Indi-pop rules rules the roost in the third volume #XPlist!
Welcome to volume #3 of the #XPlist! Every week, we curate the best new music from around the world and pick 5 we think you’ll love. Here you go!
Ariel Pink – Another Weekend
The Godfather of lo-fi pop music, Ariel Pink returns with a new song, ‘Another Weekend’. Though the song runs just a little bit past 4 minutes, there are still a variety of musical ideas being explored. The song morphs, twists and turns from verse to chorus, making sure that the song stays unpredictable while still being accessible and familiar sounding.
Wolf Alice – Yuk Foo
Wolf Alice are all set to release their next album Visions of a Life this September and are kicking things off with ‘Yuk Foo’. Clearly, subtlety isn’t one of the group’s strengths. Wolf Alice drops some of its folksiness for a more pop-punk sound. ‘Yuk Foo’ is a good pop-rock track, but is also a bit confusing. While Wolf Alice seems to be taking on an angrier turn with their new music, their approach actually makes them far more accessible that before. So, do they want people to like them or not?
Big Thief – Shark Smile
This is one of our best finds! Big Thief takes the emotional depth of a good singer-songwriter and puts it into a band setting, making the songs sound a lot more complete. ‘Shark Smile’ is the perfect example of that. While the song would have been great with just an acoustic guitar, the rhythm section and the screeching, reverb-drenched guitar leads make the song so much more compelling.
Zola Jesus – Exhumed
‘Exhumed’ by Zola Jesus combines elements that you don’t often hear together. With a perfect concoction of classical, industrial, electronic music and powerful vocals, the song puts together ideas that have been heard together in isolation but never together. The result is a dark electronic soundscape over with some seriously powerful stuff happening vocally, almost like Florence and the Machine meets Nine Inch Nails.
Steven Wilson – Song Of I
Steven Wilson’s next solo album To The Bone is all set to be released in August this year. We’ve gathered a pretty good idea of what the new album is going to sound like from the two songs that we’ve heard so far, ‘Pariah’ and more recently ‘Song Of I’. Maybe this is nostalgia speaking, but ‘Song Of I’ is reminiscent of ‘Sleep Together’, a Porcupine Tree classic. Either way, it’s good to hear Steven Wilson making songs that are not depressing because he’s far too good at that. ‘Song Of I’ take on more of a menacing, confessional tone that gives a lot to look forward to for Steven Wilson fans.
Toro y Moi – Girl Like You
Toro y Moi’s new album Boo Boo takes all that 80’s aesthetic and packages it wonderfully into a pop song. ‘Girl Like You’ is a testament to that fact, with some really interesting and retro-sounding samples being used to support Toro’s songwriting. The result is a really lush production which is somewhere in between lo-fi music and radio-pop. Toro y Moi uses the best of both worlds, creating a warped atmosphere where it’s easy to lose track of time. The last 30 seconds are a bonus.
Waxahatchee – Never Been Wrong
3 seconds in and Waxahatchee’s ‘Never Been Wrong’ demands your attention. A song that’s as folksy as it is grungy, ‘Never Been Wrong’ is the complete package – good songwriting and good lyrics. While the lyrics are relatable, they’re further emphasized by the dynamic switches that occur throughout the course of the song. *Sigh* If only it were still the 90’s.
The War on Drugs – Holding On
The War on Drugs will be releasing their next album, A Deeper Understanding on August 25, 2017. The group is kicking things off with their latest single ‘Holding On’. The song starts off with a synth sequence that could be taken out of a sci-fi film and quite aptly, the song goes in a direction that’s out of the world. ‘Holding On’ is a track that doesn’t sound like it was released in 2017. Instead, it takes us back to the glory days of the late 70’s with its throbbing bass lines and catchy lead vocals.
Alvvays – In Undertow
Another band with an album out in September, Canadian indie-pop group Alvvays starts off really well with their latest single ‘In Undertow’. Perhaps what works best in this song is its use of some very memorable melodies and a very warm sounding production. The soundscape created by the is very dreamy, with the vocals soaked in reverb. With bands like Alvvays around, music fans can always look forward to the boundaries of pop music being constantly pushed.
Cigarettes After Sex – Sunsetz
For a group that until recently, didn’t even have an album out, Cigarettes After Sex are insanely popular. While it’s true that the band is a one trick pony, it does that one trick really, really well. On ‘Sunsetz’, a track from their debut album, the continue with the same sound that’s got them millions of views on YouTube. Cigarettes After Sex write really simple songs, but that’s what makes their music so good – The ability to express so much while saying so little.
That’s all there is for this week! Tune in again next week to discover the best and the freshest of tunes.