- Tom H
New Music Spotlight (Autumn 2022)
In this New Music Spotlight post, we take a listen to six new tracks from a variety of musical artists. While the seasons have transitioned from summer to autumn, I feel there are hints and whispers of late summer within the tracks below. Whatever season is your favorite, I hope you'll find something new or enticing in the featured songs from Big Wild, Friday Pilots Club, HOLNE, Holy Motors, Bertine Zetlitz, and Röyksopp (feat. Susanne Sundfør).
Be sure to check out the SoundThread Music Blog Spotify playlist where you can stream the songs below and a lot more great new indie tunes!
Big Wild | The Efferusphere (album track)
Portland-based electronic/indie producer and musician Big Wild (a.k.a., Jackson Stell) recently released his sophomore album, The Efferusphere, the anticipated follow-up to his 2019 debut release, Superdream. The melancholic and cinematic title track ("The Efferusphere") is the opener of this impressive album. Hypnotic and gently-paced, "The Efferusphere" hovers somewhere between Radiohead and acoustic Above & Beyond with Jackson's heartfelt, emotive vocals lifting this to a euphoric musical high.
What Is the "efferusphere," you might ask? On the band's website, Big Wild defines it as "a parallel dimension where emotional energy defines the law of what you see and hear based on how you feel," adding that "the efferusphere can be thought of as the emotional atmosphere of life on Earth."
Reflecting on the three-year creative process that yielded The Efferusphere, Big Wild notes: "It was scary to look at myself in an honest way when writing this album. Some songs came easy, the fun or sexy ones. I've always felt comfortable expressing joy. But other songs left me feeling naked and ugly. A few lines still sink an uncomfortable pit in my stomach. But I listen back and think 'that's me, that's genuine.' Ironically, exploring an imagined place like The Efferusphere helped me create something more real. It's liberating to share these songs with you and to have this album out in the world."
Friday Pilots Club | Never Say No (new single)
"Never Say No," the latest single from Chicago indie rockers Friday Pilots Club is an infectious, powerful alt-rock anthem with heartfelt lyrics that reflect on never being the one to say no in a relationship.
"I'll never say no, just a 20 something
Who never lets go, It's all or nothing
For you, I won't
I'll never say"
Originally a duo consisting of singer Caleb Hiltunen and multi-instrumentalist Drew Polovick, the full five-member Friday Pilots Club includes Sean Burke, Eric Doar and James Kourafas. The band's 2021 self-titled EP caught the attention of listeners, music blogs and publications with standout tracks like "Look Better In Gold" and "Glad To Be Here."
"Never Say No" and previous singles, "Better With" and "Hot Mess," are all set to appear on Friday Pilots Club's forthcoming sophomore EP, I Love You, Robot Superstar!
HOLNE | November Sky (debut single)
Hailing from Devon, alternative indie/pop artist HOLNE (f.k.a., Richard James) drops his lyrically honest and undeniably catchy debut single, "November Sky." Drawing on influences from the likes of Lauv, The 1975 and John Mayer, this outstanding first release shimmers with synths, melodic vocals, catchy rhythm and an 80's vibe, all working to effortlessly create this upbeat indie-pop anthem. In HOLNE’s words, "'November Sky' is an inner-conversation of regrets, assumptions and a longing to rekindle a past relationship."
The songwriter shares, "I wrote the beginnings of this whilst on an evening dog walk watching a November sky. Letting go of a perfect day and losing it to the night. That was the inspo behind the chorus!" Giving audiences a glimpse into the mind of the songwriter, HOLNE admits, "I'd say a lot of my songs are lyrically inner-thoughts that hopefully people can relate to and resonate with."
Based on this impressive debut release, I'm looking forward to more music from HOLNE! This is definitely one to add to your Autumn playlists.
Holy Motors | Superstar (new cover single)
Tallinn-based reverb/dreamcountry band Holy Motors presents their unique cover of "Superstar," a familiar song that music fans of a certain age remember as a massive hit from 70's soft rock duo, The Carpenters. If that's the version you hear playing in your head, set that aside, dim the lights, relax and queue up Holy Motors' clever, hazy take on the song. This down-tempo, cinematic rendition on the track sounds pretty incredible and refreshing.
Holy Motors guitarist Lauri Raus comments about "Superstar" on social media: "Some years back I saw James Wilsey's performance of 'Superstar' on the internet. The melody was spaced out in echo and beautiful and he was just pushing it down hard on the vibrator bar of his silver-sparkling Fender Stratocaster. In a strangely similar fashion in '71, Richard Carpenter happened to hear Bette Midler sing this same song on late night television. And then Karen sang it for the Carpenters. But originally the song wasn't written by a sibling duo, as you might have heard or known from your own previous existence, but rather by Leon Russell and a married couple of soul and country music named Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. I think that's cute. They titled it 'Groupie.' It's definitely not a lament. What is sad though, is that James Wilsey in his solo career never finished a recording of his own 'Superstar.' And that's the motivation and gist of it for our recording."
Aside from this captivating cover song, be sure to check out Holy Motors original music across their two impressive albums, Slow Sundown (2018) and Horse (2020).
Bertine Zetlitz | Soft Hurt (new single)
I fell in love with the music of Norwegian electropop singer-songwriter Bertine Zetlitz in 2003 with the singles "Girl Like You" and "Twisted Little Star" from her third studio album Sweet Injections. Her style of blending catchy pop melodies and electronic soundscapes with her ethereal, sweet-sounding vocals makes every one of her songs alluring and delectable.
Bertine's pulsing, synthpop-driven new single "Soft Hurt" finds the musician giving a nod to the style of music and production from her early days. This is classic, top-notch Bertine delivering an infectious dancefloor filler that will resonate in your head long after you've left the club. On social media, Bertine refers to "Soft Hurt" as a "good 'old-fashioned' Bertine song" (translated). I'm definitley looking forward to more like "Soft Hurt" and perhaps a new Bertine album is in the works!
Röyksopp feat. Susanne Sundfør | Oh, Lover (new single)
Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp (Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland) returns with its new Profound Mysteries trilogy of albums, the first significant release of new music from the band in eight years. Like previous releases, the band once again finds themselves collaborating with various vocalists, including Norwegian singer-songwriter Susanne Sundfør.
"Oh Lover" is one of several collaborations with Susanne across the Profound Mysteries albums and the sixth single release from the project. With its driving bassline, heavy electro/synth production and melodic vocal arrangements throughout, this Röyksopp track truly stands out among the group's single releases and compositions in general. From a vocal perspective, I can't imagine anyone other than Susanne giving this catchy song its energy and sparkle.
You made me feel like no other
Touching me deeper than others
Making me feel I was wanted"
Regarding the underlying concept of the Profound Mysteries music project and trilogy of albums, Röyksopp comments, "As human beings, what we don’t know vastly overshadows what we do know. As teenagers, we would discuss our own fascination and preoccupation with the infinite and the impossible – the most profound mysteries of life."