Single & Lovin' It Vol. 26
By Mandi Kimes
HOO HAS - "HANNA"
HOO HAs are an indie-rock quartet hailing from London that substitute cynicism and pretention for wit and dark sarcastic humor. The lyrical content of the EP is full of 90’s Britpop nonchalance; it’s frank, yet charmingly candid, and whilst sharp, the driving force behind HOO HAs songwriting is its idiosyncratic simplicity. Combining cocky and powerful guitar hooks with anthemic vocal melodies and memorable shout-along lyrics, tracks such as “Hanna” feel like they have been plucked from golden-era of NME indie. There are clear influences in the earlier tracks on the EP from the likes of Blur, whilst also calling to mind the sounds of Babyshambles and at times Art Brut. This EP, much like 21st Century life, is a fast one-way play-through, tackling a whole range of emotions and post-millennial topics. It’s a loose narrative of the low-stakes anxiety that prods us throughout our waking lives, touching on topics usually only discovered post coming of age along with the realiZation that things are only as hard as you make them for yourself. HOO HAs are writing genuine songs about modern living and irreverently having a good time doing it, and as far as introductions go, their uninhibited and refreshingly original debut is as proficient as it is authentic. It’s reflective, percipient and demands multiple listens – It’s not one to be missed.
ROOSEVELT - "FEVER"
On August 19th, Marius Lauber AKA Roosevelt releases his stunning, self-titled debut album via City Slang / Greco-Roman. He's back with "Fever," a scorching sun-kissed summer anthem drenched in youthful charm and emotional depth that is all too rare for dance music. His signature hazy sound is still present, but this time it is crafted and less loop-based, featuring live guitars and synths played and produced by Lauber himself. The Roosevelt LP showcases Lauber as a fully developed recording artist, with an instinctive synthesis of different soundscapes; "Fever" is a highlight of his pop sensibilities, bridging dance music with sophisticated, classic song structures. Written, recorded and produced by Lauber over a period of two years, the Roosevelt LP is a pillow-soft hallucinatory dreamscape of nocturnal reveries and a lilting sense of melancholia, where sounds build and swell like waves. Influences span continents and decades: from a pinch of French electro pop, a smattering of LA yacht rock, the hypnotic repetition of electronic German pioneers like Neu!, to classic floor-friendly 80s pop from Chic, Talk Talk, and New Order with a nod to the emotional force of Tears for Fears of the same era. Creating a bold new space between the saccharine pop of M83 and Nu School figureheads like Floating Points and Todd Terje, Roosevelt weaves a sonic tapestry both artfully crafted, and positively undeniable.
BLACK SURF - "SINK"
Black Surf have an unusual backstory having formed in 2014 through the wonders of FaceTime and Dropbox. The fruits of their exchanges between Leeds, UK and Sydney, Australia have come to form their debut EP Let’s Pretend It’s Summer, recorded at Greenmount Studios (The Cribs, Pulled Apart By Horses, The Vaccines). Black Surf specialize in the kind of fuzzed-up, adrenaline-shot indie-rock that’s straight to the point and doesn’t outstay its welcome. The reckless pace of synth-flecked bubblegum buzz on new track “Sink” is matched only by its enthusiasm and wild abandon. Talking of the track, vocalist Ali Epstone says, “’Sink’ is essentially a song about the conflict and battle of harnessing the stillness within us, in this fast-paced whirlwind of life. We have become Human-Doings and lost sight of the Human-Being. Most people are experiencing either attraction or aversion in any given moment, either wanting to be somewhere else for pleasure or relief in the future or stuck dwelling in the past. Being present, finding peace in the space between the constant need for sensations in this day and age can be a rarity, so I wanted to document that in some way and spread the love."
JULIA JACKLIN - "LEADLIGHT"
Julia Jacklin is pleased to announce her ambitious debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win, out October 7th on Polyvinyl. After presenting the video for her hypnotic debut single and album opener, “Pool Party,” Jacklin now presents the bold yet intimate “Leadlight.” Having garnered high praise after her performances at SXSW and more recently a string of sold out tour dates throughout Australia and Europe, the Australian-born singer-songwriter is poised to have a breakout year. For the past serval years Jacklin has lived in a garage in Glebe (a suburb of Sydney), working a day job on a factory production line making essential oils, all the while finding time to hone her craft – to examine her turns of phrase, to observe the stretching of her friendship circles, to wonder who she was and who she might become. And now, as Jacklin quits her factory job to focus solely on a music career, the future she had once imagined is becoming her present day reality. “It feels really good to be getting closer to my first album release,” says Jacklin, “it has been a very long dream of mine.”
VHS COLLECTION - "GHOST"
VHS Collection have shared their new song "Ghost," which is off their upcoming EP Stereo Hype, out August 16th. The band's James Bohannon says the track is about "the premise of returning to a city, once called home, which has now been transformed into an unrecognizable yet deeply nostalgic place filled with mixed memories of a past life." VHS Collection is a synth-rock band from New York City known for high energy live performances and a unique blend of rock, electronic, and indie influences. VHS Collection got their start in the winter of 2014 but the three core members (Bohannon, Conor Cook, and Nils Vanderlip) have been playing music in one form or another together since they were kids. With all members back in NYC, VHS pulled together a collection of synth-heavy home recordings which they posted on Soundcloud and Spotify. The band released their debut three-song EP in December 2015 featuring the single “Lean,” which hit the Spotify Top Ten Viral Charts shortly after it was released. Around the same time, the band received bookings for major festivals for this summer. The band took a break from performing live in the Spring of 2016 in order to focus on writing and recording. Once enough material was assembled, the band would head up to upstate NY and lock themselves in a small house for 3-4 days at a time and work on songs round the clock with little sleeping. Finally, the band then took these bedroom tracks into the studio to bring them to life. The result of this process is six brand new songs that will be released this summer on the Stereo Hype EP.
INNER OCEANS - "WILD"
Inner Oceans have shared their new single "WILD," which is about "that moment you finally acknowledge the feelings that have always been there. [It’s] an invitation to lay it on the line." Their debut album, I Don't Mind, is out September 16th. Inner Oceans was formed in 2013 by frontman Griffith Snyder, guitarist-programmer Charles Kern, and multi-instrumentalist Julia Mendiolea. The project was born from a desire to sculpt music that is exceptionally personal, while also embodying a spiritual mystery and elegance that is just out of reach. Every song is an empty shell waiting to be inhabited by what they call, “The Ghost”. Finding The Ghost of each song is to chase that ineffable spirit-quality that transcends an arrangement of notes, and transforms the song space into a sacred moment experienced by the listener alone. Described as “delivering maddening, stadium-ready giants” (DIY), and earning a feature on NPR’s “Heavy Rotation”, Inner Oceans have opened for the likes of Tennis, Wild Nothing, Hundred Waters, Big Data, Moses Sumney, On an On, Holy Fuck, and Shigeto.
ALTAMINA - "STORM"
New single "Storm" from Montréal ambient post-rock band Altamina is no exception to the kind of noir-tinged indie-rock the quartet makes that will have fans of The National, The Antlers, or San Fermin swooning over it. Kicking things off with spacey, ethereal guitar parts equally matched by singer François Graham's distinctly low and soothing vocals, "Storm" begins as a slow play, subtly sifting through the build and release format of post-rock while the fill-heavy percussion keeps things moving along. The entire track is a wave of deep, dreamy tones and melodies evoking the most contemplative aspects of your mind and asking them to come out and play. The band's second album Tomorrow Morning Will Be Tonight effortlessly showcases each member's eclectic influences, taking cues from acts like Joy Division, Portishead, PJ Harvey, Alt-J, Interpol, Leonard Cohen, and more. The album is wrought with classical-influenced piano flourishes, highly inventive and interesting bass lines, deep, synth-laden textures, airy guitar lines, and Graham's dark baritone voice creating an uneasy tension that builds and breaks as each song progresses.
MOTHERS - "EASY AS POSSIBLE"
Athens, Georgia-based quartet Mothers will release a digital deluxe edition of their acclaimed debut album When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired out July 29th via Grand Jury Music. The expanded version will feature five additional songs, including "Easy As Possible," which be released as a 7-inch single on July 29th. When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired was originally released on February 26th and has since earned praise from outlets including NPR, The NY Times, Pitchfork, ELLE, Noisey, Stereogum, Consequence Of Sound, FLOOD Magazine, Paste, The Guardian, NME ('Radar'), and Q Magazine, among many others. Mothers began in 2013 as the solo project of visual artist Kristine Leschper while she studied printmaking at the Lamar Dodd School of Art. Comprised of eight original songs - the majority of which were written while Leschper was finishing school in early 2014 - When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired is an introduction to the foundations of the young band, a snapshot of a particular period of their genesis that maps both where they began and where they are heading.
ULTIMATE PAINTING - "BILLS"
Ultimate Painting, the duo of Jack Cooper and James Hoare, is pleased to announce the release of their new album Dusk on September 30th via Trouble In Mind. Recorded to tape by Cooper in his East London flat and home studio, Dusk is the third album from the London-based duo, a ten-song set that expands the group’s sound from their self-titled debut and their critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Green Lanes. The band shares the first single, “Bills,” a track which dives head-first into a crystalline pool of jangle. “Bills” furthers the duo’s reputation as purveyors of the Verlaine/Lloyd legacy, but despite the evident influence of American guitar pop both past and present, the group has recorded an album that feels decidedly English. Cooper’s abstract poeticism balances perfectly alongside Hoare’s alluring and universal pop leanings. The group has discovered a simple lushness in Dusk’s arrangements, sometimes only with subtle additions like a recently acquired Wurlitzer piano. They’ve tapped into the subtle grace that infects the mood and emotions experienced at times like sunrise and dusk, hopefulness, resignation, ennui. The casual setting during the album’s recording allowed the sessions and songs to unfold naturally, with Cooper and Hoare accompanied by recent live drummer Melissa Rigby, who drums on the entirety of Dusk. Her skills lend a rhythmic elasticity to the songs with jazzy undertones that break from the band’s previously unadorned 4/4 leanings. Dusk feels different and cements the group’s presence in the modern world of guitar pop, finding voice in the allure of quietude.
HAWKER M. JAMES - "LOVE LIKE A HURRICANE"
“Love Like A Hurricane,” the latest offering from Hawker M. James, gleams with sweet lyrics, laidback indie vibes and just a twist of glam rock. For more than two decades James has been recording original work on his Tascam 4-track cassette recorder and honing his songs into gleaming indie-pop mixed with glam rock n’ roll confections. James’ attention to production has always been unique. Even when he records on a beaten-up 4-track, he always strives for production values that have distinguished his delightfully varied body of work. James has performed in several different forms; under solo monikers like Admirers and Mikey Jukebox, and as a producer in The Demos and the bandleader in The Mercies. One of James’ most well known feats is having played alongside The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs while drumming in the band Longwave. After joining Longwave in 2001 he performed at festivals all around the world and even landed him a shoutout in Rolling Stone. "Love Like A Hurricane" is already gaining notable attention; prior to the release the track was featured on an episode of FOX's hit series New Girl. “Love Like A Hurricane” is his strongest solo effort to date, and ironically it only took him fifteen minutes to write the song lyrics and all.