Summer may almost be a wrap for 2019, with shorter days, cooler temperatures, and pumpkin-spice everything on the way, but there’s no substitution for great new music that keeps coming our way. For this September edition of Snappy Singles, here are some amazing releases that you won’t want to miss.
Wintersleep, “Free Fall / Fading Out”
Following the release of “In The Land Of,” their seventh studio album back in March, Nova-Scotia indie-rockers Wintersleep have just launched a brand new 7” single. I’m calling this a ‘Double A-Side’ single (which shows my age, right?), as both tracks here are equally impressive, and mark themselves as proud extensions to their longlisted Polaris Prize album. “Free Fall” builds momentum immediately, the beat competing constantly with Paul Murphy’s vocals. The pace never slows, a gallop that turns this into a great rock anthem; with every ingredient to be a great addition to their live set. The band are going full-throttle here, and fans will absolutely love it.
“Fading Out” has a slower, melodic pace that oozes with their vintage sound; slow ringing guitar cries and a steady beat dictated by drummer Loel Campbell. Paul’s vocals dominate for a while, delivering lines with great clarity. “I know the alliance of your love / Sway in the dark clouds of your storm / You are the only place I want to go / We’ll die alone in the secret I know, I know.” The signature guitar sounds promptly follow, with sufficient effects and distortion that you’d expect, keeping Wintersleep firmly tied to their proud indie-rock roots. Highly recommended listening for fans both new and old alike.
The High Loves, “Tried Too Hard”
Hailing from Toronto, ON, this quartet grabbed my attention immediately with a pair of questions. “How can one simultaneously be modern, and yet nostalgic? To draw from yesterday, and still be as fresh as tomorrow’s news?” Spinning the single, the answers are discovered pretty quickly. Drawing their inspiration from indie darlings such as The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, the beat and vocals definitely have a postmodern punk-pop flair, but wait…… ooh, those vintage guitar rings, slight surf riffs and vocal harmonies add genuine hints of The Beatles and The Beach Boys too. It’s like combining the music of Thrush Hermit with Herman’s Hermits – not a sensible mixture – yet The High Loves pull this feat off both naturally and with ease.
“It’s about getting back out into the world of dating, and coming to the subconscious realization that you’re only trying to recreate a version of your past relationship with new people,” the band share. “[But] to really get to know someone, you have to embrace what makes them special.” Great melodic riffs and outstanding up-tempo vocals make it easy to see why the band took the rock music honors in the 2019 John Lennon Songwriting Competition. “Tried too hard to be your friend / When it’s over and done, when we’ve reached the end / Will you try too hard to fall in love again? / I didn’t love myself, but I sure loved you / Should have spent more time with my own point of view / But I tried too hard, to fall in love again.” Cue the ringing guitar solo that follows. Cue the vocal-only bridge. Cue the smile on your face as you join the band on this ride. Give this one a spin, and you’ll quickly learn to love your ‘Repeat’ button.
Frankiie, “Funny Feelings”
It was just last month that I discovered the music of Vancouver-based indie dream-rock band Frankiie, whose previous single, “Compare,” demonstrated a sound synonymous with the 90s indie-rock scene, complete with “reverb-drenched guitars and intoxicating harmonies.” And with this timely release of “Funny Feelings,” another pre-release from their upcoming “Forget Your Head” album, the quartet have quickly earned a return to our pages. “Funny Feelings embraces the surf-rock sound found through exploring tone and working with new guitars and pedals, as the ominous, yet playful track encourages the listener to ‘feel your intuition’.”
Surf-rock vibes do indeed lead the way, accompanied by the same powerful shared vocals we encountered last time around. Yet as this song progresses, things get a little wild. I never aim to intentionally list similarities to others when hearing a song for the first time, but “Funny Feelings” had my mind working overtime, recounting many multi-faceted musical influences from my past. A bizarre cornucopia of pleasures are surfacing, from Chris Isaak and Stevie Nicks, to Visage and Courtney Love, all now bouncing around in this gathering in my head. And all I can deduce from this crazy collection of thoughts is that Frankiie have infiltrated my inner psyche, and have successfully convinced me to check out their full album once released later this week.
Current Swell, “Bring It On Home”
Sticking with music from Canada’s western province, Victoria-based indie rockers Current Swell just released “Bring It On Home,” their first new single following the string of successful commercial releases from their 2017 “When to Talk and When to Listen” album. With a strong indie-rock core, Current Swell have developed and honed their unique style over the years, fusing blues, roots, ska and reggae influences into their signature sound. And just when I believed I had their ‘sound’ completely figured out, along comes “Bring It On Home,” sending me back to the drawing board once again.
Opening with some gentle acoustic guitars and smooth bass lines, there is an air of Hawaiian breeziness filling the airwaves here, joined soon after by some incredibly soft dual vocal harmonies from Scott Stanton and Dave Lang. How soft? Think Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” or Kodaline’s “All I Want,” soft here, and you’re close. Yet for those familiar with Current Swell’s acoustic versions of select tracks from their last album, released in 2018 via streaming services only, this new track may be considered more ‘progression’ than ‘experimentation.’ And as we bid summer farewell, this single makes sure that sea breezes, quiet boardwalks and hammocks stay with us for a little while longer. Not only a well-timed release, but a great teaser of some highly anticipated new music from Current Swell.