By Mandi Kimes
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA - "FIRST WORLD PROBLEM"
Unknown Mortal Orchestra shares new song called "First World Problem," which was premiered in the coveted "Hottest Records" slot on Annie Mac's show on BBC Radio 1 moments ago. The song was recorded in March while the band was on break from touring and is the first new original song to be shared by UMO since the release of the critically-acclaimed Multi-Love. "I think 'First World Problem' is about modern love in a crumbling empire," explains Ruban Nielson. "The feeling that you're trying to build your life and get what you need while a decadent world falls apart around you." UMO was recently featured on the massive Day of the Dead compilation of Grateful Dead covers, a charity compilation benefiting the Red Hot Organization. They delivered one of the best (and certainly most danceable) tracks, their rendition of "Shakedown Street." They'll be performing this cover on Conan on June 7th, as well as performing with The National and many others at Eaux Claires Music Festival August 12th and 13th. In addition, the band is touring relentlessly with Whitney or Alex Cameron, selling out the majority of their shows.
WHITNEY - "NO MATTER WHERE WE GO"
Whitney’s highly anticipated debut album, Light Upon The Lake, will be out next week on Secretly Canadian. Ahead of its release, they’re sharing another fantastic new single, “No Matter Where We Go,” along with an accompanying video directed by Alan Del Rio Oritz. It’s the perfect must-hear anthem arriving just in time for summer. Since releasing their first single, “No Woman,” in January and following it up with “Golden Days” after a much talked about SXSW, Whitney has proven to be one of the most exciting new bands of 2016. Both singles earned Pitchfork “Best New Track” honors and a flurry of additional press accolades. Their quick rise has landed them tours with Unknown Mortral Orchestra and Wild Nothing and several major festival plays including Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork Music Festival, Outside Lands, Oya, End Of The Road and more. To say that Whitney is more than the sum of its parts would be a criminal understatement. Formed from the core of guitarist Max Kakacek (ex-Smith Westerns) and singing drummer Julien Ehrlich (ex-Unknown Mortal Orchestra), the band itself is something bigger, something visionary, something neither of them could have accomplished alone. The ten songs on Light Upon the Lake sound like they could have been written at any time in the last fifty years. Ehrlich and Kakacek emerge as imaginative and insightful songwriting partners, impressive in their scope and restraint as they mold classic rock lyricism into new and personal shapes without sounding revivalist or retro.
MIKKO JOENSUU - "SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO GO FAR"
Described by Clash as having a "glacial beauty" and with comparisons to Josh T Pearson and Townes Van Zandt, Mikko Joensuu's poignant and raw emotion is ever present on the latest track, “Sometimes You have to Go Far,” which is from the Svart debut Amen 1 due out June 10th. The album was recorded in the depths of the Finnish woodland in a remote cabin. It is the first of the Amen trilogy - a triple album concept. The second and third installments are due out late 2016 and early 2017. Joensuu is the kind of singer-songwriter who’ll easily stand out from the crowd. His debut album taps into the American folk music tradition, and it is all about deep and healing songs which at times give the listener an impression of spending time in quiet, intimate surroundings. Arrangements are raw but beautiful - mostly just the piano and guitar accompany Joensuu’s voice, with pedal steel guitars and soothing string sections paying a visit every now and then. Joensuu, who’s spent some years in the proverbial wilderness after the split of his earlier combo Joensuu 1685, has charted his emotional pilgrimage through song on Amen 1, and conveys his messages in the most resonant and melodious fashion, both in instrument and voice.
SWEDISH DEATH CANDY - "SO LONG..."
Swedish Death Candy are a heavy psych quartet, with members from South Korea, Italy and the UK now settled upon their hometown of London, and whose finely-honed sound is as influenced by classic songwriting and proto-hard rock as it is the reverb-soaked guitars and hazy melody of their peers. They are signed to Hassle Records, Full Time Hobby’s rock sister label, known for a diversity of artists from Juliette Lewis to Lonely The Brave to 65 Days Of Static and Alexisonfire. Hassle will release their EP, Liquorice, on June 10th. The EP’s closer “So Long…,” which clocks in at sixteen minutes, does not drag nor outstay its welcome that you realize you’re in the presence of something special. Saving its most melodic moments for those final few minutes, the song twists and turns across its writhing lifespan, making for a thrilling ride. Fans of Tame Impala and previous tour partners Yak will find much to enjoy here, but so will fans of Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and even Cream. The loose psych feel throughout Liquorice meets progressive passages and hooky, memorable riffs that show a songwriting maturity far beyond their young years.
OMNI - "WIRE"
Omni is back with another new cut from their debut album, Deluxe, in the form of “Wire,” the exciting one-two punch from a brand new band on the verge. Their debut album, due out July 8th, serves as a fresh reminder that rock music can work outside of blues-rooted, formulaic progressions without playing it safe behind a wall of effects. Arty enough to impress record enthusiasts, yet melodically attractive enough to transcend to those who’ve never asked: “Sister Midnight” or “Red Money?" The band, comprised of guitarist Frankie Broyles (ex-Deerhunter, Balkans), bassist-vocalist Philip Frobos (ex-Carnivores) and drummer Billy Mitchell (ex-Carnivores), will tour all summer long in support of Deluxe including some shows with Trouble in Mind label mates Ultimate Painting.
1955 - "HOW'D YOU COME HERE?"
In a small ramshackle studio just north of San Francisco, in late 2012, Sasha Papadin and a group of musicians gathered for late-night sessions and crafted what would become the signature 1955 sound: lean tight songs with a cinematic sweep to them, propelled by a stripped down garage rock vibe and an unbridled live energy. The friends traded off instruments, made noise late into the night and soon the get-togethers became a weekly ritual. Eventually a core band of three took shape and they began writing songs fuelled by real-time feedback from the remainder of the regular audience of close friends. A throwback to the simplicity and clarity of early rock and roll songwriting, the songs recall the energy of the bands’ heroes (Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan) but bristle with a modern, moody edge. Echoes of the mysterious year that gave them their name cut through their pop-rock sound to reveal a nod to the past, as if Nick Cave was fronting The Strokes. Inspired by Los Angeles at night, the desert, palm trees and the surrealist films of David Lynch, they possess a decadent style that demonstrates an instantly brilliant swagger and sway that demands repeated listens with this latest track “How’d You Come Here”.
NO JOY - "A THORN IN GARLAND'S SIDE"
Tagging No Joy as “shimmery infectious dream pop” doesn't work since the band’s live shows are so brutal that it has them sharing the stage with bands like Deafheaven and Fucked Up. Classifying them as “doom shoegaze” doesn't work either since the band has created records so complex yet sonically mature that they transcend genres. Nostalgic yet new, loud yet quiet; No Joy’s conflicting reputation cannot be classified because it’s in constant evolution. Talking of new track “A Thorn In Garland's Side,” the band comment; "A Thorn in Garland's Side is a song we wrote and recorded quickly, getting in touch with our instincts instead of labouring over every drawn-out detail. A lot of guitars and fast drumming, this was a burst of energy that we needed to get out after touring all of last year. We packed in a lot of parts into this song, it shows a lot of different sides of No Joy in a quick flash."
JENNY HVAL - "FEMALE VAMPIRE"
Norwegian artist Jenny Hval announces the release of her new album, Blood Bitch, out September 30th via Sacred Bones with debut single, “Female Vampire.” Co-produced with acumen noise producer Lasse Marhaug, Blood Bitch is in many respects a complete 180° from her last album, Apocalypse, girl, in subject matter, execution and production. It is Hval’s most focused album, but the lens is filtered through a gaze which the viewer least expects. In the words of Jenny Hval: “Blood Bitch is an investigation of blood that is shed naturally. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers. Blood Bitch is also a fictitious story fed by characters and images from horror and exploitation films of the '70s. With that language, rather than smart, modern social commentary, I found I could tell a different story about myself and my own time: a poetic diary of modern transience and transcendence. So this is my most fictional and most personal album.” Hval has developed her distinct take on intimate sound since the release of her debut album in 2006. For her last two solo albums, 2013's Innocence Is Kinky and 2015’s Apocalypse, girl, Hval has received thoughtful and widespread international acclaim for her fascinating voice, singular delivery and markedly non-traditional arrangements which incorporate elements of poetry, prose writing, performance art, and film. She eloquently brings to light issues of both male and female gaze.
CASS MCCOMBS - "OPPOSITE HOUSE"
Over the past decade, Cass McCombs has established himself as one of our premier songwriters – diverse, cryptic, vital and refreshingly rebellious. It’s a career that’s twisted and turned, from style to subject, both between records and within them. ANTI is excited to announce the release of McCombs’ eighth studio full-length album, Mangy Love, out August 26th and debut single, “Opposite House.” Mangy Love is McCombs at his most blunt: tackling sociopolitical issues through his uniquely cracked lens of lyrical wit and singular insight. Throughout, he uses himself as a mirror to misguided and confounding realities, confronting them head on. The severity of his lyrics is contrasted by the music, which ventures into groovy realms of Philly soul, NorCal psychedelia and New York paranoia, articulating the spontaneity and joy of his live show better than ever before. Hip-hop and Beat poetry influences have never been more evident, with several songs employing a speech-style and clever fast-paced wordplay. There are guest appearances by many fellow musicians of his tribe ranging from Angel Olsen (on “Opposite House”) to Blake Mills, under the production of veteran Rob Schnapf and Dan Horne. Mostly written during a bitter New York City winter and while traveling in Ireland, Mangy Love is McCombs reaching new sonic heights, creatively evolving lyrically, and resulting in his most provocative, yet immediate record yet.
STEVE GUNN - "PARK BENCH SMILE"
Steve Gunn will release Eyes On The Lines, his new album and debut for Matador Records on June 3rd. After sharing “Conditions Wild” and “Ancient Jules,” lead singles garnering praise from the likes of NPR Music, Pitchfork, Entertainment Weekly, Dangerous Minds, Stereogum, The Verge, and beyond, Gunn now presents the ever-entrancing “Park Bench Smile.” A deeper cut further revealing Eyes On The Lines’ dynamics, it’s a rewarding listen that shows the sprawling, yet unifying full band efforts and Gunn’s inimitable style of play. Steve Gunn & The Outliners - which features Nathan Bowles on drums, James Elkington on guitar and lap steel, and Jason Meagher on bass – will take their live show all over the west coast this fall. The band just embarked on their European tour in support of Eyes On The Lines.