Cold weather may have moved into the Tetons, but KHOL’s Sounds of Now playlist is heating up. Check out our music director Jack Catlin’s (aka KnewJack) picks below for songs to start your snowy season off right.
Fever Ray – “What They Call Us”
Stockholm’s Fever Ray (aka Karin Dreijer) is one of pop’s true visionaries, often striking a beautiful balance between strength and anxiety. Their new album, “Radical Romantics,” features collaborations with brother and fellow The Knife member Olof Dreijer and marks the first time the siblings have written music together in eight years. The lead single, “What They Call Us,” is a foreboding track filled with active synths, driving techno rhythms and haunting vocals harkening back to their earlier, groundbreaking work.
Daniel Avery – “Wall of Sleep”
London-based artist Daniel Avery’s new album, “Ultra Truth,” lives inside its own world of sound. As Avery tells it, the album “is about looking directly into the darkness, not running away from it. There’s a way through these times but it involves keeping the important people in your life close to you and navigating the noise together.” Standout track “Wall of Sleep” serves as a break in the action with a more ambient lean courtesy of whispering vocals from HAAi, yet still pulses with undeniable adrenaline.
Sampa The Great – “Let Me Be Great” feat. Angelique Kidjo
Zambian-born, Botswana-raised poet and rapper Sampa The Great’s new album, “As Above, So Below,” sees her reconnecting with her birthplace while showcasing the complexity of her artistry. The collection of tracks is both intense and sensual, reflective and forward-looking. Featuring Beninese musical legend Angélique Kidjo, “Let Me Be Great” is a perfect snapshot of Sampa’s quest for authenticity and self-empowerment.
Big Joanie – “In My Arms”
Big Joanie, a band born of London’s DIY punk scene, showcases their blend of nineties riot grrrl and classic instrumentation on their new album, “Back Home.” The album, which champions Black and feminist ideals and struggles, builds on the tight and punchy art punk that drew them critical acclaim on their debut “Sistahs” and employs a stronger sense of songwriting while incorporating more electronics and strings. Discussing the themes explored in the track “In My Arms,” frontwoman Stephanie Phillips said, “It’s about knowing you should go another way in life but you end up dreaming about the road you’ve already traveled down even though you know it won’t take you where you need to go.”
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – “Hate Dancin’”
Endlessly prolific Australian band King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard recently released their fifth album of 2022. “Changes,” a project they’ve been working on since 2017, drips with the warm sonic vibrations of soft pop and R&B from the 1970s. Every song is built around one chord progression, with every track being a variation on a theme. “Hate Dancin’” is a tight, funky number that proclaims a lack of love for the dance floor (but the accompanying video begs to differ).
Babe Rainbow – “Smash The Machine”
We’ll stay in Australia for this next one: Babe Rainbow’s “The Organic Band” is an album heavily inspired by surfing, farming and psychedelic rock. The songs contain some delectable deep grooves and pop melodies sure to put a smile on your face. The upbeat and rhythmic “Smash The Machine” tries to break the spell of society’s dependence on technology with angelic harmonies and energetic guitars drenched in reverb.
Greentea Peng – “Top Steppa”
Whimsical neo-soul for the here and now is Greentea Peng’s bread and butter. The up-and-coming artist from South London fuses her musical influences of R&B, reggae and psychedelic rock to great effect on her second mixtape, “GREENZONE 108.” The closing track, “Top Steppa” is an homage to her late stepfather, featuring an ethereal and snappy dubbed-out beat that will have your head nodding in no time.
Danielle Ponder – “So Long”
Singer-songwriter Danielle Ponder had always been musical, but chose to pursue a career in law, becoming a fierce advocate for justice in her community as a public defender. Thankfully her musical side eventually took over and the world can now enjoy her chill-inducing, powerful voice. Ponder’s debut, “Some Of Us Are Brave,” is a wonderful mix of pop, R&B, blues and down-tempo beats with Danielle’s stellar vocals shining throughout. Spirited lead single “So Long” burns with a cool and confident passion that will give you goosebumps.
Bad Colours – “You Don’t Know” feat. KAS, Jarv Dee & JVDE
London-born, Brooklyn-based DJ, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Bad Colours has a style uniquely his own. The new album “Always With U” is full of high-tempo raps, live instrumentation and danceable grooves touching on everything from hip-hop to house to left-field electronic records. Super-catchy single “You Don’t Know” features Jarv Dee and KAS trading rapid-fire verses back and forth over an enthusiastic house beat with a chorus telling you not to worry about the things you can’t control. You’ll be hard-pressed not to leave your cares behind and hit the dance floor.
STR4TA – “Night Flight”
STR4TA consists of longtime friends and collaborators Giles Peterson and Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick. Peterson’s encyclopedic musical knowledge and Maunick’s cosmic capabilities as a composer combine to form an intoxicating mixture of spacey synths, round bass lines and ticking beats emulating Brit-funk’s first wave from the late 70s and early 80s. Bringing a modern perspective to a sound first developed by groups like Atmosfear, Hi-Tension, Light of the World and Freeez, it’s songs like the chilled-out “Night Flight” that escort you into that futuristic and soulful zone.