Single & Lovin' It Vol. 34
By Mixtape Mandi
HEAT – “LUSH”
From the brash pop of Echo and the Bunnymen to the post-punk leanings of Psychedelic Furs, Heat is a band that proudly takes their place in the great alt-rock lineage, delivering rousing, thrilling anthems for the disenfranchised. Initially starting as “as an excuse to get together and drink”, Heat has grown into something far more significant - and new record Overnight offers their most notable work to-date. Recorded at Montreal’s Breakglass Studio, the recording process was something of a rocky road for the band but the resulting record is a vehement leap forward, and one that looks set to cement Heat’s status as one of Canada’s most formidable exports. Led by the band’s three founding members - Susil Sharma, Matthew Fiorentino, and Raphael Bussieres, Overnight feels resolutely solid; old-school aesthetics delivered with a defiantly fresh-faced outlook. Co-produced by Grammy-award winner Alex Newport, who has worked with the likes of Death Cab For Cutie and At The Drive In, Overnight is another significant milestone in Heat’s turbulent, tempestuous journey, but it’s a record that sees the band thriving in their current predicament. Ragged, raging, and unrestrained – they’ve simply never sounded better. Showcasing the band’s shadowy undertones, lead single “Lush” is a heavy-hearted meeting of dark sentiments and inventive instrumentals. Overnight will be released on January 20th via Topshelf Records.
BEACHHEADS – “MOMENT OF TRUTH”
Beachheads have unveiled the first single from their upcoming debut album. "Moment of Truth" is an honest and soulful track, perfect for cold days in Oslo, and the rest of the world. Beachheads will release their debut on Fysisk Format on February 3rd. The spark that became Beachheads was first ignited on a tour bus, as Kvelertak members Vidar and Marvin fantasized about the endless potential of fuzzy guitars, energetic drums and strong melodies. After a demo session a couple of years back they hooked up with Stavanger-locals Espen, a metal drummer with a pop heart, and former synth-pop-singer Børild. It soon became apparent that Børild’s drawer full of lyrics would be one of the main assets of the band. Beachheads is the kind of band that will stay with you through life’s many twists and turns. The track sequence manifests life’s unpredictability and sharp contrasts, going from classic love songs to moments of deep despair. The album is brimmed with the sense a euphoric companionship, the power of trusting yourself and following your heart. Through the twelve tracks Børild establishes an ideal for us all: Truthfulness and honesty will get you through anything. The album was recorded in Beachheads’ hometown Stavanger and mixed by Øystein Frantzvåg in Oslo studio Nabolaget.
MARCHING CHURCH – “2016”
Over the past weekend, Marching Church released the video for their song, “2016,” off new album, Telling It Like It Is. Elias Bender Rønnenfelt describes the video: “We have reached the very tail end of 2016, the year which also spawns the title of this song. This is our attempt at a testament. Marching Church burns its calendar in a feeble and useless longing to undo the past 365 days marked by consistent atrocity, wronging and slaughter, while also taking us through recent ocular memories from the orient and its dirty pearls.” Initially begun as a onetime solo project, Copenhagen’s Marching Church has now expanded into a bona fide band, comprised of Iceage lead singer Bender Rønnenfelt joined by Iceage bandmate Johan S. Weith, Lower’s rhythm section of Kristian Emdal and Anton Rothstein, Jakob Emil Lamdahl and Hand of Dust’s Bo Høyer Hansen, augmented by flute, strings and sax, and produced by Escho’s Nis Bysted. Their second full-length album, Telling It Like It Is, is out now on Sacred Bones. The band will kick off their first North American tour in support of the album on January 13th.
VAGABON – “THE EMBERS”
Vagabon, the moniker of Lætitia Tamko, has shared a video for “The Embers,” the latest single from her upcoming debut album Infinite Worlds. The video was shot on 16mm film and directed by Mooj Zadie. Infinite Worlds is due out February 24th via Father/Daughter Records. Within the songs of Laetitia Tamko there are infinite worlds: emotional spaces that grow wider with time, songs within songs that reveal themselves on each listen. Tamko is a multi-instrumentalist and a producer, recording since 2014 as Vagabon. On her forthcoming debut, Infinite Worlds, she hones her singular voice and vision with an unprecedented clarity. "I feel so small / my feet can barely touch the floor / on the bus where everybody is tall," she sings softly and with caution, as she begin the album with "The Embers." Driving punk drums pry her song open, exploding it into an anthem that pushes back at entitled people who make others feel tiny. "I'm just a small fish / and you're a shark that hates everything," she sings, repeating that line and over and over with strength and power. Infinite Worlds builds upon Tamko's stripped-down demos that have been circulating online and throughout the independent music community for the past two years.
WHY? - "THIS OLE KING"
WHY? will release its sixth album, Moh Lhean, 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. The album opens with lead single "This Ole King," which finds Wolf's fragile voice and emotionally-charged lyrics accompanied by acoustic guitar and upright bass, before the song morphs into a sea of shimmering, kaleidoscopic pop. While WHY? fans will certainly encounter familiar sounds of 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. 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.
TEN FE - "TWIST YOUR ARM"
Ten Fé reveals “Twist Your Arm,” the Ewan Pearson-produced lead single from their debut album Hit The Light. "We came to [Pearson] with what is basically an old, bluesy-type tune," says Leo Duncan. "Slide guitars, chain-gang backing vocals, gospel piano; and [he] took it in a Weatherall, Primal Scream, Screamadelica direction… And he preserved enough of the original vibe for it to still feel kind of rootsy." The track is the perfect example of the analogue-meets-digital vibe that Ben Moorhouse and Duncan had going on during their album sessions with Pearson in Berlin last year. With two lead singers and songwriters, each with their own distinct voice and songwriting style - and Pearson's trademark pulsating electronic grooves underscoring this and the rest of the forthcoming LP - it's characteristic of the band's songs that they bend fluidly between one style and another. Recorded in the studio built into the Berlin HQ of Kompakt Recordsin Berlin, Hit The Light is a highly accomplished album with a captivating concoction of styles. The record seamlessly fuses intricate contemporary electronics and the band's signature energetic mix of Americana, Manchester baggy and soulful vocals.
JENS LEKMAN - "WHAT'S THAT PERFUME THAT YOU WEAR?"
Jens Lekman has announced his new album, Life Will See You Now, due out February 17th via Secretly Canadian. Across three studio albums, the Swedish singer-songwriter and musician has proven not only his flair for telling very personal stories with a sharp self-awareness, but also his skill for balancing depth of emotional expression with droll and often self-deprecating detail. It’s a winning pop combination. His fourth, Life Will See You Now is a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humor is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop’s writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self. Lekman experiments with different kinds of rhythms – disco, calypso, samba and bossa nova all get a bespoke twirl in the spotlight – and so he called on producer Ewan Pearson (M83, The Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp) to help realize his new songs. Released today along with the album announcement, the obviously upbeat lead single “What’s That Perfume That You Wear?” features steel pans sample from Ralph MacDonald’s “The Path” of 1978 – “one of my favorite records ever,” enthuses Lekman.
GOLD CONNECTIONS - "NEW RELIGION"
Charlottesville, Virginia-based band Gold Connections, led by songwriter, guitarist and lyricist Will Marsh, has signed to Fat Possum and released "New Religion," the thrilling first new single from their self-titled debut EP out March 31st. The song is a slow burner with an indelible chorus, which Marsh says, "was written one dirty afternoon in a cramped off-campus apartment. I was reacting to anxiety and melancholy by melding images which characterize that psychological space. ‘New Religion’ joins my repertoire in spirit rather than form -- as the ecstatic affirmation of a broken situation." Gold Connections' debut EP was home-recorded in the spring of 2014 in Williamsburg, Virginia and features production, engineering, and mixing by Will Toledo (Car Seat Headrest). It is comprised of the band's five best, earliest original songs written by Marsh while he was an undergrad of the College of William & Mary in Virginia. It was there that Marsh met Toledo; Marsh a freshman, Toledo a sophomore. Though Toledo won't be a member going forward, he also plays drums, electric guitar, bass, and backing vocals throughout the EP. Fat Possum will release Gold Connections' debut album later this year.
ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER - "JULIE'S PLACE"
Melbourne's Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever shared their new video for "Julie's Place," the first single off their forthcoming EP and Sub Pop debut, due later this spring. After the band spent their video budget on an idea that didn’t work out, they decided to film singer-guitarist Fran Keaney mowing his lawn on a Saturday morning. This simple idea actually ended up being much more in the band’s utilitarian style. So in a sense, out of defeat of an excess of options came a lean opportunity to do something more truthful.
TURN TO CRIME - "CHASING"
Turn To Crime has announced their new album, Secondary, out February 3rd on front man Derek Stanton’s own Mugg & Bopp Records. Secondary is Turn To Crime’s fourth album in as many years – Phantom Buzz (2016), Actions (2015) and Can’t Love (2014). Like Actions and Can’t Love, it was recorded in Stanton’s basement studio in Detroit’s Southwest, Molten Sound. The album was mixed by Jonathan Schenke of Doctor Wu’s Studio in Brooklyn and mastered by Sarah Register, who has mastered all previous Turn To Crime albums. The writing and recording of Secondary coincided with the release of Actions. Around this time, Stanton noticed something was off. “I started to lose hearing in my left ear,” he explains. That prompted him to obtain a hearing test. A subsequent MRI uncovered a brain tumor. “It was about a millimeter from being too big to remove and I had about a 50/50 chance of losing hearing and the movement on the left side of my face.” The band canceled their tour in support of Actions and Stanton underwent surgery only a week after that album’s release. Stanton’s sense of humor and resolve is apparent on lead single, “Chasing.” "I love the guitar riff in this song. It's super fun to play. When you get to the chorus you don't want it to end,” exclaims Stanton.
JULIE BYRNE - "I LIVE NOW AS A SINGER"
New York-based singer-songwriter Julie Byrne has shared "I Live Now As A Singer," the closing track from her upcoming album, Not Even Happiness. "I Live Now As A Singer" is Byrne's first song ever to be recorded without a guitar. Byrne's new album, Not Even Happiness, is a more confident beast than her debut that adds atmospheric instrumentation and electronic flourishes to Byrne's unusual guitar tunings and finger-picked melodies, moving the songs from the front-porch into subtle anthemia. Some of the songs on Not Even Happiness took years of fine tuning to reach their fruition. If you asked her why the follow up to 2014's Rooms With Walls and Windows has taken so long, you'd be greeted with a bewildered expression melted into a smile - as though the strangest question had just been asked. "Writing comes from a natural process of change and growth. It took me up to this point to have the capacity to express my experience of the time in my life that these songs came from." Not Even Happiness is due out January 27th via Ba Da Bing Records in North America and Basin Rock in Europe.