Single File | 20 New(ish) Numbers To Put On Your Playlist

Feast your ears on recent gems from Bettye LaVette, Life, Mody Moctar & more.

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Sure, I get somewhere between a dozen and a hundred new songs and videos sent to me nearly every day. But even at that rate, I still miss out on countless treasures. So every few weeks, I download several hundred recent singles at a time from one of my favourite pirate sites and blast through them, looking for gems that have fallen through the cracks. Here are some goodies I dug out of the latest batch. Stay tuned for more. Because there’s always more.


The Aubreys | Brother

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Inspired after meeting on the set of the notorious Guilt Trip video for Toronto legends Pup, Finn Wolfhard and Malcolm Craig have been making music together since they were 11 years old. Forced by their respective schedules to record apart in random basements and hotel rooms, the duo reunited in Vancouver in the fall of 2019 to assemble The Aubreys songs in this, their last year of high school. Featuring additional contributions from Chicago-based best friend and wizard Mr. R Andrew Humphrey Esq., The Aubreys hold tight to the DIY ethos of their musical and cinematic heroes, and continue to maintain a fierce loyalty to various members of an ever-expanding scene. Book your flight now to Aubreysland.”


Bettye LaVette | I Hold No Grudge

THE PRESS RELEASE:Bettye LaVette is no mere singer. She is not a song writer, nor is she a “cover” artist. She is an interpreter of the highest order. Her gift is being able to take a song, whether well known or obscure, from any genre, and making it completely her own. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Neil Young, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen are just a few of the artists who have had their work reimagined by Bettye. Nina Simone’s I Hold No Grudge, which was suggested for LaVette by the original writer, Angelo Badalamenti, captures the defiance we associate with Simone while adding warmth and hopefulness.”


Bo Ningen | BC

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Wooed by many high-profile acts wanting to take them on tours and featured as icons, Bo Ningen embody today’s art/music scene where crossovers of different cultures are flourishing. They are fusing disparate sounds and influences into a fierce, eclectic torrent of grooves and bringing them across the oceans. The journey has been a success, attested to by support they garnered from musicians spanning a wide range of genres and generations, including Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, Kasabian, TV On The Radio, The Fall and Savages, to name a few. Their iconic look is only surpassed by their intense live performances, which have earned them a place as one of the most captivating live acts in the U.K.”


Cable Ties | Hope

THE PRESS RELEASE:Cable Ties are preparing to bring their towering wall of ’70s hard rock and proto-punk to the world following the release of their second album Far Enough on March 27. As a final preview to the record, the Melbourne trio is sharing Hope, the opening song and lyrical centerpiece of Far Enough. Guitarist and singer Jenny McKechnie says Hope serves as the record’s mission statement of sorts, touching on environmental, feminist, and anti-colonist themes. She adds: “Hope isn’t a passive emotion. It’s not about sitting back in your chair and figuring that everything will be fine and it will work out for the best somehow. It’s about having hope that you are a person who can make positive change and that society as a whole is full of people like you, who ultimately want the best for everyone and who can find a way to work together to overcome the challenges we face.”


Caro | Form A Line

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Alternative indie-rock trio from Leeds.” And clearly, a band that needs a good publicist.


Chemtrails | Frightful in the Sunlight

THE PRESS RELEASE:Frightful in the Sunlight comes from the new album from the garage-punk and acid-corroded new-wave outfit that is Chemtrails. Having started life as the lo-fi bedroom recording project of romantic partners Mia Lust and Laura Orlova back in 2016 Chemtrails quickly set about releasing two digital-only EPs before making their album debut in early 2018 with Calf of the Sacred Cow. Another EP, Cuckoo Spit, was released on 12” vinyl late the same year and Chemtrails spent 2019 working on their next full-length, which is now finally here. The Peculiar Smell of the Inevitable is the band’s heaviest and wildest record yet, with their trademark big melodies and harmonies performed over a frenzied wall of raw guitar noise and glistening synths.”


Country Westerns | Anytime

THE PRESS RELEASE:Country Westerns is a three-piece rock band from Nashville that sounds nothing like its name. Drummer Brian Kotzur (Trash Humpers, Silver Jews) and singer-songwriter-guitarist Joseph Plunket (The Weight, Gentleman Jesse) began working on songs together in 2016, after bonding over the shared desire to be in a band in a town full of solo artists and guns-for-hire. Following a couple of years writing and playing shows with varying lineups, Sabrina Rush (State Champion) joined the band as bassist. The now-complete Country Westerns recorded their debut album in New York and Nashville, encouraged by friend and producer Matt Sweeney. Plunket’s raspy bravado and subtle twang, his insistent 12-string guitar riffs, Kotzur’s dynamic and metronomic drumming, and Rush’s harmonic bass playing create hyper catchy rock songs, with lyrics that bend towards poetry and punk rock sneer in equal measure. Their self-titled debut is slated for release in 2020.”


Daniel Pearson | Brother

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Listening to Daniel Pearson for the first time is like re-discovering some of your old favourite records. Within the singer-songwriter’s finely crafted Americana you can hear the everyman poetry of Springsteen, the yearning country ballads of Ryan Adams & the universal folk-rock classicism of REM. That these influences are incorporated into his sound rather than overshadow it is testament to his abilities as a songwriter & musician. Over the course of three acclaimed studio albums since 2011 Pearson has switched between soulful country rock, beautiful folk vignettes, fuzz-driven garage blues & acoustic ballads, all unified by his emotive voice & knack for instinctive melodies.”


Dream Wife | Sports!

THE PRESS RELEASE:Dream Wife’s rise has been swift and steep from the start. Their self-titled debut album — an 11-track collection of heavy garage-punk riffs and dance party pop, out January 2018 — was released to widespread critical acclaim. They soundtracked shows like Orange is The New Black and Trinkets. Supported bands such as Garbage, The Kills and Sleigh Bells. Toured with Sunflower Bean across North America. And during all of this, took their explosive live show and pushed it out further, to an already eager, international audience. Now the band — vocalist Rakel, guitarist Alice, bassist Bella — are back with their second album, So When You Gonna… out July 3.”


Lee Fields | Let a Man Do What He Wanna Do

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Freshly unleashed from the vaults of Desco Records and remastered for the first time since its 1998 release, it is one of the finest and most satisfying needle drops of the last 40 years, Lee Fields’ classic, Let’s Get a Groove On. In addition to ushering in the funk revival of the 1990’s, this album was a watershed moment that laid roots for the future of soul music to come, being not only Fields’ re-introduction to the modern scene, but featuring background vocals by a young Miss Sharon Jones as well. Lee, who has been a steady player in the game since the late 1960’s, releasing a dozen or so funk/soul sides that have since become mainstays in the playboxes of some of the world’s most celebrated DJs, was relatively obscure when he teamed up with Desco Records. The release of Let’s Get a Groove On revitalized Lee’s career, placing him in the forefront of a burgeoning scene where he still stands today. This highly sought-after album is as raw and relevant as ever.”


Life | Switching On

THE PRESS RELEASE: “U.K. quartet Life have released their new song Switching On, which is also accompanied by a new video, directed and produced by the band with the help of local filmmaker Josh Moore (who has also collaborated with the band on all of their recent videos). The video channels Wes Anderson-esque color palettes and symmetrical shots, combining frenetic lighting with dating style video monologues from houseplants trying to find love. Life’s Mez Green says, “After completing A Picture of Good Health, I felt like I belonged in the world, lyrically painting over the bone-eating demons, I wanted to express why this was. I wanted to scratch it out like people do on woodland trees or moorland rocks. It was love; I found love. Switching On is my lyrical attempt of charting that journey; the initial giddy, nervous and pinch-me moments, the wanting to be accepted, the lust and the incredible feeling of finding that person and falling in love. The band wanted to be open to all aspects of musicality so that the lyrics were given an aural heart. We wanted to be brave, bold and exciting as we evolve our sound and rhythms by bringing in elements of synths, pads, machines and pure bass and guitar experimentation. Switching On is a nod to where we want to be and where we are going; the future.”


Lunar Vacation | Unlucky

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Atlanta-based Lunar Vacation formed the week that lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter Grace Repasky and guitarist Maggie Geeslin were old enough to drive to each other’s houses. In 2016, Repasky had begun to devote her summer hours to writing songs, which she sent to Geeslin, her classmate. The two decided to form a band that could channel the spirit of their diy-scene garage-rock idols with a chill edge. Soon enough, the girls found some older kids — including current drummer Connor Dowd and former member John Michael Young — to help their songs develop and translate to a live setting. The teens played just about every week in Atlanta for two years, eventually making their way to neighboring states on the weekend. The group decided to add keys as a staple to their sound, recruiting Matteo DeLurgio to elevate the songwriting. Determined to keep the music alive while attending college, Lunar Vacation took classes and toured while they could, taking support tours and selling out headlining shows across the U.S., all with just two self-released EPs under their belt.”


Magic Drum Orchestra | Original Nuttah

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Magic Drum Orchestra began as a 20+ piece percussion group led by Glyn Bush and Ralph Cree, covering a wide range of styles including batucada, samba, funk, hip hop drum & bass, dubstep, afrobeat — fusing traditional styles with modern dance beats. Between 2005 and 2015 the band made regular appearances at UK festivals as well as club gigs up and down the country, street festivals, parties and parades. MDO released their first album MDO in 2014. The follow up album The DNA of Rhythm is out now, featuring a whole host of grooves, head-spinning cover versions, a plethora of percussion and some amazing beats, from jungle to hip hop, GQOM to dub, samba to electro — all produced by Glyn Bigga Bush.”


Mdou Moctar | Ibitlan

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Recorded at the same sessions as Mdou’s recent album Ilana: The Creator, Ibitlan has been a staple of Mdou’s band’s live shows over the past years, sometimes being played at lengths of 10+ minutes! Whereas Ilana: The Creator‘s lyrical content often focused on life in postcolonial Niger, Ibitlan is more focused on matters of the heart. When describing the song, Mdou said, “It’s like when there’s a valley, with a stream running through it, and all the plants are green, the song is about how my girlfriend is beautiful like that. Her skin is like a yellow flower, and her smile is like lightning.” Mdou Moctar hails from a small village in central Niger in a remote region steeped in religious tradition. Growing up in an area where secular music was all but prohibited, he taught himself to play on a homemade guitar cobbled together out of wood. It was years before he found a “real” guitar and taught himself to play in secret. He immediately became a star amongst the village youth. In a surprising turn, his songs began to win over local religious leaders with their lyrics of respect, honor, and tradition.”


Monolink | Sinner (Edit)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Singer-songwriter and electronic music producer. To many, that might sound like two very different aspects of modern sound culture — which in turn makes Monolink a fascinating character, because he’s both rolled into one. His style seamlessly connects the narrative structure of a song with the compelling forward thrust of electronic rhythms. Guitar chords merge into synthetic pad sounds, hypnotic bass vibrations meet emotional vocal parts, passionate physicality meets sublime stimulation for the mind.”


Natalia Lafourcade | El Balajú Serenata Huasteca

THE (TRANSLATED) PRESS RELEASE: “With this song, Lafourcade fuses into one track two of the most important cultural hymns of the Mexican songbook: El Balajú, the work of Andrés Huesca, modeler of the iconic sound of the son jarocho that we know today, and Serenata Huasteca, a great classic by one of the greatest composers in Mexico, José Alfredo Jiménez. Both references of the music of Mexico are face to face thanks to Natalia, who prepared this combination with Kiko Campos to accompany her performance with Los Cojolites.”


Nick Leng | Music to Clean the House To

THE PRESS RELEASE: “South African born, LA-based artist Nick Leng continues the journey to the release of his transformative debut album Lemons with the reveal of new single, Music To Clean The House To. A widescale, intricately crafted indie track which touches upon a variety of genre without nailing its mast to any, the track captures what is wonderful about Leng. An artist in every sense of the word, he weaves rich sonic soundscapes capable of moving you physically and emotionally. Accompanied by a stellar video, Music To Clean The House To is in many ways the doorway to the Lemons LP. For  Leng, Lemons is more than just an album. Born of an emotional breakup, apartment fire and subsequent loss of a friend, the creation of this body of work is the result of personal odyssey through wistfulness, isolation, and ultimately a renewal of spirit. Leng’s full-length follows two EPs, Tunnels and Planes and Drivers, which racked up millions of streams online and widespread support. Lemons represents the next stage in Nick Leng’s journey.”


Nitin Sawhney | Down The Road (Original Version, Fast Burner Mix & Slow Burner Mix)

THE PRESS RELEASE: “One of the most talented and recognized producers and songwriters within the British electronic and fusion music scene, Nitin Sawhney is also a respected actor, writer and scriptwriter.”