Currents

  • J GRGRY

    J GRGRY

    “Don’t Ever Give Up”

    Thriving in dichotomies, Seattle singer/multi-instrumentalist J GRGRY delivers a refreshing gem of positivity and inspiration on the new single “Don’t Ever Give Up”—a memorable, sing-along anthem of hope and determination.

     

    On stage, J GRGRY is the epitome of energy, charging out with indie pop as vibrant as the makeup he’s donned on tastemaking KEXP and opening for The Killers and The Lumineers. Underneath the surface, his songs unpack a coming-of-age being openly gay in an ultra-religious environment, turning to alcoholism, and climbing out on a path of self-acceptance and love. Still, in the face of such a viscerally honest lyricism, there’s never an uplifting hook too far away in a J GRGRY song.

     

    The latest single ahead of an anticipated debut album coming later in 2020, “Don’t Ever Give Up” was written in the wake of a soured partnership with his producer that forced him to financially restart, and came together at a friend’s home as a brief illness set in.

     

    “I banged out the entire song, lyrics, melodies, and rhythms in less than 30 minutes before I collapsed in bed for the rest of the day, I had to go to the hospital the next day [because] I had pneumonia in both lungs. This song was a beacon of light for me through some really hard days… I feel like it came to me from a future self that knew I needed these words and melodies somehow.” — J GRGRY

    Listen: J GRGRY – “Don’t Ever Give Up

    J GRGRY – “Don’t Ever Give Up”

  • Foreign Air

    Foreign Air

    Good Morning Stranger

    Duo Foreign Air are ready to get inside of your minds. While they may very well deliver as Billboard gushed, “Transcendent Indie-Rock-Meets-Electronica with a penchant for forceful guitars and haunting vocals,” in “The Apartment” they’ve simply produced a dead in the pocket new song to radio Sure to move the proverbial needle forward!

     

    The band’s own words sum up this instant new single Better than we ever could:

     

    “’The Apartment’ is a break up song. It’s about coming to terms with a relationship that is no longer working with someone you have built a life with over time. The record collection you’ve accumulated, the furniture that you purchased, and the friendships you have built together outside the relationship are all split in half. This a very strange and difficult time however you know deep down inside that parting ways will ultimately ‘better for us both’. ‘The Apartment’ deals with those exact feelings as well as the emotional chaos that comes with it which is represented musically by the heavy synth in the chorus and decision to leave the end of the song instrumental. Once the relationship is over and you moved on, there isn’t much left to say except for you replay memories over and over in your head much like a movie. We felt that it was important to deliberately create that moment. To give the listener a chance to reflect on their own experiences and memories they may have once shared with someone close to them.” – FOREIGN AIR

     

    Jesse Clasen and Jacob Michael call themselves Foreign Air and are a different breed from all other acts out there. Their entire catalogue of music the duo have created together, from their first song “Free Animal” all the way through to these most recent tracks they’ve been releasing throughout 2020 so far, have been streamed over 110 million times on Spotify and Apple. The music has soundtracked global advertising campaigns for Samsung, Nike, Vodafone, Microsoft and many other brands in addition to television features on Netflix, Showtime, ABC, TNT, Vice, CW and Fox.

    Listen: Foreign Air – “The Apartment”

    Foreign Air – “The Apartment”

  • Smith & Burrows

    Smith & Burrows

    “All The Best Moves”

    Old Mates Smith & Burrows (aka Tom Smith of Editors and Andy Burrows of Razorlight!) are Just as excited to announce, as We Are to introduce, the reconvening of their musical partnership with this Full On Blast of a new single “All The Best Moves”!

     

    “All The Best Moves” is “about wanting to stay in on your own, in your safe world. Afraid of what’s outside but conversely being kind of full of yourself but in reality, just a bit sad and lonely” says Tom Smith.

     

    In the nine years since the two drinking buddies recorded the distinctly wintery collaboration “Funny Looking Angels,” it has been anything but idle for the two musicians. With Smith on duty with Editors, number one albums in Europe and UK Top Tens seeing the band’s star rise to unprecedented heights since their inception at the onset of the noughties. AND with Burrows having released several solo albums, collaborating on soundtracks including The Snowman and The Snowdog and last year composing the soundtrack for Ricky Gervais’ critically acclaimed After Life.

     

    Alongside this, the pair have continued their friendship and been quietly exchanging ideas and spending days in Smith’s home studio when time allowed, developing ideas into songs together. The resultant demos as Smith says; eventually “took us to Franklin, Tennessee to work with Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon). It was f*cking hot. Like crazy hot. We strummed vintage guitars, ate incredible fried chicken and drank whisky we can’t afford. It was a blast.”

     

    “All the Best Moves” is the first music to be released from those sessions.

    Listen: Smith & Burrows – “All The Best Moves”

    Smith & Burrows – “All The Best Moves”

  • Hoops

    Hoops

    Halo

    Indiana’s Hoops have unveiled their new single “Fall Back” as they announce their triumphant return and sophomore album “Halo” (out 10/2). Defined by musical exuberance, full of gratitude and generosity, the addictive upcoming album simply sounds like a lively conversation amongst close friends.

     

    Bloomington, Indiana’s Hoops released their critically-acclaimed debut album “Routines” in 2017, and, soon after, announced an indefinite hiatus. The trio – friends, singers, and multi-instrumentalists Drew Auscherman, Kevin Krauter and Keagan Beresford – had been making music together for almost half of their lives, but the band had begun to feel more like a burden than an outlet, so they decided to call it quits. “I think we had lost a lot of steam,” explains Krauter. “Hoops wasn’t moving forward organically. It was being dragged along.” Following a short but necessary break, during which the band had the opportunity to explore their own creative endeavors, Hoops Are Back and have announced their incredible sophomore album.

     

    To celebrate their album announcement, Hoops share “Halo”’s lead single “Fall Back.”—the  first song the band has ever written Together. Auscherman had started the new single about a long-distance relationship, but he fleshed it out with Krauter and Beresford, who added jangly guitars, a buoyant rhythm section, and a swooning chorus: “Fall back in my arms again, just the way it should have always been.” Like many songs on “Halo,” it wasn’t written specifically about his bandmates but nevertheless addresses similar emotions about their musical partnership.

     

    Hoops had to self-destruct in order to survive. Following the release of “Routines,” the band had reached a point where years of hard work and creativity were just starting to pay off. They were hailed as one of the most inventive young bands around, with comparisons to Guided by Voices, My Bloody Valentine, Real Estate and DIIV, and that’s exactly when they broke up the band.

     

    “This record is a more honest representation of our influences and interests as musicians,” says Auscherman. “We’ve grown a lot in four years, as people and as listeners. We’re starting to sound more like ourselves.”

    Listen: Hoops – “Fall Back” (radio edit)

    Hoops – “Fall Back” (radio edit)

  • Washed Out

    Washed Out

    Purple Noon

    Washed Out is Atlanta-based producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Ernest Greene. Over the course of three uniquely enchanting, critically-lauded albums and an EP, the music he makes has proved both transportive and visual, each new effort inviting listeners into immersive, self-contained universes. With “Purple Noon (out 8/7), his fourth album he delivers the most accessible Washed Out creation to date.

     

    “Life of Leisure,” the first Washed Out EP, set the bar for the Chillwave era, shimmering in a warm haze of off-the-cuff Polaroids and pre-IG filters. “Within and Without,” his full-length debut, found Washed Out’s sound morphing into nocturnal, icy synth-pop and embraced provocative imagery. “Paracosm” is Greene’s take on psychedelia, with a full live band and kaleidoscopic light show, and saw him playing to the largest audiences of his career. The sample-heavy “Mister Mellow” delivered a 360 audio/visual experience, with cut-n-paste and hand-drawn animation to match the hip hop influences throughout the album. With each release, Greene has approached his evolving project with meticulous detail and a steadfast vision.

     

    For “Purple Noon,” Greene again wrote, recorded, and produced the entirety of the album, with mixing handled by frequent collaborator Ben H. Allen (ParacosmWithin and Without). Production of the album followed a brief stint of writing for other artists (most notably with Sudan Archives on her debut Athena) which enabled Greene to explore genres like R&B and modern pop for the first time. These brighter, more robust sounds made their way into the songs of “Purple Noon” and mark a new chapter in Greene’s growth both as a producer and songwriter.  The vocals are front and center, tempos are slower, beats bolder, and overall, a more comprehensive depth of dynamics that has yet to be heard on a Washed Out record. One can hear the luxuriousness of Sade, the sonic bombast of Phil Collins, and the lush atmosphere of the great Balearic beat classics.

     

    The coastlines of the Mediterranean inspire “Purple Noon,” and Greene pays tribute to the region’s distinct island culture — with all of its rugged elegance and old-world charm — and uses it as a backdrop to tell the album’s stories of passion, love, and loss (Purple Noon”’s title comes from the 1960 film directed by Rene Clement, which is based on the novel “The Talented Mister Ripley” by Patricia Highsmith). Much like the romantic Hollywood epics, the melodrama throughout is strong  — a serendipitous first meeting in “Too Late”; the passionate love affair in “Paralyzed”; the disintegration of a relationship in “Time to Walk Away”; the reunion with a lost love in “Game of Chance.”

     

    Each Washed Out release has been rooted in a form of escapism, but coupled with this new layer of emotional intensity, Purple Noon” takes Washed Out’s music to dazzling new heights.

    Listen: Washed Out – “Time To Walk Away”

    Washed Out – “Time To Walk Away”

  • Songhoy Blues

    Songhoy Blues

    "Worry"

    Acclaimed West African band Songhoy Blues have returned to unveil a More than Timely new single! The optimistic “Worry” (produced by Matt Sweeney–Run The Jewels, Stephen Malkmus) comes from the celebrated Malian group who felt a need to share an inspiring song of hope, strength and vigilance during these uncertain times.

     

    “The harshness of life still weighs on our societies and sinks many young people into a dead end,” says the band in a unified statement. “’Worry’ is a positive energy that Songhoy Blues want to be a ray of hope for humanity. ‘Worry’ is about not stopping fighting because at the very end you will find the light.” 

     

    Songhoy Blues were determined to release “Worry” during these tumultuous times because the message it sends is both relevant and universal, and a beacon of hope to people struggling everywhere. It is also their first song entirely in English, but propelled by the Malian polyrhythms and potent blues riffs that set them apart from all other bands. On beat with the current times, the track is the first glimpse of their rockier, harder, hopeful third album, which will be a determined treatise for a better life.

     

    Songhoy Blues has created a distinctive sound by blending Malian cross-rhythms with Western influences such as rock and punk alongside a uniquely virtuosic guitar style. These all come together on ‘Worry” with concept Don’t worry / You’re gonna be happy / Keep fighting today / That smile will come one day, sung as an empowering mantra. This feeling permeates the music of Songhoy Blues and is a glimpse of what’s to come as the band’s sound continues to evolve. They are finishing up their anticipated third album with producer/guitarist Matt Sweeney (Run The Jewels, Stephen Malkmus) to be released later this year.

     

    Songhoy Blues understands first-hand what it means to stand up in the face of adversity and remain steadfast and positive in the fight. The group formed 10 years ago as refugees from the north of their homeland forced to head south during a series of events that included an al-Qaeda infiltration, imposed sharia law, civil war and a ban on music. The group has come a long way in their long, unremitting struggle, but their unwavering will shall not be deterred.

    Listen: Songhoy Blues – “Worry”

    Songhoy Blues – “Worry”

  • Bully

    Bully

    SUGAREGG

    A very old saying goes that no one saves us but ourselves. Recognizing and breaking free from the patterns impeding our forward progress can be transformative — just ask Bully’s Alicia Bognanno. Indeed, the third Bully album, SUGAREGG” (out 8/21), may not ever have come to fruition had Bognanno not navigated every kind of upheaval imaginable and completely overhauled her working process along the way.

     

    “SUGAREGG” roars from the speakers and jumpstarts both heart and mind. “There was change that needed to happen and it happened on this record,” she says. “Derailing my ego and insecurities allowed me to give these songs the attention they deserved.”

     

    Bognanno admits that finding the proper treatment for bipolar 2 disorder radically altered her mindset, freeing her from a cycle of paranoia and insecurity about her work. “Being able to finally navigate that opened the door for me to write about it,” she says. “Even small changes like listening to music instead of the news first thing in the morning “made me want to write and bring that pleasure to other people.”

     

    An unexpected foray into the film world also helped set the table for the upcoming album when Bognanno was asked to write songs for the 2019 movie Her Smell, starring Elisabeth Moss as the frontwoman of the fictional rock band Something She. “It got me motivated to play music again after the last album,” she says. “I loved reading the script and trying to think, what music would the character write? People asked if I’d play those songs with Bully but the whole point was for them to not be Bully songs. It was nice to get my head out of my own ass for a second and work on a project for someone else,” she says with a laugh.

     

    A highly accomplished engineer who ran the boards herself on the first two Bully albums, Bognanno was ready to be free “from the weight of feeling like I had to prove to the world I was capable of engineering a record, and wanted to be content knowing for myself what I can do without needing the approval of others to validate that.”

     

    So for “SUGAREGG”, she yielded recording and mixing responsibilities to outside collaborators for the first time and trekked to the remote Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minn., an unexpected return to her home state. Behind the console was John Congleton, a Grammy-winner who has worked with everyone from St. Vincent and Sleater-Kinney to The War on Drugs and Modest Mouse. “Naturally, I still had reservations, but John was sensitive to where I was coming from,” Bognanno says. “He was very respectful that I’d never worked with a producer before.”

     

    The studio’s rich history (classics such as Nirvana’s In Utero, PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me and Superchunk’s Foolish were recorded there) and woodsy setting quickly put Bognanno’s mind at ease. Being able to bring her dog Mezzi along for the trip didn’t hurt either. “I had never tracked a record in the summer, so waking up and going outside with her before we started each day was a great way to refresh,” she says.

     

    With 14 songs on tape, Bognanno and friends left Pachyderm thinking “SUGAREGG” was done. But once back home in Nashville, she realized there was more to be written, and spent the next five months doing exactly that. Moving to Palace Studios in Toronto with Graham Walsh (Alvvays, METZ, !!!), Bognanno and Mitchell recorded “Where to Start” and “Let You,” which proved to be two of the new album’s key tracks.

     

    Ultimately, “SUGAREGG” is a testament that profound change can yield profound results — in this case, the most expressive and powerful music of Bognanno’s career. “This is me longing to see the bigger picture, motivated and eager for contentment in the best way,” she says. “I hope the happy go lucky / fuck-it-all attitude shines through some of these songs because I really did feel like I was reentering a place I hadn’t been to in a while and was excited to be back there.”

     

    “‘Where to Start’ boasts Bully’s characteristic high-energy snarl, as growling guitars lead into Bognanno’s raspy-throated condemnation: ‘I don’t know where to start/I don’t know where to start with you.’ Decidedly more jangly guitars then usher us all the way into the guts of the song — a mixture of sweet and sour, soft and frustrated.”—Rolling Stone

    Listen: Bully – “Where To Start” (radio edit)

    Bully – “Where To Start” (radio edit)

  • Dirty Projectors

    Dirty Projectors

    Flight Tower EP

    Dirty Projectors have shared new single, “Lose Your Love” at a moment when social distancing threatens to collapse into social alienation, singer Felicia Douglass implores us: “Just hold on, let yourself be found!” This is an anthem that invites connection and celebrates our need for one another.

     

    The song’s big, buoyant beats and exuberant instrumentation are a world away from the acoustic meditations of the “Windows Open” EP. But this is another facet of the same dynamic band: keyboardist-percussionist Felicia Douglass takes the lead, joined in harmony by Maia Friedman and Kristin Slipp, on music written and produced by leader Dave Longstreth.

     

    Dirty Projectors’ “Flight Tower” EP is the next in a sequence of five EPs that will come out in 2020. You read that right: March’s “Windows Open” EP was not a one-off, but the opening feature of a pentahedron of new music the band began in 2019 and is now working to wrap. Each EP will feature a different band member on lead vocals — Maia, Felicia, Kristin & Dave — with everyone trading verses on the fifth and final installment.

     

    On the upcoming “Flight Tower” EP, Felicia is in the captain’s chair. Each track is built around her mellifluous alto and empathetic eye, and Felicia and Dave wrote the lyrics together. Longstreth tills the other side of the screen, letting the sonic seeds planted on 2017’s Dirty Projectors and 2018’s Lamp Lit Prose blossom into something weird and new.  

    Listen: Dirty Projectors – “Lose Your Love”

    Dirty Projectors – “Lose Your Love”

  • Protomartyr

    Protomartyr

    Ultimate Success Today

    Protomartyr’s Back and have readied for us a new collection of their wonderfully bleak and philosophical apocalyptic rock! “Ultimate Success Today” is coming July 17th, co-produced with David Tolomei (Beach House, Dirty Projectors) and was recorded at Dreamland Recording Studios, a late 19th century church in Upstate New York.

     

    There is a sting in the summer blossom of “Ultimate Success Today,” Protomartyr’s fifth album and second for Domino. Arriving after “Relatives In Descent,” the band’s headlong dive into the morass of American life in 2017, “Ultimate Success Today” is a fitting follow-up from the Detroit band.

     

    Two Songs from the upcoming album have been unveiled to date in “Worm In Heaven” and “Processed By The Boys.”

     

    “Fusing droning squalls of intensity to sparse wails of jagged guitar riffs, the group appears to be posing a singular proposition: Is it possible to soundtrack the end of the world in real time? The Detroit-born rockers have now completed their first decade as a band, but they sound more awake and anxious than ever.”—AV Club

     

    “following a slinky guitar line while singer Joe Casey reflects about how close he is to heaven’s gates.”—Consequence Of Sound (“Worm”)

     

    “restrained up until its final shuddering moments. Moody and meditative”—Stereogum (“Worm”)

     

    “the classic wall-of-noise feel of a Protomartyr track” —PASTE (“Processed”)

     

    “A post-punk stomper, the track vibrates with meditations from the guest performers’ reed instruments.”—Consequence Of Sound (“Processed”)

     

    “the seismic first cut off the Detroit band’s fifth LP rattles with ‘cosmic grief beyond all comprehension’”—TheFADER (“Processed”)

     

    “Casey once again casts his drunken-philosopher gaze on the world’s ills, back by a reverb-laden stomp that builds into the kind of cacophony this band does best.”—Stereogum (“Processed”)

    Listen: Protomartyr – “Michigan Hammers”

    Protomartyr – “Michigan Hammers”

  • Kids In America

    Kids In America

    “Summer Of Love” feat. The Griswolds

    Kids In America is a band with a “big tent” philosophy of creating music and collaborating with other artists in a way that invites everyone to let loose and let go. The sparkling and cathartic first single “Summer Of Love” feat. The Griswolds was instantly snatched up for an add at ALT Nation’s ‘Advanced Placement’ and this Immediate first foray from the band is paired with some suitably groovy (and grooving) vintage visuals (see below)!

     

    “Summer Of Love” Stats:

     

    + 600K + streams on all DSP platforms in just 4 weeks

     

    + Spotify – 300K 1st month (The New Alt, Indie Pop, New Noise adds)

     

    + YouTube – 250K streams to date

     

    + Amazon Music – Features on Fresh Alternative & Introducing Alternative playlists

    Listen: Kids In America – “Summer Of Love” feat. The Griswolds

    Kids In America – “Summer Of Love” feat. The Griswolds

  • Man Man

    Man Man

    Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between

    Honus Honus (aka Ryan Kattner) has devoted his career to exploring the uncertainty between life’s extremes: beauty and ugliness, order and chaos. The songs on the newly-released “Dream Hunting in the Valley of the In-Between,” Man Man’s first album in over six years and his Sub Pop debut, are as intimate, soulful, and timeless as they are audaciously inventive and daring.

     

    In Rolling Stone’s new 4 outta 5 review they’re calling Ryan Kattner’s first album in seven years “haunted, haunting pop absurdism” and “his best to date”.

    Listen: Man Man – “Future Peg”

    Man Man – “Future Peg”

  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

    Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

    Sideways To New Italy

    Following up their #1 Single at SubModern “Cars In Space” not only comes Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s newest unveiling “She’s There,” but also their second album “Sideways To New Italy”! Stereogum aptly nails the new single as striking “that same balance of a propulsive instrumental and a carefully orchestrated array of vocal hooks, driving by on first listen and then burrowing deeper and deeper into your head.” 

     

    For Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, returning to Melbourne after long stretches looking out at the world through the windows of airplanes and tour vans lead to a dislocation, like being the knot in the middle of a game of tug-o-war. The upcoming “Sideways to New Italy” sees the band interrogate their individual pasts and the places that inform them. In clicking the scattered pieces back into place, they have crafted for themselves a new totem of home to carry with them no matter where they end up.

     

    “These songs were a long time coming together, after a year of touring and dislocation. To us, the album reaches forward to home and to love. New Italy is a tiny replica Venetian town built by immigrants in the middle of the Australian bush, it struck a chord with us as this kind of utopian totem of home (also knowing there is no such thing as a clean slate). It’s a strange time to be releasing music, but it seems like music sounds better than ever right now. We want to send our love to old Italy too, a place close to our all of our hearts, and also an inspiration for this album.”—RBCF

     

    “It’s pure guitar-mad elation. Hooks get piled on top of hooks, and the fleeting beauty of the music opens up a sense of urgency and drama in the lyrics. If they’re gunning for the best guitar band since Parquet Courts, then this is a great way to make the case.”—Rolling Stone’s ‘Song You Need To Know’ (“She’s There”)

    Listen: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “She’s There

    Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – “She’s There”

  • Day Wave

    Day Wave

    Crush

    The critically acclaimed one-man indie band, Day Wave (aka Jackson Phillips) has released his new EP “Crush” and also revealed the second single/video “Potions.”

     

    The new song showcases mesmerizing arrangements that have long been a trademark of the Day Wave sound, just as “Crush” reveals a newfound vocal dynamism from Phillips, whose steady growth as a performer lends an understated weight to EP’s emotional soul searching.

     

    Written and recorded after an extended break from the Day Wave world during which Phillips performed and recorded with Pete Yorn and Jai Wolf, the new collection finds Phillips reconnecting with his sonic roots as he grapples with questions of identity and purpose, fate and independence, memory and nostalgia.

     

    The four songs are built on a structural simplicity that belies their considerable emotional depth, and the arrangements are lo-fi and dreamy to match, conveying a mesmerizing intimacy that hints at everything from Guided By Voices and New Order to The Smiths and Pavement. Phillips produced, mixed, and mastered the entire EP himself in his new homebase of Los Angeles, and the end result is a raw, unfiltered look in the mirror from an artist determined to share his evolution in all its beautiful, bittersweet truth.

     

    “Crush” will be out on a limited 12” on Record Store Day on June 20th.

    Listen: Day Wave – “Potions”

    Day Wave – “Potions”