Single & Lovin' It Vol. 30
By Mandi Kimes
DIVAN - "SHARDS"
DIVAN are pleased to share “Shards,” the latest single from their forthcoming album. 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 weaves its way through such themes, affecting not just today's artists and creators but everyone that, like singer Jamie Clarke, is drawn to the bustle of something more than what was known. While experimenting with accessible but unusual time signatures 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. 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.
I HAVE A TRIBE - "COLD FACE"
“The moon each evening above the studio was beautiful and yellow,” recalls Patrick O’Laoghaire, aka I Have A Tribe. The Irishman calls his first album Beneath a Yellow Moon, out October 14th via Grönland, and dedicates the eleven brilliant tracks he has recorded with producer Paul Savage (Mogwai, Twilight Sad, King Creosote) to the earth’s sole natural satellite. I Have A Tribe’s music is very situational and lives from the moment. O’Laoghaire and Savage therefore had a clear aim heading into the studio: leave perfectionism behind, embrace spontaneity, magnify the moment. I Have A Tribe’s songs live from reduction, creating a great platform for subtly employed musical outbursts and plenty of space for O’Laoghaire's voice. The piano and vocals are the cornerstones of the album, and O’Laoghaire is a master on both fronts. His interpretation of the piano is highly innovative; he teases out melodies, creates down-to-earth rhythms and conveys his observations, thoughts and emotions on two levels. His voice accompanying the piano sounds compassionate, fluid, engrossed. Listening to O'Laoghaire, you feel you are next to him; you can picture him, eyes shut, smiling devoutly. O’Laoghaire wants to make music that expresses his gratitude towards his friends and family and that will still elicit the same emotions in a stranger 50 years from now. Listen to debut single, “Cold Face,” which pays homage to those dearest to him and the world at large.
TVRQUOISE - "PARALYZED LEGS"
Electro-dreampop duo have shared their new track "Paralyzed Legs." Lyrically, the song tells the story of a girl who has become paralyzed by her dependency on another, a "crutch" in her life. The song is off their upcoming self-titled EP, which is available August 26th. Faye Wellman, a Michigan native living in Los Angeles, is a vocalist and writer who merges musical and emotional intuition with her education in music, performance, and writing to compose lyrics and inspired melodies. New York’s Matt Hogan is a multi-instrumentalist and producer living in Los Angeles with a background in classical upright bass. Hogan combines his love of free flowing expressive musicianship with a mix of ethereal textures, electronic beats, and dream pop. TVRQUOISE’s debut EP reveals tender moments from half a decade. Faye’s lyrics derive from residencies, travels, and encounters in places such as Boston, Michigan, New York City, San Francisco, Mexico, and Belize. The project’s name was derived from a train of fateful events and the power of the turquoise stone. Turquoise paves way for strength, wholeness, and truth. Turquoise aids in self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, and the release of useless regrets. Turquoise provides protection and the recognition of beauty, enabling new beginnings.
WEYES BLOOD - "SEVEN WORDS"
Weyes Blood, aka Natalie Mering, has announced her new album, Front Row Seat To Earth, coming out October 21st on Mexican Summer. Active in underground music since 2006, Mering has collaborated with Jackie-O Motherfucker and Ariel Pink, and released four records as Weyes Blood. Front Row Seat to Earth is her third record for Mexican Summer with the first single, “Seven Words.” The paradox of Weyes Blood’s “Seven Words” is to be found in its comforting, immediate melody; the song feels like home, like an earthly domain to which one can return. Mering’s vocal performance is both intimate and theatrical, rising and falling above and below the organ that trembles throughout the song, while co-producer Chris Cohen’s drumming is at its most subtle and sweet. Lyrically, however, and at its core, the song is an expression of that eternal need to leave, to cut ties—the need for the seeker to abandon and explore. To pair off and find peace, to co-depend, though perhaps the most naturally mammalian tendency, limits the seeker, keeps her from “facing tomorrow” alone and in her own truth. The seven words of the song’s title form a sentence, an absent sentence, both an apology for and explanation of the ways we leave, what we leave behind. There is a faded California beauty to Front Row Seat To Earth. A gentle honesty that recalls the finest folk music made on the West Coast of the ‘70s. The hue hangs in the sweet-spooky harmonies, the pulsing sway of the vibrato, and the ecstatic chord resolves. Mering and special guests contrast live band intimacy with the post-modern electric sheen of A.M. radio atmospherics. The experimental flourishes sparkle amid the succinct, thoughtful arrangements. This is the folk music of the near future.
PSYCHIC TWIN - "HOPELESS"
Psychic Twin, aka Erin Fein, has unveiled the second single from Strange Diary, titled “Hopeless.” Fein wrote “Hopeless” not long after moving to Brooklyn and was struggling with sleepless nights and a lot of anxiety about the transition from Illinois to New York City. She says, “The melody was meant to be a personal lullaby.” 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. It’s a beautiful and catchy reflection of heartache. Strange Diary is out September 9th on Polyvinyl.
ADAM TORRES - "MORNING RAIN"
"Morning Rain" is the new single off of Adam Torres' forthcoming album Pearls To Swine, out September 9th via Fat Possum. Torres himself describes the song as being "about overcoming stagnation and overcoming grief and loss. It is also about taking a regular walk." There's a persisting theme that threads through Torres’ own story as well as Pearls To Swine. Within the cosmos of the album, characters experience a sort of misadventure and persevere, casting light on the way life can lead you down a path that's far from where you wanted to be. The album maps his complicated history as a songwriter and musician: it's the sound of someone who discovered the value in his own devotion to music, and how writing and songs are extensions of his own journey. He embeds his own folklore within his high-lonesome sounding, deeply felt and moving brand of folk music. To truly understand Pearls To Swine and Torres’ arrival on his current path, one has to start at the beginning. In 2006, the then 20-year-old released his idiosyncratic, varied, and beautiful debut album, Nostra Nova. A DIY self-release, the album became a closely-held, sleeper favorite in the close-knit music scene of Athens, OH and over the years grew to a 'cult classic'-like status. But not long after its release, Torres turned his focus from pursuing music professionally to other interests: he returned to college; traveled, taught, and volunteered in South America; moved to Austin to attend graduate school; and spent two years working for the state of Texas on a project aimed at cleaning the water quality of the Rio Grande River in South Texas. All the while, he never stopped playing music, writing songs, or performing, having penned more than 100 songs since 2006.
AXIS: SOVA - "VIOLENT YELLOW"
Just a little more than a year since last transmission and suddenly the rotation to Motor Earth signals a new day in the life and anti-life of Axis: Sova. Following the fuzzing, burning film stock of Axis: Sova’s previous album, Early Surf, and it’s solarized sound of discontent and not-belonging, Motor Earth is rife with percolating boogie, suicidal punk shredders and cavernous rock. This time, however, it's a planet cleared of sonic brush so as to cleanly reflect the star it orbits and the moon it mirrors. The keys to this: building a band vibe and working with a wider tape-head. Guitar grit remains profound, but distinctly un-smeared; buoyant low end is well-deﬁned, bearing out the robo-rock propulsion that drives Axis: Sova through space. Axis: Sova began as the one-man operation of Chicago-based Brett Sova, but after touring as a band the last two years, Motor Earth demanded that same visceral, live approach. Live band mainstay Tim Kaiser's input on guitar was necessary and utilized, along with others from the Axis: inner circle. Studio takes were live in duo and trio style. All the while, the alien hands of Bitchin' Bajas' Cooper Crain worked the boards. With the band ablaze, two guitars finished each other’s sentences before expanding in the ether, only to catch fire and plunge back to earth, reentering with steel-melting velocity. Motor Earth finds Axis: Sova assimilating back down on Earth, soaking in the flawed humanity and broken systems of the world, the repetitive nature of days and days, the course of years. Axis: Sova’s Motor Earth is out October 14th via Drag City imprint, God? Listen to “Violent Yellow,” a debut single that swirls with paranoia before detonating into syncopated dual riffs.
AMERICAN WRESTLERS - "GIVE UP"
American Wrestlers, the once-anonymous project of St. Louis-by-way-of Scotland songwriter Gary McClure, is pleased to announce their follow-up to last year's critically acclaimed self-titled debut. Due out November 4th on Fat Possum, Goodbye Terrible Youth shows McClure taking bedroom recordings onto a bigger stage without sacrificing the intimacy that makes them so attractive. If his self-titled album showed his knack for stringing together addictive guitar lines—the shimmer of shoegaze mixed with the emotional fist pump of power pop—Goodbye Terrible Youth amplifies that energy with a road-tested band. Since the Tascam mixer McClure had been recording on has fallen apart from overuse, he broke out of the home studio to embrace a bigger sound and stage on Goodbye Terrible Youth, his rueful yet propulsive songwriting only becoming sharper. McClure’s career may be the definition of plugging away, enough so that he has the unique distinction of being “discovered” twice. Before starting American Wrestler, he was one-half of Working For a Nuclear Free City, a shoegaze-inspired band out of Manchester, England. By 2013, McClure and bandmate Phil Kay decided to wind the project down. As McClure weighed next move, he started playing around and posting demos online. The tracks caught the attention of Bridgette Imperial, an American who was studying overseas, and sparked more than just a meeting of musical minds. They began dating, and a year later, McClure had moved to St. Louis to marry her. The Midwest move has been a key influence for the restless musician, a more open music scene than he was accustomed to in Manchester. While working a warehouse job for UPS in Missouri, McClure began experimenting and recording what would become the first American Wrestlers album, and the momentum and reception built since then has allowed him to stretch out and refine a new album of songs with a full band, which includes Imperial playing keyboard, as well as Ian Reitz on bass and Josh Van Hoorebeke on drums. McClure’s new set of bouncing, well-crafted songs show that musical youth is not always wasted on the young. American Wrestlers shares the first single off the record, "Give Up."
EL PERRO DEL MAR - "DING SUM"
Sweden's El Perro Del Mar (née Sarah Assbring) premiered the new single "Ding Sum" alongside a feature about her forthcoming new album KoKoro out September 16th on The Control Group. Capitalism's arguably toxic effect on the human spirit is addressed on "Ding Sum." Written and produced by El Perro Del Mar and Jacob Haage, the ten original songs of KoKoro are Assbring's most ambitious and musically adventurous to date, but no less emotionally direct, covering themes that speak to both big and small matters of the heart. With soundscapes that reverberate of Thailand, Sumatra, India, Ethiopia, and China, the orchestration of KoKoro is unlike any of El Perro Del Mar's previous releases, with Assbring seeking to "find a new way to write relevant and borderless pop music with references and influences that feel fresh." KoKoro was recorded with multi-instrumentalist Andreas Söderström, bassist Johan Berthling, drummer Mattias Bergqvist, who has collaborated with First Aid Kit, and wind multi-instrumentalist Per "Ruskträsk" Johansson, who has collaborated with Robyn, José González, among many others.