Single & Lovin' It Vol. 48
By Mixtape Mandi
COLIN STETSON - "SPINDRIFT"
Colin Stetson is back with a brand new album titled All This I Do For Glory. The LP is a reasoning and exploration of the machinations of ambition and legacy, an examination of the concepts of afterlife, and the first half of a doomed love story in the model of the Greek tragedies. As a narrative, it exists temporally somewhere between 2015’s Never Were The Way She Was (with Sarah Neufeld) and the 1st volume of the NHW Trilogy. “Spindrift” is the first single to be released alongside a special live video which shows Stetson in action. The song is crystalline and serene and calls to mind the ambient works of Aphex Twin. With this, his first solo outing since 2013’s “To See More Light,” Colin Stetson ventures into territory both familiar and strange. Here still, is the dogmatically stripped down approach to performance and capture but there is an immediacy to the album that belies a more invasive and thorough miking of the various instruments being utilized and a seeming influence drawn from the early 90s electronica of artists like Aphex Twin and Autechre, evident in the more pointed role played by the instruments' many percussive elements. Engineered and mixed by Stetson himself, this album represents a decidedly independent approach across the entire creative process and finds him at the top of his game, both as a composer and instrumentalist as well as a producer.
TENNYSON & MR. CARMACK W/ BJ THE CHICAGO KID - "THURSDAY"
Grammy-nominated R&B singer BJ the Chicago Kid joins teenage brother-sister duo Tennyson and Los Angeles-based producer Mr. Carmack to close out the dynamic singles trilogy with the ethereal track "Thursday." The song funnels intensity through a dream, its explosive drum fills carefully contained within lush synths and muffled pads that provide the perfect backdrop for BJ the Chicago Kid's effortlessly smooth vocals. Where previous singles "Tuesday" and "Wednesday" showcase the push and pull between Tennyson and Mr. Carmack's unique production styles, "Thursday" embraces balance with complexity and depth, thanks in no small part to a flawless feature from BJ the Chicago Kid. The R&B singer serves as the perfect bridge between the contemplative experimental pop sensibilities of Tennyson and the raucous intensity of Mr. Carmack, channeling the best qualities of both artists into a deceptively simple R&B track that proves itself to be so much more with each passing listen.
THE OCTOPUS PROJECT - "PEDRO YANG"
Austin, Texas' The Octopus Project shared the second single from their new album Memory Mirror, out April 7th via Robot High School. Recorded at Filmon Baby, Good Danny's, and Tarbox Road Studios, with mixing by Danny Reisch (Shearwater, White Denim), Dave Fridmann (Tame Impala, Flaming Lips) and The Octopus Project, Memory Mirror was mastered by Greg Calbi (Talking Heads, David Bowie) at Sterling Sound. Comprised of Toto Miranda, Yvonne Lambert, Josh Lambert, and now featuring multi-instrumentalist Lauren Gurgiolo, The Octopus Project has been releasing joyous party music since 2002, following a musical path that veers through blown-out rock n' roll, vibrant electronics, surreal pop, and expansive psychedelic landscapes. Memory Mirror represents a more focused approach to instrumentation and arrangement, in contrast to the heavily layered style explored on some their earlier albums. Though the songs range from guitar-driven rock, to blissed-out ambience, each has a sense of space allowing the band to pursue heavier sounds and wider vistas than ever before. Writing and recording the album were aspects of the same process, with inspiration coming from sounds, accidental textures and rhythms that would then be shaped into songs. The stuttering keyboard pads on "Pedro Yang" came from a previous, failed synth composition - when it was arbitrarily chopped up and rearranged, the new rhythms that emerged suggested a slow-motion float that the song came to embody.
MATTHEW LOGAN VASQUEZ - "HEADED WEST"
Matthew Logan Vasquez has shared a new track "Headed West," in which Vasquez says, "If you live in California it's easy to forget what an odd and wonderful place it is. After moving to New York and then Austin I felt I could really appreciate the facets that I both love and hate." Each track on Matthew Logan Does What He Wants feels urgent and intense. The music enhances this impression. As fans of his work with Delta Spirit and Middle Brother know well, Vasquez knows how to fuse passion and poetry in his writing and then ignite this volatile mix with extraordinarily expressive singing. In this sense he stands as a peer and a worthy successor to those who influenced him as an up-and-coming artist — Neil Young, Kurt Cobain, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed and others often mentioned, none of them known for their upbeat, sunny lyrics. For Vasquez, context involves drawing from dramatically different settings. Growing up in Texas and along the California coast, hunkering down for years in Brooklyn as he finessed his music in a more pressurized urban context and then heading back to Austin to put all the pieces together, he took note of the differences and similarities these places offered. During much of that time he channeled his experiences into Delta Spirit. In fact, Vasquez was actually in the process of writing for a projected upcoming Delta Spirit project early last year when he began to think that it might be more appropriate to focus instead on his next solo effort. “I was imagining a new Delta Spirit album as I was writing,” he says. “But I began to realize that’s not exactly where I’m at right now. The band isn’t broken up but it’s not coming back right now. I started to feel like Rhett Miller, who had to go away from the Old 97s for a while so he could get tap into his creativity and come back to the band in a new and healthy way.” In final form, Does What He Wants is like a hall of mirrors, each capturing a different image of one self-aware and restlessly creative individual. The retro textures of “Headed West” are diverse yet unified, which of course was a priority for its author.
HUNTER & THE BEAR - "YOU CAN TALK"
Hunter & The Bear are pleased to announce their debut album Paper Heart, out May 12th. Hailed as ‘the heroes British rock needs right now’ by the Huffington Post, the mighty Hunter & The Bear's raw, infectious and downright thunderous output has seen them garner extensive plays on BBC Radio 6 and 2 already, as well as spots on large stages at Reading & Leeds, T in the Park, and Hard Rock Calling festivals, as well as also having toured with the likes of Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, and Simple Minds respectively. Brought up on a heavy diet of rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd, Hunter & The Bear are equally inspired by modern bands like Biffy Clyro, War On Drugs and Royal Blood and their forthcoming album offers more than a glimpse of what you can expect from their raucous live shows. Releasing one video a month until their album release in May, there's a lot more to come from Hunter & The Bear, the UK's most promising rock export.
LOVED ONES - "END OF AN ERROR"
It is said that a change is as good as a rest, so when it comes to Liverpool quartet Loved Ones' re-emergence, coupled with their shift in musical direction, things can only bode well for the swell of new material they are set to release in 2017. Releasing themselves from the lo-fi and ambient rock of their debut album The Merry Monarch – having spent much of their recent time involved in soundtrack work - the forthcoming full length Harness sets its stall out as a move into an eclectic, but no less focused, sphere of operation. The album’s first single “End Of An Error” offers a first look into what they’ve been working on. With this track we get a sense of the record’s more anxious moments and themes of escapism, which conspire here to erupt into a dilating and expansive chorus. Lead singer Nik Glover comments, “We tried to turn our traditional song structure on its head in ‘End of an Error,’ piling all the melodies into the verse and letting the chorus speed past with hardly any vocals. It's a song about naive teenage love and regret, and why sometimes ripping up all your memories of a relationship is better than trying to hold on to it.”
JAMES HERSEY - "EVERYONE'S TALKING"
James Hersey reveals "Everyone’s Talking," the latest track from his forthcoming debut EP Pages. Co-produced by Hersey alongside Ed Sheeran collaborator Will Hicks, "Everyone’s Talking" tackles the subject of what really connects us in this day and age. A multi-talented singer, musician, songwriter and producer, Hersey is now based in Berlin, but born in Vienna, with his roots in music stemming from his childhood. He discovered the tunes of Bob Marley, the Beatles, and Run DMC early on, digging through his father's record collection. For Hersey himself, Michael Jackson became king. Utilizing that grounding in pop, rock, and crossover, Hersey’s songs are able to work in different musical contexts because at the core of them lies classic songwriting. This is just the beginning for James Hersey; look out for his debut EP coming this spring.
SONDRE LERCHE - "VIOLENT GAME"
Sondre Lerche has premiered his newest single entitled "Violent Game," from his new album Pleasure, which will be out on March 3rd on PLZ. It follows up his 2014 LP Please. Lerche is a Brooklyn-based Norwegian singer-songwriter, composer, and guitarist. His eclectic and richly melodic debut, Faces Down, written and recorded at sixteen years old, was named among the best albums of the year, and listed as one of the most remarkable debuts of 2002 by Rolling Stone Magazine. His follow-up Two Way Monologue was an Album Of The Year in Uncut Magazine and solidified Lerche's global momentum. He toured extensively across the world both solo, with his band, and opening for artists such as Air, Stereolab and Elvis Costello, appearing on stages such as Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl and Royal Albert Hall. In 2006 Lerche released the jazz-inflected Billboard Jazz Top 5 album, Duper Sessions, followed by Phantom Punch - his first album not recorded in Norway - as well as his acclaimed Original Soundtrack for the 2007 Steve Carell/Juliette Binoche hit movie Dan In Real Life, where Lerche also appeared in a cameo as himself. Having relocated to Brooklyn, Lerche's countless dynamic live performances, often completely alone on stage, continued to reach new listeners, while his music continuously explored new themes and styles.
WATERS - "HICCUPS"
Waters have announced details for their new album: the Californian 5-piece will release Something More! on Vagrant/BMG on May 5th. First single “Hiccups” is an energetic guitar driven power-pop ode to figuring things out. Something More! is the band’s first release since 2015’s acclaimed What’s Real. Written and recorded over the past year in Los Angeles, following big-time touring runs with the likes of Weezer, Tegan and Sara, and Matt and Kim, the album came together after the five-piece band returned home and were forced to confront the day-to-day realities of everyday life. Frontman Van Pierszalowski sees Something More! as both a gut-punch and a wake-up call to his younger self. “I wanted to make a record that was communicating with my teenager self, as if to say ‘It's always gonna be the same shit just in slightly different contexts.’ I wanted to make a mixtape, scribble notes all over the paper sleeve, get into the DeLorean, find high-school Van, and say ‘LISTEN TO THIS.’” With that concept in mind, the band wrapped the record in some influences that the awkward teenage version of Pierszalowski could listen to. And while lead single “Hiccups,” produced by Tim Pagnotta (Walk The Moon), sounds euphoric on first listen - all chant-along vocals, adolescent angst and rowdy riffs - it finds Pierszalowski bellowing “I ain’t got no regrets…all my fuck-ups, all my hiccups, only brought me to you.” To that end, the bulk of the songs that comprise Something More! speak to feelings of restlessness and being alone, as well as having uber-intense issues with lovers, friends and family. But, as Pierszalowski says in explaining how in spite of this the album contains some of the most raucous, hook-driven songs of the band’s career, “These songs are pop songs. They sound fun on the surface. But they are dark songs in disguise.”
TIM KASHER - "AN ANSWER FOR EVERYTHING"
Tim Kasher debuted his video for "An Answer For Everything," the first single off his forthcoming third solo album No Resolution, which will be released on March 3rd via 15 Passenger, the new label owned and operated by the members of Cursive (Kasher, bassist Matt Maginn, and guitarist-vocalist Ted Stevens). Known for pushing musical boundaries throughout his career - whether he's switching up sounds between his bands and solo LPs, crafting intricate concept albums (two of which - Cursive's 2003 LP The Ugly Organ and 2012 LP I Am Gemini - featured play-like stage directions), or transforming songs originally conceived as a soundtrack for his self-penned screenplay into a standalone album (The Good Life's 2007 release Help Wanted Nights) - No Resolution is the natural continuation of Kasher's constantly evolving body of work. It is his most cinematic creation, a moving and cathartic collection of soundscapes that feels more like a suite of movements than a standard pop album, complete with instrumental breaks conjoining the nine songs. Fittingly, the 15 pieces will be featured in Kasher's directorial debut film of the same name, which he also wrote, to be released later this year. Across the album's strong story, the characters - an engaged couple on the brink of a break up - grapple with the specific and the broad, including the restlessness of adulthood and smothering external pressures; relationships in various states of transition and the walls built within them; distrust, indecision, and despair; and the existential anxiety that drives a deep need to leave a mark on the world. No Resolution was written throughout 2013-15 and recorded at The Hobby Shop (with Andrew 'mudrock' Murdock) and at Kasher's home in Los Angeles, CA, the Shape Shoppe in Chicago (with Nick Broste), and at ARC Studios in Omaha (with Ben Brodin). Filled with lush arrangements that include piano, vibraphone, organ, trumpet, synths, and various strings, the album is some of the most beautiful and finely orchestral music from Kasher, yet it is also his most subdued and understated work.