by Mixtape Mandi
Single & Lovin' It, Vol. 4
"In and Out" by Blonder
Blonder lives and breathes elegantly yearning melodies and song structure. It’s clear on his debut, $5, with the Cars-like chug of "In and Out." Written in the throes of a relationship everyone else wanted to be perfect but just wasn’t meant to be, each of the six songs is a "distinct world," says the singer-songwriter Constantine Anastasakis. "It’s about romance and sex, but I want people to see the whole thing." Recorded to two-inch tape at Los Angeles’ legendary Sound City Studios, $5 is a neon-hued collection of edgy confections that reflect Anastasakis’ musical lodestars: Lorde and The 1975. You can hear the influence of collaborators including Anastasakis’ good friend Aaron Maine of Porches and soft-lit post-romantics Wet thrumming through the EP’s six songs, but at their emotionally profound core they’re Blonder through and through — a glossy-yet-gritty reflection of Anastasakis' inner landscape and musical sensibilities.
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 May 15th. Missed last week's? Check it out here!
Cigarettes After Sex share their new single "Each Time You Fall In Love," the third single off their forthcoming self-titled LP. When talking about the track, lead singer Greg Gonzalez says it's "mostly about how I was never able to find myself completely satisfied with any romance or love affair that I had been through. It was as if I was always on the lookout for something more & it had gotten me into plenty of trouble over time."
Cigarettes After Sex will be out June 9th on Partisan Records. Gonzalez had a clear vision for his band's debut album, a gorgeously cinematic work. After the phenomenal online break-out success of "Nothing's Gonna Hurt You Baby" from the early Cigarettes After Sex EP from 2012, the Brooklyn-based Gonzalez wanted to project his worldview on to a bigger screen, a broader canvas. Swooning in the spirit of influences such as Mazzy Star, its sumptuous songs of love elevate Cigarettes to the ranks of those acts who create worlds of their own, exciting the most devoted kind of following.
"Each Time You Fall In Love"
by Cigarettes After Sex
"Go" by Yowler
Yowler, the moniker and solo project of Maryn Jones (All Dogs, Saintseneca), has announced that Double Double Whammy will be doing a vinyl reissue of her critically acclaimed debut, The Offer, which is a cassette-only release until June 16th. The reissue includes a bonus track titled "Go." The Offer is a wintry-cold reflection on unwanted change, sadness, and the facing down of the realities of loneliness and mental unrest. The songs are somehow quiet, even when the instrumentation builds, and clear, even when there is a hazy quality to the recordings. This is likely due to Jones' voice, which is at once soft and penetrating, warm and distant, and which floats assuredly among the woven arrangement of guitars, synths and harmonies surrounding it. Since The Offer's original release, Jones has made a move from Ohio to Pennsylvania and has continued to tour and travel fairly consistently with all three of her musical projects. Jones is currently living and recording another Yowler album in Philadelphia. Equal parts Sharon Van Etten and Beach House, Yowler’s "Go" is a stripped-down, reflective tune meant for listening while relaxing.
"Stoned" by Blondage
Danish duo Blondage's new music video beautifully translates the vibe of their latest single "Stoned" into images: the feeling of budding summer, weird friendships, and falling in love. Improvised on set and directed by Blondage themselves, the clip captures the playfulness and immediacy that have made blogs across the world rave about "Stoned." “We had such a strong image of what it should look and feel like that we decided to direct it ourselves. We only had two fixed ideas; to eat stupid things throughout the video like having the munchies and to have a rad girl squad in full denim in a pink room. The pink room illustrates the sensual and dreamy side of the lyrics where a girl falls in love with another girl for the first time,” the duo explains. The video is filmed by long-time creative partner Jonas Bang in a run-down suburban greenhouse and in the showroom of Normann Copenhagen. A shimmering summer anthem, this song can be enjoyed under both influences: sober or, well, in its song-titled state.
Fleet Foxes have unveiled a music video for the second track released from their highly-anticipated new album Crack-Up, due June 16th via Nonesuch Records. The video for "Fool’s Errand" was directed by Sean Pecknold with art direction by Adi Goodrich. Fleet Foxes previously released an album teaser featuring footage shot during the band’s recent Seattle rehearsals, paired with snippets from select album tracks including “Third of May / Ōdaigahara.” Crack-Up comes six years after the 2011 release of Helplessness Blues and nearly a decade since the band’s 2008 self-titled debut. All eleven of the songs on Crack-Up were written by Robin Pecknold. The album was co-produced by Pecknold and Skyler Skjelset, his longtime bandmate, collaborator, and childhood friend. In "Fool’s Errand," we hear Pecknold’s familiar soaring cry met with the lush harmonies the band has been famous for for almost ten years.
"Fool's Errand" by Fleet Foxes
"Tangerine" & "Social Jetlag"
by Beach Fossils
Ahead of the release of Somersault next month, Beach Fossils are sharing two more new tracks. "Tangerine," a driving, tightly wound melody, rushes forward and briefly leaves the ground due to the gossamer guest vocals of Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell. The driven beat with its percussive ornamentation of shaker and drumstick hits offer more groove than previous Beach Fossils songs. On the contrary, the cloudy, wistful "Social Jetlag," bustling with samples of crowded streets, features the type of candid, off-the-cuff lyrics that make the entire effort immediately illuminating. With a drum machine, a haunting piano, and even hints of flute, Beach Fossils present a new sound, drifting away from the ride-heavy, jangly guitar songwriting. Charting into new musical territory with a refined songwriting style, Somersault captures flashes of life in New York grounded in personal experience.
"Not Anymore" by Hajk
Hajk’s debut album is finally here, and the newest member of the Jansen family dazzles us all. Their beguiling mix of indie and intricate pop smarts has gone straight to the hearts of the listeners and fans. Considering that they’re such a fresh band, Hajk have been surprisingly quick to adjust themselves. Not long after they’d written enough for a set of music, they were playlisted by radio before they left the stage at those festivals, and now they’re here — with a confident debut and a collection of songs that any band would have envied. Hajk are fronted by Preben Sælid Andersen and Sigrid Aase, who share the vocals, while drummer Johan Nord, bassist Knut Olav Buverud Sandvik, and keyboardist Einar Næss Haugeth are the band’s backbone. Musically, Hajk are situated in a modern landscape, but looking back to the fine pop of the past, with an emphasis on very strong melodies. Now, Hajk have premiered their hypnotizing video for "Not Anymore," an infectious tune laden with acoustic guitar and simple drums, yet not simple enough to be boring. The male-female "vocal dance" with their blended harmonies works well for this tune. The key change halfway through is reminiscent of Andy Shauf’s work, and immediately I’m hooked.
"Don't Want To" by Cende
Cende have shared "Don't Want To," the latest from their anticipated debut full-length album, #1 Hit Single, due out May 26th via Double Double Whammy. Cende was born halfway through a laundry cycle in the year 2013. Cameron Wisch, Dave Medina, and Greg Rutkin had all just graduated from Purchase College and moved into Brooklyn house venue David Blaine's The Steakhouse. The band centers around the two principal songwriters of Wisch and Medina: Wisch's infectious melodies and meticulous song structures are complemented by Medina's raw and highly energetic punk anthems. Expanding on the catchy, power-pop songs of their debut EP, #1 Hit Single sees the band experimenting with more varied instrumentation and detailed production. The album was spearheaded by Wisch, who spent over a year carefully sculpting the album alongside producer, engineer, and friend Ronnie Stone. The end result is a compact and emotional batch of songs that draw influence from personal relationships and the experiences surrounding the members' lives during three years of living downstairs in a creative and chaotic DIY space. Comparable to Surfer Blood, "Don’t Want To" is fast, abrasive, and subtly punches you in the face without knocking you all the way down.
"Keep in Line" by Maybird
Maybird have announced their upcoming EP Unraveling will be released this summer via 30th Century Records. Fusing expansive psychedelia with evocative roots-rock accents, the group was formed by Josh Netsky, a singer and songwriter who released four independent albums and performed frequently on the east coast. Netsky had a fluid band lineup for years, with guitarist Sam Snyder the sole constant. In 2013, Maybird made their recording debut with an ambitious independent album, Down and Under. As Maybird developed a growing following on the east coast, they were approached by producer Danger Mouse, who had heard and enjoyed the record. Danger Mouse asked Maybird to sign with his new label, 30th Century Records, and the group's first project for 30th Century — the EP Turning into Water — was released in April 2016. The group is due for another release in early June, after spending time in Nashville recording with producer Patrick Carney this past summer. And the production value shows: "Keep in Line" is catchy and rhythmic, with blaring dueling guitars and a harsh vocal melody that lands in the pocket with each note.
"Yam Yam" by No Vacation
No Vacation is an indie/dream-pop collective that combines the novel sounds of college nostalgia and surf-tinged bedroom pop to create an addictive feeling of weightlessness. What began as a sunny San Francisco dorm-room duo in early 2015 by frontwoman Sabrina Mai quickly evolved into a band as Marisa Saunders and Nat Lee entered the fold. Eventually, Harrison Spencer joined and No Vacation migrated from their familiar garage practice spaces to the studio, where they recorded their second release Summer Break Mixtape. This would lead up to their initial break-up later that year. After a year of anticipation, shows under various names, and a few line-up changes, James Shi was added to solidify the official reunion of the five-piece group. To jumpstart their return, No Vacation released new single "Yam Yam," which highlights the wistful-yet-buoyant sounds from their upcoming collection, set for release this summer. Hints of Mitski, Yumi Zouma, and Hoops ring through in this hushed summertime jam.