Angel Olsen – ‘Lark’

The rise of Angel Olsen into indie rock stardom is gaining speed, ladies and gentlemen. Already the title track and first glimpse into her new album All Mirrors, out October 4th on Jagjaguwar hinted at another dimension of theatre and grandeur for the singer’s heavy-hearted anthems. It almost seems as if Angel Olsen‘s unique voice only now found the musical frame that highlights it best. The second single Lark even tops the title track’s rich sound with its swelling string parts and emotional outbursts, leaving Olsen screaming from the top of her lungs: Hiding out inside my head it’s me again it’s no surprise I’m on my own now. Every time I turn to you I see the past it’s all that lasts and all I know, how. The song alone offers a dynamic that leaves you at the edge of your seat. The rest is done by the great video shot by Ashley Conner who already directed the one for All Mirrors. But both wouldn’t be as mesmerizing without Angel Olsen‘s acting performance. That’s probably what’ll turn this current phase of her career into the one ultimately placing her up at the same level as fellow indie rock star Sharon van Etten: By now, Angel Olsen is a full package of great songwriting, artistic vision and stunning performance. If All Mirrors lives up to the expectations that these two songs established we have a strong contender for the end of the year lists. (Henning Grabow)

Dojo Cuts – ‘I Don’t Want To Wait’

What is soul music? ‘Soul is a feeling you get in your gutDojo Cuts answer. The Australian Soul ensemble found together in 2008 and with the vocals of the incredibly talented singer Roxie Ray, put out two LPs. 2012’s Take From Me is the last time I heard from them. With covers of 60s soul classics, like Etta James’ ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ and modern funky-tinged twists, the band encapsulated what soul means to them in the record. The LP got more than a few spins on my headphones over the last years as it fits any mood whether it is the upbeat optimism of soul or the blue and melancholic sides of the genre. Needless to say I was happy to see the Dojos pop back up on my radar this month. I Don’t Want to Wait is the first single in seven years and speaks to the bluer tones of soul. Ray’s raw soulful vocals lament heartbreak while the crisp beat gives the single a dragging groove. The lazy bassline shines through the smooth guitar melodies and jazzy keys add some extra spice into the arrangement. Dojo Cuts prove their talent for songwriting once again. Every note finds appreciation and fitting like a puzzle piece the song shows a special understanding for the art of soul music. Rounded up with a mellow horn section towards the end, the single represents a return to the roots of soul. I am excited for what ever might come next from the band! (Liv Toerkell)

Kraków Loves Adana  – ‘Follow The Voice’

The story of Hamburg-based band Kraków Loves Adana is as old as the history of NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION and over the years our paths crossed regularly. A lot has happened since their debut album and our launch (which both happened in 2010) but it’s great they are still going strong and are now ready to start the next chapter in their career by signing to American cult label Italians Do It Better. Yes, indeed, Deniz Çiçek and Robert Heitmann are joining Chromatics, Desire and Co. as the first German band under Johnny Jewel‘s reign. That does sound like a match made in heaven and judging from the first single Follow The Voice it truly works. While Jewel adds his analogue synth magic he still leaves enough space to let the beloved Kraków Loves Adana magic – especially Çiçek’s sinister vocal – shine through. It’s got this dark wave groove and melancholic urgency you easily fell for. At least I do everytime. More music from these folks will arrive next year and in the meantime don’t forget to see them live when they are supporting the rest of the Italians gang during selected European live shows. (Norman Fleischer)

Emma Jensen  – ‘Better’

Norway’s Emma Jensen has had a curious career so far. I interviewed her in Oslo back in early 2018, about a year after her debut single Closer had come out and become a surprise hit, and she told me “I really want to do like a bigger project, like an EP or something. There’s definitely something more coming before this summer”. That never showed up (a single Rush, appeared instead, but has since been wiped off the internet – I told you things were curious). So that meant that post-Closer, a song that racked up millions of Spotify plays (and I still play a lot when I DJ), she had released just two songs in over two years. New artists have had easier starts.

Now though, she’s finally back with a new one, Better, and let’s hope it marks the start of a new chapter for her. Because sonically, it certainly does. Closer and its follow-up, Make You Mine, were all about careful minimalism, pop songs constructed like delicate sculptures. On Better however, it’s all about the rush and flow. The build-up is soft and slow, Jensen stepping carefully and weaving the song together, before it leaps into giddy rush of a synth-pop chorus. Impressively, even though the style has switched, she still sounds like herself. There’s a lot of Scandinavian synth-pop around, but she has always stood distinct from the flood of it, both because of her songwriting and her voice. On Better, even as the sound leans a little more towards classic synth-pop, she still stands out, partially cause of the way she sings, some lines soft and cushioned, others swept through like a skier sweeping round an obstacle (“that I lean in too much to my feels“). It’s a great song, and is just a reminder that the talent there is huge – hopefully this is where she really takes off. (Austin Maloney) 

When Saints Go Machine  – ‘Reflection Of You (Bloodshot)’

Danish experimental electro pop band When Saints Go Machine delivered some of the most underrated pieces in that field during the early days of this decade. It took them a few more years to come up with new music and the forthcoming SO DEEP is their first one in six years. Last year’s comeback EP It’s A Mad EP already hinted that the return of these folks would feel a bit different but this first song of the new album is actually way less abstract than I suspected. It mixes the trippy synthpop of the band with their love for hip hop and R&B and on top of it singer Nikolaj Manuel Vonsild still got one of the most distinguished voices in the world of modern music and it surely hasn’t lost its effect over the past years. When Saints Go Machine still look for analogue and human love within futuristic pop structures so there’s hopefully more from this on SO DEEP which arrives on November 8. (Norman Fleischer)

Find the 50 most essential fresh tracks in the ‘Nothing But Now’ Playlist!

Our Daily Tunes from September 2019

Ain’t it wonderful to start your day with a fresh piece of music? Every day the writers of NBHAP pick a new song for you, present them on our page and add the to the playlist you’ll find below. You can also sign up right here to receive them via your Facebook Messenger.

These have been our highlights from the past weeks.