Sjowgren – Beginners

Piping hot!

Sjowgren, release an album already! Taking a similar to path to Oh Wonder, this Bay area-band has released great and under appreciated almost what I would call ‘garage pop’ tracks since last year and they’ve got another. I’ve loved every single one of them and as much as I want more, I think it’s about time they throw it onto an LP so I can collect it 🙂 Listen below!

The Weather Station – Thirty

Unearthing pleasant concert surprises, especially openers, are one of my favourite things. I had the pleasure of going to another gig at The Winspear Centre in Edmonton a couple nights ago, which I would argue has some of the best acoustics I’ve ever heard in any given venue anywhere in the world. Bahamas was the main ticket, but I was ecstatic to hear an exceptional live performance by the Toronto band The Weather Station.

Most bands do a couple things well… Tamara Lindeman and her crew nailed it with all of their songs, from rocking out and sounding like Stevie Nicks to classically picking the guitar on the meditative acoustic songs. Combined that with the fact the band just seemed absolutely polished with the exceptional acoustics, it was an opener set that ended too soon.

Check them out below on a song that is still stuck in my head. Keep an eye on this band folks.

Pipin’ hot! Flight Facilities – Need You (feat. NÏKA)

This is fresh out of the oven. Flight Facilities are one of the few DJs I know that almost without question any released track is take-it-to-the-bank guaranteed to be great, and “Need You” is no exception. Much in the theme of their previous tracks, it’s funky, smooth (that pop can opening sound effect… *insert 100 emoji here*), but with an underlying sadness. This combination actually reminds me a bit of one of their previous singles “With You”. I’ll let you listen to the lyrics, but brace yourself for a hefty dose of despair.

Life is kind of like that. We put on a brave face, but there’s still sadness or melancholy under the surface. Sometimes we hide it until we get home, or let it out in quiet moments alone. But there’s nothing wrong with that, because life is about the struggle and getting through our obstacles. Getting through times of hardship allows us to cherish and appreciate accomplishments or moments of bliss.

 

Dream Wife (self-titled)

I am really excited about this London-based (partially Icelandic) rock band with their self-titled debut LP. Not only can these girls really rock with strong feminist and empowering messages in their songs, they are supremely talented.

I think a convenient comparison to a recent band would be Savages (i.e. talented English female rock band with fast ascent) but I think it ends there. Savages delve far more into the noise and gothic realm of rock… I find Dream Wife to be spanning a bit more broadly through more garage and punk. The punk fits to a tee with their themes of female empowerment, particularly prominent with the song “Somebody”.

You were a cute girl standing backstage
It was bound to happen
You had a smile on your face
It was bound to happen
What you wore and how you bore it so well
What did you expect would happen
You were a cute girl standing backstage it was bound to happen

I took on heaven to find peace
I took on the world to find me again

I am not my body
I am somebody
I am not my body
I am somebody

Knowing my female friends, I get the sense a lot of them could relate to those lyrics. I can think of a ridiculous amount of stories of them being immediately profiled in certain gender roles or judged based on their body first in social, personal, family and professional environments. If I had a daughter and I heard her rocking out to this album, I’d be so proud.

It also helps that this album just rocks.

 

Gavin Turek – It’s the Light

This song has been on repeat for me a week or so now. Yeah yeah, everyone might have a little bit of tropical/disco house fatigue, but there’s an authenticity to this song. To me, she comes off as one who’s given a great homage to the disco/soul era rather than trying to grab onto the industry-directed “make it sound like disco” resurgence. Sort of the way Leon Bridges in his early days made everyone think Sam Cooke had come back to life. Combine that with Gavin’s sultry voice, the melody and rhythmic percussions, this track is a solid pop toe-tapper.

By all accounts, she’s a hell of a live performer, so I’m gonna be keeping an eye on her upcoming LP release, and her tour schedule… she’s one to watch.

 

Fyfe – Belong (feat. Kimbra)

I’ve been a fan of Kimbra for a long time. Of course everyone knows her from that Gotye hit that dominated 2011 out of nowhere, but she’s also amazingly talented in her own right. Unfortunately outside of getting some well-deserved recognition in Australia and New Zealand, she hasn’t really returned to the North America mainstream since.

However, she’s back on this great smooth and funky track with Fyfe called “Belong”. Her powerful, haunting voice complements fantastically with Paul Dixon’s (Fyfe) softer tone. There’s almost a dance between the two of them, looking for a sense of belonging with each other. The back and forth highlights an underlying  discord, perhaps a fight, but still an underlying love.

I want to belong
(Don’t you know we’re physical and we’re spiritual?)
I’m tired of being a stranger to myself
(I’m tired of all the hotel rooms waiting up for you)
I want to belong
(So let’s turn around from this ‘cause I’m tired of this but I won’t give up)
Belong
(Let’s give ourselves a chance together, we can make it last forever)

We’ve all been there. There’s a fight or argument, maybe somebody goes out for a walk or drive, or work/life gets in the way of settling things out… then there reaches a point where both people acknowledge that there’s a barrier or divide between them but still long for each other. They want this wall to go away, but it’s there. They both want the same thing but aren’t sure how to get there.