and tropes, transcending genre and creating an entirely new sonic landscape of its own. And his art has not gone unnoticed.
Monokino shares his new cross-genre single “Your Underground,” an edgy track with a hyperpop/alt rock flavor. The gritty, electric track explores Monokino’s pent up frustrations towards the music industry and his feelings of anxiety, angst, and imposter syndrome within the so-called “underground scene.” Opening with a majestic choir of synths and harmonies, the song quickly dives into a dancefloor beat, complete with pulsing bass, electrowave textures, and rapid fire lyricism. Simultaneously cathartic and energetic, you could imagine “Your Underground” pulsing from the depths of a grungey basement rave. The breathless music is the perfect platform for Monokino to experiment with his vocals, effortlessly undulating from falsetto and baritone and back again.
4. Start the Week Over release new single ‘Keepaway’
With the release of the debut EP ‘Wonderland’ in 2020, New York’s Start The Week Over stated their ambitions, with a punk seasoned, pop-rock collection, molding a sound that blends big hooks and intricate guitar work.
Moving into 2021, whilst circumstances have kept the band apart physically, the East Coast quintet have made the best of the situation, allowing their natural creative flair and writing talents to flourish on Discord. The unconventional method has made for not only a more collaborative process, but allowed Start The Week Over to marry a more dexterous array of influences from Dance Gavin Dance to The 1975; Modern Baseball to Carly Rae Jepsen.
Having earned tastemaker press support from the likes of Kerrang, Idobi Radio, Loudwire and Groundsounds, the release of “Keepaway” sets the stage for a flurry of upcoming singles from Start The Week Over this Spring; a collection sure to quench the thirst of fans of smart, catchy, pop-rock from around the world.
5. Danelle Soval releases new track ‘Go’
Highly recognized for her breakout debut version of ‘Tuesday’ with ILoveMakonnen ft. Drake, which received platinum awards worldwide, reaching the #1 spot in over 70 countries on iTunes and Shazam and amassing over 1 billion streams online, Danelle is back with a glowing new track about acceptance, empowerment and confidence in her own skin as an Asian-American woman.
“It’s my way of reclaiming my sexual identity and not being anyone’s fantasy except my own. Because of the way I look, I’m assigned a certain role in society: to be submissive, acquiescent, meek, docile. And for a while, I defaulted to being those labels, whether it was in relationships, the workplace, or even the music industry. It took me a lot to realize how much this affected my mental health. As an Asian-American woman, I can be dominant, I can initiate, I can take up space, and that the art I make, the way I dress, and what I do is solely for my own pleasure, not for anyone else’s.”
“Go” begins with powerful affirmations that reinforce self-love and truth. The track drips with sultry vocals over R&B dipped soundscapes and svelte-smooth rhythms.
6. Alyssa Bonagura releases ‘New Wings’
Alyssa Bonagura has today shared her first new solo music in almost five years, the long-awaited single ‘New Wings’ – out now following an exclusive national radio first play on BBC Radio 2 from Bob Harris yesterday (1/7) – and announced a series of live performances in the UK next month, including a Nashville Meets London Presents appearance in London – tickets on sale now.
In high demand as a songwriter, Alyssa’s songs have been recorded by a broad range of artists, from Steven Tyler and Jessie James Decker to Sarah Jarosz and Jo Dee Messina; and she shares a release day this Friday with UK pop-rock band Lawson, whose new album Cmd Z features three songs she co-wrote, including ‘Killing Me’ which she also provides duet vocals for. Despite this recognition, a series of life changes and the pandemic’s impact on the music industry brought home the importance of finding time to write for herself.
“After losing a lot of things I thought were concrete in my life, I dove into writing solo music again to help me cope,” she shares. “Throughout my healing journey I found a poem by Paulo Cohelo called The Lesson Of The Butterfly that speaks on how the struggle to fly out of the cocoon is one of the most important processes that can’t be skipped.
“As difficult as it may feel when it’s happening, those “cocoon moments” throughout our lives are the ones that strengthen our wings so that we are able to fly. That realization really hit home for me & became my mantra of 2020. ‘New Wings’ is about having faith that on the other side of it all, the best is yet to come.”
7. Vök release new single ‘Skin’
Icelandic trio Vök have shared their enchanting and reflective new single Skin, which is out now through Nettwerk Records.
New single Skin follows recently released single and video Lost in the Weekend, which gave an early taste of their new material recorded last year in their Reykjavík studios. The single was the follow-up to their acclaimed 2019 album In the Dark, which was written and recorded by the band in collaboration with producer James Earp (Bipolar Sunshine, Fickle Friends, Lewis Capaldi).
With every track, Vök continue to develop their progressive alt-pop sound and Skin cements just how intricately captivating the band can be. Opening emotively and delicately, the song builds to an ethereal and pensive chorus that lyrically conveys someone not knowing who they are and being stuck in their own ‘skin’.
Lead singer Margrét says; “Our character has been living by the standards of her community but feels like she is betraying herself. She is afraid of who she is becoming, as that person is someone that she doesn’t relate to, and she feels trapped and doesn’t know who or what she is – she is stuck in her own skin.”
8. Ola Village shares new track ‘Anger Problems
Norwegian artist Ola Village releases his new single “Anger Problems”. It follows previous singles “A Ok” and “Love To Cry”, with all 3 tracks set to appear on Ola Village’s debut EP, due for release later this year.
Written and produced in his home studio in Oslo and mixed by frequent collaborator David Nakaji (Zack Villere, No Rome, Doja Cat), “Anger Problems” elevates Ola Village’s buoyant indie-pop to a whole new level.
A chorus of chanted vocals kick-starts “Anger Problems” before the song settles into a spritely piano motif, intertwined with Ola Village’s fantastical statements of intent: ‘Hey, did you know / Sometimes I push you in the river…Should’ve gotten rid of you yesterday / A god damn pain in the ass’.
Interspersed with stabs of warped organs and joyous turns of guitar, “Anger Problems” presents Ola Village as a hugely accomplished and ambitious pop artist with a distinct songwriting personality that’s very much his own.
9. Dutchman release new single ‘Run Run Run’
Freshly pressed from their debut offering, Dutchman Vol. 1 — a follow-up to the group’s breakthrough EP, A Broken Man’s Life and precursor to Dutchman Vol. 2 — the song harnesses the sonic talents of the band’s initial lineup: Jake Dutcher (vox/rhythm guitar), and Connor Johnson (vox/lead guitar), alongside Garrett Gravatt (lead/rhythm guitar) and Franco Solorzano (keys/bass), who were added shortly after first forming in 2017.
The group gelled quickly, finding themselves in the throes of writing an entire collection of tracks that would ultimately make up Volumes 1 & 2 of their eponymous offerings.
“To this day, Dutchman Vol. 1 stands as our quickest collection of songs, only taking a month in the studio from start to finish,” the band reveals.
“During this period, we were mostly recording and taping footage ‘in house’ with all master mixes and video editing being done at my place, except for some stuff,” Johnson adds. “Two songs that were shelved during the making of Volume 1 happened to be ‘These days’ and ‘Last year;’ they ended up on Volume 2.”
Along with the full-length comes the group’s leading single, “Run Run Run” — an alternative-rock soundscape with ambling guitars, and catchy, ear-worm melodies.
Dutchman plucks apart a variety of generations of rock and roll music, and blends them into a sound uniquely their own. From staging pulsating riffs with tightly woven harmonies, “Run Run Run” executes a good time vibe, amped up to eleven.
10. Sean McConnell shares ‘Price of Love’
Sean McConnell has released the emotional music video for ‘Price Of Love’, one of his most personal songs to date, taken from forthcoming album A Horrible Beautiful Dream (out August 6th).
“The music video for ‘Price Of Love’ is out today and I’m feeling all the feels,” Sean shared, describing a unique video which for the first time, pulls back the curtain on family life with his wife and daughter. “This was an intense journey and I can promise you there’s no one else Dr. Mary Susan McConnell and I would have trusted this with than the crazy talented and golden hearted Steven Kinigopoulos and Alexa King . Thank y’all for helping us share our story and, selfishly, for creating the most epic “scrapbook” for our little family. It’s a treasure we’ll have forever.”