Single & Lovin' It Vol. 28
By Mandi Kimes
YOHUNA - "THE MOON HANGS IN THE SKY LIKE NOTHING HANGS IN THE SKY"
Yohuna has shared "The Moon Hangs In The Sky Like Nothing Hangs In The Sky," the latest from her debut album, Patientness, due out September 9th on Orchid Tapes. The forthcoming debut, a collection of careful, synth and vocal driven meditations on this very word, is a culmination of sorts, like an emotional scrapbook pulled together over years of movement and loss, beginnings and endings, flying away from old homes, searching for new ones. Johanne Swanson, who performs as Yohuna, is a songwriter at heart, who tells stories with words as much as she does with sound: the swells of ambient guitar work, slow builds of white noise, and melodies hidden amid melodies. The duality makes her work all the more intimate, like a friend showing you their dream diary, pouring through past lives, remembering who you were and who you are. Patientness is an ode to patience: taking things slowly, enduring through difficulty, finding strength within yourself when what's familiar feels so far away. Taking time in a world that wants everything to happen so quickly. It's light and then dark, heavy and then weightless, with Swanson's haunting words and pulsing dimlit beats stringing the stories together, often hanging atop swatches of ambient electronics. A current New York resident, Swanson grew up between the woods and churches of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, a testament to her penchant for self-harmonizing and artful images of nature: the moon, the birds, the lake. She also spent her Wisconsin upbringing enmeshed in the nearby Eau Claire music community. After leaving home, she spent the past handful of years in motion, living in Albuquerque, Los Angeles, back to Eau Claire, Boston, and Berlin, all times and places on this album.
FIELD MOUSE - "THE ORDER OF THINGS"
Field Mouse has unveiled a third single from their sophomore album, Episodic, out August 5th via Topshelf Records. "The Order Of Things" hushed guitar sway recalls It's a Shame About Ray-era Lemonheads. Earlier singles are perfect examples of Field Mouse's guitar-pop prowess. If 2014's Hold Still Life was the fruition of Field Mouse's evolution from a fiery two-piece into a fully-fledged band, then Episodic is the letting go; the abandonment of past persuasions for something altogether more untamed. Where the band's initial work was self-recorded by founding members Rachel Browne and Andrew Futral, the new record signifies the first time that the quintet has composed an album together from start-to-finish - and the result is a record that feels altogether more defined. Recorded in Philadelphia with Hop Along's Joe Reinhart, and written through a twelve month period which delivered sudden family illness and a deteriorating relationship, Episodic is fashioned from ten feverish bouts of guitar-pop; led by Browne's fearsome and fearless vocal and informed by an instrumental backing that underpins the entire record with a vibrant concoction of guitar, drums and keys. Featuring guest turns from Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz), Allison Crutchfield (Waxahatchee) and Joseph D'Agostino (Cymbals Eat Guitars), Episodic is the sound of a fully-realized band truly coming in to their own; honest, direct and immensely powerful.
YOUR FRIEND - "RADIO SILENCE"
Your Friend a.k.a. Taryn Miller has spent 2016 supporting her critically-acclaimed debut album Gumption. Following its January release, she embarked on an extensive criss-cross of the US with friends and label-mates Porches and Alex G, taking in a 7-show stint at SXSW and wrapping up with two sold out shows in New York at Music Hall of Williamsburg and Bowery Ballroom. Your Friend has also toured with San Fermin this year. Now, Your Friend has premiered a new cover of James Blake’s “Radio Silence” in anticipation of her August tour, with several dates opening for Kurt Vile. Gumption is out now on Domino. It’s been praised by Brooklyn Magazine, The Boston Globe, Alternative Press, and many others.
TOTAL SLACKER - "OLYMPUS HILLS"
Indie rock trio Total Slacker premiered "Olympus Hills", the effervescent second single from their August 19th release Parallels, their first release since 2014's Slip Away that has a defined clarity that conveys an ambivalent understanding of one's place in the world. The new track, "Olympus Hills," which features Sunflower Bean's Nick Kivlen, reconfirms Total Slacker's intentional and calculated dive into introspection. "The song is about believing in something, believing in yourself to overcome adversity,” Tucker Rountree explained. “It is about turning faith into taking action at a time when you're unsure that what you're seeing is believing and manifesting your dreams requires a path with many challenges. The song explores what happens when a person meets those challenges in life and the reward of being human and being alive." Over the course of the past six years, Total Slacker has been a mainstay of Brooklyn's burgeoning indie rock explosion, having played and toured with Beach Fossils, DIIV, Rick Ross, Thee Oh Sees, Speedy Ortiz, The Rapture, WAVVES, Real Estate and Best Coast. Their third LP Parallels finds Total Slacker pushing forward into a new territory of songwriting and performance while staying true to the indie roots that made them a favorite of the slacker scene.
TERRA LIGHTFOOT - "NO HURRY"
Terra Lightfoot has shared her new track "No Hurry" off her upcoming album, Every Time My Mind Runs Wild, which will be released August 26th on Sonic Unyon Records. Lightfoot is a ferocious talent. Her songs tap into the raw emotion of hearts supercharged by love, lust, loneliness and temptation. Her playing melds expert finger-picking and distorted, hook-heavy melodies. And her elemental voice commands attention and awe. Produced and mixed by Gus van Go and Werner F (Monster Truck, Said the Whale, The Trews) and mixed by Noah Mintz (Death from Above 1979, The Sheepdogs, Danko Jones), Every Time My Mind Runs Wild distills all that audiences have come to love about the performer: fluid, fiery guitar-work, powerful vocals and melodies that resonate for days and establishes Lightfoot as a singular talent and songwriting force.
BIOSPHERE - "SWEET DREAMS FORM A SHADE"
It’s easy to forget that Norway shares a short stretch of frontier with Russia, right at the northernmost tip of the country. That region is where Geir Jenssen, the Norwegian electronic producer behind Biosphere, comes from, and where he has been composing his austere, disturbing and deeply textured ambience since the early 1980s. Biosphere has released many albums to date including Substrata, voted the greatest ambient album of all time on the Hyperreal website, and has collaborated with Arne Nordheim, Higher Intelligence Agency, Deathprod, Pete Namlook and Bel Canto. His twelfth album Departed Glories is his first in almost five years and marks a new deal with the Oslo independent label Smalltown Supersound. These are one of the inspirations for Jenssen’s latest project, which he began working on this project around five years ago, while he was based temporarily in Krakow, Poland. Living near the Wolski forest, his daily walk took him past sites – beautiful and at the same time terrible – where Poles had been executed during the Second World War. After researching the area he discovered that a Polish medieval queen Bronislawa, had hidden among the trees with some nuns in the 13th century to escape the invading Tartar hordes, and that a monument to her memory had been built and then destroyed by invading Austrians in the 19th. All of these inspirational elements came together to provide the necessary propulsion to make Departed Glories, an album that sets the back of the neck hairs quivering in just the same way. It’s almost entirely constructed from hundreds of snippets of Eastern European and Russian folk music recordings, melted together to transform them into 17 unsettling and occasionally blindingly radiant beat less tracks. Each sample fragment is like a sliver of glass plate, and like the photos, it has left a music that is radiant, ghostly and unforgettable.
MATT KIVEL - "THINGS TO COME" & "INDIGO"
Although Los Angeles-based songwriter Matt Kivel released his third LP, Janus, this past February on Driftless Recordings, he recently unveiled two tracks that didn't make the record: "Things To Come" and "Indigo." Kivel got his start working as a player in various bands during the first decade of the 2000s. Around 2013, Kivel quit playing with other bands to focus on his solo material. The first evidence of his work came in the form of some limited-run cassettes, but he truly came into his own with 2013's full-length album Double Exposure, released on the Olde English Spelling Bee (Julian Lynch, Ducktails) label. Second album Days of Being Wild, recorded with Palace Brothers member Paul Oldham over the course of the previous summer, saw release on the Woodsist label in 2014. In late 2015, Kivel joined songwriter Alasdair Roberts (Drag City) in his native city of Glasgow to record his third full-length album Janus. Roberts produced the project, and assembled a stylistically diverse supporting cast of local musicians to supplement Kivel’s desolate, acoustic songs. Over eleven musicians contributed to the music on the album, and their improvisations and sensitive instrumental interplay draw from the realms of avant-jazz, traditional folk, classical, outer experimentalism, and straightforward melodic pop. Kivel’s vocals are pushed to the front and his lyrics cut clearly through the shifting instrumental backdrops. The album is simultaneously calm, warm, and uneasy. Never far from darkness.
WARHAUS - "BRUXELLES"
Warhaus, the solo recording project of Balthazar’s Maarten Devoldere, debuted a new track “Bruxelles,” taken from his forthcoming debut album We F***ed A Flame Into Being, which will be released through Play It Again Sam / [PIAS] on September 2nd. A direct quote from the DH Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley's Lover that Devoldere felt was "too good to pass on,” We F***ed A Flame Into Being is the perfect title for this collection of songs exploring the shadowy inscrutability of human encounters, and reveling in all the decadent intensity that life offers. Devoldere has until recently kept his Warhaus persona under wraps; but with the new album he brings to the fore a dark lyrical universe, fueled by desire and passion, and savagely probes its depths. The album is “an ode to love, to its excesses and elusiveness,“ declares Devoldere. Playing Jane Birkin-esque muse and foil to Devoldere’s post-modern Gainsbourg with seductive backing vocals is Sylvie Kreusch.
DIVAN - "SHARDS"
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. Singer Jamie Clarke writes, “I think always having an innate desire to surround yourself with activity & action when all you've known is peace & tranquility comes out in our music. It draws me to people, and also to the art that I love.” The lyrical narrative in Modern Knowledge weaves its way through such themes, affecting not just today's artists and creators but everyone that is drawn to the bustle of something more than what was known. From experimenting with accessible but unusual time signatures to exploring vulnerability both lyrically and vocally in “Shards,” the heart and soul that runs through this record is achieved via subtle nods to the likes of Radiohead, The National and Richard Hawley, as well as the band’s own profound voice and subject matter.