Single & Lovin' It Vol. 38
By Mixtape Mandi
DOMINIC - EMOTIONAL BUSINESSMAN
Dominic unleashed the video for his rowdy new song "Emotional Businessman." Filmed in the snowy streets of his hometown of Philadelphia, the video depicts a battle that Dominic says represents “the endless battle between art and commerce." At the core of all long human relationships there are dark corners. In his solo debut, Goodnight, Doggies, Dominic Angelella uncovers such painful discoveries with masterful and subtle execution. More importantly, he does this with an expertly alternative hand at pop songwriting, cherry picking from a vast array of influences not limited to visionaries such as Prince, Harry Nilsson, and Andre 3000. A longtime resident of Philadelphia, Dominic hails from an invaluable background of attending and playing punk shows in the basements and DIY spaces of the east coast since around middle school-age. Over the years he's been a member of projects such as Hop Along, Cold Fronts, MewithoutYou, and is currently the co-songwriter of the band Lithuania. He's also contributed his skills as a session musician to records from Kendrick Lamar, Tinashe, Juicy J, Mac Miller, and Lil B. In the meantime his solo endeavors have taken on several forms and titles, until a decision was made that it was time to perform under his now seasoned given name. It couldn't have come sooner, as this is by far his greatest work to date. Throughout the album, thoughtful lyrics come through clearly, with a light decaying edge. The singer is young but aware that this time is coming to an end. The attitude of the vocal is simultaneously relaxed and feral. He is an almost kindly observer, who is aware of bitterness but somehow devoid of it. As with any album, there are no answers here, only honest examinations of failure on both sides. Like all of us, Angelella has no idea what the outcome will be, but he can share his coordinates and leave you exhilarated.
RODES ROLLINS - WES COME BACK
Rodes Rollins was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Boulder, Colorado but now calls New York and Los Angeles her home. She also spent time living abroad in Buenos Aires, where a large part of the inspiration for her upcoming EP Young Adult was born. Rollins first impressed listeners with her debut single "Young & Thriving" released late 2016. Produced by Alex Goose (Kevin Gates, Weezer), the song tells the tale of the fleeting nature of beauty and youth with Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint) on drums. Now, she continues to weave emotive songwriting with spaghetti western undertones and psychedelic flair in her new single "Wes Come Back" about her first love. Drawing inspiration from Broken Bells and Ennio Morricone, "Wes Come Back" conveys imagery of a New Mexico desert campfire. Featuring drums by Matthew Compton (Electric Guest, Devendra Banhart, Rodrigo Amarante), the song tells the story of Wes, Rollins' young love who endured a lot of hardship throughout his life. "For a long time, during our adolescent years, our lives were very much intertwined," Rollins says of Wes. "I think that’s why it’s so easy for me to write songs about him. There’s a lot of raw and real material for me to talk draw upon. I don’t feel that way about all of my songs. But when I write about him, I feel like I’m genuinely telling a story."
CONOR OBERST - A LITTLE UNCANNY
Conor Oberst will release a new album, Salutations, on Nonesuch Records, on March 17th. The album is a companion piece to 2016's lauded Ruminations. When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs on Ruminations, entirely solo - with just voice, piano, guitar and harmonica - he intended to ultimately record them with a full band. In the midst of putting together that band - upstate New York's The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) - the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form, as his seventh solo album: Ruminations, which was released in October 2016. Meanwhile, Oberst simultaneously moved ahead with his plans to record with the band, heading to the famed Shangri-la Studios in Malibu to record Salutations - co-produced with Keltner and engineered by long-time musical compadre Andy LeMaster. Guest contributions come courtesy of Jim James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gillian Welch, Gus Seyffert, Pearl Charles, Nathaniel Walcott, and Jonathan Wilson. Salutations includes full band versions of the ten songs from Ruminations, plus seven additional songs, some from an additional session at Five Star Studios in Echo Park in fall 2016.
HENRY GREEN - MORE THAN THIS
British songwriter and producer Henry Green kicks off the new year with preparations for the release of his Real EP. So far, Green has shared singles "Closer" and the title track "Real," displaying his adept ability to merge traditional songwriting with more abstract arrangements while showcasing his androgynous vocals akin to Rhye. Now, Green continues to tease his forthcoming Real EP with a new song "More Than This,” a slinky, downtempo affair. "It's about breaking routine, reconnecting as human beings and living with freedom," Green says about the track. "I think we're occasionally guilty of sticking to the script too intently and I just wanted to write about running in a different direction - moving in a different way."
KELLY LEE OWENS - ANXI
Kelly Lee Owens announces her self-titled debut album, due March 24th via Smalltown Supersound, and shares lead single, “Anxi” featuring Jenny Hval. It follows the release of her Oleic EP, released this past fall. An album that bridges the gaps between cavernous techno, spectral pop, and Krautrock’s mechanical pulse, Owens brims with exploratory wonder, establishing a personal aesthetic that is as beguiling as it is thrillingly familiar. Before starting work on the self-produced album, Owens, a 28-year old Londoner, turned her keen ear towards dance music after working in a record store with techno producer Daniel Avery. Her voice and contributions can be heard on Avery’s Drone Logic. Her debut solo album is first and foremost Owens’ vision, a record that exudes a startling level of intimacy even in its largest-sounding moments. “Anxi” is a track that shifts from drifting tones and distant vocals to warm squelches and tunnel-vision club beats. “It has been my most freeing and open collaboration so far, and my first time working with a female,” Owens says of working with Hval. "It was a very powerful experience for me; I felt she brought something strange and quite beautiful.”
JAKE XERXES FUSSELL - HAVE YOU EVER SEEN PEACHES GROWING ON A SWEET POTATO VINE?
Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist Jake Xerxes Fussell has announced his second full-length album, What in the Natural World, to be released March 31st on Paradise of Bachelors. He has shared the debut single, a beautifully rollicking version of the traditional song, “Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing on a Sweet Potato Vine?” Fussell’s What in the Natural World feels several shades darker, and unsettlingly funnier, than his William Tyler-produced debut, and you need only look around at our current national predicament for clues as to why. Since his debut release, Fussell has played around the country, opening for Wilco, dueting with Tyler, and touring with Mt. Moriah, Nathan Bowles, and Daniel Bachman; and the territory he’s traversed, for many of our fellow citizens, doesn’t brook much hope. This time around Fussell has sourced his repertoire from beyond his primary Southeastern U.S. foraging grounds, including songs from the Southwest and even Wales. He encounters monsters, literal and figurative, everywhere in this landscape of loss and longing. Unlike his debut, the majority of these songs are not nominally traditional. Many are attributed to specific artists, both canonical (Duke Ellington) and obscure (Helen Cockram), and all are recast in vibrant, assured recordings that elide genres and dissolve the false binaries of tradition and innovation, folk and modern, old and new. Throughout, Fussell poses Natural Questions in the form of transmogrified folk and blues koans. These nine elliptical riddles, spare but sturdy, driven by Fussell’s limpid guitar and understated singing, both absorb and reflect the conditions of their listeners, refusing to offer easy answers. Recorded by Jason Meagher (Steve Gunn, Michael Chapman) in New York, and by Nick Petersen (Mt. Moriah) in North Carolina, What in the Natural World features contributions from three notable Nathans—Bowles (Steve Gunn), Salsburg (Joan Shelley, Alan Lomax Archive), and Golub (Mountain Goats)—as well as Joan Shelley and Casey Toll (Mt. Moriah).
JAKUZI - KOCA BIR SACMALIK
Jakuzi, an Istanbul-based Turkish-language synth-pop band formed around the core-duo of Kutay Soyocak on vocals and Taner Yücel on bass and synths, will be releasing their debut album Fantezi Müzik via City Slang on March 24th. They have shared their first track "Koca Bir Saçmalık," a synth-disco hit which deals lyrically with the themes of disappointment, sacrifice and anger. Jakuzi don't sound like any other band out there right now. Their debut album could be described as a lo-fi pop masterpiece from a faraway time, place and perhaps an alternate universe. Think David Bowie having a fever dream in Turkey mixed with Depeche Mode stranded at the Bosporus, but at the end of the day they just sound completely like themselves. While music fans and the press were busy catching up on the Turkish legacy of 70s rock and psychedelia, a very active and vibrant underground music scene was developing under the radar in Istanbul. Jakuzi are the latest offspring, and their debut record might just change the international perception of contemporary Turkish music. Many of the songs are deeply rooted in the rich history of Turkish pop but Western listeners will also take note of a wide variety of influences ranging from krautrock, disco and post-punk, which Jakuzi were able to translate into something uniquely gripping. In the Autumn of 2016, the band released a handful of songs on cassette tape and digitally via Bandcamp in Turkey (until Paypal was banned) and quickly rose to fame in their hometown of Istanbul; excelling at a genre that was more or less unfamiliar in their country, and surprising everyone including themselves. Fantezi Müzik is a record that is stoked by enthusiasm for music, a manifest for life and change; it creates an alternative option to the harsh reality. Kutay's voice, which deals throughout the record with all the elements of life's miseries: alienation, love, death, passion and not giving up, is eerie and haunting. It's in Turkish, but you can still understand and relate to it - it's a voice so powerful that it sends shivers down your spine.
WHY? - PROACTIVE EVOLUTION
WHY's second single "Proactive Evolution" follows the band's first single "This Ole King" from their sixth album, Moh Lhean, out on March 3rd via Joyful Noise Recordings. A follow-up to 2012's Mumps, Etc., it's the first fully home-recorded WHY? album since the project's 2003 debut, made mostly in Yoni Wolf's studio and co-produced by his brother Josiah. While WHY? fans will certainly encounter familiar sounds on Moh Lhean -- Wolf's sour-sweet croon, deadpan poet's drawl, and ear for stunningly fluid arrangements with obsessive attention to detail -- the album also reveals that a transformation has taken place. The singer's self-deprecating swagger and cynical squint is replaced by a sense of peace in the unknowing; his wry smirk traded in for a holy shrug. This cosmic sense of calm and acceptance woven throughout the album is due in part to Wolf's circumstances during the writing process: he suffered a severe health scare far from home, but rather than let it drive him to depression, he gained a stronger connection to the living. "Proactive Evolution," which features mewithoutYou's Aaron Weiss, even samples Wolf's doctors -- the very voices that helped shape his new outlook. There's something about the album that's both ephemeral and distinctive, like something the Wolf Brothers might've heard on a praise album in their father's synagogue as kids, or on some '60s hippie LP they thrifted in their teens, or, perhaps, on the other side of the records they've been making their entire adult lives. While the meaning of the words "Moh Lhean" remain a mystery, they most likely have something to do with letting go, rebirth, coming home to a familiar feeling, or venturing out to discover a new one.
TY SEGALL - "BREAK A GUITAR"
Ty Segall's swiftly oncoming self-titled album is his ninth solo release since 2008, a span of records that have embodied an arcing swath of up-and-upper rock and roll music for the people. What people? They know who they are. They're finding out all the time. They like candy-striped and scorched-earth sounds alike, and Ty keeps throwing down both and more in spades! "Break A Guitar" is the second drop from his new album, a 180-degree spin from the acoustic pastoral of the previously-leaked "Orange Color Queen," and a reminder that beyond all the tender beauty that he's capable of, the rifftasm of Segall's music vision is what drives him ever forward in shows everywhere and in the minds of listeners who dig the sounds. With a week to go before the album hits on January 27th via Drag City, "Break A Guitar" aims to shatter the fugue-state you're been wandering through and invite you back into the real life that's coming! You are needed here, and with as few illusions as possible. Segall is joined by his magic band comprised of Emmett Kelly on guitar and vocals, Mikal Cronin on bass and vocals, Charles Moothart on drums, and Ben Boye on keyboards.