Single & Lovin' It, Vol. 7

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 June 19th. Missed last week's? Check it out here!

Canada's Stars released two new tracks, "Privilege" and "We Called It Love." From the reflective beauty of Amy Millan's vocal in "Privilege" ("Never got what you want, never got it") to Torquil Campbell's contemplative and contrary ("I don't believe that people change...but I've changed") on "We Called It Love," Stars return time and again to comfort and reassure us that within the experience of failure and fucking up is the path to a life well lived. The new Stars music comes via a new global deal with Last Gang Records/eOne, on which will see the band release a new album later this year. "We are thrilled to have Stars as part of the Last Gang family," says eOne Music Global President, Chris Taylor. "The world needs more poetry set to music and it's exciting that we'll get to help share it with the masses." With approaching 20 years as a band and a storied album catalogue spanning 2001's Nightsongs, the romantic upheaval of 2003's Heart and 2004's Set Yourself On Fire, 2007's In Our Bedroom After the War, the downcast elegies of 2010's The Five Ghosts, the rejuvenation of 2012's The North and sub-bass, dance club-infused No One Is Lost in 2014, Stars continue to prove themselves some of the finest musical storytellers in the country, moving through life with their fans.

"Privilege" & "We Called It Love" by Stars

Angelo De Augustine premiered his "Crazy, Stoned, And Gone (Live At Meditation Mount)" video, and the "serene" clip directed by Jess Collins was filmed by a single camera in one take, with the analog audio recorded on De Augustine's reel-to-reel machine — the same one that was used to record Swim Inside The Moon — without any overdubbing. The song is the second released off De Augustine's forthcoming new album Swim Inside The Moon, which will be released on August 25th via Asthmatic Kitty Records. Swim Inside the Moon is the second full-length from the 24-year-old De Augustine, and captures a sound he's been looking for since he started playing music a decade ago. "A sound behind the voice," says De Augustine, who recorded all of this record in his home's bathtub using a reel-to-reel machine and a single Shure SM57 microphone. "I noticed that when you sing off a reflective surface you hear two voices. I was compelled to isolate that voice and bring it more to the front of the songs because in many ways I feel more connected to and comforted by that voice following me." Besides a distinct sense of place and time, listeners might also hear Nick Drake's intricate arpeggiated guitar parts, Elliott Smith's pure vocals, or, at times, a likeness to the soulfulness of artists such as Vashti Bunyan, Judee Sill, Joanna Newsom, and José González. But it's worth noting that these artists are fairly new to Angelo, whose musical inspiration comes from his mother, for the most part. "Because my mom's career was singing, she would never listen to music when she wasn't working," De Augustine explains. "The music that I did hear the most were her songs that she wrote at home."

"Crazy, Stoned, And Gone
(Live at Meditation Mount)"
by Angelo De Augustine

"Full Grown" by Ms. White

Ms. White shares a video for "Full Grown," directed by Habib Khan Awan. The track is the first single from her forthcoming EP Jade, out this September. Ms. White is a NYC-based jazz-pop artist documenting her medical transition through music. Her debut EP Jade is a critique of the male-centric music industry and a fierce declaration of womanhood. Originally one half of electronic-pop duo Governors, Ms. White embarked on her solo project beginning in early 2015 with her producer and friend Theodore. Her creative process with Jade was inextricably linked to her gender identity and vice versa, and she hopes to pave a path for more trans visibility in the music industry. Jade was named after Amy Winehouse (whose middle name is Jade), Ms. White’s biggest musical influence and the title track is an homage to the late singer.

"Bullet Proof" by This Is The Kit

"Bullet Proof" is the latest track from This Is The Kit's debut album for Rough Trade Records, Moonshine Freeze, out July 7th. Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, M. Ward, Perfume Genius), who plays on various songs and previously worked on the band's first album Krulle Bol (2008), Moonshine Freeze is This Is The Kit's fourth album and features songwriter Kate Stables' core band (Rozi Plain, Jamie Whitby-Coles, and Neil Smith) alongside others collaborators, including Aaron Dessner (The National), who joins on six of the album's tracks. The themes and patterns that emerge across the album encompass folklore and oracles, memory, language, secrets, superstition, lives out of sync, and "the strange accidental fortune-telling nature of the writing process." Stables was inspired by the writing of Ursula Le Guin and Alan Bennett, the African folk stories collected by the ethnomusicologist Hugh Tracey, and by grey coastal days and the taste of blood and copper coins. Stables has long been an exceptional songwriter, but with Moonshine Freeze comes the thrilling sensation of an artist truly finding her voice; it's as if these are the stories she has been waiting to tell — these, the dark coves and shadowy glens, are ones she's been longing to lead us through.

"Give Me Your Love" by Briana Marela

Briana Marela is set to release her new album, Call It Love, on August 4th via Jagjaguwar. After presenting lead single, "Quit," the artist now shares the bright and shimmering "Give Me Your Love," which explores what Marela calls "love’s immature, silly and selfish side." The track begins almost as an electronic ballad, sweet and inviting, before crashing into a dance-floor rhythm and a winking, flirtatious breakdown. The visual accompaniment is an autostereogram (a “magic eye”) designed by Joey Moran and built from album artwork made by Madeline Waits. Marela’s original vision for this album was to dig into the two poles of her songwriting styles: her ambient, ethereal side and her brighter, beat-driven pop leanings. She enlisted the production help of Juan Pieczanski and Ryan Heyner of the band Small Black who brought a strong percussive instinct, weaving pop and polish into even the most spaced-out cinematic arrangements. Deepening her songwriting and expanding her palette on Call It Love, Marela has made her proverbial giant leap to explore the sounds of love in beautiful, striking new ways.

"Fainted Love" by Majken

LA-based, Nordic indie pop artist Majken announces her debut album, Dancing Mountains, due out August 2017 with the premiere of her first single and video, "Fainted Love." The LP was produced by Jesse Nolan (Caught a Ghost) and Maxime Sokolinski (Hologram, Sweaters, Soko). The forthcoming album follows her debut EP, Deronda Hotel, and features five remastered versions of previous EP tracks, in addition to the unheard material. Majken wrote and recorded Dancing Mountains on a journey between gritty Los Angeles, romantic Paris and the simple, laid back feel of the Nordic fjord, where she spent her childhood. Influenced by experimental rock legends such as The Velvet Underground and the sensibilities of master songwriters like Leonard Cohen, Majken creates experimental pop with accessible themes and song structure. Her collection of dreamy songs contains raw, emotive lyrics, cushioned by indie beach rock and a vintage Europop vibe. She's inspired by wild nature, breakfast in bed, the various cities she's visited and called home, and the people in those places. Dancing Mountains reflects on vivid dreams, fond memories and restless nights. Majken's sultry vocal melodies, intoxicating layers of sound and surf rock guitar come together to create an ideal soundtrack for a summer daydream. "Fainted Love" reflects on a summer fling, through rose colored glasses and introspection.

"Forgot Myself" by Jen Cloher

The fact that the fourth album from Australian artist Jen Cloher is self-titled speaks volumes. In the first single from the album, "Forgot Myself," Cloher writes unflinchingly about the sacrifices and difficulties of maintaining a long-distance relationship. Of the song’s inspiration, Cloher said "You want to be with your partner celebrating big moments in their life but at the same time you have your own life to live thousands of miles away. It's easy to stop taking care of yourself; easy to forget yourself."

 

A letter in triplicate addressed to the themes of love, music and Australia, Cloher is the culmination of a period of artistic and personal growth in which the artist took her rightful place as a punk-rock figurehead of Melbourne's famous DIY music scene. She is an outspoken advocate for artist rights and co-founder of the incredible Milk! Records label, which includes the likes of Courtney Barnett and Fraser A. Gorman among its luminaries. Since 2013, Cloher's output has been increasingly sharp-witted and poetic, with her last album, the critically lauded In Blood Memory representing an artistic apex for the artist and garnering her a prestigious Australian Music Prize nomination. Set for release on August 11th, Jen Cloher represents another quantum leap forward for the artist. Recorded amidst the rolling greenery of South-Eastern Australia and mixed at Jeff Tweedy's famous Loft Studios in Chicago, the songs are split by Barnett's extraordinary lead guitar and anchored by the rhythm section of Bones Sloane and Jen Sholakis. The end result is bold, assured, and piercingly observed; seeing Cloher face up to painful truths with unwavering honesty and emerge triumphant. This is Cloher at her most incisive and witty, cutting and expressive, and represents possibly her most stunning body of work to date. 

"Glue" by Fickle Friends

Fickle Friends and producer Mike Crossey (The 1975, Foals, Two Door Cinema Club) have partnered once more, teaming up to create "Glue," which signifies the official announcement of their three-track EP, also titled Glue, set for an August 11th release. Together again for the fifth time, the London dance-quintet and the producer merge the dazzling vocals and sparkling brand of songwriting with Crossey's award-winning, meticulously-polished mix. Like previous singles "Brooklyn," "Swim," "Hello Hello" and "Cry Baby," which have gathered a collective 15 million streams on Spotify and flourished with music blogs all over lending praise, "Glue" capsulizes the band's positive energy from its meticulous harmonies and spiraling guitar riffs.

"Subway Surfer" by Fruit & Flowers

Brooklyn-based "surf noir" garage-psych band Fruit & Flowers share their second single, "Subway Surfer," from their forthcoming debut EP Drug Tax, due out June 30th via Little Dickman Records. Fruit & Flowers are one of the most active bands in the NYC area, and have been deemed one of "NYC's Hardest Working Bands" by Oh My Rockness. The band embarks on its third tour of 2017 in July to Canada and the Midwest in support of Drug Tax. Fruit & Flowers' exuberant, electric performances draw a local following. Conceived in a Bushwick loft with broken AC during the summer of 2015 by Caroline Yoder on bass and Shaw Walters on drums, the band was soon joined by Lyzi Wakefield and Ana Becker on guitars and vocals. The band agreed to play its first show at the Northside Festival just weeks after formation and wrote the record in a furious fit of hot nights and inspired mornings. The band became fully realized when Walters handed the role of drummer to Jose Berrio, whose inimitable style elevates the strong rhythmic character of the band. Drug Tax was born out of necessity, capturing the grit and rush of New York City summer and the newfound chemistry between the bandmates. Weaving together the perspectives and expressions of the band's multiple songwriters, the EP unfolds to present the unique and varied voice of Fruit & Flowers. Drug Tax was recorded at Thump Studios in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The EP was engineered and co-produced by John Thayer, and mixed and mastered by George Harris.

"Bloodflow" by Grandbrothers

Düsseldorf-based duo Grandbrothers have signed to City Slang for the release of their second album, Open, which is to be released on October 20th. They share a first taste of the new record with enchanting track "Bloodflow" and an accompanying video. Grandbrothers are the sum of unique parts: progressive Swiss engineer/mechanic/software designer Lukas Vogel and German-Turkish pianist Erol Sarp. Their second album Open twins Sarp's piano skills with Vogel's talent for both building the formidably intricate mechanics with which he exploits his partner's instrument and also designing its software. Sarp works at his ivory keyboard while, from behind his own computer keys, Vogel live-samples his partner's notes, triggering further effects with the aid of homemade apparatus that physically manipulate the piano's strings and body. "There are hammers I control," he explains, "which hit different parts to make beats and percussive patterns. In the beginning, I just used an open circuit board I'd constructed without a proper case. It was very fragile and often didn't work. We always had a soldering-iron when we played live." Such synergy — born of an innate understanding and intuition, personally and musically — can be heard throughout Grandbrothers' technically innovative, thrillingly distinctive work: two ingenious minds, perfectly in tune, relentlessly exploring new ideas. There's nothing to be afraid of. Keep your mind Open.

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