French Pop from Camille Benatre

French label Hidden Bay Records is a solid go to for talent that might go overlooked by the mainstream indie media…you know, like Big Baby and Sustains, to name but a few of my faves. Today I just wanted to hip you onto Camille Benatre, who lives in the same town as the label’s home base. I think at first, I got wrapped up in Camille’s voice; it had this majestic melody that seemed so effortless, so pure. As I immersed myself in that melody, the song’s natural buoyancy crept into my soul, suddenly leaving my toes tapping atop my table as I write this. Like I said, a go to for pure talent! They’ll release Apres le Soir this Friday in collaboration wit Les Disques Woody.

Be Afraid Share Automatic Worry

Vancouver act Be Afraid have their Remember Fun EP on the horizon, so they’ve shared this fun track to grab your attention. The band are fusing elements of punk and classic rock with a pop sensibility that you’d likely find in any modern pop rock outfit; the sound is ultimately familiar, with just enough wrinkles to make the band stand out amongst peers. I love the chorus where female and male vocals share the stage to maximize the melody while keyboard wizardry gallops through the background. If you dig what you’re hearing, as you should, then you can grab the cassette on May 8th via Hidden Bay Records.

Sustains Announce Sick Ones EP

You’ve really got to have something in your songwriting to make me fall in love in 2 minutes, luckily for Sustains, it didn’t even take that long. Heavy distorted riffs rang true immediately, and I was interested, but not sold until that extra guitar line takes a nice turn into the song to introduce a nice dose of melody to fawn over. Sitting back behind that huge wall of guitars are these soft vocals, coolly hanging behind the scene acting completely indifferent to the buzzing noise swirling about. And just like that, it’s over. You want more and you need more. You can have more if you pick up the Sick Ones EP, out on March 20th via Hidden Bay Records.

Big Baby Announce Fizzy Cola EP

Been a hot minute since we’ve heard from Richmond’s Big Baby, but better get acquainted now as they’re brandishing six delicious new pop tunes you’ll want to consume…and we’ve got the lead single below for you. The band, fronted by Ali Mislowsky (also of ATH faves Young Scum), start with a heavy three second tease; they collect themselves, and they’re off. The guitar chords seem to be dancing and swirling around your ears, all the while the rhythm section keeps your toes tapping. In the vocals, you this coolly delivered warmth, but the hook is all about the falling notes in the line “can’t get you out of my head.” If you’re into the sugary sweetness on display, be sure to grab the Fizzy Cola EP from Hidden Bay Records or Jigsaw on January 10th!

Cavernous Pop from Plainbow

One of the labels I’ve been keeping an eye on over the last few years is French outfit Hidden Bay Records; they’ve just put up a track from the forthcoming Plainbow EP, and it’s pretty special. While I can easily see cascading guitars and atmospherics filling in the space here, I love how they leave this vast expanse of negative space for the tune’s opening moments. In fact, it never fully reaches that sonic climax, almost always toying with the tension for an entire 3 minutes; the song almost just feels empty and hollow, save for the emotional pull of the vocal work. Of course, we get this beautifully noisy outro closing, and we’re grateful, but it only succeeds due to the craft of the song itself. The Super Super Super EP is scheduled for release on Friday!

New Single from Jonny Shitbag and the Smokes

A little over a year after the excellent You Could Not Have Given the Slightest of Fucks, Glaswegian outfit, Jonny Shitbag & the Smokes, return with a new tape, and a new single for your ears. This is a dark-tinged pop song, plodding slowly to pull your emotions to the surface. Here you’ll find the drums moving slowly, the vocals sort of walking along as an infectious keyboard line takes you on a traveling adventure and distorted guitar bursts jump through to keep you on track. It’s some sort of broad sweeping slowcore pop opus that I can’t get out of my head! You’ll likely find the same; You Know There’s Nothing to You is out May 3rd via Hidden Bay Records.


Give Unicorns at Heart a Listen

The end of the year is list time, so new tunes are pushed back, and I’m just out here creeping on the Internet trying to find some gems. That’s how I stumbled upon Unicorns at Heart…a bedroom pop outfit hailing from California. They just dropped a self-titled cassette via Hidden Bay last week, and I can’t stop playing “Stay.” It has this natural softness, almost like an Elliott Smith vibe, wrapped in a more modern guitar sound that fits the dreamier landscape. The whole collection is an intimate affair, allowing you to indulge your pop fancy as you see fit; it’s just you and your speakers and these Unicorns at Heart.