Single & Lovin' it Vol. 39
By Mixtape Mandi
FROTH - "PASSING TIME"
Los Angeles' Froth have released a new single, "Passing Thing," off their forthcoming new album Outside (briefly), which will be released on February 24th via Wichita Recordings. Froth will head out on the Desert Daze Caravan U.S. tour beginning February 22nd in San Francisco at the Noise Pop Festival and continue through March 19th in San Antonio for the Burger Records Hangover Fest V. The Thomas Dolas-produced Outside (briefly) is the sound of a band that's truly found its voice; and in many ways feels like Froth's proper debut. Across the ten songs, the band dialed back the noise and psych-pop found on their previous LPs to reveal delicately beautiful melodies, intricately arranged instrumentals, and some of their most experimental songwriting to date. This evolution revealed new dynamics of Froth's sound, resulting in a moodier and more atmospheric bend to their shoegazing melodicism and pop sensibilities. Whereas previously they operated mainly as a guitar-driven band, here finds songs augmented by highlights of cello and synths (courtesy of Dolas), as well as drum machines, Rhodes, and other keys.
LITTLE COMETS - "COMMON THINGS"
Little Comets are pleased to announce the first track “Common Things” from upcoming album, Worhead. Priding themselves on their ultra DIY ethic, the band likes to operate on an entirely uncensored level and their latest offering is no exception. Offering breezy commentary on the beauty that lies within the oft-mundanity of a comfortable relationship, the song explores the enjoyment of “common things” in the situation - even if those common things include such sensory, uncompromising delights as being regularly re-contaminated by cold sores, as is the case presented here. Featuring sunny, syncopated beats, the song opens up into a warm, uplifting wash of golden synth before retreating back to angularity with afro-pop flashes and vocal bursts. The buoyant percussion part was fashioned after vocalist Rob Coles played lead guitarist, Mickey Coles a combination of a djembe, a bottle, a bike pump and a bit snapped off an old snare drum.
HAJK - "BEST FRIEND"
Described as “crisp, clear and smooth,” Hajk's new single “Best Friend” joins previous single “Magazine” that have been taken from Hajk's self titled, highly anticipated, debut album due to be released early this Spring. The band said of the track: "This is an in-your-face little pop-tune. We wanted it to sound modern and tight, but also with a little '80s vibe, referring to our childhood music. This is a song about close friends who might expect too much of each other and get to the point where it finally falls apart - just like it did for me in my late teens, for better or worse."
PATHS - "NEOPRENE"
PATHS debut single “Neoprene” rings a light, ethereal-like and bouncy personality just moments into the track. The synth-pop emergent burgeons with delicate soft-synthesized tones yet recognizes catchy percussion and intrinsic grooves. Huge dynamic tensions are built with sporadic vocal samples and manipulated guitar hooks which utter through moments of this debut. With an immersive sound inspired by Jamie XX, St Vincent and HAIM, her electronic routed songwriting was blossomed through the production efforts of Rory Friers under his new electronic alias, Thrash Hat. Recognized for her craft for perfectly melding together infectious vocals and compelling soundscapes, PATHS has also developed herself into a one-woman audio-visual live performance. She utilizes synchronized custom LED lighting on stage. With a collection of songs ready to spread their light across listeners everywhere, PATHS is more than expected to impact with her homegrown and contemporary alt-pop sound.
ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER - "FRENCH PRESS"
Melbourne's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are proud to announce The French Press, their debut EP for their new US label, Sub Pop, which will see release on March 10th. Alongside the announcement, the band has shared the title track. The French Press EP levels up on everything that made their debut EP, Talk Tight, such an immediate draw. Multi-tracked melodies which curl around one another, charging drums and addictive bass lines converge to give each track its driving momentum. Honed through their live shows, this relentless energy carries the record through new chapters in the band’s Australian storybook. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever’s songs have always had all the page-turning qualities of a good yarn and The French Press EP is no different. Somewhere between impressionists and fabulists, lyricists Fran Keaney, Tom Russo and Joe White often start with something rooted in real life before building them into clever, quick vignettes. The result is lines blurred between fiction and reality – vibrant stories which get closer at a particular truth than either could alone. Blending critical insight and literate love songs, The French Press EP cements Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever as one of Australia’s smartest working bands.
SONO OTO - "A WAY TO STAY AWAY"
Sono Oto is the musical journey of Mark Henry Phillips, an accomplished composer and sound designer for films, commercials and podcasts. He wrote the score for the first season of Serial. The last two films he scored have premiered at Sundance this year. Phillips was also the sound designer on sonically rich films like Academy Award-nominated Cutie and the Boxer, Ballet 422 and Teenage. Additionally, he was the producer, editor, sound designer, and composer on his latest project, Homecoming, a scripted narrative podcast starring Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer, and Amy Sedaris. The origins of Sono Oto’s debut record, Inheritance, go back to the winter of 2008 when Phillips, having shelved his dreams of being a fulltime musician and was reporting and producing for shows on NPR, learned his dad had terminal lung cancer. He and his father had grown far apart in recent years, but he always assumed they would have time to work things out. Over the next couple years Phillips and his brother visited their dad in Ohio as often as possible, and through this time together, Phillips started to see why their relationship was somewhat estranged. Through finding a group of letters his dad had written to his father, he realized his dad and grandfather actually had many of the same unresolved issues. This discovery - combined with caring for his dad as his illness worsened - morphed Phillips’ anger into sorrow. It was during this time Phillips began writing the songs that would become Inheritance. After his father’s death, Phillips had a visceral understanding of life’s brevity. He quit his job as a radio producer to become a composer and sound designer. And as he continued writing this batch of music, he tried to reckon with an issue that could take a lifetime to figure out: how could he avoid inheriting all the anger and loneliness his dad had inherited from his father? This quest ultimately became the yearning at the heart of Inheritance. Over the next six years, Phillips continued to work on these songs, bringing in drummer Nick Kinsey (Diamond Doves, Dearland) and guitarist Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine). The end result is a pop album that is classic in feel, but very contemporary with its details. And while the melodies are catchy, there’s a complex, emotional underbelly allowing the songs to flourish with each listen.
KAIRON; IRSE! - "SINISTER WATERS II"
It is typical of the human mind to try and classify things, but when confronted with Kairon; IRSE!, many are at a loss for words, except for An irrevocably mentally unstable Gentle Giant and a severely alcoholic Todd Rundgren having a love child which, after being adopted to Russia, finds himself performing a rock opera in the Ural Mountains. Behind the moniker Kairon; IRSE! there are four inner space travelers from western Finland. Debut album Ujubasajuba already knocked the planet off its orbit, even though it was done as a DIY Bandcamp release. Despite the lack of a physical release the album found itself on many best albums of the year lists in 2014. Since then the band has performed at various large festivals and meticulously written the new album. Titled Ruination, the album will be released by Svart Records on February 3rd. The band describes their music as an appreciation of the ideas and overall mentality of experimental pop musicians of the 60s and 70s, combined with a modern approach and original musical vision. Whereas the debut album was largely born out of improvisation and jam sessions, Ruination is the fruit of two years of careful composing and arranging work, taking control of the chaos. Ruination was recorded in the summer of 2016 at Tonehaven Studios producer Juho Vanhanen (Oranssi Pazuzu, Grave Pleasures) at the helm and Tom Brooke recording and mixing.
JOAN - "TAKE ME ON"
Joan is Alan Thomas and Steven Rutherford, a new indie pop duo writing modern songs inspired by 80s pop and 90s R&B, echoing music that once blasted from the boombox in your attic. The pair only met a few months ago after playing show together while in different projects and became fast friends. Since then, Thomas and Rutherford have been writing together nonstop and now they reveal their debut single "Take Me On." Co-produced and mixed by Tim Pagnotta (Walk the Moon, St. Lucia, Wild Belle, Saint Motel), "Take Me On" is "about spending tonight and forever with the one you love. Turn this one up and dance the night away with your boo.
MAGIC ISLAND - "LIKE WATER"
Berlin-based artist Magic Island has shared the title track from her upcoming album Like Water. The album is out February 24th on Mansions and Millions. Somewhere between a day-dream, late night strobe lights, and love confusion, you might find the sounds and themes of the electronic dream pop solo set of Magic Island. In her Berlin-based paradise, Magic Island builds us mystical, almost too-sweet lo-fi ballads that pull, unassumingly, at all the things we know too well: the feeling of yet another sunrise, the easy melt into - and then the painful fall out - of love. Underneath what seems like simple "Baby Blu" lyrics, we feel darker undertones and an honesty that leaves us all feeling a little bit vulnerable. From soft bedroom tracks to catchy anthems, Magic pulls in the world's superficiality, harnesses it, and gives it right back to us with some addictive hooks and few effortless lines. After first EP Intoxicated Sunset and followed by Wasted Dawn EP, Like Water, the artist’s first full-length features Berlin-based producer Karolini and vocals from Sean Nicholas Savage.
DEEP STATE - "NO IDEA PT II"
Athens, Georgia's Deep State will release their sophomore album Thought Garden on April 14th via Friendship Fever, a new Sacramento-based label distributed by House Arrest/Fat Possum. The foursome - Taylor Chmura on guitar and vocals, Christian Deroeck on bass, Michael Gonzalez on drums, and Ryan Gray Moore guitar - premiered the first single off the album, "No Idea Pt. II." Thought Garden is a thoughtful and cathartic listen that shoots straight from the gut, head, and heart. Across the album, Chmura examines inward frustrations at the things that exist in your mind and work against you, in search of a sense of self-resolution. Thought Garden captures the raw energy of a band being a band, recorded live over two days last January in Athens' Chase Park Transduction studio with Drew Vandenberg, who has worked on albums by Of Montreal, Deerhunter, Porcelain Raft, and Mothers, among others. Deep State are currently on a U.S. tour, taking the band throughout the southwest and California before wrapping up in Mississippi in mid-February.
JULIEN BAKER - "FUNERAL PYRE"
Julien Baker is confirmed to support The Decemberists on ten dates in April. The young Memphis artist will also perform at this year's Noise Pop Festival on February 23rd at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Baker, who wrapped up three shows supporting Ben Gibbard in the Midwest last weekend, is also confirmed for a handful of additional 2017 U.S. shows and festivals this winter and spring before heading overseas for a European tour in May and June. Baker recently became the newest addition to the Matador Records roster and released a new digital single, "Funeral Pyre," which will also be available as a 7-inch on March 17th and will feature her previously unreleased track "Distant Solar Systems" as a B-side. Baker's acclaimed 2015 debut album Sprained Ankle is available now digitally and will be re-released by Matador physically worldwide as well.
JOAKIM - "NUMB"
One of France’s foremost electronic producers Joakim announced his fourth album, Samurai, by sharing a brand new track and accompanying video for “Numb." Evoking the ideas of transformation, ambiguity and artifice versus nature, the Adrian Yu-directed music video appropriates and makes a parody of the YouTube phenomenon of make-up tutorials. Partially shot with a cheap 90s camcorder, the video also nods to the Japanese tradition of Kabuki make-up which inspired the cover art for Samurai. A very personal and conceptual body of work, Joakim’s forthcoming Samurai is about the artist’s journey between New York City, Tokyo and Paris. In writing, Joakim was inspired by a range of influences from the literary (Mishima’s Hagakure: Samurai Ethics & Modern Japan), to the sonic (home-made electronic and “new age”’ style music) and the circumstantial (Japan and New York).