by Mixtape Mandi
Single & Lovin' It, Vol. 6
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 June 12th. Missed last week's? Check it out here!
"NY is Red Hot" by Amelia Airhorn
After a brief moment of channel surfing, Amelia Airhorn lands on a news story concerning the impending heat wave in New York. Like jumping through a painting in Super Mario 64, she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a psychedelic disco dance party on a sweltering NYC summer day, "NY is Red Hot" both bemoans the infamous summer climate of the city while simultaneously celebrating its unique way of life, with the refrain "New York is my life and I'm never gonna leave you." On a dark, glittering summer night in 1992, a girl named Amelia Airhorn stepped into New York City nightlife and never came out. She’s a living and breathing sample, slipping in and out of the hectic thrill of the city — kicked up high-tempo on flashbulbs and disco balls, easing back into the heartbeat of a crowd dancing in a basement and a couple making their way uptown at dawn. She’s everywhere if you know what to listen for, and on this experimental concept mixtape, NYC-based electronic duo The Knocks and nu-disco producer and vocalist Skylar Spence catch Amelia Airhorn's silhouette. The trio connected when Spence supported The Knocks on their Feel Good Feel Great North American headline tour. Afterwards, they started working at The Knocks’ HeavyRoc Studio on the Lower East Side, mixing snippets of classic soul and disco with YouTube apocrypha and pieces of movie dialogue that float into the picture like the breeze on a late-night smoke break. With hand-drawn collage visuals by Ida Chelengar and a bit-rate structure that keeps the tape on acid-trip logic, the end result is a gritty enchantment, a smooth psychedelic immersion. Amelia Airhorn is what it sounds like to want to be lost in a party and never be found again.
"Variations on an Aria"
by People Like You
People Like You will release their sophomore album entitled Verse on July 28th via Topshelf Records. They’ve share lead single "Variations on an Aria." The five-piece Boston-based band formed in 2014 from the short-lived emo-math punk band, I Kill Giants, which included guitarist-vocalist Chris Lee-Rodriguez and drummer Sander Bryce. After the release of their first record, This is what you learned. on Broken World Media, People Like You expanded to include longtime collaborator and trumpet player Matt Hull, as well as vocalist-pianist Michi Tassey, and Animal Flag’s Sai Boddupalli on bass. After several years of making a name for themselves in the small DIY house show circuit in the Northeast, the indie jazz outfit are set to release their sophomore album. Incorporating improvisation, classical guitar, breakbeats, a punk ethos, literary references, and beautiful pop melodies, People Like You has developed a sound that they can truly call their own.
"Decay" by CYMBALS
CYMBALS, the London-based duo of Jack Cleverly and Dan Simons, have unveiled the video for new single "Decay," shot during the winter months in a number of British seaside towns, including Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, and Southend. Director Matthew Reed says of the video, "When I first heard 'Decay' I immediately saw images of a coastal town: overcast, wintry and out of season. Jack and I then chatted and really bonded over a shared love of W.G Sebald's The Rings of Saturn, which tells the story of a walk along the East Coast from Lowestoft to Harwich, and is set very much in the type of towns I'd envisioned. So we decided to make the video a portrait of that landscape." The duo's forthcoming album, Light In Your Mind, is out August 25th via Tough Love Records. It is CYMBALS' first new material in two years, and the follow-up to the acclaimed debut LP The Age of Fracture.
"Wolf Lie Down" by The Fresh & Onlys
After three long years of anticipation, San Francisco's psych-blasted, starry-eyed weirdos The Fresh & Onlys return with new album, Wolf Lie Down. The opening title track, "Wolf Lie Down," is a searing return to form with chugging full speed rhythms, snotty Wipers wall-of-sound guitar gristle, and the unmistakable midnight croon of singer Tim Cohen. While Cohen and guitarist-producer Wymond Miles are not the new kids on the scene, Wolf Lie Down strips back the layered feel of the last few records to reveal themselves full of passion, imbued with an uplifting romanticism, and their trademark (if often overlooked) wry sense of humor. Recorded mostly at Miles' home studio, the songs' foundation came to life in the studios of Bay Area analog garage-psych veterans Kelley Stoltz (Electric Duck) and Greg Ashley (Creamery). Wolf Lie Down builds on the band's literate guitar-pop arcana, seamlessly incorporating their pastoral desert-noir sensibility into Cohen and Miles' dueling damaged art-punk song craft. This new chapter in the elusive world of The Fresh & Onlys is a triumphant return to form as underground jangle titans. Wolf Lie Down also wears the haunted pastoral vividness of their most recent work. Perhaps ironically, their latest LP in a vast canon of work may be the best introduction to this unapologetic, multi-faceted rock 'n' roll band.
"Eastwick" by Julia Jacklin
Fresh off a US tour with Andy Shauf and ahead of festival appearances, Julia Jacklin has announced a new 7" to be released via Polyvinyl Recording Co. on September 15th. The first single "Eastwick" is a captivating, slow-building track, inspired by a night in front of the TV watching Dancing With The Stars. It is accompanied by another mesmerizing self-directed video, starring Jacklin and her bass player Harrison Fuller, and shot in Blue Mountains suburbia, where Jacklin grew up. As a kid, she sang — first classical music, then pop-punk tunes in a high school cover band. By the time she moved to Sydney in her early twenties, she’d cobbled together sketches of her own — observational folk songs laced with a melancholic ache, but buoyed with a wry humor and Jacklin’s rich, distinctive voice. Fleshing them out at sporadic DIY shows and songwriter nights around Sydney, Jacklin collected a band of friends and headed to New Zealand to record with Ben Edwards (Marlon Williams, Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid). Three weeks later, she returned home with her debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win, released in October 2016. Don’t Let The Kids Win has been a favorite of critics, featuring on numerous end of year lists in 2016, and Jacklin has enjoyed milestone moments like nominations for APRA Australian Song of the Year, Album of the Year at the Triple J Awards, and selling out the Metro Theatre in Sydney, performing to 1,200 hometown fans singing back every word. It’s a relentless level of ambition to live with, but after a life-changing year of touring the world, it at least comes with a level of satisfaction for what has been achieved.
The Killers have announced details of their new single, "The Man," a dazzling first taste of the band's eagerly anticipated fifth album. "The Man" is the first new album material from The Killers since Battle Born in 2012. Recorded with the producer Jacknife Lee during album sessions in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the song is the first single from the group's soon-to-be completed new album, which is shaping up to be their most sonically forward thinking record yet; an LP bursting with all of the blazing choruses and arena-filling anthems that make The Killers one of the world's biggest and most beloved rock bands. Renowned for his ability to paint evocative pictures of small town American life, Killers frontman Brandon Flowers turns that remarkable skill on himself with "The Man." The song finds Flowers looking back on his younger self, the "Brandon Flowers" persona from their Grammy-nominated debut Hot Fuss, and reconciling that wide-eyed character with the man he is now. It's also the most infectious pop song of their already accomplished career.
"The Man" by The Killers
Toro Y Moi returns, announcing his fifth studio album Boo Boo, to be released on July 7th on Carpark Records. The album finds Chaz Bear (formerly Bundick) exploring the dance-pop sound that his fans first fell in love with, with an added layer of deep — and at times dark — emotion. Bear used the new songs to intimately address an identity crisis and created his most personal work to date. Along with the news, Toro Y Moi has released a video for the magnetic first single "Girl Like You." Born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina, Bear has been actively involved in music going back to his early teenage years playing in punk and indie rock bands. Bear unveiled his Toro Y Moi guise in 2001, in which he began incorporating electronics and channeling a wider swath of stylistic influences — from indie rock and '60s baroque pop to '80s R&B, French house, and underground hip-hop — into his own solo music. With each record, Bear reveals himself to be as prolific as diverse. From the space-age funk of 2011's Underneath the Pine to the introspective, house-tinged pop and soul of 2013's Anything in Return, to the '70s radio gold influences percolating throughout 2015's What For?, Bear consistently steered Toro Y Moi in new directions while never sacrificing his melodic sensibility or keen ear for arrangements and texture. Toro Y Moi's most reflective album to date, the woozy contemplations and daydreams of Boo Boo point toward an idyllic path of catharsis for not only the listener, but for Chaz Bear himself.
"Girl Like You" by Toro Y Moi
"The Gold" by Manchester Orchestra
Manchester Orchestra will release their new album A Black Mile To The Surface on July 28th via Loma Vista Recordings. First single "The Gold" premiered and its accompanying video is an evocative and surreal animated collage by directors Mike Dempsey and Johnny Chew. Always a band to push themselves creatively with each subsequent release, Atlanta-based Manchester Orchestra has expanded their dynamic sound to peak form on the cinematic and epic A Black Mile To The Surface. The album — featuring production by Catherine Marks (Foals, PJ Harvey, The Killers), John Congleton (St. Vincent, Explosions In The Sky, Angel Olsen), and their longtime studio partner Dan Hannon — showcases a band that rethought, deconstructed, and rebuilt their songwriting process to propel their music into a new emotional arena, drawing on singer-guitarist Andy Hull and co-writer and multi-instrumentalist Robert McDowell's unique experience scoring the 2016 Sundance hit film Swiss Army Man (directed by The Daniels). Throughout recording A Black Mile to the Surface, Hull and McDowell — along with drummer Tim Very and bassist Andy Prince — opened up their collaborative process and pushed themselves to go against their first instincts at every turn. Lyrically, Hull found a new freedom in mirroring his personal experiences through fictional characters, examining the ultimately universal themes of family, shared history, hope, and valuing the time that we're given. A Black Mile to the Surface is a bold record of vision and purpose, inspired by and dwelling in a sensory and imaginative experience. It's a reinvention of sorts — both musically and personally —and an evolution of the band, while also retaining the sweeping, melodic, and anthemic sounds for which Manchester Orchestra has become known.
"Heaven I Know" by Gordi
Australian musician Gordi is pleased to announce her debut album, Reservoir, out August 25th on Jagjaguwar. The album was written by Gordi and co-produced alongside Tim Anderson (Solange, Banks), Ali Chant (Perfume Genius, PJ Harvey) and Alex Somers (Sigur Rós). It was recorded in Wisconsin, Reykjavik, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney. Along with the announcement, Gordi is sharing the lead single, "Heaven I Know," one of two tracks on Reservoir produced solely by Gordi. Gordi is the moniker of Sophie Payten, who grew up in the tiny Australian farming town of Canowindra. Her story, which has only truly just begun, has already taken her from this remotest of rural outposts to performing alongside her new friends and collaborators Bon Iver on US television (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon), and now clutching this remarkable debut collection of shimmering left-field pop songs.
"The name 'Reservoir,' it's that thing that you can't describe, that space that anxious people would probably live their life in. It's actually an expression my friend and I use. If I'm really down one day, I’ll say, 'Oh I'm a bit in the reservoir today.' You're mulling everything over, and you're sitting in all these thoughts and feelings. In order to be able to write a song I need to go to that place, but I couldn't live a functional life if I spent all my time in there." Gordi’s voice and her music very quickly caught the attention of her labelmates Bon Iver, who asked her to perform backing vocals for them during their performance of "8 (circle)" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at the tail end of last year. Gordi returned the favor with a breathtaking a cappella cover of "00000 Million." As an opening statement, Reservoir is a compelling listen that challenges textural limitations and explores leftfield rhythms, but crucially, at its very heart is melody in abundance.
"BOSS" by Blondage
Danish duo Blondage is back with a second single "BOSS," a straight-to-the-heart pop hymn with piercing vocals from Esben and Pernille alike. It’s the sound of a generation who wants to dance, cry, dream, and create change all at once. "While writing 'BOSS' we were watching a documentary about super rich people who own multiple yachts, private planes, several mansions — basically living in a bubble completely separated from reality. Why do we glorify such extreme overspending when so many have nothing? That’s absurd to us. Happiness is about presence and relationships, not luxury." The song follows the pair's buzzy first single "Stoned," a hook-laden experimental, multi-layered pop track and "BOSS" proves to be a worthy and addictive successor seeing Blondage continue to combine infectious hooks, playful production and lyrics with a mission. "'BOSS' is not just a song to us — it’s a necessary emotion of rebellion and hope. It completely took over our minds and hearts and ended up wiping all other songs we were working on off the table. We played the song live just four days after writing the first chords and the reaction from the crowd was big. It’s released just a month after we finished it, and it feels more present to us than any song we’ve put out before. 'BOSS' had a will of its own, and it had to be set free immediately."