Northern Lights: Arcade Fire, This Mess, For Esmé, More!

For Esme

This is a monthly infrasound guest post by Amber Waves over at Open ‘Til Midnight. Inside of these issues are five tracks – mostly independent acts from Canada – that have found their way onto Waves’ radar. Be sure to check out this month’s posting by 2020k on OTM’s blog monthly as well with the same premise, called Hidden Gems.

September is a delicious time of year, isn’t it?

Lying in that cusp between summer and crisp fall weather, it holds the promise of great music with great seasonal coffee, and the kick-off of typically more intimate tours.  As the summer winds down, allow me to share with you the latest treats to savour over a good chai latte.

“Reflektor” – Arcade Fire

“What’s an Arcade Fire?” asked the tweens of Twitter as the Montreal-based band snagged Grammy accolades for their album The Suburbs.  “Awesome!” replied those already enraptured.

Few artists from Canada have managed to enjoy the sort of success Win Butler et al. have achieved since the release of Funeral, and even fewer have not been mainstream pop-rock bands.  Blending keys, strings, guitars and happily shifting from English to French when it suits their artistic intent, Arcade Fire have a sound hard to define, often imitated now and yet, distinctly theirs.

On their new single “Reflektor”, the core elements of harmony and societal observation are at play with shades of disco and I have to say, I’m completely in love with this one.  Is it anything like their other albums?  No, but also yes.  Fresh and authentically theirs, “Reflektor” may just be a late entry for summer jam of 2013 for the rock fan.

“Honey and Sorrow” – Amber Edgar

Hamilton-based artist Amber Edgar leaves her bio to her lyrics:  “All my troubles behind/Are they all behind me now?/ I’ll be good, while I’m gone…

Crediting music as her solace in her darker moments of youth, Edgar has now shifted gears from photography and other creative endeavours to focus on her songcraft.  Her first single, “Honey and Sorrow” reverberates with the acoustic edginess of Throwing Muses beneath a more melodic rock polish.  Heartfelt lyrics and haunting vocals create a soundscape that will draw you in beneath its current.  Music to happily drown in.

“Buried In Cocaine” – DAVIDS

Star Trek: Into Darkness is out on DVD and absolutely amazing, my friends.  Atmospheric, action-packed yet still quietly philosophical – I dig it.

This next artist is kinda like that.  DAVIDS hails from Toronto, moving back home with the parentals to make electronic music.  They didn’t seem to mind, from his recounting, and I can’t say I blame them: what he’s crafted on his forthcoming EP is polished, tasty electronic — New Order evolved.  At turns frantic and introspective, enjoy a taste of being “Buried In Cocaine”.

“Grace Is Such A Good Word” – For Esmé

Keeping with the experimental vibe, allow me to introduce Toronto band For Esmé.   The brainchild of Martha Meredith, it’s best described as a blend of the confessional storytelling of early Chantal Kreviazuk and the playful experimentation of Regina Spektor or Fiona Apple. By their own astute description, “…for esmé explores the balance between pop music and poetry, between soft and hard, between light and dark. for esmé is a study of contrast and the things that pull us in differing directions… from city lights to the window in the woods.”

“Lucid Dreams” – This Mess

I fell in love with Australian band This Mess after discovering their delicious EP (full review over here).  Reminiscent of the best of Massive Attack and Portishead, their blend of trip-hop, soul and electronic just strikes at my core.  Tace Macnamara’s pipes soar above the richly layered melodies, evoking glorious chills.

Their newest single, “Lucid Dreams” is a free download and blends elements of house into their usual sonic tapestry.  It’s somewhat of a departure, but keeping it fresh is always a beautiful thing in art.

That’s it for this month!  Be sure to swing by Open ‘Til Midnight to check out 2020k’s latest finds, as well as more reviews of the best indie has to offer.

About Amber Waves

I'm a music junkie, a horror movie buff, and a potty mouth. I collect rescued abused cats, and give them names like Gravity, Mimi and Kali. They are my furbabies. Cats are superior to humans, you know. Mine are, anyway. I live for music, speak in song. I'm a survivor, a spoonie and a sleepless girl. Words are my jail and they are my freedom, and you'll find me using them on blogs, social media and sometimes, in novels. Maybe I'll tell you about them one day.
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