Get caught in the fun energetic genius that is Down The Pen, the new single from KLEN. Rooted in the 60s garage rock that served as the precursor to Punk, KLEN rages with raw emotion and reckless abandonment. There’s a clear arrangement and intent to their writing, but the frenzied performance is also by design. Every member of the group enjoys a good freak-out. What’s impressive is how tight they keep to the tempo range while simultaneously always jamming like their pushing it forward. It has an accelerating affect, like a growing charge calling you to give in to its unfiltered appeal. It literally calls you to dance like a maniac.
And if you doubt that it’s all in good fun, just peep the elegant music video. One of the best we’ve seen in a bit, it’s the kind of visual advertisement that gives the music a proper conceptual home while also emboldening the bands genuine nature.
The performance alone is enough to grab you. It has a hint of rebellious youth known to early cuts from icons The Who and The Kinks, a sped up nod to Velvet Underground’s swagger, and the psych pop appeal of underground Indies like Echo Kid. The warm analog tape tones add to the retro appeal. Dualing guitars rip tasty leads while the bass and drums rumble beneath. The group vocal adds to the groups sense of community and fellowship, a rare element only known to proper bands. An endangered species, quality groups are hard to come by these days. KLEN are both purveyors of a treasured era in popular music while simultaneously encouraging it’s revival. This is the kind of jam that will make you want to pick up the guitar and rock.
Dig it. Down The Pen now on our Best New Indie Playlist
Toronto based songwriter Ordinary // Colours is infectious on his emotive single Pacific Division. You’re immediately grabbed by an entrancing sonic palette of glockenspiel melodies and dreamy synths. The production layers lift the dreamy affect, but Pacific Division is a damn good song in its own right. Songwriter Justin Chee knows how to write a heartfelt vocal melody and pair it with meaningful lyrics, with a delivery that harkens back to The Smiths and The Cure. The post punk meets new wave attitude is further enhanced by the steady backbeat and upbeat tempo despite the serene soft vibe he sprinkles on top. With indie sensibility it connects loosely with artists like The National and Ra Ra Riot in how it references the 80s without trending derivative. You can hear an inkling of the songwriters influences but recognize he casts a wide stylistic net. One things for certain, he digs a sentimental sound with abundant variation. This is not four chord rock, the progression is meant to allude you and keep you entranced to its mystery.
Lyrically Chee examines the plight of an artist and the conflict of balancing pursuing your career and just plain surviving. “Just a job that will save, but I don’t wanna talk about it with my friends. I can’t tell my parents, That I have borne a kid. Nothing scarred, nothing healed.” This deep personal reflection is a common theme in the pursuit of art as a career.
THIS IS WHAT WE ARE ABOUT!!!! This is why we call our blog The Wild Is Calling! The industry is like the wilderness. There is scattered information and clues to guide you, but so many intangibles redirect you at every turn. The adventurers who pursue it are a little insane and the challenges can consume you. Pacific Division connects with the ethos of our blog, and our mission in uncovering the most unique undiscovered gems, rare beautiful stones yet to be uncovered. Chee examines this elegantly, with a dark romantic vibe that’s both melancholy and beautiful. And so is life, and so is art, and so is the journey. The yin and yang of our existence, and the balance that eludes us.
Dig in to Pacific Division now on our Best New Indie Playlist.
MAUGER are majestic on the sacred single Ma Ja. The Belgium rockers have the charm and patient approach that drew fans to artists like Jose Gonzalez and Kings of Convenience. It’s a delicate fire, and it’s warmth is energizing. It starts with the vibrant texture and natural bounce of the finger picked nylon acoustic. The singers smoky forced whisper, sang from the bellows of the person. A trait of sadness in their voice gives way to measured resolve, they know the beauty in life’s pain fuels the spirit of a true romantic. The upbeat drums and dancing harmonies create an intoxicating soundscape. You will lose yourself in this exotic dance.
The unfamiliar but soothing chord arrangement is one the singles entrancing features. It’s exciting to hear something so hard to place while also finding familiarities and traits of possible inspirations. There’s evidence of indie acts like Midlake and classic works by Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac, with melodic hints of the dark pop known to the Cure and The Smiths. MAUGER brings wide appeal in the world of indie, they’re soft enough for the indie folk crowd while also alluding to more multi-format projects like Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear. It’s a clear indie hit, and a true undiscovered gem.
Buy into Ma Ja now on our Best New Indie Playlist.
Wander into the cinematic world of Seafarers. The group are impressive on their recent 10 song release II. Rich arrangements display careful consideration and incredible effort. These 10 offerings are calculated compositions with studied character. If they aren’t art school alums, they’re definitely students of style. Every instrument and sonic choice carefully employed with presence to support their defined purpose. Instrumental layers weave within and around each other, glued together by the rhythm sections plotted pumping and sneaky churn.
II is a thick offering. The sound evolves as the album progresses. They alternate variations of their sonic palette. Their female singer has an appealing trademark delivery. Along with the elusive drummer, together they anchor their sound as the guitars and pianos occasionally roam into parallel musical worlds. It’s initially a dreamy vibe, with a clear affinity for Rock but dedicated to the Sanctity of a song and armed with an arsenal of big arrangements and incredible ability. Whether its the serenity of A Disappearing Act, The pop pickup of Newlyweds, or the experimental groove of Nathalie, their musical gifts are abundant. This first movement will appeal to fans of bedroom pop projects like Bady Drawn Boy, Phoebe Bridgers, and Feist, artists with an affinity for smart arrangements rooted in the magic of icons like Brian Wilson.
A Perfect Frost is an invitation to the albums second movement. The flip side of the record, the other side of the moment. Somber and introspective, reflections like You Can’t Pretend in the Dark recall sacred works by Simon and Garfunkel. Seafarers perform with truth and heartfelt conviction. It can be kind of sad, but also mellow blue in the vein of 50s Jazz, like an indie folk Kind Of Blue.
The whole album deserves a proper sit down listen.
Get started with Newlyweds now on our Best New Indie Playlist