Bent Knee – ‘Land Animal‘
Boston-based Bent Knee have a unique sound that manages to throw in everything from stoner psychedelia to industrial math-rock, with plenty of Kate Bush-esque pop moments along the way. Creepy and unsettling from the very first minute, ‘Land Animal’ sounds somewhat akin to a jam session between Dresden Dolls and Nordic Giants and takes a turn when the very distinctive vocals come in, stating: ‘I’m always at it, every night’ and, later on, ‘I’m a sinner’. They have toured with The Dillinger Escape Plan on their farewell tour and their experimental approach is sure to win many fans of intelligently crafted songs. As ‘Land Animal’ reaches its final moments, Courtney Swain sings about how she’s ‘sending out a message that I worry too much’ over electronica-tinged pop and then strings are thrown in before it settles back down to the opening riffs.
Us and Us Only – ‘Bored of Black‘
Us and Us Only are the latest addition to Topshelf Records’ roster and ‘Bored of Black’ starts in a very chilled fashion. It’s quite folky but has slacker US indie moments inspired by the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Real Estate and Built to Spill. Only three and a half minutes long:, there’s a hugely heart-warming nostalgic feel as the band discuss lost youth and repeat the line ‘I get lost walking to your house’ over and over again.
Francobollo – ‘Worried Times‘
There’s a huge drum sound to signal the introduction of Swedish rock band Francobollo’s ‘Worried Times’ and the song (covering the issue of claustrophobia) continues to pick up the pace in a way that’s reminiscent of The Soundtrack of Our Lives before it takes a Britpop-inspired turn, with the band letting you know they’ve been ‘singing songs that we know from ages ago’. With its off-kilter pop hooks, there also elements of Sub Pop bands as the sugar-coated and off-kilter riffs meld with triumphant blasts of guitar and synth.
Broken Social Scene – ‘Hug of Thunder‘
The title track of the Canadian collective’s new, long-awaited album features guest vocals from Feist and finds them in more retrospective mood. It has an addictive bass line running through is early moments, while understated riffs bed under Feist’s distinctive vocals. Halfway through, the song bursts into life in typical BSS style before then settling down to a more measured sound. The contrasting title of the song is perfect for how it sounds – it captures that oddly calming feeling that comes over you while watching a storm (from a safe distance!)
Good Good Blood – ‘Fallen Leaves‘
Released via New Paltz-based label Team Love Records, ‘Fallen Leaves’ is one of the stand-out tracks from Good Good Blood’s new album, ‘Songs from Where I Live’. With a distinctly DIY feel, t’s a delicate folk song that examines the way we hang on to broken dreams in a truly heartbreaking way: “Be who you want to be!” They say… “Dream all your days away!” They say… And now you are old you still hold on to climb up those hills.’