Single & Lovin' It, Vol. 1

by Mixtape Mandi

Every week, we compile a list of singles you need to have in your headphones right now. Specially curated by Mixtape Mandi, welcome to Single & Lovin' It for the week of April 28th.

The Districts have announced their new album, Popular Manipulations, out August 11th on Fat Possum Records. Along with the announcement they’re sharing their new single, "Ordinary Day." The Districts’ Robby Grote comments, "'Ordinary Day' deals with a sort of personal alienation and the realization that you and the world you've existed in have changed. Sort of the feeling of coming through a tunnel and having no way of relating to things in the same way as before. It was written in late summer [and] early fall and came together quite naturally. Personal lives were in flux and we were sitting around Philly losing our minds."

 

The Districts are a band that never stops moving; “Ordinary Day” is an accurate representation of how much the band has grown, individually and as one solid unit. They’ve fallen in love and had their hearts broken and put back together again. They’re not the young underage band anymore; they’ve stepped out of their comfort zone and have come face to face with things that are so much bigger than them. This coming-of-age rock ballad is a must-listen for those looking to break the mold of their alternative rock rut.

"Ordinary Day" by The Districts 

Keeper Keeper is a three-piece alternative rock band based out of Portland, Oregon. They've got an upbeat, danceable, surf rock vibe and have been compared to bands such as The Strokes, The Killers, and The Growlers. Keeper Keeper is a cohesive unit consisting of three self-taught musicians: drummer Joe Garcia, guitarist-vocalist Dylan Hatcher, and bassist Jamie Rhea, bound together by their love of music. What starts out as a western strut leads into a desert-like chord progression and surf-like drum beats on new single "2. Sticky Bomb." A hint of Allah-Las lies in the drums and guitar tone, while the vocalist carries a more abrasive tone to this low-key mellowed out surf-rock jam.

"2. Sticky Bomb" by Keeper Keeper 

"Gord's House" by Cool Ghouls

San Francisco's Cool Ghouls share their new single "Gord's Horse,” from their upcoming tour only cassette this summer. Cool Ghouls is a band for playing rock 'n' roll without pretense; think of rock 'n' roll less as a genre and more as an action. Inevitably, when listening to Cool Ghouls, you may recall performers of the past, other players of this same spirit, whose fingers were also channels through which rock n' roll was made physical. Traces of some of the greats of San Francisco rock-folk of the '70s leap out in this single: Grateful Dead and Crosby Stills & Nash mixed with the modern-day sounds of Kevin Morby, New Madrid, and Diane Coffee. But make no mistake: This is music about and for the here and now.

"Teen Challenge" by Great Grandpa

Seattle's Great Grandpa have shared "Teen Challenge," the lead single from their genre-defying debut full-length album, Plastic Cough, which was mixed by John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Blonde Redhead, Pavement, Low), and due out July 7th via Double Double Whammy. Great Grandpa began in Seattle in 2014 when guitarist and vocalist Patrick Goodwin recruited bassist Carrie Miller, drummer Cam LaFlam, and vocalist Alex Menne to form a humble rock band. Inspired by the pop-sensible alternative rock of the '90s, and offset by a mutual love for noise and math rock, the group set forth to write and record their first EP. During recording, guitarist Dylan Hanwright joined the group, solidifying the lineup. Menne’s warbly vocals and the pulsating power chords chug along the track to an amplified chorus full of controlled angst.

"My Smile Is Extinct" by Kane Strang

Kane Strang has announced his new album, Two Hearts and No Brain, out June 30th on Dead Oceans. Along with the announcement he’s sharing the new single, "My Smile Is Extinct," the follow up to lead single, "Oh So You’re Off I See." Strang has teamed up with producer Stephen Marr from trip-hop group Doprah for Two Hearts and No Brain. The collaborative result is a razor sharp blend of intelligent alt-rock, bearing the signatures of grunge alt-rock swiftly executed with careful, meticulous precision over eleven tracks. Marr’s influence brings a pristine, retro-futuristic sheen which complements Strang’s perfectionist recording style, sharp melody, and verbose lyrical neuroticism. Taking to well-worn subject matter — heartbreak, loneliness, family — with a disarmingly frank scalpel, Strang’s wryly deadpan lines never miss a beat — the results often sardonic, and always captivating. Fans of Surfer Blood and Car Seat Headrest will find this ironic and sarcastic yet upbeat and hopeful tune enjoyable.

"Into the Bay" by Goodwood Atoms

Goodwood Atoms blends ethereal melodies with insistent grooves and electronic flourishes, inspired by the likes of Yeasayer, Youth Lagoon, and Radiohead. On cinematic new single “Into The Bay” — taken from forthcoming new EP The Place — the Vancouver quartet combine organic, acoustic elements with rich electronic instrumentation and a driving rhythm. It’s a riveting, pulsing down-tempo tune mixed with ethereal guitars and lush vocals. On The Place, Goodwood Atoms collaborate with a number of Vancouver music luminaries including Nygel Asselin (Half Moon Run), Shawn Cole (You Say Party!), Jon Anderson (Said the Whale), Dave Vertesi (Hey Ocean!) and Cayne McKenzie (We Are the City). Since forming in 2014, they have earned accolades from the likes of Noisey, Indie Shuffle, Clash, Baeble Music, PopMatters and All Things Go.

"Truly Gone" by Angelo De Augustine

Angelo De Augustine has signed to Asthmatic Kitty Records worldwide, and the label has released his new single, "Truly Gone." The hushed, lilting track will also be featured on De Augustine's forthcoming new full-length album that will be released later this summer. Only 24 years old, De Augustine has been writing and recording music since he was 17. The Thousand Oaks-born and based songwriter has self-released one album, 2014's Spirals Of Silence, and one three-song EP, 2015's How Past Begins, that have earned praise from outlets including The FADER, Stereogum, Vogue, My Old Kentucky Blog, and more. Fans of Iron & Wine, early Sufjan Stevens, and Andy Shauf will adore this simple, finger-plucked introduction to folk music’s newest protégé.

"Drunk" by Mating Ritual

Los Angeles' Mating Ritual has taken an unconventional approach to the traditional album release for their debut How You Gonna Stop It?, unveiling the album as two volumes: the first in January, and now the full collection on June 9th. How You Gonna Stop It? is about transition: from child to adult, from dependent to independent, from unemployed to employed, from committed to single. After having two different bands that were signed to major labels, frontman Ryan Marshall Lawhon was frustrated with the process and was inspired to carve out his own path with Mating Ritual, ultimately creating his own label Smooth Jaws to release the music. The band has unveiled another new track from their highly-anticipated debut album entitled "Drunk." What starts off as a slow beat overtop lush orchestrated synths and Ryan’s vocals leads into an upbeat indie rock gem near just before the 2-minute mark. The anthemic chorus soars with his vocals and an electrifying synth.

"Feel Something" by Jaymes Young

Jaymes Young announces the release of his eagerly awaited debut album Feel Something, out everywhere on June 23rd via Please Rewind/Atlantic. After teasing the album release with the alternative R&B-tinged anthem "Stoned On You" earlier this month, Young shares the powerful album title track about wasted youth and disillusionment with love. Atop stirring synths, Young sings, "I'll pay my weight in blood, to feel my nerves wake up." The track reaches a cathartic climax two and a half minutes in with the lyrics, "So if you're gonna stay, then stay; if you're gonna go, make sure that you hurt me just enough to feel something." Fans of Troye Sivan will love this pop-electronica newcomer.

"Cardinals" by Mt. Joy

Indie folk outfit Mt. Joy first met in high school in Philadelphia and started performing songs together in 2005. After heading to separate colleges and realizing music wasn't going to pay the rent, Sam Cooper (guitar) went to grad school and Matt Quinn (vocals/guitar) moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music management. A year later in early 2016, their first single "Astrovan" began taking off on streaming platforms, and Quinn and Cooper decided to put their other careers on hold to focus full-time on Mt. Joy. Soon after, Michael Byrne (bass), Sotiris Eliopoulos (drums), and Andrew Butler (keys) joined and expanded the duo to a full five-piece band.

 

The band shares their latest single "Cardinal" that begins with a slow-spun whistle and a softly lulled acoustic guitar melody, reminiscent of The Tallest Man on Earth or Andrew Bird. The track is like a sonic morning walk through the forest, as the folk-pop group draws stream of conscious comparisons between nature and their own bohemian quotidian. Despite the comedy of its lyrics, "Cardinal" remains a ballad about forging your own path and pursuing the thing you're passionate about. The subtle echoed hums in the second chorus lull you into the lyrics: “I just want you to know, you don’t have to come clean to me.”