Single & Lovin' It Vol. 31
By Mandi Kimes
SUBURBAN LIVING - "COME TRUE"
Philadelphia's Suburban Living has signed to 6131 Records to release their sophomore album Almost Paradise on October 7th. An early preview of the album, "Come True," feels like "...falling into a dream, riddled with white noise and ethereal vocals." Recorded by Jeff Ziegler (The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Nothing), Almost Paradise is a bold and sweeping album that expands upon the bedroom dreampop of Suburban Living's 2015 eponymous debut. Whereas the band began as a solo project of singer-guitarist Wesley Bunch, it now includes drummer Michael Cammarata, bassist Peter Pantina, and guitarist Chris Radwanski in collaboration to fill out the sound. The album was written across 2015; a year after Bunch moved to Philadelphia from Virginia Beach and found him working through both a heartbreak and the sense of disjointedness that comes with relocation. The resultant Almost Paradise is a coming-of-age breakup album that looks at the loss of love and friends, and the unmoored feeling that comes with change and finding a new sense of home.
JULIA JACKLIN - "COMING OF AGE"
Julia Jacklin has premiered her latest single, “Coming of Age,” taken from her highly anticipated debut album, Don’t Let The Kids Win, out October 7th on Polyvinyl. A resolve to accept the passing of time, the snappy fuzz of “Coming of Age” perfectly encapsulates the mood of Julia’s debut. “This song is louder than my other songs, more guitars, more noise,” explains Jacklin when asked to describe the track. “It’s about the need for a new muse when one has given you all it can. It’s also like a mirror pep talk. Looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, ‘Come on, girl!,’ stop fretting over the passing of time and just get to work.” Jacklin will tour extensively throughout Europe and North America, as well as a string of dates in September and October supporting Marlon Williams and Whitney. For the past several 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.”
DEATH BY UNGA BUNGA - "FIGHT!"
Death by Unga Bunga are thrilled to announce their new EP, FIGHT!, due out September 9th via Jansen in conjunction with a re-issue of their beloved debut album, Juvenile Jungle. The EP’s title track, “Fight!,” is described it as "an infectious blast of crunchy riffage." The Norwegian band have made international waves with their energetic rock-power pop in their short five-year history, receiving praise from the likes of NPR Music for their “uncomplicated and infectious,” sound. 2016 looks like it will be Death by Unga Bunga’s most prolific year so far. Hailing from Moss, Norway, the band released their fourth album, Pineapple Pizza, this past spring, and on September 9th, they will re-issue their debut album, Juvenile Jungle, while simultaneously releasing four brand new songs on their new EP, Fight!. Three releases in one year should justify a few pats on the back, but the band has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. Fight! features four new songs sure to excite the band’s established fans, as well as win over new converts. With the guitar distorted to the max, and melodies that you’re guaranteed to sing along to, the EP’s title should not be confused with a love for fist fights or meaningless quarrels, but rather a tribute to the fight for quality music.
HIVA OA -"SESKINORE"
Belfast duo, Hiva Oa, are pleased to share their brilliant and brooding new single “Seskinore,” taken from their forthcoming EP, mk2 (part 1), out September 16th. New material from Hiva Oa has been a long time coming. Sometimes, it seems, a period of inactivity is better for a band than one of constant creation. With the release of their forthcoming EP mk2 (part 1), core members Stephen Houlihan and Christine Tubridy departed Edinburgh, returning to their native Ireland seeking renewed inspiration. Hiva Oa retain the mystery and ambition of their former incarnations, but inject a heavy thrum to their intricate patchwork style, and turn their attentions to themes of fear, loneliness, abandonment and awakening. “Seskinore” demonstrates their skill in developing percussive motifs that flit from the suspenseful and shuffling, to eruptive, deafening, conclusions. A powerful resolution to each composition is never far from the minds of Hiva Oa, who have become masters of developing atmospheres proving that, for them, a visit to old pastures has worked wonders.
THE WICKED WHISPERS - "IF I SET YOU FREE"
Two years since their debut album Maps of The Mystic and with a plethora of sold out vinyl releases and European tours under their belts, Merseyside’s fast-rising psychedelic sons The Wicked Whispers return with news of a brand new double A-side single release in If I Set You Free / Zodiac Girl, with the video for “If I Set You Free” being just released. Though rather than re-tread the ground that brought the band their initial swell of attention, these new tracks reveal the band to be reveling in a new-found focus; ideas come fully formed, hooks latch on instantly, and where once their bristling fountain of creative concepts threatened to overshadow the songs underneath, their more direct approach to the craft is a refreshing shift to their own more distinctive strain of the genre. “If I Set You Free,” punctuated with organ flourishes, dramatic guitar stabs, and a tumbling vocal melody, calls to mind The Coral at their best.
CYMBALS EAT GUITARS - "HAVE A HEART"
“Have a Heart” not only serves as a highlight from Pretty Years - an album already marked by its playful, dexterous songwriting and showcasing of Cymbals Eat Guitars' ongoing desire to evolve and expand their craft - but also marks new territory for the band. "I had never written an honest-to-goodness love song before this one, and I never thought that I would," explains frontman Joseph D'Agostino. "Throughout my teen years and adult life, I was in a series of really toxic relationships plagued by jealousy and insecurity, but when I met my current girlfriend I knew that I had found someone who lifts me up, and who I lift up. Matt Whipple and I co-wrote the music together and we tried to make that joy evident in it. This is a song of jubilation. I'm personally very proud of it." The band has 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. 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.
COURTSHIP. - "STOP FOR NOTHING"
ourtship. is the new Los Angeles based duo of Eli Hirsch (DREAMERS, Ethan Burns) and Micah Gordon (Tobias Jesso Jr.), two talented songwriters in their own right who met while playing in Bloodboy. Within three weeks of knowing each other, they had already started a project. On paper, they don't make much sense. Hirsch grew up in Portland OR, playing in indie rock bands since he was thirteen; while Gordon grew up near the beach in Los Angeles and is a trained jazz pianist. But somehow, it worked. Both inspired by artists like MGMT, Passion Pit, STRFKR and Stevie Wonder, the duo write and produce everything in Gordon's bedroom by the ocean. Their debut single "Stop For Nothing" is a synth-pop, indie rock hybrid, ebullient and buoyant in its optimism. Soft backing instrumentals and glossy vocals segue into the surging, exuberant chorus, one that you just can't help but sing along to. "Stop For Nothing" is out now on the new indie singles imprint 20XX.
GRAVEL KINGS - "YOU WERE LOVED"
Gravel Kings’ "You Were Loved" could easily be mistaken for an uplifting song of adoration. While in a way that's true, the track cultivated from a murky time in frontman Zack Jones' story. Early in his life, Jones felt bogged down by the weight of anxiety and depression. Eventually, the obstacles would become so tumultuous that Jones would suffer a stress-induced heart attack."I was in a dark place when that happened. I felt like I had already lost so much, and when I ended up in the hospital, I had to make a choice; I had to have a plan to get out," Jones explained. "That plan included my bandmates and nobody else. These guys are my best friends, and following the heart attack, I had to, and still, deal with severe panic attacks. I've tried everything ... The only thing that made me happy was being anywhere with them, playing music. I think we all feel that way: Music helps us fight our demons." "You Were Loved" appears on Lure, Gravel Kings' honest and heartbreaking new EP. The release, which was produced by James Paul Wisner (Dashboard Confessional, Twin Forks, Amy Winehouse) is set for September 9th release. In addition to Jones, Gravel Kings is comprised of Joey Johnson on guitar, banjo, and Dobro; Douglas French on drums; and Aaron Teems on bass.
TOUCHE AMORE - "SKYSCRAPER"
“Skyscraper” is the closing track off the band’s new album Stage Four, out September 16th. In addition to front man Jeremy Bolm singing melody, the song also features guest vocals by acclaimed singer-songwriter Julien Baker. As Bolm explains “I'm a Leonard Cohen fanatic, and I feel he figured out early that his range can be brought to life with the accompaniment of a beautiful female voice over his. So taking a page from his book I asked Julien to join me on the track. I adore Julien and her talent. I couldn't have been more excited when she was down to do it.” Stage Four is the band’s follow-up to their 2013 critically-admired album Is Survived By…, which was recorded in Studio City, California with producer Brad Wood. Since forming in 2007, the Burbank, California band’s sound, with its melodic sonic assault and impassioned vocals, has grown tighter and more refined throughout their upward-moving career. Bolm is joined by guitarists Nick Steinhardt and Clayton Stevens, bassist Tyler Kirby, and drummer Elliot Babin to create a trajectory for themselves through hard work and dedication. And now with Stage Four, their fourth and biggest album to date, they are cementing their status as one of rock music’s most talented, relatable, and visceral acts.
THE TALLEST MAN ON EARTH - "RIVERS"
Alone with a guitar in the kitchen of his Swedish countryside home is where Kristian Matsson began his days as The Tallest Man On Earth. A decade later, after an endless journey of writing, recording, touring, leading a band, and gradually expanding in production, Matsson now goes back to that kitchen and wipes the slate clean. Earlier this summer, The Tallest Man On Earth shared “Time of the Blue,” a new song that focused the spotlight on voice and guitar. Now two months later, Matsson presents yet another new piece of music, the single “Rivers.” While a fuller sound than “Time of the Blue” with the addition of horns and piano, “Rivers” still retains a raw intimacy. It’s perhaps reminiscent of that overwhelming nostalgic feeling of discovering a forgotten closet in one’s home.