New Hot: two indie veterans return and a baby band looks to make big

by David Safar, Jon Schober

Portland crooner Alela Diane returns with her fourth album
Portland crooner Alela Diane returns with her fourth album "About Farewell." (Photo: The Windish Agency)
  1. Listen New Hot - June 25, 2013

    Jun 20, 2013

This week on New Hot, read about a musician that got her start through the suggestion of schoolmate Joanna Newsom, plus a trio who got their big break opening for MGMT. These are our three recommended releases for Tuesday, June 25.

Smith Westerns — Soft Will

Discovered when they were teenagers, Smith Westerns were quickly embraced by the indie music community and given a proper release on esteemed Chicago boutique label HoZac Records. From there, the Windy City trio put out 2011's massively acclaimed Dye It Blonde which hit #1 on the US Heatseekers Chart — that honor usually signals a high entrance on the Billboard Top 200 the next go-around. Now on their third record, Soft Will sees the band maturing as they literally grow up, and they've now become a quartet with the addition of Unknown Mortal Orchestra's former drummer Julian Ehrlich.

Smith Westerns: "Varsity" — Rate, Request or Recommend this song »

Alela Diane — About Farewell

Portland-based Alela Diane has long been considered one of the best female voices circulating in the music world. Born in Nevada City, her career was jump-started after a few public appearances in town at the suggestion of friend Joanna Newsom. She released debut The Pirate's Gospel to widespread accolades and garnered touring slots with Iron & Wine, Akron/Family, The Decemberists, Blitzen Trapper and Vashti Bunyan. About Farewell is her first solo album in four years after a collaboration with Wild Divine in 2011. In that time period, her bandmate (and now ex-husband) Tom Bevitori has left the band, and she's releasing the album on her own label.

Alela Diane: "About Farewell" — Rate, Request or Recommend this song »

Mood Rings — VPI Harmony

Mood Rings joins the already mysterious Mexican Summer roster, a label that hosts bands with often little information available in the world like Quilt, Light Asylum and Autre Ne Veut. But like all of those acts, Mood Rings fits a very specific mold: that of the shoegaze and psych rock persuasion. Their debut full-length VPI Harmony has gotten the approval of hometown friend Bradford Cox of Deerhunter, and the Atlanta five-piece are preparing to embark on their first mini-tour of the album.

Mood Rings: "Pathos y Lagrimas" — Rate, Request or Recommend this song »