Monday, 16 October 2017

Playlist: International #015 - Kainalu, Kadija Kamara, Westerman, Skye Wallace & more

Kadija Kamara Eyes on You

Info: It's been way too long since our last Best of Independent International Music Playlist here at REMY, but with every cloud etc.! Here we have a collection of 10 tracks from the U.K., U.S. & Canada, including new tracks from old friends of the blog which we are delighted to share The Midwestern Bass Machine and The Saxophones. There's also a few accompanying videos for some of the singles which you can enjoy below. Where singles are attached to an EP or album release, we've hyper-linked for you to hear more if you're digging the tunes.

1. Kainalu - 'Love Nebula' from the EP Bloom Lagoon (Hawaii)

Meet Trent Kainalu. An old Hawaiian soul whose most recent release, 'Bloom Lagoon' is all about connecting back to his culture. The fond memories of playing in the ocean and feeling the sand beneath his toes inspired his part lo-fi electronic, part psychedelic rock genre that he calls "Hawaii-Fi."

By utilizing vintage analog synths and a 70s tape machine, the track was born. The strong bass line was Kainalu’s initial idea, and from there sparked the other various layers of melodies and beats. The playfulness of the instruments mirrors the lyrics, as they’re about being childish in a way, "sort of the feeling of wanting to be wanted by someone" says Kainalu. 

2. Kadija Kamara - 'Eyes on You' - (London)

'Eyes On You' is Kadija Kamara’s exhilarating new single. Elephantine guitar riffs and seductive dance beats underpin her stunning neo-soul voice. With her retro approach to singing, Kadija’s full-bodied vocals soar atop an instrumental that sonically evokes the Black Keys or White Stripes school of contemporary rock and roll. As the song opens up, so too does the style, with gloriously off kilter synth arrangements and an invigorating sugar rush chorus. It’s a technicolor romp through styles and tones that are both thrillingly futuristic and classic in their sentiments.

3. Brenda - 'Children' from the forthcoming EP Creeper (Toronto)

On the surface level this could be a song about a friendship, or even a relationship, but go a little deeper and the song is about childhood and what happens when people lose their childlike innocence. Everyone, at some point, wants to escape the trappings of adulthood and run away to a place where it seems as if time doesn't exist and age doesn't matter. This song vacillates between these two states of being.

4. Westerman - 'Keep Track' - from the EP Call and Response (London)

Through the subtle interplay of acoustic and machine sound, Westerman’s voice is realised in the half-light between reality andimagination. 'Keep Track' is a meditation on the human urge for self-documentation. Amidst the idiosyncratic guitar playing, Westerman asks "is it right to lay it all out like that?" It’s a message that chimes with our generation's anxieties.

5. The Midwestern Bass Machine - 'Downtown Trash' - (Minnesota)

We've been covering the music from Minneapolis electronic and dream-pop solo act The Midwestern Bass Machine almost since the blog began reviewing music and the magic just keeps on flowing, 'Downtown Trash' is a joy on so many levels, from its birthplace of 80's East Coast hip-hop intro to its wandering journey towards twinkling indietronica, young artist Brock Splawski wows us once again. There's also another album on the way. I highly recommend you check out his back catalogue here on Bandcamp.

6. The Saxophones - 'Aloha' (Oakland, California)

Another act we've had the pleasure of covering in the past are Oakland duo The Saxophones, whose 2016 EP If You're On The Water completely melted our hearts with its tender take on ambient folk and dream-pop, a must listen. We were delighted when they sent on new single 'Aloha' which was released last month, imagine a younger Leonard Cohen with The Walkmen as his backing band penning a track especially for the Twin Peaks soundtrack and you have an idea of how gorgeous this new track is.

Skye Wallace - Scarlet Fever

7. Skye Wallace - 'Scarlet Fever' (Toronto)

Back to Toronto, Canada for the new single 'Scarlet Fever' from Skye Wallace who released her last album Something Wicked last year. It's a rollicking pop-punk track with a Ramones swagger bristling throughout, the manic drumming and a captivating vocal lead to a moment of gentle pause before thrashing out it's final 30 seconds, delightful.

8. Puppet Rebellion - 'Slave' from forthcoming album Chemical Friends (Manchester)

After releasing two EPs and several singles since their debut in 2013, the band have been working with acclaimed producer Gavin Monaghan (Editors, Ocean Colour Scene, The Twang) and touring extensively (including support slots for Catfish & The Bottlemen) as well as playing festivals across the UK and also featuring on BBC Radio 2 (Dermot O’Leary) and both BBC Introducing Manchester and Stoke. 

9. Malena Zavala - 'If It Goes' (London)

Argentinian born Malena Zavala honours her South American roots on new single 'If It Goes'. The song is an ode to her mothers' character and acts as a reminder that it’s an intrinsic part of her own.

"The song connects me to my South American roots through my mothers' Latino feminine character which she passed down to me. That fire is one of my only perceptions of my roots and I had a definite fear of losing that growing up in a different country/ in a different culture. It wouldn't be me if I lost it."

Malena Zavala
Photo: Victoria Cranstoun

10. SC Mira - 'Breaking My Skin' from the EP Keep Crawling (Winnipeg)

Two years after Sc Mira discovered their darkness, the band is back with a new collection of songs, beginning with the aptly titled Keep Crawling EP, consisting of singles "Mexico", "Free", and "Breaking My Skin" – three songs that are bright on the outside and cold on the inside. The self-produced EP was guided by an unlikely partner in mix-engineer Ferro Montanino, a pop producer and composer with a knack for film work and an inspired collaboration with electronic superstar Skrillex under his belt. Ferro's knowledge of the electronic and pop world complimented Sc Mira’s synth-driven dance-rock in an unusual way, and thus the term “death pop” was born.

Listen to Issue #014 of our best of independent International Playlist right here

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