5. Don’t Sleep On Maya Lucia
A singer-songwriter originally from Minneapolis, Maya Lucia has spent the last five years bouncing between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the United States, picking up various coastal influences along the way. With her new EP, Miss Girl World, due out next month, this week Maya shared the first track from the record, Sleepy Baby Club.
Sleepy Baby Club makes an impression right from its opening line, “nobody ever cries, until the day you die, suffocate reasons why, I think I’m better off alive”, it’s a striking introduction to a song that pulls no punches. The lyrics seem to tap into a failed relationship, Maya wanting to close her eyes and wish it away, embracing the freedom of being alone, “I don’t need to be, somebody’s baby”. Musically, the track enters on loose, almost barroom guitars, before exploding into a passionate clatter, pitched somewhere between the bedroom-pop of Snail Mail and the rockier tones of Lady Pills. Raw and very exciting, Maya Lucia is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.
Miss Girl World is out July 22nd. For more information on Maya Lucia visit https://mayaxlucia.bandcamp.com/
4. This Lot Are Snow Joke
A quartet based out of Doetinchem in the Netherlands, Snow Coats are the latest example of the thriving Dutch indie-pop scene. The band formed when studying at a performing arts school in Arnhem and originally got together to complete a final exam project, only deciding to stick at it when they realised how much fun they were having playing together. Back in 2018 they released their attic recorded debut album, Take The Weight Off Your Shoulders, before teaming up with Alcopop! Records in 2020 for the release of the excellent Pool Girl EP. With plans for a second album to arrive later this year, this week the band shared their new single, Chevy.
Described by vocalist and mandolin player Anouk van der Kamp as being, “about old friends, awkward conversations and social anxiety“, Chevy is a racing slice of indie-pop slamming into view on a guitar-line that wouldn’t sound out of place on a collection of R.E.M’s jauntiest hits. Throughout the track we’re treated to fizzing guitar riffs, the rapid splatter of drums and the charming call-and-response vocals, as they wonder about fading closeness and the guilt of moving on, “what did you expect from me? Don’t you want what’s best for me?” As the music breaks down, Anouk brings it roaring back not with a conclusion but instead with further questioning, “I don’t get it, I don’t get it at all”. With tour dates on the way alongside the upcoming record, Snow Coats look like a band very much on the rise.
3. I Know They’re On The Cusp Of Greatness
Although now based out Chicago, the angular four-piece Cusp made their name on the scene of their former hometown of Rochester, New York. Last year, the band caught the ear with their debut EP, Spill, a five-track explosion of anxious, urgent music that charmed and challenged in equal measure. This week the band returned with I Know, their contribution to Fire Talk records’ Open Tab series, which seeks to shine a light on the music the label is enthusiastic about.
I Know is something of a departure from the band’s previous material, shearing off some of the sharp edges for a more straight-shooting take on indie-rock. Recalling the likes of Wednesday or Forth Wanderers, the track finds vocalist Jen Bender’s clipped pronouncements joined by a clattering backing of drums, guitars and what sounds like a surprisingly rocking banjo. Lyrically the track seems to walk the line between optimism and anxiety, as if Jen is trying her best to talk herself into believing things will turn out, “I know that you’ll be here tomorrow, I know that I’ll be here too, I know that you’re going to be happy, I’ll make it happen if it’s the last thing I do”. The track ends on repeated determination, Jen positively declaring, “I’ll make it happen, I’ll make it happen”, when a band have already shown how much they’re capable of, you wouldn’t bet against Cusp making all their dreams into reality.
2. You’re Going To Want To See Alex Dupree
Something of a musical veteran, Alex Dupree initially made his name on the Austin, Texas scene, forming The Trapdoor Band, before going it alone under the Idly moniker and then, after relocating to California, performing in a string of bands, duos and solo guises. Having last been heard from back in 2017, via the excellently titled album You Winsome, You Lonesome, Alex recently teamed up with producer Michael Krassner to make his new record Thieves, a series of character studies lifted from a variety of historical and fantastical sources. Ahead of the album’s release next month, this week Alex shared the latest single from the record, The Seer.
On The Seer, Alex sets out to tell the tale of Annie Jackson, a mid-century fortune teller from Corsicana, Texas, who was so allegedly accurate she got work telling Oil companies where to dig. Alex explains, “her personal life was a mess”, full of failed marriages and family members ripping her off, “I liked the idea of this character who could see the future but couldn’t really take advantage of what she saw, not for herself anyway“. While always a fabulous lyricist, what really stands out here is the ambition of Alex’s music, the track fusing a classic American-folk sound, there’s even a blast of very Dylanish harmonica, to a chorus that has an almost Bossa Nova sway, as he sings out Annie’s struggles, “I hate to see you going, such a long long way for a little kindness”. Joining the likes of Kevin Morby, Tré Burt and Big Thief at the forefront of a new Americana, Alex Dupree is more than worthy of that company, a storyteller, a songwriter and a star in the making.
1. Wilder Maker Have Nothing To Apologise For
Based out of Brooklyn, Wilder Maker are a dynamic project built around the core trio of Gabriel Birnbaum, Nick Jost and Sean Mullins along with a cast of collaborators and guest vocalists. After spending a number of years working on self-releases and home recordings, the band came to wider attention with their 2017 single New Streets, released via Saddle Creek, before teaming up with Northern Spy for the release of their fantastic 2018 album, Zion. Four years on the band this week announced the release of their upcoming record, Male Models, out next month via Western Vinyl, and also shared the first track from it, Letter Of Apology.
Described by Gabriel as, “a hooky pop song about apocalyptic depression“, Letter Of Apology is a song the band have been playing live for a few years, but only recently managed to capture the, “manic edge“, they felt the recorded version required. The track finally came to fruition when he took a series of, “songs I’d lost perspective on“, to regular collaborator Katie Von Schleicher, as Gabriel recalls, “as soon as we started singing the chorus on this one together it felt electric“. There’s a delightfully unhinged clatter to Letter Of Apology, the clattering guitar chords juxtaposed with the wiry, fuzz of the lead-line, and the steady pulse of the rhythm section. Particularly wonderful is the way the track rides out of the chorus with an instrumental break, the guitar seeming to ape the melody Here Comes The Sun in the best way possible, as everything fizzes out in perfect harmony. This feels like an exciting moment for Wilder Maker, the sound of a band breaking free from the shackles and sounding better than ever.
Header photo is Wilder Maker by Ebru Yildiz.