These Vibe-y Tunes Will Make You Take a Second Look – and Listen [Single Reviews]

Dream Chief – “Novocaine”:
Indie pop duo Dream Chief has been making some serious waves in their hometown of Indianapolis lately, from opening for Portugal. The Man back in August, to being featured on an episode of Dave Lindquist’s #IndyStarSessions last month, to performing on the mainstage Saturday at this year’s Fountain Square Music Festival, but it’s been over a year since they released their debut single “Can’t Shake U.” Now, the Tuttle’s are back with a banger of a tune in “Novocaine.” The nasty electronic beat holds everything together, while the rocking groove (particularly on the chorus) serves as the perfect complement to the back-and-forth vocals from keyboardist Luke and guitarist John.

Hembree – “Had It All”:
Kansas City indie rockers Hembree first popped up on my radar late last year when their single “Holy Water” appeared on one of my Spotify playlists. Admittedly they kind of disappeared from the aforementioned “radar” after that, until I saw them with PUBLIC at the Hi-Fi in Indy for this month’s Free First Friday concert. I had come for PUBLIC, but I ended up leaving with a copy of Hembree’s new EP that had just released that day, Had It All. One of my favorite songs from their set that night was the EP’s lead cut and title track, a vibe-y rocker that’s as atmospheric as it is groovy.

Au/Ra – “Outsiders”:
I’ll keep the Spotify discovery theme going with another vibe-y indie tune, this one from Ibiza-born artist Au/Ra. I was first wowed by this singer-songwriter back in January with her song “Concrete Jungle,” but again, being as inundated with music as I am, I quickly forgot about how talented she was. That is, until hearing her latest single not too long ago. On “Outsiders,” her powerful voice melds effortlessly with the simple yet driving soundscape and thought-provoking lyrics to boot. Au/Ra even interpolates a line from a Pink Floyd classic on the song’s chorus.

Local Natives – “The Only Heirs”:
Coming right off the heels of their latest full-length Sunlit Youth last September, California indie collective Local Natives released two brand new singles within two months of each other this past spring. I was still so enthralled by the first one, “I Saw You Close Your Eyes,” that I completely overlooked “The Only Heirs” when it initially surfaced. It took a second look (and listen) a few weeks back for me to realize how fantastic the song, which features a guest appearance from Nico Segal, formerly known as Donnie Trumpet, truly is.

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