Five-piece ensemble Bells Atlas shared “Belly”, the lead single to their forthcoming album the mystic, just last month, and it quickly became one of our favorite tracks of the year so far. Nigerian-American lead singer Sandra Lawson-Ndu lends a frantic, nerve-wracked cool to the playful dance hit, carving out a unique space for the band to flourish.
Geographically sequestered from R&B hubs like Chicago and New York, Oakland might provide the isolation necessary for creating truly fresh, original music. And while traces of psych-fusion acts like Crumb, Grizzly Bear, Tame Impala and Hiatus Kaiyote remain on their brilliant new record, the ingenious art-rock savants of Bells Atlas firmly occupy a lane of their own.
We’re positively thrilled to premiere the new Bells Atlas single “The Khamsa”, another offering from the mystic before it drops on April 19th via Tender Loving Empire. The forthcoming full-length plays as a sci-fantasy, where two first-generation Nigerian-American women confront a mental health diagnosis. The stuttering, avant-garde funk of “The Khamsa” might be a meditation on the importance of controlling our perceived realities. Listen below.
Read a quote from Bells Atlas’ Sandra Lawson-Ndu:
“The Khamsa drifts between images of dreams, spirituality, and imagination, and the space they share in connection with the intangible. Who’s to say what’s true? This song is about making space for each other’s beliefs and being open to varied lenses of experience.
I often use the word magic, and sometimes I sit with Tarot as a way to organize my thoughts. I think that some of the closest people in my life are truth-seers. The surrealist writings of Akwaeke Emezi and the sci-fi fantasy of Octavia Butler sometimes provide the clearest, most beautiful ways for me to process what’s going on in my life. Again, who’s to say what’s true and how truth manifests.”
Watch the striking music video for “Belly”, directed by Max Taeuschel, below.