[PREMIERE] Quiet Domino – “Mystery Cup”

It’s easy to slap a Thom Yorke comparison on any left-leaning electronic song with falsetto male vocals, but “Mystery Cup” is much more than another copycat track indebted to King Of Limbs. A unique skittering percussion loop keeps things active even at the most minimal moments, but manages to never interfere with Quiet Domino’s voice as it echoes and rolls down unseen hallways. The way he builds the song slowly around the melody hits paydirt in the middle of the track, when soft pads and added vocal layers bloom into every corner of the sonic space. Making a transition feel simultaneously huge and subtle is no easy feat, but “Mystery Cup” is a masterclass in these understated flourishes. Somewhere, Thom is nodding slowly in approval.

If you want to hear Quiet Domino turn up the funk (which obviously you do), dig into “Slo Mo” below.

 

[PREMIERE] Wet Leather – “I Was Wrong” & “IWMU”

Wet Leather‘s latest track is made for gazing at lights from a disco ball from the edge of the party. You tap your feet and sway your hips, but you’re far too sad/morose/shy/cool/awkward to get on the floor. Instead, you watch the shuffling swing of the drums and the Prince-inspired guitar licks light up the rest of the dance circle. You mouth along with the lyrics, “I’m in love for the last time, I never want to do that again” as the lights flare up with the stargazing synths. But then you catch someone’s eye – did they just wink at you? And suddenly your friends are at your side, clapping your shoulders and pushing you towards the middle of the room, just in time for you to catch the peak of the final chorus.

We get to catch the rest of the party when Wet Leather drops their new EP, Present Lives, on February 2nd. Until then, keep your spirits high with the first single from the release, “IWMU”.

For even more Wet Leather, throw on “Astral Projection” from VINYL MOON Volume 004: Surface Tension.

[PREMIERE] Jon Coyle – “Fun & Levitating”

Longtime TBE readers will recognize Son Step, which gives you a starting point for the new solo project by member Jon Coyle. But “Fun & Levitating”, the debut single from his upcoming Happy Place EP, is a slightly different beast. While Coyle’s music doesn’t fully divert from the electronic-indebted folk styling of Son Step, it does find him reprioritizing those elements, favoring delicate layering and meditative rondos over more traditional song structures. It’s a musical smorgasbord with dashes of Fleet Foxes, CAN, ambient, krautrock, lofi drone, and even Indian ragas, and Coyle’s velvety overlapping vocals melting all those influences together into something a little bit more. But despite all the lush singing, this doesn’t feel like a song to sing along to – it feels like a song to get lost in. Dreamy Sunday mornings just found their new favorite soundtrack.

If you want to re-explore Son Step, start with “Sweet Wife Life” from VINYL MOON Volume 015: Taking Shapes.

[PREMIERE] Rattlerette – “Here Be Dragons”

 

There’s a lot of things that Rattlerette sounds like, but there’s nothing that sounds like Rattlerette. Their brand of rock feels gothic without being “goth”, more reminiscent of glaring statues and dramatic arches than graveyards and black eyeliner. There’s a gorgeous vintage lushness to their recording, as demonstrated by the retro record header used in their artwork. But “Here Be Dragons” also feels distinctly of the now – a feat difficult for an indie rock song to achieve in 2017. The drums are all R&B shuffle, and but the rhythm is really pushed by the flow of the bass and the synth swells that gently lean you forward like a dance partner who knows how to lead. Angelic piano and the choruses’ backing choir may set your mind heavenward, but lyrics like “I’ve been livin’ with the sinners” and “I’ve been searchin’ for grace” make the song aimed at the impious. “Here Be Dragons” may not save your soul, but it will fill it to the brim.

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[PREMIERE] Fred Page – “Saw It Off”

 

“Saw It Off” is about letting go of the things holding you back from where you want to go, and every aspect of the song commits to that feeling. From the jaunty guitar line that’s practically jumping out of the speakers, to the way the beat seems to get shut off for a second at the end of the choruses, Fred Page makes each element contribute to themes of his lyrics. “I turned away from all the bridges I burned on the way” is a rallying cry to move forward while also acknowledging the speaker’s own role in holding himself back – something stated even more directly in the repeated question “What am I waiting for? It’s only gonna weigh me down”.  The result is reminiscent of Ben Howard, but much livelier and easier to envision in an arena. “Saw It Off” might just be your next big hands-in-the-air anthem.

Saw It Off

PREMIERE – Dr. Doctor – “Seventeen (Say The Words)”

This may only be Dr. Doctor’s second single, but they’re already proving themselves as masters of the musical bait-and-switch. Everything about “Seventeen” is silky – the guitars, the gentle splash of the cymbals, and especially Ralph Torrefranca’s vocals. All those plush vibes make the heavy grooves of the instrumental bridge that much more powerful, like the not-unpelasant rush of someone nudging you just as you start to drift off. Paired with lyrics that bear repeat listens and contemplation, Dr. Doctor is primed to be your newest on-repeat band.

“Seventeen (Say The Words)” is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Bandcamp on October 17th. If you’re in Los Angeles, come out to Dr. Doctor’s single release show at The Hi Hat that night, presented by the mighty KROQ. Also playing are Royaljag, Sleeplust, and Young Creatures. Tickets available HERE.

 

PREMIERE – Shiffley – “Up & Down”

It can be hard for bands without massive budgets to properly capture their live energy into recorded works. But this doesn’t seem to be a problem for Shiffley, whose single “Up & Down” is bursting with intensity. Shaune Killough’s toothy bass is a mechanical bull barely in your control as Alex Ganes’ vocal lines gallop along with indie-rock bluster, and Bryan Contreras locks it all together with tight, peppy drumming. Which is great, because it gives the synths (by Alex Jenks) a chance to get truly galactic, particularly in the final chorus before a well-deserved jam-out instrumental break. Be sure to finish your drink before this one comes on – you’ll want both hands free as you jump around like a maniac.

Some words from the band about the song:

“For us, “Up & Down” is about tension and release. It’s a song with patience that, at times, goes sinister. It came very naturally from a place of false indifference. The lyrics innocently inform themselves ultimately arriving at the conclusion, “I’m better off alone.” The instrumental build up at the end serves as a meditation on that thought.”

PREMIERE – Shoffy – “Fake Friends (feat. Sidizen King)”

We’re launched right into “Fake Friends” with an opening salvo from Sidizen King, whose blistering verse keeps up with the breakneck drum fill that accents the rest of the track. But when Shoffy grabs the mic, he’s no slouch – spitting lines like “I’ve got no more friends from L.A. / They just hang around to get paid”. What really works with “Fake Friends” is we can hear the hurt that these toxic relations have caused. There’s a tenderness, found in both the childlike chimes of the beat and also lyrics like “Rollin’ with my old crew, leave if I don’t know you”. Unfortunately for Shoffy, if he keeps releasing great songs like this, it might only encourage the fakes to keep coming out of the woodwork. But at least he’ll have a go-to anthem to shut them down.