Single & Lovin' It Vol. 52
By Mixtape Mandi
WILD NOTHING - LETTING GO
Wild Nothing, the project of Los Angeles-based Jack Tatum, announces his fourth album, Indigo, out August 31st via Captured Tracks, new single, “Letting Go.” Indigo is its own cyborg world, utilizing the artful mechanisms of human touch with the precision of technology to create the classic, pristine sound Tatum has been seeking his entire career. It finds Tatum at his most efficient, calculated, and confident after a decade of making music as Wild Nothing. On one hand, Indigo is a return to the fresh, transcendent sweep of his debut, 2010’s Gemini, and on the other, a culmination of heights reached, paths traveled, and lessons learned while creating the follow-ups, Nocturne and Life of Pause. To make Indigo, Tatum confronted the Man vs. Machine dichotomy by seizing on the surrounding synergy. In his studio, he would write pieces of songs on guitars, with keyboards, “in the box” with plug-ins and programs—whatever held his interest on any given day. He built a series of highly detailed demos, intending to record the final package swiftly with a live band in a studio and—bucking against the trend of the rougher sound of Wild Nothing’s peers—in a clear, bright, 1980’s-inspired fidelity. “I wanted it to sound like a classic studio record, as close as I could get it there. It just boils down to me wanting to fit into some larger narrative, musically, in terms of these artists I love,” says Tatum. “I think about how my music will age. Ideas of ‘timeless’ are going to be different—so if Indigo is not timeless then it’s at least ‘out of time.” Tatum booked four days at Sunset Sounds Studios and hired drummer Cam Allen and guitarist Benji Lysaght to track the record live while Tatum played bass. Afterwards, producer Jorge Elbrecht (Ariel Pink, Gang Gang Dance, Japanese Breakfast) and Tatum built out the rest of the album’s sound by adding new parts and repurposing sounds from Tatum’s demos. The pair mixed the album in Denver in ten days, and Tatum brought it back to his Glassell Park studio in Los Angeles for polishing.
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA - “HUNNYBEE”
Unknown Mortal Orchestra share a new video for album track and single "Hunnybee." From the day their new album Sex & Food was released, it was clear "Hunnybee" was really hitting a chord with fans in a special way. A live show favorite, the song draws lyrical inspiration from UMO mastermind Ruban Nielson's daughter, whose middle name gave the song its title. A beautifully understated song, it still moves with propulsion that gives fans reason to dance. The video remains stylistically in tune with previous videos for Sex & Food's previous singles "Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays" and "American Guilt.” The follow-up to their critically acclaimed record Multi-Love, Sex & Food sees Nielson tap into both familiar and unexpected territory. The delightfully shape-shifting album filters real-deal serious themes such as "What are we consuming? How is it affecting us, and why does everything feel so bad and weird sometimes?” through a vibrant sonic lens that spans battered drum-machine funk, doomy and thrashing rock, and pink-hued psychedelic disco. It’s not a dark record, per se. Even the album’s title, Sex & Food, focuses on two of the most undeniably pleasurable experiences in life; positivity despite the strangeness of our times. The album was recorded in a variety of locales from Seoul and Hanoi to Reykjavik, Mexico City, and Auckland, not to mention Nielson's home base studio in Portland. It is a practical musical travelogue, traversing the world as well as a wide spectrum of human experience. Nielson grapples with new, sometimes dismal realities, but succeeds in pulling the epiphanies from the chafe.
MITSKI - GEYSER
Mitski has announced her forthcoming album, Be The Cowboy, out August 17th via Dead Oceans. Mitski Miyawaki has always been wary of being turned a symbol, knowing we’re quick to put women on pedestals and even quicker to knock them down. Nonetheless, after the breakout success of 2016’s Puberty 2, she was hailed as the new vanguard of indie rock. Her carefully crafted songs have often been portrayed as emotionally raw, overflowing confessionals from a fevered chosen girl, but in Be The Cowboy, Mitski introduces a persona who has been teased but never so fully present until now—a woman in control. “For this new record, I experimented in narrative and fiction,” comments Mitski. Though she hesitates to go so far as to say she created full-on characters, she reveals she had in mind “a very controlled icy repressed woman who is starting to unravel. Because women have so little power and showing emotion is seen as weakness, this ‘character’ clings to any amount of control she can get. Still, there is something very primordial in her that is trying to find a way to get out.” Thus far, Mitski has shared Be The Cowboy’s “Geyser” with an accompanying video directed by Zia Anger.
ANGELO DE AUGUSTINE - “CARCASSONE”
Thousand Oaks, CA-based Angelo De Augustine announced his new, limited edition 7” Carcassonne will be released on June 29th via Asthmatic Kitty Records. The tender, title track A-side debuted via NPR Music’s All Songs Considered podcast, with Robin Hilton exclaiming, “That is so perfect. That whole song was perfect.” In a voice message, De Augustine explained to NPR Music that “Carcassonne” is a gift to his first love who always wanted to visit this medieval town in France. “I was coincidentally about to go on my first European tour [when she told me about it] but I didn’t have enough funds to bring her along with me, so I wrote this song for her so that she could go to Carcassonne anytime she'd like.” The sky-blue 7”, limited to 500, will be available through his record label, Asthmatic Kitty Records, or at local record stores. The Carcassonne 7” was written and self-produced at home at the tail end of summer, soon after De Augustine released his second LP, Swim Inside the Moon, and played to his biggest audience to date supporting Sufjan Stevens at LA’s Hollywood Forever Cemetery (and just prior to his tour with Moses Sumney). “Carcassonne” is one of his most romantic tracks: it starts by asking a simple question, “Would you be the only one / In my life with my love?”, and ends with the sentimental epiphany, “There ain't much time in life before the lights go down / So I want to know you now” -- serving as a reminder to us to love while we can. De Augustine is currently finishing a new album produced by Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) at NYC’s Reservoir Studios.
TEMPESST - “A LITTLE BIT OF TROUBLE”
Meet Tempesst: the London-based psychedelic folk pop quintet first originated in Queensland, Australia on the Sunshine Coast, based around twin brothers Toma (vocals, guitars) and Andy Banjanin (drums). After a move across the globe, the outfit -- rounded out by Eric Weber (guitars), Kane Reynolds (keys), and Blake Misipeka (bass) -- made their raucous debut with the 2017 EP Adult Wonderland, earning widespread praise in the U.K., which led to dates supporting the likes of Temper Trap and Albert Hammond Jr., and showcases at The Great Escape, NME Awards, and Live At Leeds. The group returns with their latest single "A Little Bit Of Trouble," the first off a forthcoming second EP Doomsday, which they tracked in just four days this past January. "We really wanted to make a big step sonically with this EP. We wanted the tracks to sound quite classic, with '60s/'70s influence but also very current/relevant, with nods to psych, folk, indie and alternative bands around now," says Toma. The in-the-moment, organic process highlights the band's live, raw, untethered aesthetic, which rivals counterparts like Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Caveman. "We were still completing arrangements the night before the session started," he adds. "It’s a lot more creative to work this way rather than perfecting the songs in pre-production and then just re-recording parts in the studio.” "A Little Bit Of Trouble" originated after a debaucherous night out at a local pub. "We were fooling around at rehearsal and came up with the groove," he says. "The next day we wrote the parts and put the song together. That week we had a bit of an incident at a pub in East London, some guys were giving Andy a hard time about his jacket or hat or something and everyone was pretty drunk. The song was written to capture the memory for eternity."
STEADY HOLIDAY - “NOBODY’S WATCHING”
Steady Holiday, the indie-pop project of LA's Dre Babinski, announced her new record Nobody's Watching, her first album since signing to Barsuk Records and to be released on August 24th. Produced by Gus Seyffert (Roger Waters, Beck, Bedouine), Nobody's Watching folds a sense of paranoia in the modern age into Steady Holiday's evocative soundscapes, resulting in an album that's both dreamy and unsettling. Steady Holiday is an appropriate name for an artist whose music feels like the soundtrack to your fondest memory, your deepest heartbreak, or the dream sequence from a David Lynch film. There's a nostalgia present in Babinski's songwriting that leaves you longing for the familiarity of a bygone era, just not one you can necessarily pin down. After years growing up playing in bands around Los Angeles, Babinksi recently began writing and recording for herself, on her own, in secret, developing a body of work about hidden desire itself. Establishing a sound defined by her featherlight voice floating above sweeping strings, her 2016 debut Under the Influence led to opening for artists like Mitski, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Whereas the first record took us on a trip through the deeply personal, Babinksi's sophomore album zooms way out. What began as a concept record about two archetypal crooks developed into an exploration of universal themes like greed, fear and self-interest; the ugly and troubling edges of human nature. It's a good time for that. "I've been just as affected by our current politics as anyone, but it only takes one step back to realize these same figures have been present since the beginning of civilization. This record is sort of an anthropological way of unpacking all this discomfort for me," she explains. Babinksi worked with Seyffert to create a sound that echoes the narrative told on Nobody's Watching. From the sunny and observant to the dark and critical, the tone ranges from levity to paranoia through layers of analog synths and chilling strings played by Babinski herself. There are moments of cinematic intensity reminiscent of a James Bond score, yet the subtle tape hiss and creaking chairs remind us that this is an album made by people. It is warm and it breathes, the same way the human touch can both soothe and suffocate. Nobody's Watching is the natural next step for Steady Holiday, a project that builds worlds we wish to escape to or from. It's an examination of the inner narratives we all share but keep in the shadows, where the characters may not always be likable, but they do what they can to survive - like we all do.
PETIT BISCUIT - “WAKE UP”
Petit Biscuit unveils the video for “Wake Up” featuring Bipolar Sunshine and Cautious Clay. The video, directed by DAD, is the latest to be released from Petit Biscuit’s greatly acclaimed debut album Presence, released last fall. Fresh from a massive set at Coachella, the 18-year-old artist is set to embark on his first ever North American headline tour this fall, his fifth time stateside and biggest run yet. A classically trained musician from a young age, Petit Biscuit—a.k.a. Mehdi Benjelloun—plays piano, guitar, cello and more, and began experimenting with electronics to form his signature sound at age 11. Presence is heavily informed by his schooling, combining acoustic elements with innovative electronic production and his trademark vocal manipulations.
SAINTSENECA - “FROSTBITER”
Saintseneca has announced a new album titled Pillar of Na, with its glistening lead single, “Frostbiter.” Saintseneca's Zac Little says "I think of this song as a big tree trunk in the woods where people carve their messages - initials, jokes, 'I love you' hearts... It is a work of accumulation. A little space absorbing traces of its environment over time. Every mark corresponds to a different story. Some of them are mine. Some belong to others, yet feel all too familiar." Pillar of Na is due out August 31st via ANTI- Records. Little has been thinking a lot about memory; not necessarily his memories, though they creep in often, too. Rather, he mulls over the idea of memory itself: its resilience, its haziness, how it slips away as we try to hang on, the way it resurfaces despite our best efforts to forget. Memory is the common thread running throughout the Columbus folk-punk band's fourth album, Pillar of Na. Following 2015's critically lauded Such Things, the new album's name is rooted in remembrance, referencing the Genesis story of Lot's wife who looks back at a burning Sodom after God instructs her not to. She looks back, and God turns her into a pillar of salt. "Na," meanwhile, is the chemical symbol for sodium. "Nah" is a passive refusal and the universal song word. It means nothing and stands for nothing. It is "as it is." Like Lot's wife, Little cannot help but revisit where-and how-he grew up. Raised in church in southeastern Appalachian Ohio, he took up preaching when he was still a teenager, sometimes in small country settings and other times to congregations of thousands. But these days he's more interested in listening and questioning. Musically, Pillar of Na is Saintseneca's most ambitious album to date, with Little aiming to incorporate genre elements he'd rarely heard in folk. "I wanted to use the idiom of folk-rock, or whatever you want to call it, and to try to do something that had never been done before," Little explains. "To reach way back, echoing ancient folk melodies, tie that into punk rock, and then push it into the future. I told Mike Mogis I wanted Violent Femmes meets the new Blade Runner soundtrack. I'm looking for the intersection between Kendrick Lamar and The Fairport Convention."