Single & Lovin' It Vol. 43
By Mixtape Mandi
LITTLE COMETS - "COMMON THINGS"
Little Comets are pleased to share the video for their current single “Common Things” from new album, Worhead. Priding themselves on their ultra-DIY ethic, the band like to operate on an entirely uncensored level and their latest offering, “Common Things” 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. The concept is subverted in the upcoming video with visceral visuals presented in ordinary scenarios, a raw chicken being taken for a walk in the countryside, a spot of knitting with cured meats and a woman’s hands replaced with crunchy fishfinger morsels. 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.
NE-HI - "SISTERS"
Chicago's NE-HI share "Sisters," the newest single off their forthcoming album, Offers, out February 24th on Grand Jury. The song brings together so many elements that make listening to NE-HI a joyous experience. The raucous group vocals, the tension and release created by the band's knack for unusually affecting chord progressions, and the lived-in warmth of their storytelling all unite in "Sisters" for a moment that is truly representative of what makes NE-HI greater than the sum of its parts.
THE BLACK ANGELS - "CURRENCY"
Austin’s psych rock masters The Black Angels have confirmed details for their upcoming album, Death Song, out April 21st. This will be the five-piece’s first full-length release in four years, and their debut for Partisan Records. Written and recorded in large part during the recent election cycle, the music on Death Song serves as part protest, part emotional catharsis in a climate dominated by division, anxiety and unease. Scorching opening track “Currency” is a strong contender for the heaviest song the band has ever put to wax, which meditates on the governing role the monetary system plays in our lives. Recorded between Seattle and Austin, Death Song features production from Phil Ek (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, The Shins). The 11-track collection offers a sharply honed elaboration on their signature sound - menacing fuzz guitar and cutting wordplay, steeped in a murky hallucinatory dream. Since forming in Austin in 2004, The Black Angels have become standard-bearers for modern psych-rock, and the New York Times has said they “play psychedelic rock as if the 1960s never ended, and they are absolute masters of it.” The band has toured with Queens of the Stone Age, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Keys and more, and has played festivals such as Glastonbury, Fuji Rock, Primavera, Coachella and Bonnaroo. Two of the band members co-founded Levitation Festival (formerly Austin Psych Fest) in 2008, which has since grown into one of the best-reviewed and expertly-curated festivals in the country.
CHARLY BLISS - "GLITTER"
New York City's Charly Bliss have shared "Glitter," the lead single from their anticipated debut album, Guppy, due out via Barsuk Records on April 21st. NYC-based Charly Bliss is a band responsible for having crafted some of the finest guitar-crunched power pop this side of an old Weezer record with a blue cover. Though Charly Bliss has been a band for over half a decade, the path that led to their first full-length record, Guppy, has been anything but straightforward. After spending years playing shows in and around New York City, the band eventually released an EP (2014's Soft Serve) and scored opening gigs for the likes of Glass Animals, Darwin Deez, Tokyo Police Club, Sleater-Kinney, as well as a touring spot for their own musical forebears, Veruca Salt. Even though the band had amassed a sizable fanbase and a reputation as a truly formidable live act, the goal of making a full-length record proved to be a fraught series of false-starts. Given their propensity for making hooky, ebullient pop songs, the band often felt out of step with what was happening around them in Brooklyn. They eventually set about recording an album on their own-and then recording it twice-before figuring out what had been staring them in the face the entire time. The ten tracks that make up Guppy show the band embracing all of their strengths: a combination of ripping guitars and irrepressible pop hooks, all delivered with the hyper-enthusiasm of a middle school cafeteria food fight. That every track is loaded front-to-back with sing/shout-worthy lyrics and earworm melodies is a testament to the band's commitment to the art form of pop songwriting. Guppy is a record that doesn't so much seek to reinvent the pop wheel so much as gleefully refine it.
KANE STRANG - "OH SO YOU'RE OFF I SEE"
Kane Strang has shared new music for the first time since 2016’s Blue Cheese in the form of “Oh So You’re Off I See,” the first single from the New Zealander’s forthcoming album that he is currently putting the finishing touches on, which is due out later this year on Dead Oceans. On “Oh So You’re Off I See,” Strang has moved away from the bedroom and into the studio. The song is robust and bright, showcasing his new collaborative approach to recording and writing with his band. The four-piece twists Strang’s melodies upside down and pushes his hooks inside out.
JAKE XERXES FUSSELL - "FURNITURE MAN"
Jake Xerxes Fussell is set to release his second full-length album, What in the Natural World, on March 31st via Paradise of Bachelors. After presenting debut single, “Have You Ever Seen Peaches Growing on a Sweet Potato Vine,” the Durham, North Carolina singer and guitarist now shares “Furniture Man,” a desperate tale of poverty, dispossession, and imminent homelessness, as relevant and heartrending now as it was when first recorded in the 1920s. 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, dueting with Tyler, touring with Mt. Moriah, Nathan Bowles, and Daniel Bachman, and this month and next, opening for Wilco; and the territory he’s traversed, for many of our fellow citizens, doesn’t brook much hope.
FLINT EASTWOOD - "QUEEN"
The first release off of Flint Eastwood’s forthcoming Broke Royalty EP, “Queen,” marks the Detroit artist's debut release with Neon Gold Records and is an anthemic call to arms at a time when it is needed most. With an emphasis on self-love, self-empowerment, equality for all, and also persevering through an enormous loss, Flint Eastwood has found her niche. Flint Eastwood’s Broke Royalty EP ties into the reasoning behind the tour - it's about more than gender equality, it’s about overcoming feelings of uncertainty and forces of disempowerment; it’s about realizing your self-worth and carving your own path. Crafted entirely at Assemble Sound, an 1870's church repurposed into a recording compound and creative hub for musicians cofounded by Anderson in 2015, Broke Royalty features collaborations with fellow Detroit native GRiZ, MUTEMATH's Paul Meany, and principle BØRNS collaborator Tommy English.
COLD BEAT - "62 MOONS"
Hannah Lew signals the return of Cold Beat with the announcement of her third album, Chaos By Invitation, out April 7th via her own Crime on the Moon label. As compared with previous releases, Chaos By Invitation began in Lew's home, alone, with additional tracking done later by Phil Manley (Trans Am) at El Studio and Mikey Young (Total Control), only to return to Lew's home for completion over the course of many months. As a result, the offering is much more personal and direct than Into The Air, which was more of a band effort. Collages from Lew's home environment make up many of the textures of Chaos By Invitation, woven in to create an intimate atmosphere, a sort of chaos by necessity and design. The album also features performances by her friends Kyle King, Alex Shen, Jackson Blumgart, and Mikey Young. Inspired musically by bands such as NEU! and Tubeway Army, Lew was also influenced by her own burgeoning interest in astronomy. The first single, "62 Moons," is a song about love taken for granted, analogous to the 62 moons of Saturn, which are in constant loving orbit around a beautiful siren planet with many satellites.
ECSTATIC VISION - "YOU GOT IT"
Philadelphia's heavy psych quartet ECSTATIC VISION return with their second LP Raw Rock Fury, the follow up to 2015's highly acclaimed Sonic Praise. April 7th will see the worldwide release of Raw Rock Fury via Relapse Records. Raw Rock Fury exhibits the band locking in on primordial, troglodyte Detroit rock grooves, Krautian motorik sounds that recall the obscure one-time collaboration between NEU! and the MC5, grimy harmonica flourishes that evoke Beefheart at his most savage, and the Hawkwindian, primal world heavy psych their debut expertly showcased. All of this is captured on four songs and 35+ minutes of the dirtiest sounding recordings since Kick Out The Jams. After touring extensively with the likes of YOB, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and others, ECSTATIC VISION head out again with Creepoid. The leg includes SXSW, Chicago, Denver and more before traveling to Europe for an appearance at Desertfest.
TAKING NAMES - "SAY ANYTHING"
Taking Names is a pop-punk band from Bergen, Norway signed on Loyal Blood Records. Since 2015, the band has released a fresh breath of 90's-inspired pop-punk with a modern variety of references from different genres, giving them a uniqueness to stand ﬁrmly on their own musical feet. With a rawness and energy on stage, Taking Names marks themselves as an act worth experiencing and paying attention to in the future. Taking Names has had a big year in 2016 in their native country, with heavy rotation on Norway's biggest national radio station with two of their singles; "Hope It’s The Last Time" and "Leave It." With their new EP dropping in spring 2017, Taking Names takes the leap and are aiming for new heights both nationwide and abroad.