Single & Lovin' It Vol. 32
By Mandi Kimes
ANGEL OLSEN - "SISTER"
Angel Olsen releases MY WOMAN, her third full-length album, on September 2nd via Jagjaguwar. The album is put together as a proper A-side and B-side with the punchier numbers up front, and the longer, more reflective songs towards the end. After sharing A-side singles “Intern” and “Shut Up Kiss Me,” Olsen now presents “Sister.” Reverb splashed and capped off with a Neil Young caged-tiger guitar solo, it’s her most epic song yet that boldly reins the MY WOMAN B-side. Shot this summer in Los Angeles and at Joshua Tree National Park, the gorgeous video for “Sister” displays the opposing dualities addressed in the song. After solely directing the videos for “Intern” and “Shut Up Kiss Me,” Olsen teamed up with co-director Conor Hagen and took a different approach for “Sister.” “I wanted to keep from cutting these shots up too much. I wanted to slow frames down just enough for the cinematography to make its own statement. My aim was to gather a mixture of very different themed material, and somehow take a look at the synchronicity that material naturally brought forward.” Hagen elaborates, “’Sister’ addresses conflict within and then moves beyond it. The song is lyrically contradictory, so we wanted to show those opposing dualities: the contrast between a wide shot and a close-up, the duality between the city and that natural world, joy and melancholy.”
FIELD TRIP - "4 CA"
New York-based Field Trip has shared "4 CA," the fuzzy, psychedelic pop song from their forthcoming album, Horror Vacui, out November 11th. Singer and drummer Noah Champ says that he first made the track when leaving home. "Making this song the way we did has made me feel lost in time, which is a feeling I think is really at its core," he explains. It’s not easy for people with strange, sometimes puzzling minds to control the sounds in their heads and effectuate them into meaning through sound. Champ, a Los Angeles native expatriated to New York, has one of those elusive minds: neither here, nor there, but somewhere in between; constantly building and re-building upon the expanses of thought. His music exposes a deeply-altered perspective, horrified and charged by new environs and feelings. Unlike many, Champ has successfully been able to materialize the emotional voids at the core of his person, and has etched them on tape for us to indulge in. Champ moved to New York in what proved to be a deeply-altering time not only for him, but for his new home’s music scene. The beau monde-induced demise of dominant venues like Death by Audio and 285 Kent prophesied the inevitable extinction of the tight-knit, music-first rooms that incubated records the band regarded as scripture. Wishing to experience each of the space’s ephemeral legacy and mythos, Champ was joined by guitarist Nico Geyer, keyboardist Phillip Braun, and guitarist Jason Park, to play at Palisades in late 2014, having since been joined by Will Sacks on bass. Another year of playing and ambling in New York finds field trip tapping into further reaching sounds, connecting the dots between the likes of Factory Records alums, early trip hop, and space-age California.
VARVARA - "WARNING SIGN"
Ahead of the release of their third album Death Defying Tricks, Varvara have released a new video for their latest single “Warning Sign.” The forthcoming album was mixed by Pelle Gunnerfeldt (The Hives, Refused, Fireside), whose mixes for the album bring sharp focus into Varvara's innate sense of melody and energy. “Warning Sign” demonstrates a move forward from the band: a lush horn led arrangement coupled with strong lyrical themes and a well-crafted song structure adding more depth to the band's trademark garage sound. Varvara's beginnings were humble, but the band quickly became more than a friendly pastime as releases became picked up on by various sections of the Finnish music media. Varvara helped to establish the musician’s collective Haminan Sounds which releases their music. Varvara's output, over two albums and an EP, has slowly been recognized as a distinctive collection that harnesses disparate influences into a new sound. The new album represents a self-confident band with an exceptional sense of intense melody amongst a series of quirky little details. Combining off kilter riffs and straight-up rock n’ roll dynamics, Death Defying Tricks exhibits a more raw yet but also more refined sound from the band. The lyrical themes cover fictitious yarns to the closest personal insights. “Warning Sign” presents a super melodic entry point into Death Defying Tricks framework, perfectly contrasting more garage rock fair. Varvara's most mature and accomplished album to date, Death Defying Tricks delivers on the band's promise whilst managing to raise expectations to new heights.
BLACK SURF - "BASTARD MAN"
Black Surf has an unusual backstory having formed in 2014 through the wonders of FaceTime and Dropbox. The fruits of their exchanges between Leeds and Sydney 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 specializes in the kind of fuzzed-up, adrenaline-shot indie-rock that’s straight to the point and doesn’t outstay its welcome. New track “Bastard Man” is no exception. Talking of the track, vocalist Ali Epstone said; "Bastard Man is loosely based on Larry David’s character in Curb Your Enthusiasm. I think maybe, we all have a bit of that sociopathic nature within us? I just love and envy to some degree, that people have no filter and say and do exactly as they please sometimes. For right or wrong, I respect that mentality in people even if I don't agree with the BS that comes out their mouth. I guess it’s the brutal honestly without any fear or care of consequence."
SHARON VAN ETTEN - "NOT MYSELF"
Sharon Van Etten released new single “Not Myself” in memory of the victims of Orlando and to support the work of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. “Not Myself” is available via all digital service providers, including Bandcamp, where it’s available for the standard fee or more if one feels inclined to further support the work of Everytown. Van Etten explains, “I was home with my parents in New Jersey when I heard of the shooting at the nightclub in Florida. Hate, violence, and intolerance has always upset me, but I haven't been this overwhelmed with sadness and disbelief in a long time. The victims were only trying to be themselves and be comfortable and safe in their surroundings. That safety was violated out of fear and with a gun.” She goes on to say, “I originally wanted to raise money for the victims and their families, but I knew the issue was bigger than this. I wrote ‘Not Myself’ for the victims of this horrific event, but I chose to support the research and awareness work of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund: a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.” In the memory of those trying to be safe and be themselves, she hopes we can all come together to help prevent another massacre like this and end gun violence. Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund seeks to improve our understanding of the causes of gun violence and the means to reduce it – by conducting groundbreaking original research, developing evidence-based policies, and communicating this knowledge to the American public.
HOLY SONS - "IT'S THE FEELING"
Holy Sons, the one-man band of prolific musician Emil Amos (Om, Lilacs and Champagne and Grails), will release his new album In The Garden on October 21st via Partisan. In The Garden was produced by veteran John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent, Sonic Youth) and recorded at Water Music in Hoboken, New Jersey. As heard in debut single and Del Shannon cover, "It's My Feeling," Agnello helped Amos channel the creativity, freedom and isolation of a former time, while still sounding fresh and modern. While Amos digs deep into the 60s and 70s songwriter era for the missing blueprint, In The Garden is an undoubtedly contemporary album. While other musicians look back to ape entire songs or sounds as a template, Amos manages to adopt the authentic mindset of a 60s era artist. Held up to the light, In The Garden is Holy Sons in its most potent, crystalline form. The songs that make up the album are Amos’ most focused, most detailed and most carefully emotional. It’s an efficient and powerful batch of songs that captures peak-era Holy Sons in an ideal studio setting with the perfect producer steering the ship toward a purity of sound and vision that has eluded Amos in the past. Amos has created over a dozen albums under the name Holy Sons, as well as having a heavy hand in an impressive run of ground-breaking experimental albums over the last ten years. In a career of over 20 years, In The Garden is Amos’ statement album thus far, his flawless song cycle.
WARHAUS - "MEMORY"
As the solo recording project of Balthazar’s Maarten Devoldere, Warhaus debuts a new track "Memory" taken from his forthcoming debut album We F***ed A Flame Into Being, which will be released through Play It Again Sam on September 2nd. We F***ed A Flame Into Being is a direct quote from the DH Lawrence novel Lady Chatterley's Lover that Devoldere felt was "too good to pass on!” It serves as 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. Dolvedere has until recently kept his Warhaus persona under wraps; but with We F***ed A Flame Into Being 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.
TRAILS AND WAYS - "HAPPINESS"
Oakland-based Trails and Ways debuted their new song "Happiness," the second single off their forthcoming sophomore album, Own It, to be released on October 7th. The product of a wrenching year following Trails and Ways' debut album Pathology (Barsuk 2015), Own It chronicles an attempt at self-transformation through lush, hook-laden songs. At the end of seven months of touring, two longtime bandmates decided to leave, while frontman Keith Brower Brown's long-term relationship hit its breaking point. The upheaval knocked him flat, and pushed him towards a tough evaluation of his own flaws and how they could have contributed to these collapses. While backpacking across the Sierra Nevada, traveling Baja California and Louisiana, he confronted deep-set selfishness and self-protective vanity in the hope of making something beautiful out of the mess. The result is Own It, an album that roars back with anti-capitalist wit in songs that range from dreamy Bossa nova pulse to rebellious post-punk strut. In the past, Trails and Ways songs kept their politics wistful and enigmatic; the new album strides out of those confines, unafraid to offend, and commits to anti-capitalism with gleeful abandon. With a defiant spirit of personal and political openness, Brower Brown wrote Own It in opposition to the way he felt capitalism tried to turn him defensive, vain, and selfish. With powerful foils of heaviness vs. lightness, playful humor vs. raw emotions and serious polemic, the new songs find an exuberant, cathartic power in owning up to your flaws, cutting loose your creative independence, and finding your own way out.
WAREHOUSE - "SIMULTANEOUS CONTRASTS"
Rising Atlanta-based quintet Warehouse premiered their new music video for "Simultaneous Contrasts." Directed by Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos, "Simultaneous Contrasts" is the band's first music video and the second song from their new forthcoming album super low out September 30th on Bayonet Records. Singer and lyricist Elaine Edenfield says the song "touches on duality and contradiction, which is lyrically one of the most predominant themes of Warehouse: the having of one thought and the pull of the equally true opposite thought." Taking inspiration from the 1980's Athens, Georgia scene (Pylon, R.E.M., The B-52's) and having a mutual taste for Stereolab and Abstract Expressionist visual art, Warehouse invoke a post-punk style characterized by the spidery and interlocking guitar riffs of Alex Bailey and Ben Jackson, filled by the effortless drums of Doug Bleichner and the agile racing bass riffs of Josh Hughes. The full and textural sound provides a unique body for vocals added by Edenfield, whose lyrics can be described as sidewinding and oblique, oscillating quickly between melodicism and contrary roughness, using vocals as more of a physical tool of expression than as a glossy harmony to the sound. New album super low is a more concise continuation of previous album Tesseract, while still carrying the same organic and wildly sprawling nature. Largely written in a notorious punk house that was torn down to build a parking garage, the album was finished in a new environment: across from a food mart called 'super low.' The title connotes stark change, but it also hints at the additional psychological undertones of the album's meaning, to move down into more darkly subconscious and deeply endogenous areas of yourself in order to work through them and out. Also contrastingly literal, it denotes Warehouse's self-evident, uncontrived and rough-around-the-edges nature.