Northern Transmissions: Weekly Roundup February 2-9

Northern Transmissions: Weekly Roundup February 2-9 - includes indie songs by Amen Dunes, Mannequin Pussy, So Totally, Miu Zyu, Water Damage
Amen Dunes photo by Photo Credit: Michael Schmelling

I was traveling last week, and as I was walking through the airport, a man’s voice asked me “any shows I should go to this week?” Confused, I turned around and quickly realized that he was pointing at my Sub Pop Records sweatshirt. He explained that he was visiting New York from out of the country and wanted to spend his time at whatever show I thought was worth checking out. I ran home and sent him links to every noise, ambient, hardcore and indie show that I could find online for that week. He probably isn’t reading this, but I really hope he had a good time at whatever show he chose.

Amen Dunes – Purple Land

It’s always nice to reunite with an old friend, especially one that’s been away for six years (!!!). Amen Dunes caught my attention with 2018’s Freedom. With its lush and carefree instrumentation, tracks like “Blue Rose” conjured childhood memories of sweet, endless summer days with its swelling synth lines and lazily plucked bassline that seemed to embrace you at every turn. It was the soundtrack to that summer. Now, six years later, Amen Dunes returns with “Purple Land”. The track begins lazily; his voice meandering easily over the playful plucks of a bassline. We’re met, gradually, with what forms itself into a groove-heavy echo-chamber of softly sung melodies that feel both as triumphant as they are catchy. Death Jokes is out May 10th via Sub Pop Records.

Mannequin Pussy – Nothing Like

At the risk of sounding like That Guy™️, the first time that I saw Mannequin Pussy was sans bassist. They had just released their first full-length record, Gypsy Pervert and I was completely obliterated by the sheer ferociousness of their energy – all of that sound was coming from just those three? Through the years, the group has sharpened their sound and built upon the bedrock of hardcore punk in a way that has both kept them fresh and earned them a loyal fanbase. Now, four years after their last album Romantic, the philly-based quartet have released “Nothing Like,” another single from their upcoming LP I Got Heaven. Teetering between a wall-of-sound and a carefree, jittery twang, the track blends “ the light feelings of new love and the absolute depths that obsession can bring you to” together into one thoroughly enjoyable listen. I Got Heaven is out March 1st via Epitaph.

So Totally – Distinct Star

I know that shoegaze is really having a moment now, but Philly-based So Totally have been around for quite a minute (so, longer than a moment). Originally “So Totally In Love,” the group will release their new album Double Your Relaxation this spring via Tiny Engines. This feels fitting, since “Distinct Star” – the first track from the album – has that summery twang that those first few days of spring promises. It feels both beautifully lofi in a way that feels deeply endearing, and the distorted everything about this song is peaking on my internal VU Meters, and I love it.

Miu Zyu – everything to die for

Try to imagine those moments right before you fall asleep, where time and thought slow down into a vapor cloud of stray emotions. If the feeling of peering over the edge of slumber could be condensed into a song, Miu Zyu’s “everything to die for” would be exactly it. The slow hum of the disembodied synths coupled with the ghostly strum of her guitar create an atmosphere of longing, love and latent passion. “everything to die for” is out now via Father/Daughter Records (Vagabon, Mutual Benefit) .

Water Damage – Reel E

I can’t love this any more than I do. Austin-based psych/noise/groove/whatever band Water Damage make the kind of music that you can get lost in, spinning around in a misty swirl of barrelling drums and waterfalls of echoey feedback and noise. Their bio is this: “volume, repetition, volume, repetition, volume and repetition.” There might not be much else to say here, because it’s the kind of music that you need to try on for yourself. It’s also 21 minutes long. Enjoy! Their new album In E is out on April 12th on 12XU.

Words by Conor Rooney


Looking for something new to listen to?

Sign up to our all-new newsletter for top-notch reviews, news, videos and playlists.