by Mixtape Mandi
Single & Lovin' It, Vol. 9
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 July 3rd. Missed last week's? Check it out here!
"Small Space" by Tall Friend
Tall Friend have shared a video for "Small Space," the latest from their upcoming debut album, Safely Nobody's. The band's Charlie Pfaff says it's "a song about growing up in an environment that rejects and suppresses you, then coming out on the other side alive and new." Safely Nobody's is due out on August 11th via Exploding In Sound Records. Tall Friend began as Pfaff's (they/them) solo project in the summer of 2014. Their songs are an outlet; a way for Pfaff to express and process intense experiences and emotions in a healthy way. In 2015, their close friend Cale Cuellar joined in as a second guitarist. The two played shows around Washington, DC for several months before drummer Jesse Paller joined the band. In January 2016, all three members met up at Paller's house to flesh out some songs Pfaff had written: Tall Friend's first release, the semi-self-titled Tawl Friend EP. Originally self-released, the EP was re-released earlier this year on Exploding in Sound Records in anticipation of Safely Nobody's. The album documents Pfaff's experiences as a young person growing up in an abusive and unstable household. The lyrics grapple with their inability to juggle interpersonal relationships (caring for their mentally ill mother, their friends, and themself), wanting to find an escape, and healthy growth. With Paller on drums and Cueller and Pfaff switching between bass and guitar, the songs became something bigger and more complex. Intricate guitar parts complement simple, yet profound bass lines as lyrics paint a portrait of both heartache and strength.
"Suffer Me" by SHEER MAG
Philadelphia's SHEER MAG unveil new video "Suffer Me," the very first track written off their nearing debut full-length Need To Feel Your Love. "Suffer Me" addresses the Stonewall Riots that took place in Greenwich Village in 1969, the ongoing battles of the LGBTQ+ community, and fighting for your rights.
SHEER MAG's guitarist Matt Palmer explains: "Last winter, a friend lent me Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, which is a memoir in graphic novel form about a young woman coming of age and coming out. While exploring her own queerness and queer history in her early twenties, she learns about the Stonewall Riots that took place in Greenwich Village in 1969. I'd never heard of this demonstration or the brutal police raids on gay and drag clubs that instigated the protest. I was unaware that there was a legally enforced dress code in NYC at the time, and that people were being fined and arrested for dressing in drag. I knew (and know) that the LGBTQ+ community has been discriminated against and treated immorally for the whole of this country's existence, but I was depressed and upset learning all this. I was heartened, however, by the vigilance of the drag queens and assembled queer people outside of the Stonewall Inn that night. Having been pushed too far by the police, and after years of abuse and slander, they fought back against their tormentors. I was inspired by the audacity of the resistance mounted at Stonewall and felt like it was a story worth commemorating with the sort of ‘topical’ folk song that would have been popular in Greenwich Village in 1969. However, I was concerned with co-opting the undeniably queer narrative with my inherently straight perspective. To account for this, the story is told by an omniscient narrator with a bird's eye view of the action. What the narrator sees is a burgeoning police state operating without conscience or remorse, and a community tired of being oppressed and ready to fight back."
SHEER MAG's Tina Halladay continues, "People have an odd fascination with what others choose to do with their lives. Too often the people speaking against something have some of those feelings harbored deep within them that they don't know how to deal with. The world is changing, and those people are going to have to deal with the fact that you cannot control others."
SHEER MAG's Need To Feel Your Love is out July 14th on Wilsuns RC.
"Call Into Arms" by Temple Canyon
Seattle's Temple Canyon is releasing a 5-song EP this summer. Thank You For Not Caring is a memory of glory days and heartbreaks that make us who we are. The EP features vocalist-guitarist Mariko Ruhle, guitarist Kris Gray, drummer Al Reiter, and bassist Jason Shao, as well as close friends Chris King (Chris King & The Gutterballs) and Noble Monyei (Dearly Departed, The Horde and the Harem) as guest vocalists. Temple Canyon worked with up-and-coming producer Richard Hoag (Boots To The Moon, Lonely Mountain Lovers) on this EP, along with their debut self-titled record. Thank You For Not Caring is by far the most creative and developed music made by Temple Canyon yet. With a change in membership last year, the band found a fearlessness to indulge in new sonic realms. Ruhle’s songwriting, the long-standing foundation of the band, is now elevated by a substantial increase in collaboration. Temple Canyon's current lineup also includes former members of local Seattle band Supply & The Man, whose shared experience brings a sense of ease and depth of exploration to the instrumentation. With deep personal and artistic connections between band members, Temple Canyon finds its place as a "nostalgic Seattle rock band." With the greats of the region coursing through their veins, they bring a span of eras to your ears. Lead single "Call Into Arms" is an exuberant example of the gritty nostalgia the city of Seattle has to offer.
"Queen's Parade" by Swimming Tapes
London-based indie band Swimming Tapes share a new video for their track "Queen's Parade," produced by Adam Jaffrey (Palace, Gengahr, Leif Erikson). "Queen's Parade," having gained support with spins from KCRW, BBC Radio 1 and Beats 1 from the likes of Matt Wilkinson and Elton John, as well as being added as a "New Name" on the Annie Mac show, is from their forthcoming EP Soft Sea Blue, out September 15th. The now London-based five-piece arrived in 2016 with a self-released demo track, "Souvenirs," which quickly won them acclaim from the blogging world. Follow up tracks "Set The Fire" and "Cameos" saw them reach the top spot on the Hype Machine chart, earned the band their first play from BBC Radio 1, and tipped them well over 1 million track streams on Spotify. Swimming Tapes rounded off the year with the release of their debut EP Souvenirs, named after their first single, on burgeoning London indie label Hand In Hive, and have firmly cemented themselves as ones to watch for 2017.
"We Must Stand Up" by Har-di-Har
Har-di-Har is Julie and Andrew Thoreen. Corn Belt-raised and married young, this Minneapolis duo has made music together since 2012, but their sound is far from what you might expect. Though rooted in traditional song form, their first full-length record, We Will Will You, is strikingly abnormal in its execution. It listens as if you were watching an odd, impassioned dream-musical taking place between two people’s subconscious minds, all while they sit together, in real time, quietly at the table. Written during a season of separation between the duo, both as a band and a couple, We Will Will You is a record that invites us into the process of re-commitment: the waiting, the to or not to, the thought of an end, a beginning (timely reflections, regardless of one’s stance towards marriage). "We must stand up, but you just stay down...we move together, don’t stay down," stamp-out the vocals in "We Must Stand Up," a reminder to all of us of our inevitable connectivity, despite our desires not to be. Andrew’s background in jazz is evidenced in his use of modal harmonies, bi-tonality and polyrhythms. Julie’s vocal melody and intricate harmony lines fit between Andrew’s busy musical arrangements, but once there, they expand and give the song solid foundation. Throughout We Will Will You, two prominent characters, played by a trombone choir and the ethereal background vocals, call out consistently, forming the Greek chorus to this drama. They are the voices of honesty that propel us forward. Their interaction with the main lines is pure and beautiful, while at times dissonant and disjunct, imitating the way our minds endlessly waver for-or-against these anchors throughout the day.
"Destroying the Evidence"
NYC-based Semaphore have shared new track "Destroying the Evidence" via Speak Into My Good Eye. The track is the first single to be released from the band's debut LP, All Too Robot, which is out this September and was mastered by Alan Douches (Animal Collective, Sufjan Stevens, Beach House). Semaphore's Siddhu Anandalingam explains the song is about "whether or not you should really worry about missing out." As a trained jazz saxophonist who also plays over half a dozen instruments, 23-year-old Anandalingam has been writing and creating music while growing up listening to his dad’s old record collection. Over the years, his creative output has flirted with alternative rock, modern jazz, and ambient electronic music, eventually taking the hybrid form that is his recording project and band, Semaphore. Drawing from influences like Pink Floyd, Tycho, Smashing Pumpkins, M83, and Tigran Hamasyan, Semaphore’s music is intricate and lush. Semaphore started when Anandalingam was a student at Columbia University, where he studied Chemical Engineering and Music. After graduating in 2015, he moved back home to the suburbs of Washington D.C. where he spent the year focusing on writing music, as well as getting involved in the DC music scene. Upon returning to Brooklyn in mid-2016, Anandalingam reformed Semaphore and is now joined by Chris Hunt on bass, Emmett Ceglia on drums, and Jay Kohler on guitar.
CYMBALS — the London-based duo of Jack Cleverly and Dan Simons — have shared "Car Crash," the latest single from their second album, Light In Your Mind, out August 25th via Tough Love Records. Cleverly says, "This song is about impossible love, like a slow-motion car crash, or a river that is always moving. It was written quietly on acoustic guitar, in a confessional way. [Simons] then reworked it, putting that emotional vulnerability inside this bigger electronic sound, exposing it, turning negative energy positive." Returning with a newfound strength after a series of personal challenges, Light In Your Mind is their first new material in two years, and the follow-up to the acclaimed debut LP The Age of Fracture. Since inception, CYMBALS' line up has been subject to a great deal of change. Amidst that change, there has always existed the songwriting duo of Cleverly and Simons, who formed the band in 2011 with the sole intention of "having fun." At various points over the last six years and across three albums, an EP and single, a rotating cast of at least ten other people have formed some version of CYMBALS. It wasn't until everything else was stripped away and all others had left that the two finally began to be what they first tried to be. Others still contributed to Light In Your Mind, including Justin Goings and Josh Hefferman on drums, and Alabaster DePlume on saxophone. Producer Kristian Robinson (Capitol K) is a major presence across the album and played a key role in guiding the transition from the band's sound on their previous record to this one (indeed, this was the first time the band spent any significant time in a studio). Jorge Elbrecht, whose work with Ariel Pink and Tamaryn had inspired the band, mixed the record in Miami, adding those elusive final touches that make it CYMBALS' best album to date.
"Car Crash" by CYMBALS
BRONCHO is back just in time for summer's pool parties and BBQs, with their infectious new single "Get In My Car." This track is the Oklahoma quartet's first new offering since releasing their third album Double Vanity in 2016, a record of "garage-tinged glam rock" (Noisey) with "hairpin-bent notes and a blanket of reverb that would make anyone but the Jesus & Mary Chain blush" (Spin). BRONCHO will be on the road this summer, starting with an East Coast headlining run this month — and I have a feeling news of new music will soon be on the horizon.
"Get In My Car" by BRONCHO
"You Push, I'll Go" by Baby Dayliner
With his first commercial release in over a decade, NYC-based romantic electronic pop artist Baby Dayliner returns and announces a new EP due out July 7th via Brassland. With this release accompanied by glowing praise from The National's singer Matt Berninger, as well as composer Nico Muhly and hip-hop recording artist and producer Aesop Rock advocating this record. Serving as Baby Dayliner's third commercial release, You Push, I'll Go was recorded in upstate New York during the artist's brief time away from his longtime home in Manhattan. The new collection is the first product of that period of sequestration that reveals a series of songs — some new, some reworked from sets between his last release and today. While the music borrows elements from synth-pop, dance music, and hip-hop, it never confuses them. The sound has the sweetness and catchiness of indie pop, and elements of R&B "real talk," and yet it sits uncomfortably between those genres, making it a fusion of worlds that other artists can't help but notice. For the lion's share of the past decade, though, Baby Dayliner left the performing scene behind for a steady rhythm of work as a DJ throughout NYC's clubs, bars, and backrooms, where he puts his unique spin on the Top 40 hits. He did, however, tour in 2014 — performing a dozen American tour dates with The Uncluded (a collaboration between Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson) occasionally joined by The Pizza Underground (Macaulay Culkin's Velvet Underground parody band). In 2015, KEXP's John Richards — following years of airplay for "You Push, I'll Go" — enthusiastically invited Baby Dayliner to join the line-up of a benefit concert for the Seattle station. "I've been waiting to for years to see that live," Richards said after the performance of "You Push, I'll Go." And now, we will have the long-awaited release this Friday.
"Fake It" by Drinker
Meet Brooklyn down-tempo psych-pop act Drinker, made up of two former members of NYC outfits Isadora and Stone Cold Fox, and their sound is truly something special that's sonically reminiscent of alt-J meets Beach Fossils. Drinker is the recording project of singer-songwriter Aaron Mendelsohn and producer-composer Ariel Loh. They started working together in the fall of 2016, shortly after they left their former bands. Loh had just scored The Eyes Of My Mother, a horror film whose premiere at Sundance and following national release was turning heads. The ambient, analog soundscapes felt like the perfect atmosphere for the songs Mendelsohn was writing. A point was made to explore minimal arrangements while pushing the music into different territories, all the while embracing the unexpected. The forthcoming Happy Accident EP was the result of two months of collaborating in Bushwick, Brooklyn and Astoria, Queens. Mendelsohn has since moved to Los Angeles and is bringing the songs to the stage with a band. Meanwhile, their creative collaboration continues on a bicoastal basis with new material always brewing. "Fake It" follows the duo's debut "Which Way Is South," and is another peek into Happy Accident, out August 11th via Dollar Slice Records.