[TGIF] Magnetic Trails

New Friday and the year is boosting with great new music from almost all genres. This is our contribution to select the best ones.

Art by Ian the Idiot (@ian_theidiot)
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Alex & The Alpaca x Tilla – Trails

Nicaraguan Alex & The Alpaca and Norwegian Tilla met in the summer of 2020, where the two artists immediately formed a personal and musical connection. Six months later, on a cold and icy winter day in the lonely town of Lillehammer, the song “Trails” came to life. According to the artists, the tune is a “metaphor” to the existential experience of travelling, a process that “often brings forward everything we’ve left behind and might never come back to. In the process, we daydream about a past version of ourselves and wish that we were able to experience life in the same way again.”

In that way, “Trails” feels in itself like a trip. Not a lonely one, but one where we gently get escorted by its swirling hypnotizing instrumental, heavily influenced by indietronica acts like The xx. It’s a nocturnal trip, however, as the tune can sound a bit dark in its soundscape, feeling at times like a dark R&B track in the atmosphere it resonates, without losing any of its propensity for sharp songwriting and catchy hooks. A worthy trip to take on, if we say so ourselves.

Daggy Man feat. Tom Calder – The Recipe

Daggy man Is the solo moniker of Singer/Songwriter Thomas Calder. Seven days ago the project took a step into featuring the person itself as a featured act in one of Daggy Man’s tracks. The result is “The Recipe“, a loud unapologetic anthem about loneliness.  This is an energetic, wild and passionate song about feeling like an actor in your own life. About being lost and wondering what went wrong – questioning the ideals we strive for and choices we make while inhabiting a life that doesn’t quite feel like your own. The fact that the artist is featuring his own self as a featuring artist brilliantly features the essence of loneliness. Bipolar like, the sonority is just incredibly engaging and new.

“Contrast is at the heart of this collaborative project – The light and the dark, the loud and the quiet, the manic and the meek – It’s all about harnessing that energy and trying to capture and express those feelings and states within the music”.

Divest – Strangest Things

Fronted by longtime friends, collaborators, and songwriting duo Andreas Heinesen Kase and Hans-Ole Sponberg Hansen, Divest are a band riding a wave of positivity from their first string of singles, album and EP. They pool their influences from classic rock bands such as The Who, Queen, and The Beatles, and blend it with the vibe of contemporary acts like Johnny Lloyd and The National, and producer Shawn Everett’s work with bands like The Voidz, Vampire Weekend, and HAIM.

On their upcoming EP, the band continues to expand their sounds and influences. “Strangest Things” is one of four tracks, influenced by elegant RnB and punkish energy where the songwriting shines through an inventive and kaleidoscopic production. The amount of power and immersion in the track is brutal and sounds new and engaging at its maximum.

Enemy Airship – Magnetic Light

It’s been six years since the last Enemy Airship release, but 2022 seems to be a comeback year for the St. Louis trio formed by Logan Epps (drums), Michael Hopkins (bass) and Zach Biri (vocals, guitar). The band is preparing for the release of a brand new LP which, if all goes accordingly, will indeed come out this year.

“Magnetic Light” is the first single extracted from their soon-to-be new record, and it’s a tune capable of showcasing the band’s capabilities as composers. It’s a song massively influenced by bands like The Strokes (their more new wave stuff, at least) or Cage The Elephant, crossed with the more folky and songwriting undertones of a group like Broken Social Scene. It’s a terrific, catchy indie-pop song, one that feels so natural to a group eager to show themselves further to the world. We can’t wait to hear them do it.

Ian the Idiot – James Dean

This is my attempt at making a simple-yet-complicated pop song produced in the old FM Radio style“. That’s how Ian the Idiot introduces his newest track “James Dean“. The track talks about the conversation between the idea of being young and beautiful in post-war America with the idea of being young, pregnant, and working-class in the 21st century. The one-man band performs the drums, bass, guitars and vocals of the track that is also self-produced and recorded with the help of Michael Stevenson (who also played keys and electric guitar) and Richard Feder (saxophone). The track sounds very 90s like throughout all its vibe, where the light aspect of the sonority contrasts with a more heavy aspect of the lyrics. There is a nice bedroom and lo-fi pop vibe to it all but also beautiful synths and retro songwriting that makes the track a perfect mix of old and new.

Holm – The Rope

Holm is the solo project of Danish multi-instrumentalist Mikkel Holm-Silkjær, and the latest iteration of an impressive musical trajectory that has seen him record and plays with Yung, Brooch, Tears, Urban Achievers, and Happy Hookers for Jesus. After releasing his debut “Dappled EP” in 2018, 2022 marks the year Holm unleashed his first LP into the world, the terrific collection of fuzzy, guitar-driven indie-pop of “Why Don’t You Dance“.

A standout of this very good record is the song “The Rope“. The final single extracted from “Why Don’t You Dance” is a track reminding us of a band like Turnoever if Turnover dropped their more jangle-y side for a more Mac DeMarco approach to songwriting. It’s very mellow, somewhat lo-fi, but incredibly catchy – that chorus will surely infect your mind for days to come. And if that isn’t enough, the climax of the track is like a massive fireworks display, embracing us with all its power and nostalgia feeling. It is a great moment, and if “The Rope” grabs your attention, the whole remainder of “Why Don’t You Dance” will not disappoint you in the slightest. Worth it all the way.

LOYAL – Cover Me

One of the first bands we covered here, five years ago, is back! LOYAL comeback with “Cover Me” is a very much anticipated one! The track features long-time collaborator Beth Molly Moore. The track features a very strong bass guitar melody and showcases their unique capacity to make a track evolve from pop to electronic and back again. Comparing them to sonorities like The xx and Zola Blood is probably accurate but the way they found their own sonority in that mix is incredible and continues to trademark their own sound. At some point, there is an almost exclusive electronic vibe in the track that is performed only using guitars and soft vocal elements. But in general, the track feels very ambient and powerful while still delivering the lyrical message of backing up someone.

RVBY MY DEAR – Black Moon

Coming 3 years after the release of her debut album “Waiting, “Black Moon” is RVBY MY DEAR’s – it’s how Australian vocalist/bassist and songwriter Gabbi Coenen presents herself to the music world – the first single since moving to LA and reestablishing herself as an independent solo artist. Her newest single sees her collaborate with producer Andrew Lappin and reconnect with the instrument that got her started in music – the piano.

The piano is surely the base for “Black Moon”, whose name certainly gives a clue to the atmosphere of the track: it sounds very noir and dark, incredibly luscious – a perfect fit for Gabbi’s vocal style. The track does lift quite a bit from trip-hop acts like Portishead, but I believe a more fair comparison is the neo-psychedelic electronica of french group AIR, whose influence you can certainly hear in the synth work powering the track, even if the production on “Black Moon” is far more indie oriented than anything AIR ever put out. In some moments, the echoes of Weyes Blood last LP, the amazing “Titanic Rising”, can also be heard, especially when “Black Moon” pushes towards a more grandiose pop sound. And it does that without never losing the sense of what “Black Moon” is at its core: a great, beautiful and sensible (indie) pop song.

Rebounder – Premium Fantasy

Rebounder is the brainchild of New York City-bred Dylan Chenfeld and its one of the most cherished indie-pop projects flourishing of The Great Apple, with their previous single, “Change Shapes“, a collaboration with Jesse Rutherford, earning rave reviews from publications like FADER, GQ, Pigeons & Planes, and Office Magazine.

Their new single, “Premium Fantasy”, surely will go the same way. It’s a great little indie-pop track, filled with brilliantly executed instrumental hooks, and an insanely catchy chorus that screams downtown NYC in every single one of its layers. It’s a nostalgic filled song, echoing groups like Dayglow or The Strokes, one that wouldn’t be out of place in the garage rock explosion of the early 2000s in the city, but one that at the same time, sounds just as fresh in 2022 as it would’ve done in 2001. That’s the sign of a timeless classic right there.

The Warhawks – On My Way

From Gloucester City (NJ), the alternative rock band The Warhawks released “On My Way” as a first glimpse into the band’s forthcoming EP, “This Ain’t Art”. The track is an escapist anthem about numbing loneliness in an intense and cathartic ride. With a catchy chorus and driving beat, this is an indie-rock anthem proper for any listener to learn the lyrics and sing-along to its intensity. It combines punk elements to provide a relaxed and quite uncomplex structure that feels free and careless and there is definitely a sense of freedom in its melody that makes us, as listeners, want to live more carefree. A great rock track!

Too Many Suns – Quiet

After their first album, Too Many Suns don’t waste time and open 2022 with a new EP entitled “Quiet“. Featuring new tracks based on, but not narrowed by, each of
their single-word title, the EP to be released at the end of March, gained today its first release, the title track “Quiet“. With a gorgeous and funny video clip filmed in our own Lisbon (directed and produced by Simão Reis). Hugo Hugon explains: “ The contrast between the waiting and the concept of change was what we’ve decided to accentuate in this clip, showing us in static plans, but full of restlessness, in a handful of situations in what changes plays with what stays still, and in which the focal point is precisely the inevitable change”.

With a gorgeous guitar from the start, beautiful hooks that are definitely marked by the vocal variations and the catchy elements that culminate in the one worded-chorus, this is a stunner to sing-along. Also marked by a sort of circular structure, it’s in the subtle new details of every new turn that the track works like charm. Ever perfectly hand-in-hand in terms of instrumental and vocal richness. Just a banger!

Will Van Horn – A Horse Named Zelda

The first single from Will Van Horn’s new album is a psychedelic and washed out track that is incredibly easy to come back to. You may not recognize Will’s name, but you have heard him play on countless albums including Khruangbin, Orville Peck, Shakey Graves, and Leon Bridges. “A Horse Named Zelda” is a psychedelic merge between indie and freak Folk, and a track that finds in the gorgeous guitar and elements its main centre. There is a calmness and a sense of content and evolution that is just genius and that keeps us hooked into it like there is nothing else.