Aseul: South Korean artist returns with the glitchy “Wake Up”
According to Korean Indie, “Wake Up” is a preview of Aseul‘s new, somewhat different, sound and that you should check out her first record for a proper introduction. I agree, but there’s also a lot to like in the new song; the song is free of any tight constraints and the melody comes and goes as it pleases over glitchy beats. Very excited for the new record.
Sir Croissant: for fans of Big Thief, Daughter, and Bon Iver
There is beauty in youth, beauty in talent, and when the two overlap the result is often grandiose, unexpectedly fulfilling. This is pretty much what must have been going through the heads of those who attended the first ever show of Sir Croissant in Žiža, an alternative cafe in Banja Luka, the capital of the Serbian entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A venue that is usually chatty and noisy in the evenings – even when there’s a show. That night, though, when the local songwriter took the stage, everyone went abruptly silent, captured by his vocals from the very first few seconds.
One impressive thing here is that Igor Božanić alias Sir Croissant, who chose the name after a live album by Sia, is only 16-years-old, and has already released two EPs. The first one, Let Me Sleep, was recorded in his room with a webcam microphone, giving a lo-fi vibe that however doesn’t hide the most recognizable stylistic traits of his work. There’s the placidity of Lisa Hannigan in his vocals, but also the emotional tension of indie bands like Daughter and Big Thief, as his guitar picking masterfully matches the feelings he wants to evoke.
These qualities emerge much more vividly on his new EP, if i was a fish i would cry, also thanks to the synths of Milica Pendić, supplying the music with resounding nuances of holy. But it’s his songwriting and his storytelling skills that improved the most in just one year: songs like “johnson and johnson” and “doglady” are beautiful examples of how variegated his music can get, other than displaying his overflowing and empathic narrative made of romanticizing simple gestures and childhood memories. What he can achieve in the future is not calculable: what’s sure is that there’s something truly precious and important here.
Molly: for fans of Jawbreaker, Beach Slang, and Dinosaur Jr.
The music video teasing Stay Above, the new album by Molly, is simple and irritatingly hilarious. It shows a phone reproducing their new song “All About” inside of an empty Tuborg glass, the track sounding muffled and distant, interrupted halfway by an abrupt phone call. Towards the end, though, the sound gets rid of the natural distortion and acquires its true powerful nature. At the same time, we see the band standing in front of some burning brushwood, creepily staring into the void.
A video like this already says a lot about Molly, a furious rock band from Copenhagen. It shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously, that they can have fun with their own music, but more than anything it shows how good their songwriting is, even when the music can be barely heard. The Danish trio is clearly influenced by Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du and Jawbreaker, but rework these influences in a personal way, assisted by some effective Social Distortion sounding vocals.
Reworking, though, does not mean modernizing, and Stay Above is obstinately anchored to the 90s sound. It is Molly’s third record, but it seems like it’s the one that can allow them to be noticed by many more people than before, also thanks to the hype of bands like Beach Slang, which turned punk-informed 90s rock into something more recognizable and accessible even to younger kids today. This way, Stay Above has all the potential to become one of the most loved albums of the year.
Frequency Asia: The podcast celebrates its first anniversary with an excellent greatest hits collection
I’m kicking myself for just finding Frequency Asia, a podcast and label that finds the best modern sounds of Asia. Learn more about them here. Its Vol. 1 compilation from two years ago is an excellent introduction to what the podcast covers, from thrilling guitar rock to dreamy ambient jams and everything in between.
“Frequency Asia has been around a year now, so I thought we should do a compilation to celebrate. Frequency Asia Vol. 1 takes 22 songs played on the podcast over the first 30 episodes and brings them to you on tape or via the magic of the internet.
This is some of the best underground music that Asia has to offer, from psychedelia from Thailand to instrumental hip-hop form the Siberian tundra, to Malaysian noise rock and Indian sludge, this compilation should hopefully have a little bit of something for everyone.”
Kabreet: hard rock riffs meet Arabic scales and rhythms.
Kabreet is a Damascus-based indie band that combines hard rock riffs and Arabic scales and rhythms. You can hear a love for classic Western rock (think Rush, Guns & Roses, Led Zeppelin, etc) that’s blended with the traditional sound of its land and telling the stories of its own home.
“[This is] an indie rock band from Syria, based in Damascus – capital of Syria. [they play] mainly alternative and indie rock sung in arabic lyrics. [The band] concentrates mainly on the daily life of the Syrian youth, while the music is a mixture of alternative / indie rock and middle eastern musical elements, scales and rhythms.”
Memória de Peixe: Lisbon duo blows up the math rock formula by adding jazz and an excellent use of looping
I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like Memória de Peixe, the Lisbon duo (Miguel Nicolau on guitar and Marco Franco on drums) that manages to sound like five bands together making glitchy, jittery math-rock without any of the pretention and with so much joy and wonder. If you’ve heard another band like this, I’m sure they don’t sound nearly as fun.
“It’s a world of fantasy, adventures, final bosses, super-heroes, lonely comets, space odysseys and angry quarks falling in love with dead pixels.
Scientifically, “Himiko Cloud is a nebular gas cloud that is thought to be a protogalaxy, caught in the act of formation”. “Himiko” is also the name of our anti-gravity fish, that aggregates stories. Andy Singleton, an artist based in UK, created a sculpture of our friend “Himiko”, incorporated with amazing maglev technology.
Our Artwork was created by Carlos Gaspar, paintings representing a map to our songs. Also, the songs were made based on stories created by our own”
Wild Animals: Spanish pop punk enriched by DIY ethics and politics.
One of the worst things that has happened to pop punk in the past twenty years was how the genre distanced itself from the DIY ethics it was born with. Strengthened by the catchiness of their vocals harmonies, by the approachability of their riffs and by the appealing image of an arguable rebellion, a lot of bands laid emphasis solely on the pop side of the genre, forgetting where it all came from.
It’s in this context that a band like Wild Animals, a three-piece from Madrid, is truly important. First off, their songwriting is excellent. They could have easily been released by Epitaph or Fat Wreck Chords in 1999. Their last record, Basements: Music To Fight Hypocrisy is comprised of ten melodic punk rock gems with ’90s emo nuances that hint to early Saves The Day and Jawbreaker. The play fast songs with unforgettable hooks, reaching the highest peaks when the vocals of lead singer and guitar player Jamie and of drummer Paula meet, like on their anthem “Avocado”.
The lyrics are flawless, as the band is not ashamed to sincerely share their personal stories. Like on “Heavy Metal Saved My Life”, where they recount how each of the band’s members got into punk and extreme music: Youth Of Today for Paula, heavy metal for Jamie, and Rancid and Propagandhi for bass player Fon, who also runs one of the most active DIY labels in Spain, La Agonia De Vivir.
And here’s where another fundamental aspect of the band comes into play. Rather than aiming to be released by major labels or try to tour with big American pop punk bands, Wild Animals have their roots in the hardcore and DIY scene. They sing about politics, play in squats, book their own tours, release their records with the help of self-managed labels from the whole world. By doing so, they bring the genre back to where it was born, and regenerate it with enviable freshness.
Low Dream: Brazilian shoegaze greats finally comes to streaming
Low Dream, one of the best Brazilian shoegaze bands you’ve probably never heard of, is finally on streaming services. My personal favorite is their second record, ‘Reaching for Balloons,’ which best captures the band’s love of Jaguar guitars, lust, and the Velvet Underground.
From Midsummer Madness:
“The two albums, the first demo and a compilation of extras [are] re-released for streaming platforms. Available in digital format here in mmrecords since 2001, ‘Dreamland’ (the demo), ‘Between My Dreams & the Real Things’ (1st album), ‘Reaching for Balloons’ (2nd album) and the compilation ‘Soundscapes'”