Single & Lovin' It Vol. 50
By Mixtape Mandi
JOSEPH OF MERCURY - "WITHOUT WORDS"
Toronto-based Joseph of Mercury has premiered his new single "Without Words." The antiquated debut single, which features sensual vocals over pulsing synthesizers and 1950's reminiscent structures, captures Joseph of Mercury's signature similarities to the likes of Roy Orbison, Leonard Cohen, Morrissey and David Bowie. The track is a nod to the importance of transparency in conversation. He explains that "Without Words" is "a song about communication, inspired by the many ways in which we can and can't tell each other who we are." With a quick and steady buzz building around him and his young career, Earmilk has said that Joseph of Mercury's voice "carries beautiful against timeless live instrumentation. In a world of disposable music, Joseph's sound harkens back to artists who aimed to craft a sound that would never age." Noisey agreed, showing their support of the Toronto based solo artist.
RAYS - "MADE OF SHADOWS"
Calling Oakland's RAYS a "supergroup" might be misleading, but not entirely inaccurate. Comprised of four Bay-area music veterans - Stanley Martinez, Eva Hannan, Troy Hewitt, and Alexa Pantalone whose current & past musical projects include local bands-of-note like The World, Life Stinks, Violent Change, and Dadfag - the band will release their self-titled debut album on March 30th, but you can check out a new track via the video for "Made of Shadows" now. On RAYS' debut album on Trouble In Mind Records, the band spins tunes like "Made of Shadows" that rage with a desperate fire, speaking to the absurdities of everyday life, but with a wry smile. Shit is fucked, but the members of RAYS seem intent on finding humor within the world's everyday desperation, because sometimes that's the only way to stay sane. Throughout the whole album, RAYS' debut never feels angry. Recorded by Bay-area stalwart Kelley Stoltz and mastered by Australian tone-genius Mikey Young (Total Control/Eddy Current Suppression Ring) RAYS is a joyous album packed with weird new-wave swirls and sugar-sticky hooks.
MIMI RAVER - "06 FEMALE"
Mimi Raver is a multi-instrumentalist from New Jersey who began her performing career at 16 in coffee shops and collaborating with friends in various bands. She studied studio music and jazz at the University of Miami where she earned a Bachelor’s of Music. In 2014 she relocated to Los Angeles where she has been working as a studio musician and songwriter. Along with music she is known for her work in photography and painting and has had paintings featured at the Lowe Art Museum in Miami, Florida. Raver’s debut LP is a dreamy lo-fi mix of songs inspired by true stories and personal experiences. It was recorded at Room 8 Studios in Echo Park, California, essentially a living room converted into an analog recording studio. Raver is known for her use of analog film photography and decided to translate the same analog concept to her music. In early 2016 she acquired a Teac-3440 A 4-track reel-to-reel tape machine. Tape recording as well as analog effects were instrumental to the DIY art pop sound of this album. Recording to tape was not without challenges as the 40-year-old machine was prone to malfunctions and even picked up radio signals from nearby broadcasting stations. The album was an all-female production with Raver, King Size mixing engineer Veronica Jane, and Grammy-nominated mastering engineer Emily Lazar. The title track was inspired by an NPR piece about the legendary ‘06 Female wolf of Yellowstone National Park. Since the album’s completion the track has been shared with Yellowstone wolf researcher Rick McIntyre who was the first to tell the 06’s story. He and Raver have become good friends and often talk about the wolves in the park. She has now premiered the self-titled single off of her upcoming album '06 Female, due for release April 2017.
DOUG TUTTLE - "BAIT THE SUN"
Massachusetts songwriter Doug Tuttle returns with his third solo album, Peace Potato, to be released May 5th on Chicago label Troubled In Mind Records. His 2013 solo debut (after fronting his longtime psychedelic band MMOSS) was an insular and foggy psychedelic masterpiece punctuated by Tuttle's stinging guitar leads, accented by flashes of bedroom Fairport / Crazy Horse brilliance, towing the line nimbly between elegance and ragged assurance. We last saw Tuttle on It Calls On Me, his 2015 sophomore album, which pushed his songwriting towards further clarity and melody; Peace Potato shakes it all down with Tuttle's strongest batch of songs yet. Peace Potato introduces itself with the horn-laden, honeydripper, "Bait The Sun," a classic Tuttle tune; downer pop melodies coloring a hypnagogic landscape. It is indeed that state of lucid dreaming, somewhere between the onset of sleep is where Tuttle firmly plants the seeds of Peace Potato. Songs stutter to life and grind to a halt, to calculated effect, stitched together into a patchwork of full tunes, song fragments and waves of melodic euphoria. Tuttle played every instrument and recorded the entirety of Peace Potato in his Somerville bedroom studio; a ubiquitous location in these modern times, but the ease at which Tuttle's songs fold and unfold, suggests something more than your usual home-recorded musings, Peace Potato feels natural and comfortable in its skin.
ANOHNI - "PARADISE'
ANOHNI will release Paradise, the companion EP to last year's Hopelessness, on March 17th via Secretly Canadian and Rough Trade. A collaboration with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke, the Paradise EP seeks to support activist conversations and disrupt assumptions about popular music through the collision of electronic sound and highly politicized lyrics. ANOHNI presents the video for the invigorating title track, “Paradise,” directed by Colin Whitaker and featuring visual artist and model Eliza Douglas as an avatar for ANOHNI – “she moves through reflections of different images of paradise," says the director, "including archival footage from Paradise Garage." The Paradise EP includes new songs as well as material recently debuted live. Nine portraits of women on the EP artwork reflect the feminine oracle that ANOHNI evoked in her live concert tour. Hopelessness was named a top 10 album of 2016 by publications including Thump, Billboard Dance/Electronic and Rock/Alternative, Consequence of Sound, The Guardian, Red Bull, Pitchfork, Uncut, The New York Times (Jon Pareles), Entertainment Weekly and Newsweek. HOPELESSNESS was nominated for the UK's Mercury Prize and Anohni was nominated for a Brit Award as Best Female vocalist.
BIYO - "FOCUS"
BIYO is a case study in restraint. Together, the Nashville based duo of Grayson and Sam create a world in where silence and space are the most powerful music tools. The pair continues to create deconstructionist-pop: a distinct bend of traditional pop music where high-end sounds and techniques are purposefully warped and distorted, creating a bounce that's undeniably theirs and undeniably new. Their skills span farther than just their own releases; with production credits from artists like Milly Roze and CAPPA, their sound continues to grow and evolve. Their latest offering "Focus" attests to their production abilities and offers a smooth blend of electronic, R&B and pop that finds their pair in the company of Jai Paul and BASECAMP.
MIKALA - "SAVE YOUR LOVE"
Meet rising Danish-Italian artist Mikala. Born and raised in the rougher parts of Copenhagen, growing up money was always tight, but there was plenty of love and creativity at home, with both her parents involved in music and arts. As a child she started playing drums and piano and in her early teens she joined a gospel choir, where she could really challenge and nurture her vocal talent. Mikala cites her upbringing and the values it gave her, as the main inspiration for her lyrical universe. Her sound is best described as inclusive soul and R&B and Mikala herself calls it “eye to eye soul." Mikala has been working closely with the Scandinavian platinum producer David Mørup to develop her personal sound, which derives from the new scene of Nordic soul pop that Lukas Graham recently introduced to the world. Her first single “Save Your Love” is an old school beat-heavy R&B meets pop song with a light cut-up piano melody attached to it as well as samples - and has all the laid back attitude and warmth that defines the young singer. The song has clear references to the 90's music scene and about it Mikala says: "In the beginning I wanted to write a song about ‘the state of the world’ but it seemed a bit too heavy for me. So we ended up writing about a typical one-night stand where the girl kind of ditches the guy, but while watching the election in LA last year we added the sample in the beginning that says ‘Makes you wonder what the world's coming to,’ giving it a state of the world twist anyways."
HAWAI - "I'M NOT DEAD"
Following the release of their critically-acclaimed debut EP in June 2016, Southern California's HAWAI reached a turning point in both their music and personal lives. On the cusp of touring nationally and following up the EP with new music, the band decided to take a brief break as two of the guys entered a new chapter in their lives: fatherhood. After a few months off to focus on family-time, the band quickly got back in the studio with producer Frederik Thaae (Atlas Genius) to create their follow up: a new EP that will be released in May 2017. Under Thaae's guidance, the band evolved their atmospheric, beachy sound to something a bit more refined on the EP. The effervescent first track from the EP, "I'm Not Dead," keeps HAWAI's sun-filled sound grounded, with crisp instrumentation backing lead singer Jake Pappas' soaring vocals. Before making their SXSW debut next month, HAWAI is supporting Hazel English on a select run of tour dates.
MOUNT SONG - "HALO"
Jacob Johansson (Det Stora Monstret/The Big Monster) is pleased to share the first single from his new project Mount Song. Intimate, heavy and explosive, “Halo” is a dark yet optimistic track that explores the sadness that accompanies dealing with life’s demons. Back in 2014, Sweden's biggest music magazine named the self-titled album of Johansson's previous project Det Stora Monstret, their “Swedish debut album of the year.” The single ”Kolibrins Vingar” (The Hummingbird's Wings) then went straight into rotation and Det Stora Monstret was nominated for both the Swedish GAFFA-award and the Manifest-prize. This year, Johansson is back with his brand new project 'Mount Song;' together with his band, consisting of co-producer Filip Leyman (Anna Von Hausswolff, Albert af Ekenstam, Det Stora Monstret), Karl Vento, Knut Källgren and Lovisa Samuelsson, Johansson's songs describe and question the world we live in with an intensity, sincerity and an urgency so strong, it forces you to stop and listen. Brought up on grunge, his influences range from Nirvana and Pearl Jam to the psychedelic leanings of bands like Flaming Lips and MGMT and he's equally inspired by the more somber likes of Jose Gonzalez, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Jeff Buckley. The forthcoming album offers more than a glimpse of these rich influences and with this first track, comes the promise of great things. Mount Song is due out on May 5th via Suncave Recordings.
JAZZ MORLEY - "RUIN ME"
UK’s Jazz Morley comes back swinging with her latest buoyant, effervescent gem “Ruin Me.” She continues to showcase her raw talent and passion for emotive down-tempo pop, channeling influences including Jessie Ware, Shura, and Christine & The Queens. It's sonic equivalent of sticking your head out the window on a seaside cruise, the track effortlessly slides on the songbird’s smooth alto and sunny guitar riffs, as she admits to opening herself up to a new lover. “It’s about finding yourself in a bad place in life, feeling like you're only just holding it together, and being vulnerable to another's influence- be it good or bad," Morley says about the track. "Sometimes when the world seems grey and hopeless, and you're craving anything that isn't mundane normality, meeting somebody new can be both exciting and dangerous.” This release follows the success and international praise of "Bad Love" and "Take Me Down," both of which achieved Top 5 positions on The Hype Machine and BBC Introducing support.