Single & Lovin' It Vol. 24
By Mandi Kimes
Mild High Club have announced their second full length album, Skiptracing, due out August 26th on Stones Throw Records, the follow up to last year’s Timeline. They’ve shared the first single from Skiptracing, “Homage.” It’s been quite the journey for Mild High Club founder Alexander Brettin. He grew up playing flute in the school band and majoring in jazz studies in Chicago. In 2012, a visit to Los Angeles allowed him to connect with the Stones Throw crew. Within a year, after passing the early demos of what would become Timeline onto Peanut Butter Wolf, Brettin made the move out west. In investigating the spirit of American music, Mild High Club re-imagine AM radio hits as blasting in from a parallel universe, the sound of early 70s LA in a smog of sativa. If Todd Rundgren was the primary touchstone for Timeline, Brettin and band now look to the wry, trenchant wit of Steely Dan, gazing deep into the dark underbelly of sun-bright LA and coming away with catchy songs underpinned by slippery jazz phrasings. In crafting Skiptracing, Mild High Club have made an album that strikes a balance between the known and unknown aspects of art and creation. While Brettin sought to have complete control over the creation of the previous album, in opening up and allowing these creative variables in, he learned a valuable lesson that lies at the heart of Skiptracing itself: “When you wish upon the unknown, you might be surprised by the rewards.”
THE MAYTAGS - "RITA"
The Maytags share "Rita," the second single off their upcoming debut full length-album Love Lines. Dustin Smith's vocals drip with bluesy desperation throughout the crumbling relationship story. Complimented by a killer horn section and slick guitar lines, "Rita" is no exception to the gritty but soulful sound The Maytags have become known for. The Maytags are a seven piece retro-soul outfit from Des Moines, Iowa that deliver romantic, throwback soul music twisted with gruff, blues rock vocals. Their debut full-length album Love Lines will be released independently on July 1st. Love Lines smolders with the intensity of a relationship ending, lyrically exploring both the good and the bad. Musically, it's easy to hear the influences of Charles Bradley and Al Green with The Maytags's lush horn section and groovy, funk melodies. The entire album was recorded in Nashville with legendary producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Benjamin Booker) to 2-inch tape in less than 30 hours.
THE REGRETTES - "A LIVING HUMAN GIRL"
Perfectly imperfect is one way to describe LA-based punk act The Regrettes. Writing songs that proudly bear a brazen and unabashed attitude in the vein of acts Courtney Barnett or Karen O with a pop aesthetic reminiscent of 50’s and 60’s acts a la The Temptations or Buddy Holly, the four-piece create infectious, punk driven tracks. Lead by outspoken frontwoman, Lydia Night, and comprised of Genessa Gariano on guitar, Sage Nicole on bass and drummer Maxx Morando, the group have left the LA rock scene floored, managing to capture the hearts of jaded rock critics while opening for acts like Kate Nash, Jack Off Jill, Bleached, Pins, Deep Vally and more. With nothing but demos available online, the group are already beginning to generate hype, from outlets like NPR, and with NYLON already heralding them as a “punk act you should be listening to.” The most intoxicating draw of The Regrettes is their bashful, heart-on-your-sleeve temperament, writing urgent and fast-paced pop songs with a punk rock mentality. First single, “A Living Human Girl,” best showcases the vulnerability of the group’s lyrics. Singing about a less than perfect complexion, a bra size that is considered smaller than most, and those little red bumps you get when you shave, The Regrettes aren’t afraid to embrace their imperfections.
LINYING - "STICKY LEAVES"
Singaporean singer-songwriter Linying has been featured on tracks by European electronic house producers like Felix Jaehn and KRONO and her melodies have spun out to the masses at dance festivals all over the globe. An angelic folk-pop song, “Sticky Leaves” waxes poetry with earthy imagery and a gradual crescendo of rich and layered instrumental arrangements. The track builds subtly, beginning from a soft hum to a quicker instrumental tempo and finishing in a resonant climax as Linying’s voice soars higher and higher. "I think there was a lot of disillusion and disappointment for me growing out of my teenage years and learning to live life out," Linying says about the track. "The song was probably my way of coming to terms with it -- acknowledging that there are things that you think should be but just aren't, and that there is, nevertheless, a worldly, fleshly, impermanent sort of beauty to living that's worth seeing even if without understanding."
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS - "4TH OF JULY, PHILADELPHIA (SANDY)"
Cymbals Eat Guitars, composed of singer-guitarist Joseph D’Agostino, bassist Matthew Whipple, keyboardist Brian Hamilton, and drummer Andy Dole, have indeed crafted what’s easily their most sonically enigmatic and most rewarding album to date. Their trademark cacophonic guitar rock and innate propulsion are still abundant, but they’re buttressed by raucous synth and keyboard lines, and an extemporaneous saxophone performance, which enrich when they could easily clutter these songs. The band also worked more quickly and efficiently than they had in the past, facilitated by years on the road in which they’ve played close to a thousand shows, which rendered them a tight, fully-oiled machine in the studio. D’Agostino emphasizes that the band always goes into the studio with an edict of crafting an album that replicates their live sound, but haven’t had that come into full fruition until now. The entire album is rife with electrified, flashbulb moments, like “4th of July, Philadelphia (SANDY)” conveys the madness of life on the road, exhibiting D’Agostino’s uncanny ability to transform minutiae into profundity. And indeed, Pretty Years is a roller coaster ride, both lyrically and sonically, that encompasses what it’s like to be alive and in the moment. But ultimately, this is an album that keenly captures the magic and loss attendant to living life wide-eyed, and hints that these “pretty years” may portend even prettier ones to come.
THE WARLOCKS - "LONESOME BULLDOG"
Psych-rock mainstays The Warlocks shared their latest LP, Songs From The Pale Eclipse, and debut their new single "Lonesome Bulldog." Formed in 1999, The Warlocks produce a relentless, hypnotic wall of sound that suggests a collision between classic psychedelia, Krautrock and Velvet Underground style rock and roll. It's just what the head doctor orders if you wish to be an underground stateside phenomenon and that's exactly what The Warlocks became. Now frontman Bobby Hecksher has dug deep into his demo vault for the best hidden musical gems and undiscovered melodic treasures, which the band then reworked and re-recorded to bring you Songs From The Pale Eclipse. The first single, “Lonesome Bulldog,” features Hecksher’s solemn, yet seductive, raspy voice paired perfectly with melodic guitars and tight drums. The deftly-produced album illuminates textured instrumental skill and addictive vocals, only to be matched with brilliant song writing. All together, the effortless sounds leave the listener intoxicated.
PSYCHIC TWIN - "LOSE MYSELF"
sychic Twin, aka Erin Fein, has unveiled details of her debut album, Strange Diary, due out September 9th on Polyvinyl. She’s already teased songs from Strange Diary via her mixtape with Chrome Sparks, Chrome Sparks Meets Psychic Twin. Now she offers Strange Diary lead single, “Lose Myself,” which expresses pain and beauty, a feeling of loss woven in and around hope. The making of Strange Diary spans four years and two states. Fein began writing and composing solo material in Champaign-Urbana amid the dissolution of her marriage. Following the divorce, she relocated to Brooklyn and continued to write and record, despite lineup changes and the lonely disorientation that comes from shedding an old life and starting over. The album contains songs written before, during, and after the divorce, from both Illinois and New York. Psychic Twin’s evolution includes drummer Rosana Caban and Fein’s absorption of several sources of inspiration. While rooted in the avant pop of The Cocteau Twins, Siousxie, and Annie Lennox, contemporary production flourishes lend each song the clarity and buoyancy of modern pop. The music balances languid, dark melodies and atmosphere with propulsive rhythms and soaring vocal lines.
DIVAN - "SALE OF LAKES"
Growing up in the idyllic Irish countryside and finding a place amid the alien, urban sprawl had a huge impact on DIVAN. Their music; all pulsating rhythm, soaring vocals and oscillating guitars, draws on a rich tapestry of styles and sounds, which evolves into a real statement of intent: the desire to understand art and its relevance in modern life. The lyrical narrative in Modern Knowledge, due out August 19th, weaves its way through such themes, affecting not just today's artists and creators but everyone that, like Jamie, is drawn to the bustle of something more than what was known. Major chords are utilized to strengthen the depths alongside jolting, haunted stabs of guitar and the end result is compelling, intense and overwhelmingly thoughtful; demanding repeated listens. Modern Knowledge was recorded in Attica Audio & produced by Ian McNulty and Brent Knopf (EL VY, Menomena, Ramona Falls). DIVAN features members of The Ambience Affair and Tomorrows, who have supported the likes of Villagers, Lower Dens, Field Music, and Peter Broderick.
WARHAUS - "I'M NOT HIM"
Warhaus is the artistic alter ego and solo recording project of Maarten Devoldere who (along with Jinte Deprez) fronts the urbanely soulful Belgian rock band Balthazar. Warhaus’ debut album We Fucked A Flame Into Being will be released on September 2nd. On the second single, "I'm Not Him," Devoldere sows seeds of despair in an unstable world, smokily crooning through Biblically-inspired morality fables: "You want magic, count me in // You want Jesus, well I'm not him // You're an angel or a whore // Tell me who you're working for // Loving you isn't easy you know // But it's a motherfucker not to do so." Although Devoldere has up until recently kept his Warhaus persona well under the radar, the glimpses offered up to this point have conjured up a darkly esoteric lyrical universe, fueled by desire and love, haunted by a hunger for the fleeting, yearning to express the unsayable; We Fucked A Flame Into Being probes such depths savagely.
MOTEL RADIO - "PHASING OUT"
Motel Radio will release a new EP Desert Surf Films on August 12th via Roll Call Records. The New Orleans-based band premiered new single "Phasing Out" as a second early taste of the six-song EP. The Desert Surf Films EP expands upon the breezy Americana of Motel Radio's 2015 debut EP Days and Nights, and was recorded as essentially two chapters, with the band first isolating themselves at Dockside Studio in Maurice, LA alongside the Vermillion River with producer and engineers Justin Tocket and Ben Alleman. The second chapter was tracked and self-produced in Motel Radio's uptown New Orleans neighborhood at Bear America Studios, with assistance from Joe Ceponis and studio owner Carson Thielan. The resultant six songs of Desert Surf Films feel warm yet urgent; the sound of a young band pursuing their dreams while coming to a better understanding of their place and purpose in a big world. There's a newly experimental edge to the songs as well, with tinges of surfy psych rock woven seamlessly throughout. Formed in 2014, Motel Radio was born out of a songwriting collaboration between college roommates Ian Wellman and Winston Triolo, that has since grown into a full band consisting of Eric Lloyd on drums, Andrew Pancamo on bass, and David Hart on keys.