Sister by The Black Keys. How fitting that one of the standout tracks from The Black Keys’ follow-up album to the masterpiece that was Brothers is titled Sister. El Camino may very well be the best album of the year. Get it!
Touch by Holy Other. Ambient, mysterious, electronic R&B grooves from Berlin/Manchester DJ and producer Holy Other. Featuring vocal samples, fingersnaps, an ominous bassline and dubstep beats. From the EP, With U.
‘Til I Disappear by Yellow Ostrich. The new single from Yellow Ostrich begins slowly with a lonely guitar line but builds into an epic jam featuring a screeching guitar solo by frontman Alex Schaaf, pounding drums and layered vocals. Download the free track from the group’s BandCamp page.
Youth by Daughter. Elena Tonra, the frontwoman of UK band Daughter, inhabits the space between the powerful, dark, orchestral sound of Natasha Khan of Bat for Lashes and the contained, acoustic folkiness of Laura Marling. From the EP, The Wild Youth.
Black Blessed Night by Two Dark Birds. For fans of Andrew Bird and indie-folk music. Here’s a great write-up from MOKB:
Blending indie Americana roots music with an old-world minstrel feel, Black Blessed Night falls somewhere between a Renaissance Festival lullaby and an impromptu campfire ramble underneath a starry sky. The vibrant strings, tinkling piano and strummy guitars all lend themselves to a beautifully stirring tune of self-reflection and celebration.
Show Me The Place by Leonard Cohen. The first single from Cohen’s forthcoming album Old Ideas is a song of suffering and devotion; a reverential plea, a holy whisper. Featuring Jennifer Warnes’ soothing, soaring vocals.
Serpents by Sharon Van Etten. The first single from Van Etten’s forthcoming album, Tramp. The album features contributions from The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Beirut’s Zach Condon, Julianna Barwick, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, the Walkmen’s Matt Barrick, and Doveman’s Thomas Bartlett.
I Would Die To Be by Ski Lodge. Ski Lodge (aka Andrew Marr) manages to combine the catchy surf guitar pop of Beach Fossils with the ironic melancholy of The Smiths. Grab the free download for the price of a Facebook “Like”.
Against The Grain by Hudson. A catchy propulsive song from Melbourne indie-folk artist Hudson. While the song, from Hudson’s debut EP, Open Up Slowly, garnered him a fair amount of attention, it’s the recently released stop-motion animation music video produced by Dropbear (Jonathan Chong) that has gone viral. Check it out here.
Nothing Is The News by Damien Jurado. The first single from the forthcoming Richard Swift-produced album Maraqopa (due February 2012) is a bluesy psych-rock jam that is reminiscent of early Santana and John Mayall. Featuring Jurado’s controlled vocals and swampy guitar lines and solos. A free download is available on SoundCloud.
Home Again by Michael Kiwanuka. Yes, you’re seeing and hearing double. I just couldn’t pass up posting back-to-back Kiwanuka tracks this evening. This is the recently released title track from Kiwanuka’s forthcoming EP, Home Again. So good.
I Need Your Company by Michael Kiwanuka. If you’re a fan of soul men like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Bill Withers, you’re going to love Michael Kiwanuka. The son of Ugandan immigrants, Kiwanuka’s vintage soul grooves are so authentic and pitch perfect that you’ll swear you’ll listening to a Berry Gordy produced Motown album. From his debut EP, Tell Me A Tale.
Liliputt by Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny. Wow, can this Geordie girl sing! The first single from the forthcoming Ben Hillier-produced album, Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, is a raucous, galloping affair that features Houghton’s ethereal, soaring vocals. If you like what you hear, also have a listen to another of Houghton’s gems, Dodecahedron.
Heatstroke by Brick + Mortar. Anthemic, frenetic, hard driving, punk-influenced indie-rock music from New Jersey duo Brick + Mortar. You can even here the faux Joe Strummer English accent creep in here and there. Check out more tracks from B+M on their Bandcamp page.
Die Trying by Anna Vogelzang. Plucking banjos, fiddle & cello arrangements and, oh, that voice. Boston native Anna Vogelzang is clearly steeped in the traditions of American folk music even when she’s singing lines like “I mean, I’m Dutch, I think that they are known for bad behavior.” She describes this song as being about “an unstoppable hope and ferocious drive.” The same could be said of her uplifting and powerful voice. From her forthcoming album, Canary in a Coal Mine.
Gold by Wake! Owl. Vancouver based singer/songwriter Wake! Owl (aka Colyn Cameron) recently released their debut EP, Wild Country. It’s an intimate and introspective album punctuated by poetic lyricism, folk-influenced musical arrangements and Cameron’s tender vocals.
Post-War Blues by Dan Mangan. A standout track from Mangan’s latest release, Oh Fortune. While there’s a certain Mumford & Sons folk-rock sincerity to the song, it really takes off around the three minute mark and ends with a flourish of raucous drums and high speed guitar work. Download the track for free on SoundCloud.