Single & Lovin' It Vol. 45
By Mixtape Mandi
JOHNNY FLYNN - "HEART SUNK HANK"
Johnny Flynn shared new track "Heart Sunk Hank" from his fourth studio album Sillion due March 24th via Transgressive Records. "Heart Sunk Hank" follows previous single "Raising The Dead" and is part inspired by the folk song "Ten Thousand Miles." "Heart Sunk Hank" also allowed Flynn to try out a Voice-o-Graph — the recording booth popular in the 1940's which gave people two flat minutes to make a record. “There’s only two working in the world and there was one in London for a time and I had a chance to have a go in it and that wavy, crackly recording on this song is the recording I made. It sounds like the old Blues records I love. I wanted a sense of time travel in the song, panning from the Voice-o-Graph to the studio recording — at one point there’s one in each ear.” Sillion has grown episodically between Flynn’s commitments to acting, composing, and his young family. It’s an album about the sacredness of man’s endeavor to connect with the earth while separated from it. It’s the sound of Flynn breathing in and breathing out.
YAZZ AHMED - "THE SPACE BETWEEN THE FISH AND THE MOON"
Yazz Ahmed has been making serious waves in the jazz world after storming onto the scene with a commanding performance at Ronnie Scott’s with her quintet in 2010. With her next release La Saboteuse, Ahmed looks set to join a pioneering group of artists such as The Comet is Coming (Leaf Label), Kamasi Washington (BRAINFEEDER), Yussef Kamaal (Brownswood) and Naim Records’ Sons Of Kemet who are flipping the jazz world on its head and breaking through to the forefront of the UK music scene with a vibrant and exciting approach to their art. Ahmed has performed with creative goliaths including Lee "Scratch" Perry and Max Romeo, as well as touring worldwide with These New Puritans and laying down the Flugelhorn on Radiohead’s ground-breaking King of Limbs. Her second full length release La Saboteuse explores the creative process and the demons that can exist within. Ahmed’s transformation of this into a unique blend of psychedelic Arabic jazz is intoxicating, compelling and sonically outstanding. With La Saboteuse, Naim Records will break away from the traditional model of release with the album being dropped as four chapters across streaming services in early 2017. Each chapter will have an individual cover crafted by Bristol illustrator Sophie Bass Illustration, which when combined will form the gatefold cover housing the heavyweight double LP. The vinyl and CD will be released concurrently with Chapter Four and the digital release of the full album, all landing in May 2017.
DENM - "HEY YA"
Electronic garage-pop artist DENM had a whirlwind 2016 after releasing his debut EP Dreamhouse, which he both wrote and produced himself, late last year that now counts over 10 million combined streams across Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music and YouTube. The LA-based artist is currently in the studio recording his next EP, but in the meantime shares a thoughtful rearrangement of OutKast's 2003 iconic single "Hey Ya." DENM's interpretation of the dance floor burner flips the original on its head, turning the track into a downtempo, piano-driven affair with DENM coming in softly but assuredly at the chorus.
ANALOG CANDLE - "SCARLETT'S WEB"
Hailing from New York City via England, Chicago, New Orleans and Boston, ANALOG CANDLE is an expressionist, avant-garde dream-pop collective formed by producer and songwriter Callum Plews. Originally from England, Plews was inspired to create ANALOG CANDLE after collaborating with an array of musicians while living in the magic and bustle of New Orleans. The project began over six years ago, after Plews realized he was more comfortable with the concept of others performing and interpreting his creations than he was embodying them completely himself. Bringing together performers from the realms of avant-garde, folk and emo, the initial group began recording at Plews’ bedroom studio, and self-released a number of songs online under the moniker, ANALOG CANDLE (a reference to the Arcade Fire album Neon Bible). Influenced by the early albums of Animal Collective and Broken Social Scene, experimental-pop outfit Xiu Xiu, acts like Arcade Fire, Beach House and the surrealist and absurdist creations of literary heavyweights like Haruki Muramaki, Franz Kafka and Sylvia Plath; the art-rock collective is also largely dedicated to the hybridization of pop music and production technique. In this way, after settling in New York City, the Winter ’15 EP became the culmination of a variety of cultural and musical viewpoints. In terms of the EP itself, and conversely given the circumstances in which it was born, the lyrical content reflects Plews’ apprehensions on personal relationships, as well as the uncertain fragility that followed him around during his first winter in New York City. Each song is intended to provide a small window into how that winter progressed, as well as mapping the chronology of a doomed relationship. Album opener “Scarlett’s Web” features delicate female vocals that hover above shimmering electronic effects, while its lyrical themes allude to the beginning of the end of a love affair. Themes of reminiscence and rejection sit alongside concepts of expressionism, and throughout the EP, heightened emotion is given a front seat over exact realism in the form of piercing lyrics that twist and linger like smoke-trails.
DEL PAXTON - "WRONG DISTANCE"
Buffalo's Del Paxton shares a third single from their forthcoming All Day, Every Day, All Night debut, titled "Wrong Distance." Active since winter 2013, Del Paxton self-released their first EP, a collection of six songs titled Worst. Summer. Ever. later that year. In April 2014, Worst. Summer. Ever. was released as a 12" EP by the now defunct upstate New York indie label Secret Audio Club. Shortly thereafter, Del Paxton paired up with Topshelf Records to release a split 7" with their Canadian friends in Gulfer. All Day, Every Day, All Night, the band's debut album, is a collection of material written between 2013-2015, a reflection on their upstate New York punk scene upbringing, drawing nostalgic influence from bands they grew up watching like Polar Bear Club and Fire When Ready while still retaining a contemporary feel. All Day, Every Day, All Night will be released March 3rd via Topshelf Records.
LUNA SHADOWS - "CHEERLEADER"
Rising pop sweetheart Luna Shadows has unveiled new single "Cheerleader," the first of forthcoming material in 2017. Her EP Summertime surpassed 4 million streams on Spotify and was placed on tastemaker playlists including New Music Friday, Indie Pop, Weekend Beats and more. Luna Shadows has seen airplay on BBC1 and Beats 1 and sold out her first show in LA at School Night. The chorus for "Cheerleader" awoke Luna from a dream. She scrambled to her phone to record a haphazard voice memo: “screaming from the bleachers / I could make them all believers.” Luna approached Thom Powers of The Naked and Famous with her melody, concept and working lyrics. As she played her creation on the piano, he added in a beat and creative noises. The pair decided to invite an additional audial perspective and sent what they had recorded to Brad Hale (Sombear, Now Now) who they call their "secret weapon." Hale captured the spirit of the song by adding anthemic elements, including a marching band.
GOLD CONNECTIONS - "FAITH IN ANYONE"
Charlottesville, Virginia-based band Gold Connections - led by songwriter, guitarist and lyricist Will Marsh - premiered "Faith In Anyone," the second single from their self-titled debut EP out March 31st on Fat Possum. The band is also confirmed to support The Districts on a few dates ahead of their SXSW debut. Gold Connections recently debuted on Hype Machine's Top 10 Popular Artist chart and on Sirius XMU's Download 15 playlist with "New Religion," the thrilling first single. Languid atmospherics give birth to howlingly aggressive rock n' roll that ultimately builds to a richly arranged climax." 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. Though Toledo won't be a member going forward, he also plays drums, electric guitar, bass, and backing vocals throughout the EP.
CHARLES FAUNA - "HYPNOSIS"
Charles Fauna (fka Paideia) has premiered his new track "Hypnosis," which is about "a change in mentality," he explains. "It's a song that embraces vulnerability, and is for anyone who is challenging their own point of view and not sure how to feel." Charles Fauna is the stage name of Brooklyn-based songwriter and producer Charlie Mischer. Originally a jazz drummer from Los Angeles, Mischer moved to New York six years ago to study music at New York University. Now a seasoned producer, Mischer continues to develop his exciting electronic singer-songwriter sound. Mischer released three singles under the name Paideia in 2016 via many notable blogs. His single “Restless Child” was featured on Idolator’s Top 16 Alt-Pop Song of the Year (So Far) playlist. Charles Fauna expands upon the ancient Greek idea of “paideia” and aims to challenge our notions of popular music; moving past typical romance and revelry and into a realm of empathy and self-awareness.
VAGUESS - "GUILT RING"
Vaguess will be releasing their sophomore album Guilt Ring on March 3rd via Sinderlyn. Guilt Ring is the second helping from the acid-tongued punk rock smashers from Vaguess (pronounced "Vegas") which is the moniker of one Vinny Vaguess. It is the follow-up to his 2015's compilation The Bodhi Collection. With the new album Vaguess successfully peels back the sun dappled "surf's up" lies of the California tourism board to reveal scenes of domestic discord that would look just right as plot points in Repo Man Standing among the wreckage of his generation's swan dive into mediocrity and malaise. Vaguess welds a short story writer's punchy, pulpy plot lines to airtight 1970s American punk sensibilities, tapping into the anxieties and fears that spurred bands like The Adolescents and The Descendents. All of it played to the hilt with heaping doses of black humor, zinger riffs, and sharp hooks, which features Miles Lutrell (Useless Eaters and Scraper) on drums.
THE CACTUS CHANNEL - "SORRY HILLS"
As frenetic rhythms build only to fall away, and melodies loop, dive, and stutter, The Cactus Channel make music that both functions on and demands reaction. 2017 finds the band shape-shifting again, welcoming guest vocals from Sam Cromack (Ball Park Music, My Own Pet Radio) on the first release of what promises to be a big year. By 2015 The Cactus Channel had two albums and national tours under their belts when they were approached by Nick Murphy (FKA Chet Faker) to collaborate on one-off release Kill The Doubt / Sleeping Alone. The band’s first recorded foray into working with a vocalist, it proved yet another avenue for the band to introduce diverse sonic textures into their arrangements. This year they have collaborated closely with Cromack on an EP that treads a thin line between alt-soul and the best of indie pop, swimming in compelling atmospherics and deftly weaving Cromack’s rich, drawling vocal and disarming, meditative lyrics through the band’s typically intuitive arrangements.
Solidifying their lineup of seven members, The Cactus Channel’s music will undoubtedly continue to shift and change, as action-reaction proves the perfect formula to keep the band, and their listeners, on their toes.