Single & Lovin' It Vol. 44
By Mixtape Mandi
PILE - "DOGS"
Boston's Pile have released "Dogs," the latest from their upcoming fifth full-length album, A Hairshirt of Purpose. A Hairshirt of Purpose is due out March 31st via Exploding In Sound Records. Pile have never released the same album twice, since the project's 2007 beginnings the Boston quartet have been continuously evolving, pushing expectations, and obliterating good sensibility. A Hairshirt of Purpose, the band's fifth album continues that tradition in a different light. Following the raw intensity and unpredictability of You're Better Than This, the band settled down to create an album about "the joys of solitude" and "the inescapable selfishness of every action," exploring the limits of the studio in the process. If their last album was a challenge to their audience, A Hairshirt of Purpose is a challenge to the band itself. Recorded at home in Boston at The Record Co. the studio's big windows and close proximity marked a change from the band's previous recordings. There's a warmth and radiant accessibility to be found throughout the album as the band experimented with different instruments (violin, viola, piano, organs, synths, banjo, etc) and a resounding push toward clarity. Pile balance their ferocious tendencies with moments of beauty, building tension with release never too far behind. Well known as "your favorite band's favorite band" and for a tireless work ethic, Pile has earned their following from years of DIY touring and a humble approach to uncompromising performances. Never afraid to switch styles, Pile's music has morphed over the years, embracing both the ferocious and gentle sides of punk, indie, folk, and noise rock, delivering their own brand of gnarled intensity. Since coming together as a full band in 2009, Pile have toured as much as their lives collectively allow, playing over 600 shows spread out over the US, Canada, UK and Europe.
O MER - "ICARUS"
O Mer has shared "Icarus," which will be included on his upcoming EP Refugee. Emerging from the Tel Aviv underground and now based in Brooklyn, O Mer is a multi-genre composer. Filling the role of singer, guitarist, beat maker, and producer, O Mer's music is distinctly his own. People have compared O Mer musically to James Blake and Tame Impala, vocally to Arthur Russell. Influences include West African musicians such as Ali Farka Toure, Mediterranean musicians such as Aris San, and Western musicians such as The Yardbirds.
THE NEW YEAR - "RECENT HISTORY"
The New Year are pleased to announce their first new record in nine years, Snow, which will be released April 28th via Undertow Music. Although it has been a while since they released new music, it certainly isn't due to inaction. Matt and Bubba Kadane's previous band Bedhead had their career feted with a comprehensive box set via Numero Group, and the brothers joined with David Bazan and Will Johnson in the band Overseas and put out an album in 2013. Through it all, they kept working on another New Year album, polishing demos into full-fledged songs, refining and reworking lyrics, taking their time, along with their bandmates Mike Donofrio and Chris Brokaw, to get it right. The "it" in this case being crystal-clear indie rock, built around twining guitars, steady rhythms and Matt Kadane's near-whispered vocals. Recorded off and on in between jobs, lives and responsibilities and at a variety of locales, like Steve Albini's Electrical Audio, the Echo Lab in Denton and at houses in Texas, New York and California, the fourth album by the New Year may have taken a long time to make, but it only takes one spin for it to sink deep into the listener's heart and mind. It is music made to make a real, lasting connection and as anyone who's been following the Kadanes since the Bedhead days knows, their songs become a part of your life if you let them. Snow is another volume of music that will quietly change lives, will fill in the empty spaces and bring warmth on winter days and lonely summer nights. Listen to the first single, "Recent History.”
LEA PORCELAIN - "BONES"
London via Berlin alternative electronic post-punk duo Lea Porcelain mark their return with details of a new track "Bones" and a series of residency shows across London, Berlin, Hamburg and Paris. Last summer, Julien Bracht and Markus Nikolaus unleash their genre bending debut EP, Out Is In, drawing the attention of many and securing numerous "track of the week" accolades along the way. The band’s brooding single, "Warsaw," had Stereogum hailing Lea Porcelain as “quixotic as a lucid dream.” No less ambitious than its predecessor, "Bones" rolls in at four and a half minutes, unmasking a post-punk lineage conversing head-on with more recent, like-minded musical contemporaries. The band are now based at FUNKHAUS, the Berlin broadcasting house created under Soviet supervision that now houses the world’s biggest recording studio - even bigger than Abbey Road’s Studio 1. "Bones," a fervent salvo of stark, euphoric greatness, precedes Lea Porcelain's debut album, due summer 2017.
OLDEN YOLK - "BEIGE FLOWERS"
Olden Yolk is the solo music project of musician, visual artist, and writer Shane Butler. Butler is a co-founder and member of the psychedelic-folk band Quilt. His first public release, "Beige Flowers," was originally recorded in Baltimore as part of a split-record with friend Natalie Mering (Weyes Blood). "Beige Flowers" is a lyrically poignant, cacophonous meditation on loss, rebirth, and continuity. Butler has made "Beige Flowers" available for sale on Bandcamp, with all proceeds benefitting the non-profit, Bring Change 2 Mind, which helps to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. This is a cause that is near and dear to Butler's heart, as it has touched him in the most personal way possible: his own mother's mental illness and ultimate suicide. Bring Change 2 Mind (BC2M) is a national organization with the mission of eradicating stigma, and raising awareness, understanding, and empathy through starting, and continuing, conversations about mental health. BC2M develops influential Public Service Announcements, including its most recent campaign, #MindOurFuture; has piloted evidence-based programs at the university (UBC2M) and high school (LETS BC2M) levels engaging students to reduce stigma and discrimination; and has created a social movement around change by providing people with platforms to share, connect, and learn.
SECOND STILL - "RECOVER"
LA-based post-punk cold-wave three-piece Second Still are gearing up to release their debut, self-titled album on April 4th via Manic Depression Records. The band's debut EP, Early Forms, quickly sold out of cassettes on Bandcamp after its release in March 2016. Between that EP and the forthcoming release, they released a single, "Walls." The self-titled album was written in Brooklyn, when the band lived there for a year. The eight-song collection covers themes from depression, frustration, anxiety and alienation - all creative responses to the band members' struggles during that time. The cathartic, sentimental and emotionally sensitive lyrics are juxtaposed by an indifferent, unflinching, steady drum machine beat, making these unrelenting post-punk tracks feel anthemic. Even though the songs took a year to write, the entire album took two days to record at Studio G and Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn. Hilary Johnson (Bell Hollow, The Prids) mixed and co-produced the record, and Mike Tierney (Medeski, Martin & Wood) mastered the album. With a more polished sound, the LP features captivating bass line, chorus and delay-heavy guitars, hard-hitting beats made with iconic '80s drum machine sounds, and Suki San's pitch-perfect, hauntingly beautiful vocal melodies.
JORDAN KLASSEN - "CURSES"
Canadian chamber folk-pop singer-songwriter Jordan Klassen has announced his new album, Curses, to be released on March 3rd on Nevado Records. Klassen has unveiled the title track, “Curses.” Klassen says, “The emotional realm that I often exist in musically is a merging of darkness and hope. While I usually incline toward the latter, 'Curses' is a collection of songs that are honest about the blackness, the grim.” Curses is an assembly of brooding pop songs that continue in its predecessor's exploration of mental illness and hushed vulnerability since his 2016 LP, Javelin. Writing about his life experiences is one of the essential elements in Jordan’s creative process – particularly events that he had deemed as his failures. Klassen is a decorated songwriter in his own right who has spent more than a decade quietly crafting music that has been deemed 'unsentimentally sincere' and 'whimsically hopeful'.
WINSTONS - "ENOUGH"
Winstons has shared their second single "Enough," which follows their first single "Without You." It will be part of a release slated to come out later this year. The band released two EP's in 2015: Turpentine and Black Dust. Winstons is a garage-soul duo out of Virginia, residing in Brooklyn. They do love songs, blue songs, and dance songs with drums, guitar, harmonies, and a harmonica. Their live show is raw and earnest, with a dynamic juxtaposing devotion and depravity. Their sound has drawn comparisons to Screamin' Jay Hawkins and The Cramps.
AISH - "CALIFORNIA"
Aish's new single and video for his cover of Joni Mitchell's classic, "California," is a stand-alone single that comes in the wake of Aish's debut video for "Promise Me," from this forthcoming album Mother, due out in spring 2017. The new album explores the intricate relationship between mother and child, migration and finding one’s home. Aish covered "California" because the message of the song rang true to his personal story, especially in light California's stance in the current political conversation on immigration. The images of swirling body parts represents how parts of our complex identities can create many different narratives of who we are, for the people around us. Joni Mitchell, an immigrant like Aish, found home in California. "California" speaks to the hope we all seek when our personal freedoms, equality and identity are impinged. The song ends with "Will you take me as I am?" just in the way California accepted Aish for exactly who he is. The song was produced by acclaimed producer, Beau Sorenson, who previously worked alongside Bob Mould, Death Cab For Cutie, and Superchunk. Aish's forthcoming album Mother, which explores the intricate relationship between mother and child, migration and finding one’s home, draws cinematic pop landscapes with voice, strings, harp, electronics and found organic sounds. He collaborated with the creative team at Rabbit Hole UK, who have worked with Warner Music and Universal.
DOG ISLAND - "EL DORADO"
Dog Island was birthed as a recording project, completely composed, produced, and performed by Dave Hanson and recorded in his home. The sound of the album dips into many spheres. There are experimental elements in the tones; they’re mostly found sounds that are looped or modulated in some fashion or another with AM radio snippets, old Casio keyboards, people talking backwards, toy noise makers, electronic percussion, and more that make up most of the sonic textures throughout. The instrumentation, melodies, and song structures harken towards folk and/or pop. The rhythms are breezy and the music retains the immediacy of pop within its structure and melodies, but is textured with experimental elements. Conceptually, the track “El Dorado” is inspired by the chapter of the same name in the book Candide by Voltaire. Though the book is wrought with foul luck, in the chapter “El Dorado” our heroes find good fortune, gracious hosts, and welcoming strangers. Eventually, they decide to leave and continue their search for their loved ones. This compulsion to leave such a paradise, to return to the trials of the world, all for the hope of returning to love is what drove the song forward. The track serves as a basic chronology of this unique chapter in Voltaire’s masterpiece.