Young Summer – Siren

Credit:  Eric Mooney Photography
© Eric Mooney Photography

Washington, DC based musician Bobbie Allen AKA Young Summer is back with her first full-length album, Siren, following the success of her 2013 Fever Dream EP. While the record features a couple of known quantities such as Waves That Rolled You Under, it also boasts a whole lot of shiny new synth-laden surprises, including Leave Your Love which has received rave reviews from the likes of Nylon Magazine, and Taken which isn’t about the Liam Neeson movie of the same name.

Allen herself has described the whole album as “haunting, but specifically the title track.” She’s certainly onto something there and, as was her intention, the song really does call you in, daring you to resist the rest of the album. Of course, the whole thing meanders along to its final destination before you really want it to, ending in with an uptempo yet cool-sounding track called Classless Kids with more than a hint of Lana Del Rey style gloominess. As the last notes fade, it’s hard not to want more, to find out where she’s going next.

Having already soundtracked TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Pretty Little Liars with her cover of The Human League’s Don’t You Want Me, played SXSW, toured the UK and garnered a notable US following, I’d happily put money on the fact that wherever she’s going will involve even bigger and better things.

You can pick up/download your own copy of Siren as of midnight tonight or, if you’re still not convinced, head over to her site for a free download to help persuade you.

The Pacifics – St. Patrick

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Of all the things to listen to this evening (no going out for green beer for me unfortunately) a song called St. Patrick is potentially the most appropriate. In fact, those two words are the only lyrics too, shouted down a microphone by The Pacifics, a Dublin-based four-piece. It couldn’t be more perfect, and it’s free to download.

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If that was enough to whet your appetite a little, you can stream their debut LP, Pacifically, on Soundcloud, too. The word riotous springs to mind.

If you need to scare some snakes or some unwanted English invaders out of anywhere, keep these guys in mind…

Rice Milk – Be A Mensch (free download)

tumblr_mrdbf3dLjN1s0r4gio1_1280If you want something short and sweet, not to mention free, little-known Newcastle band Rice Milk might be right up your street. They have no less than six very listenable low-fi, bedroom-y tracks on offer via ASDFG Records on Bandcamp.

Whether or not they actually have any, you can pretty much hear the small outline tattoos and opulent facial hair wafting dreamily through these songs.

The bizarrely named nnnv might be the best of the bunch yet there’s just something endearing about them. Maybe it’s because they’re Tyneside’s answer to California dream pop. Well, after Geordie Shore, what did you expect?

The good news is that these guys are a whole lot easier to listen to than that omnishambolic MTV mistake and, like I said, it’s all for free. Then again, you could always join in with the cool kids and buy a limited edition casette for the hell of it.

Brother Dege – new song ‘How to Kill a Horse’ free download

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While the long and seemingly endless wait for the follow up to Folk Songs of the American Longhair, Brother Dege has at least released another new song – after the massive tease that was Wehyah last year.

The new track is called How to Kill a Horse and it sounds a bit like what would happen if you mixed the ghost of Jonny Cash and the current Fleetwood Mac tour into some Louisiana swamp (with or without Christine McVie, the choice is yours). Download it for free and stick it on repeat if you don’t believe me.

It’s dark, it’s eerie, it’s a song that follows you around for a little while after you listen to it – haunting, you might say. It’s really quite something to behold, or should that be behear, and does nothing but reaffirm my total respect and admiration for what a bearded man with a resonator can do. I also believe he must have killed a horse or two himself in his time because it all sounds painfully, fascinatingly real.

Perhaps Tarantino might consider it for his next motion picture, after featuring Dege’s Too Old To Die Young in Django Unchained no less.

 

 

Young Summer – Fever Dream EP

PageImage-523415-5327424-YWISHSsjlvri_1hGdBlWac3sA0p0ZQJfgpkowKJs7tEI might be a little late to the party but Washingotn DC’s Young Summer – real name Bobbie Allen – has got one beautiful set of lungs on her. Add to that some mighty fine co-writers and some very smooth productions and you’ve got one undeniably gorgeous-sounding EP in the form of Fever Dream.

Citing influences such as Karen Carpenter and Michael Jackson, this girl has come up with a warm, pop-tastic sound that’s all her own without sounding anything but honest. Sure, there are some bells and whistles thrown in for good measure but if you can’t listen to one of her songs on a rainy day and not feel faintly optimistic afterwards, you’re an idiot.

What can I say, it’s pissing it down here in Paris and I feel  a lot better after hearing several of her songs.

You could easily shelf Fever Dream next to either Florence Welch, Bat For Lashes or just about any indie female vocalist, but don’t. If anything, she’s perhaps most comparable to Caitlin Rose and even that seems a little reductive, despite Caitlin Rose’s heart-warming brilliance on her latest record, The Stand-In. As it happens, Young Summer is garnering quite the loyal audience by herself as well as making some friends in both interesting and high places; the natural progression is surely a stratospheric career all of her own.

If she makes it big, or rather mahoosive, I’ll report back with a big I TOLD YOU SO.

Until then, you can buy Fever Dream on iTunes and even get a free download from the EP via the Young Summer Facebook Page.

Swimm – Feel EP [free download]

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I have penchant for anything remotely “nautical” sounding at the minute so Florida/California-based band Swimm and their debut EP Feel couldn’t have come along at a better time. Released on 23 April 2013, this record is quite something to behold with each track giving way to something very different whilst at the same time making complete sense as an entire body of work.

Psychadelic rock & roll is just what you need sometimes, especially when it’s got some simultaneously smooth and shaky vocals with the odd harmonica thrown in for good measure.

Swimm certainly know how to play, mixing synths wtih classic rock-style riffs that I think both Lindsey Buckingham and M83 would approve of. The end result is five polished songs with a sixth acoustic bonus track if you dowload the EP. The stand-out track for me is, without a doubt, Tisk Tisk because I was just in the mood for something to sink my aural teeth into – it’s a good five and a half minutes of frustrated drums, raw basslines and a slight Bayou twist – but there isn’t an oviously weak song to be found in the whole bunch.

As I said, it all kind of makes sense.

What doesn’t make any sense at all is why they’re giving it away for free via Bandcamp for FREE. It’s a compelling EP that sounds like it must be a real fire cracker on stage. Still, flights from Paris to Florida aren’t so very cheap and the production on this EP is really quite pleasant so I can’t complain.

So, join in and stream the whole thing below, then go and stick it in your iTunes before they do the sensible thing and make you pay for it.

Gdansk – Atlas

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To steal a concept from Lauren Laverne’s award-winning radio show, I bring to you a headphones moment. Canadian band Gdansk, who are based in Ontario, have come up with four minutes and thirty five seconds of pure escapism with their new single, Atlas.

The track, part-inspired by Greek gods, starts off like some dodgy sample from an eighties power ballad (which isn’t strictly a negative statement) before smoothly metamorphosing into an electronic dreamscape. Eventally, the smooth synths, percussion and distorted vocals all collide in a spectacularly satisfying explosion before the whole thing seems to simply drift away.

This song is intoxicatingly hopeful, especially at the end where it just abandons you in a half-stunned with a finger hovering over the repeat button.

The good news is that you can download Atlas for free right here. The even better news is that Gdansk have a new EP in the pipeline, too.