[Indie/Dream Pop] Merchandise – Figured Out

merchandisefiguredout
Merchandise
Figured Out

Tampa-based quartet Merchandise are streaming their upcoming single “Figured Out” and it’s a thing of beauty.

The dream pop, former punk, outfit recently signed to UK label 4AD and is getting ready to release their third full-length LP, the follow-up to 2012’s Children of Desire. Since it’s release the band have also made new member, Elsner Nino (formerly of the hardcore band Shoxx), their permanent drummer.

With Nino providing a heavy backbone of beats, Merchandise’s blend of melancholic acoustic melodies and pristine, incisive electric guitar riffs make “Figured Out” a euphoric and rapturous pop tune. One listen to the track and it’s easy to pick up on Merchandise’s influences, ranging everywhere from bands like The Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen to psychedelic labelmates Deerhunter and Twin Shadow. “Figured Out” will be released on April 19 as part of this year’s Record Store Day via 540 Records.

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[Indie Pop] Lykke Li – No Rest for the Wicked

lykke-li
Lykke Li
No Rest For The Wicked

“… I, I follow, I follow you, deep sea baby, I follow you…”

Sound familiar? With the innumerable remixes and covers for “I Follow Rivers” these past few years, it’s hard to remember that it’s been a long 36 months since we were enthralled by a honey of an artist, Lykke Li. The 28 year old Swedish beauty and singer introduced the first piece of her three-part work in 2008 with Youth Novels, followed by her second album, Wounded Rhymes back in 2011. She now returns with the new-fangled single, “No Rest for the Wicked” off her upcoming third studio album, I Never Learn. The track induces a deep cinematic vibe, leaving us to wonder and yearn for the story she will croon to conclude her trilogy, which began with her first two albums nearly six years ago.

We’ll learn the ending to her tale when I Never Learn drops in North America this coming May 6th. Meanwhile, we can piece together 2 of the 9 fragments.

Watch the release of the painstakingly exquisite video, “Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone”, and follow up with the lead single “No Rest for the Wicked.”

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[Grunge Rap] Jez Dior – Who Drank My Whiskey?

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Jez Dior
Who Drank My Whiskey?

Someone’s harnessing their inner Kurt Cobain and his name is Jez Dior. Taking a turn to the 90′s, Jezzy has served up a piping hot plate of sounds that will take you back to your younger years. “Who Drank My Whiskey” is a far departure from what we’re used to hearing from this often emotional rapper, yet as far as principal, it’s right on par.

The tune as a whole will take you for surprise. This isn’t a beat-centric, cinematic tune as what you’ve come to known from this LA based lyricist. If you’re expecting something similar to “Love me to Death” or “Candles,” know that you’re not going to find it here. However, this deviation from his artistic mean is a welcome refresher and a spiritual omen of what Jez’s going through in his development as an individual and artist.

The video that accompanies it is already stirring up some controversy, getting covered in a boldly worded slam piece by The Gloss, a female-centric online publication. Before we get into that, we’ve come to find out the meaning behind the video, which completely fits what we already know about this indie hip hop artist. Appreciating the fact that his music is often darkly stirring, displaying voids in his life through his artistry, we’ve always known him to be a deep thinker, capable of crafting songs that are far from any mainstream messaging.

While we’re not experts in the dissection of cinematic art, we can make the connection to what Jez, his director (who is a female), and his producer (who is a female) say they were trying to accomplish. However, Samantha from the Gloss felt different. Without requesting any additional information or a quote from Jez’s team or the director of the video, she brazenly identifies him as a “Hipster Rapper,” attempting to discredit him based on his exterior appearance before the reader can even get into her argument, which ends up covering a very sensitive issue. Obviously striking a nerve, she took a break from writing about Cameron Diaz topless photos and Lindsey Lohan’s sex list, to speak her mind.

Jez’s team quickly responded to the her post, commenting on the stream. Check out what the producer of the video had to say in response:

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[Synth Pop] Ben Khan – Youth

Ben Kahn by Pip for All On Red Management
Ben Khan
Youth

Ben Khan once again demonstrates the hype surrounding his unique blend of nocturnal soul is entirely justified. Proving his sound can evolve whilst still maintaining its own distinct identity, ‘Youth’ marks a noticeable progression in the young British artist’s already forward-thinking songwriting. At once innovative and accessible, the forthcoming ’1992′ EP looks set to provide Ben Khan with a platform to step out of the shadows and cement his status as one of the most exciting new talents around.

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[Experimental/Pop] tUnE-yArDs – Water Fountain

tuneyardswaterfountain

With their third album, Nikki Nack, set to drop May 6, tUnE-yArDs have shared “Water Fountain,” the first full track from the album. The brainchild of Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs follow their critically-acclaimed sophomore effort w h o k i l l with their latest release.

“Water Fountain” is a perfect mess of organized chaos that only tUnE-yArDs could bring. Mixing elements of Afro-pop, folk, funk and everything in between, tUnE-yArDs somehow manage to turn their clamoring combination of anarchic audio into a smooth shower of pleasing pandemonium. While receiving a heavier studio treatment than tUnE-yArDs previous songs, “Water Fountain” is filled with classic clanking, foot-stomping beats, and “HEY HA” chanting that makes tUnE-yArDs so much fun to listen to.

Unlike most public water fountains, this one will have you coming back for multiple refills.

tUnE-yArDs Nikki Nack is out May 6 via 4AD.

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[Indie/Pop/Folk] Zella Day – 1965

1965
Zella Day
1965

Arizona native artist Zella Day released ‘1965’ yesterday, the B-side of her forthcoming debut 7” to be released April 7th.

It is safe to say, this indie pop artist with a twist of influences from her Western life is quickly becoming one of my favorite new artists. Her almost electronic melodies mixed with her intense and captivating vocals is a collaboration like none other. Then put in the story her lyrics tell in a matter-of-fact manner and magic happens. Her ‘1965’ is a beautiful tale of love and of a world that two people once had with one another, as Day puts it, “…cut like diamonds we were made to last”. And last Day will, she has taken inspiration from artists such as Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan to find a voice and sound all of her own, assembled with her Western upbringing, Day will entice all who listen.

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[True Beauty] The Night VI – Sienna

The Night
THE NIGHT VI
Sienna

The first line to the song really says it all, “I hope you are happier with Sienna”, and from there, The Night VI tell the tale of watching someone you loved love someone else. VI is a wonderful six-piece group of male and female artists who bring vocals and instrumentals to a level of pure elegance with a twist of reality. When asked about their new single, ‘Sienna’, the group says that the song came about when a member of their troop came to a writing session one Monday morning telling about meeting his new girlfriend’s ex the evening before and how the encounter went sour quickly. The whole band got thinking then about their own past relationships, especially ones in which they had been left, and patched together this simply stunning song.

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