In Notes from Left of the Dial this week, we take a look at some songs and videos from Tyburn Saints, The Tins, Half Waif, Duplodeck, The Green Seed and Woman’s Hour. Ranging from dark synth-pop to anarchic hip-hop to hazy ’90s-influenced indie rock, these artists all approach their respective songs from different angles and never from the ones you’d expect. What songs have you been listening to this week?
Tyburn Saints, “With the Night in Our Eyes”
There’s something slightly askew about New York dream-pop/shoegaze outfit Tyburn Saints. Maybe it’s the dark synth-based rhythms that they tend to favor or the Nick Cave-meets-The Cure aesthetic that continually pops up on their forthcoming debut, “With the Night in Our Eyes,” but whatever it is, the band approaches these familiar sounds with only a vaguely recognizable set of rhythmic blueprints. Their music is dark, urgent and altogether eerie.
On the title track, they present a thudding ’80s-influenced beat with distorted synths ebbing and flowing like out-of-control tidal forces around singer Johnny Gimenez’s melodic croon. The song feels like something that would radiate out from some dim-lit bar at 2:30 in the morning-the time when impulses are shed and pure instinct takes over.
The Tins, “They Aren’t Evil”
Buffalo, New York-based indie pop group The Tins are set to release their latest EP, “Young Blame,” July 29 and have recently shared the video for single “They Aren’t Evil.” Masquerading as pop but honing in on something far more dark and unpredictable, the band incorporates the rhythms and melodies of their pop predecessors but adds their own twisted vision to the music.
Composed of 5,712 still photographs, the video is a strange series of images, which include a businessman covering his face in shaving cream, a plant coming on to a woman and a man feeling particularly comfortable in a moose suit. Accompanied by strands of bright synths and sharp percussive beats, the band finds an odd, yet beguilingly appropriate, sound to pair with these outlandish visuals. You’re not likely to see anything like this again anytime soon.
Half Waif, “Ceremonial”
Like many of her indie rock kin, Brooklyn art-popper Half Waif (which in actuality is the solo project of musician Nandi Plunkett) turned to Indiegogo to help in the funding of debut record “KOTEKAN,” which should find its way into your hands sometime next month. Blending kaleidoscopic synth-pop and oddly layered vocal melodies, Plunkett creates music that feels familiar but never relies on any sort of ingrained, pre-existing musical goodwill.
On lead album track “Ceremonial,” she balances between skeletal synth rhythms and more dynamic bursts of instrumentation. Her voice, a lilting and graceful thing, ties the music together in unexpected and unusual ways-but there is a sense of inclusivity to the music that allows anyone to easily slip beneath its surface. Vocal echoes, handclaps and the occasional bit of tribal percussion drive the song forward, keeping it level while still sounding like nothing you’ve heard recently.
Brazilian indie rockers Duplodeck couldn’t ever agree on much-well, besides the fact that they all loved singer-songwriter Jorge Ben. Once referred to as Brazilian Stereolab, the band wrote and recorded a fair amount of material between 2001 and 2005-but they only ever recorded a single EP, which was never actually released. Pug Records made this EP available online a few years ago and compiled a cassette edition. Encouraged by all the support they’ve been shown recently, the band recorded a new collection of songs, which should get released toward the end of this year.
We’ve been given a glimpse of that new material with recent single “Brisa.” Flirting with aspects of shoegaze but approaching these sounds with a far lighter hand than artists such as My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive, Duplodeck has crafted dreamy, obtuse rhythms that highlight the band’s affection for ’90s indie rock and their predilection for calming riffs that are periodically engulfed by waves of jarring distortion.
The Green Seed, “Jude Law”
Alabama hip-hop collective The Green Seed is gearing up for the release of their debut record, “Drapetomania,” July 15 via Communicating Vessels. Harnessing a lyrical fury courtesy of emcees R-Tist and C.O.M.P.L.E.T., the group balances a series of verbal assaults with a host of dynamic DJ skills from group turntablists FX and Jeff C.
On recent single “Jude Law,” they produce and manipulate a fractured horn sample that becomes the foundation of the song itself. There’s a kinetic flow to the lyrics and music that keeps you on the edge of your seat-as if you’re worried at what might be hiding just around the next corner. The video, a violent animated clip documenting the band’s infiltration of a large office building (replete with vinyl record throwing stars), strikes just the right balance between the outlandish lyrics and sustained emotional drive that keeps the song pushing ahead toward its inevitable finish.
Woman’s Hour, “Conversations (Fort Romeau Remix)”
It’s only been a few weeks since London-based “swoon-pop” quartet Woman’s Hour supplied us with our first taste of their upcoming debut, “Conversations,” due out July 15 on Secretly Canadian; and now, the group has seen fit to hand the reins of the song over to rising London producer Fort Romeau.
On this remix, Fort Romeau keeps the guitars of the original intact but extends them and a series of ghostly synths into a seven-minute examination of disco-marked beats and rhythms. Experimenting on Woman’s Hour singer Fiona Burgess’ voice until it’s merely another melodic building block creates a sense of space and spatial awareness that keeps the song from ever feeling like a slog to get through. Perfect for a late night out with friends or for the indeterminable drive home afterward, this remix will get your head and hips working in equal measure.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.