Happy New Year, Lighting Buggists! Still working on a nickname for you listeners out there, as you can tell.
Opening the doors again for 2019 after a hectic end to 2018, this song by Amethysts, an ethereal dream pop duo from East Anglia, UK, is just the thing.
“How It Is” may be your anthem for a new year, being as it is about not accepting things as they are, but rather examining what can be changed for the better. You don’t have to accept how things are all the time. Sometimes, you can change them. So you should when you can.
Not a bad approach to living your life, right?
Meanwhile, Amethysts are making waves in their native Britain, including some definitive showings on BBC1 and BBC6 and with some successful headlining shows in (That) London.
This song is actually one-half of a double A-side single, twinned with “Imitate Me”.
Lemmy-meets-James-Brown blues rock. Dreamy, spacey indie pop. Acoustic and ambient pop balladry.
This is your Radio Free Lightning Bug pack of three for the week, friends.
Lend me your ears.
“I Told Ya So” by The Matchstick Skeletons
Name: The Matchstick Skeletons
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sound: Fuzzy and minimalist blues rock with a whiff of the funk that kicks your musical door in.
Story: This Vancouver-based duo comprised of singer/multi-instrumentalist Neu Mannas and drummer Matty Carolei is well-traveled and their sound hard-won. After recording and travels abroad with original outfit Head of the Herd, not to mention work in film composing and sound engineering on the part of singer and multi-instrumentalist Mannas, the two musicians set to work on becoming the kind of band they needed to be; one full of funk-inspired and metallic blues-rock underpinnings. This is their debut single.
Sound: Breezy and jangly indie rock that sidles up to you and demurely asks if you’d like to dance to the Stereolab song that just came on.
Story: Active on their native (and as it happens, my native) West Coast playing shows with Wolf Parade, The Courtneys, and others, Teenage Wedding throws all of their interests into a big melodic and lyrically quirky pot; science fiction, Broadcast, religious mythology, Sonic Youth, Carl Sagan, Jungian psychology all make appearances. This song, taken from their second record The Sophia of Teenage Wedding (out now), is about a dance craze beamed from outer space that results in the next stage of human enlightenment. How can you not get behind that?
From: “The suburban sprawl between Philadelphia and New York City”, USA.
Sound: Acoustic meets ambient pop with a bank of melancholy clouds in a late, early evening summer sky.
Story: Serving as the final track and third single on their upcoming EP Youth/2 (due out September 14th), this song is the result of a concentrated effort in getting back to basics with their sound; acoustic guitar, voice, minimal percussion, and a wash of electronic sound in the background. This song is their first “ballad”, also a concentrated effort to expand their range as they build momentum with increasing streaming of their music, and appearances at festivals alongside Dashboard Confessional, and others.
Overcast optimism from Norway. Jangly aural sunshine from SoCal. Effervescent funk-soul from Houston, Texas. It’s time for this week’s pack of three, everyone.
Prepare your ears for some heavy weather!
“David” by Frøkedal
From: Oslo, Norway
Sound: Yearning Nordic folk-rock meets shimmering, wintry dream pop, cast in distinct shades of melancholic blue.
Story: Anne Lise Frøkedal’s newest single from her upcoming album How We Made It seems elegiac, pervaded with wintry gloom. But there’s hope to be found in its lines, and purposefully so. While recording the album, Frøkedal knew she needed a bit of light to shine through to complement the shades of grey. Recorded in part during a session in a remote location at the top of a hill overlooking an amazing vista below, “David” is a reflection of the hope we sometimes miss in our own lives. The new album, How We Made It is due out August 31, 2018.
Sound: Anthemic indie pop with a splash of longing reminiscent of The Cranberries and The Sundays.
Story: With a sound led by singular vocalist/guitarist Natalie Carol, Valley Queen provides an equally sunshine-soaked and deeply contemplative anthem, featuring Carol’s uniquely cadenced vocals matched with an sparkling pop jangle. The song is a highlight on their newest record, Supergiant. The album is named after celestial bodies and a subtle reminder that we are all, in fact, made of stars. The new record is out now. Valley Queen will be playing a show in their native LA on July 28 at The Moroccan Lounge, the beginning of a North American tour through the summer and into the Autumn of 2018.
Sound: Earthy, horny, seventies and eighties-style breezy funk-soul with a smooth jazzy lilt.
Story: Established in 2011, this eight-piece Houstonian soul band makes music for all frames of mind and for a wide range of human experience. Since their formation they’ve toured extensively, gathering adoring fans all along the way, including one David Letterman who, after their performance on his show, once declared: “if you can’t do this, get out of the business”. High praise indeed! Their newest record Everything Here is out now. For readers local to the lavish offices of Radio Free Lightning Bug, you can catch The Suffers at this year’s Burnaby Blues & Roots Festival.
A feminist anthem that doesn’t beat around the bush (or does it?). A love song about the equally creative and destructive nature of love and the spirit of youthful abandon. And a song about what it’s like to be front and centre while wishing for solace.
That’s what’s up for your listening pleasure in this week’s Pack of Three, friends.
So, do not hesitate! Open yer earholes!
“Bush for the Push” by Miss Eaves
Name: Miss Eaves
From: Brooklyn, New York City, NY, USA
Sound: Electroclash and hip-hop with a head full of feminist vigour and an ass meant for shakin’.
Story: Miss Eaves (aka multimedia artist Shanthony Exum) delivers this political celebration of what’s down below, and gets a little hairy while doing so. Full of hip hop dexterity and bounce matched with blippy, dreamy electronics, Miss Eaves sings an ode to that which grows wild on the mons pubis. Narrow-mindedness and even scorn around the subject of hair particularly as it relates to sexuality has always been a burden placed on women. But this song reminds us that the hair down there can be about freedom, too. This track is taken from her ME AF EP coming out August 3, 2018. Miss Eaves kicks off a DIY summer tour beginning on July 21 in the UK and including some dates in continental Europe into August.
Sound: Ethereal, anthemic, and edgy post-punk that fans of Metric should really hear.
Story: “Crushed” is the second single from this band’s newest and upcoming record Other Nature (July 20, 2018), a tune that was written in dedication to lead vocalist Lauren Larson’s daughter. It touches on the transformative nature of love, with destruction and re-creation characterizing the whole. That spark of youthful vitality is also a touchpoint here, with Larson’s memories of front row Fugazi concerts as a guide to its creation, an event inspiring her to make music of her own. Working with producer Stuart Sikes (Cat Power, Loretta Lynn, Modest Mouse), that’s what she’s done with her bandmates with the new record, their follow up to 2014’s Monuments. Catch them on tour starting on July 13.
Sound: Gentle, lilting, light-as-air dream pop – in German!
Story: This song, translated “No Man’s Land”, is an introvert’s anthem as penned by an actual introvert; frontwoman Katrin Kisza. This cut is for anyone who’s ever resented the ringing of a phone while in the middle of a personal reverie, but also for herself using that same impulse to wish the world away that inspired many a session at the piano to write. The song is the second single taken from the band’s newest record, Heaven Is, their third.