Bknott goes under the knife, Agata Karczewska confesses her sins, Alexandros Kilias goes coconuts, Cody Randall crosses the border and Sail Into Night go dark in today’s treats from SubmitHub, the site where artists pay a small fee to send songs to reviewers like me. If you’d like to try to get in on that action, my page is here. But I warn you: The lineup is pretty long.
“You don’t even know what I’ve been through,” challenges Alabama rapper Bknott on his latest track Bandages. He’s got that right. And truth be told, I’m not sure I want to know. Whatever is behind this grim number — or at least the grisly, blood-soaked surgical-procedures-and-straitjackets clip that complements it — certainly doesn’t seem to have been a positive experience for the man. Thankfully, his disarmingly understated pipes, rapid-fire delivery and earworm chorus — along with the headnodding subterranean backbeat that support them — ensure that your experience with the whole affair will be far more positlve. Assuming you have the stomach for it.
2 Agata Karczewska
Envy Is My Sin
I don’t know about you, but when somebody sends me a song titled Envy is My Sin — from an album named I’m Not Good at Having Fun — I’m definitely going to listen to it. And when it sounds like something straight out of the deep, dark backwood swamps of the American south — which is exactly where this twangy, haunting country-folk confession from Polish (yes, Polish) singer-songwriter Agata Karczewska seems like it should have originated — I’m going to listen to it more than once. As should you. Ignoring this would be the real sin.
3 Alexandros Kilias
It’s late. The bar closed hours ago. The afterparty has wrapped. You’re riding home on the last bus of the night. After all the loud music and yelled conversation of the past several hours, your head is ringing like a fire alarm. But in the vast emptiness of the deserted car, it’s too quiet. So you pull out your phone and cue up the instrumental track Coconut by London-based Greek pianist Alexandros Kilias. A gently strummed guitar, rainstick textures and a slow-groove laced with tom-toms lead into an ascending, hypnotically soothing electric piano scale. You put it on repeat, close your eyes, take a deep breath and settle in for the ride. It’s the perfect ending to a memorable night.
4 Cody Randall
This One Is Ours
Inspiration is a funny thing. It doesn’t always come from where you expect. Case in point: This soulful electro-pop gem from California singer-songwriter Cody Randall. He says it was partly sparked by being detained and eventually kicked out of the U.K. over visa issues. But you’d never know a negative experience led to the lazily flowing beat, futuristic textures and grand keyboards that bolster his gorgeously tender crooning and swooning falsetto. If only all customs and immigration hassles could end up as something this lovely.
5 Sail Into Night
How often do you get to hear doom-laced slowcore played by a Pakistani duo based in the United Arab Emirates? Not that often, I’m guessing. So today is your lucky day — especially if you like your slowcore pitch-black and extra somnambulent. Not to mention laced with well-deep vocals, decorated with ominously ringing guitars and turbocharged with a droning qawwali harmonium. Every bit as heavy as its title but far more beautiful, Burden is the soundtrack to your darkest dreams.