What? ‘Come back’
What they say? Tune-Yards’ co-producer and bassist Nate Brenner makes a point of holing up in the duo’s Oakland studio and churning out countless musical ideas for his psych-pop project, Naytronix. These sessions, as irregular as they are fruitful, have long formed the backbone of Naytronix’s releases. Naytronix’s first two albums (2012’s Dirty Glow and 2015’s Mister Divine), as well as his work scoring Boots Riley’s 2018 film Sorry to Bother You, established Brenner as a dynamic songwriter and composer in his own right.
Why we love it? Melodic bass lines, skittery beats with shades of G-Funk and post-punk. Laced with synth washes and Brenner’s artful delivery. Addictive. (BC)
FFO: LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Talking Heads
What? Club Nites
What they say? Dumb share the first single from their upcoming album – Club Nites – released on June 7th. On the single, the band say “Social interaction often gets institutionalised by the club, and this song breaks down some of the anxieties and joys of being at the club/ thinking about the club, but as if we are at the club whenever we are in public. At the club at night-time, we are permitted to loosen our language and become uninhibited, we do what we want rather than what we are required to. A light is shed on previously hidden motives, and our daytime secrets become revealed embarrassingly.”
Why we love it? Taking a scalpel to every day this jumble of insidiously spiky punk music spews forth with the tension of a social situation. (BC)
FFO: Pavement, Bodgea, Parquet Courts.
Who? Slow Pulp
What they say? Slow pulp is a Wisconsin born, Chicago based rock quartet. Somewhere between anthem and lullaby, their music hints at a mess of contradictory emotions wound up in a gentle yet incisive wit. “High” is the first (and only) single leading up to their sophomore EP Big Day, due out mid-May. Slow Pulp is Teddy Mathews (drums), Emily Massey (guitar / vocals), Henry Stoehr (guitar), and Alex Leeds (bass).
Why we love it? The delicate, minimal build at the beginning of ‘High’ is a brilliant red herring in the initial dissection of Slow Pulp’s sound. It could easily be an Elliot Smith cover until the hushed guitar tones are quickly eliminated by feral, grunge distortion and the song is catapulted into a mini-anthem crammed full of brilliant slacker-isms and Pixies-indebted riffs. (NK)
FFO: Pixies, Hey Rocco, Weezer
What they say? Some ten years in the making, Islet have signed to Fire Records, home of many an experimental deep thinker and everyday cult icon. Now, they are recording new songs and filling a bigger room with caterpillars and clouds, Emma Daman Thomas moving into focus with her unleashed, mesmerizing vocals against a synth-driven sound, unexpected shifts of rhythm, playful inventive lyrics; an exhilarating, electronic purr that provokes thought and feeling. They have matured, are more tender, knowing and composed, but still eclectic, mysterious and intriguingly themselves.
Why we love it? Sonorous and elliptical, Islet are back and this time, they’ve evolved from a chrysalis into a butterfly. Emma now helms this swirling, pulsing, nebulous soundscape like a child guiding its kite across the blue sky. Hypnotic and delicious. (BC)
FFO: Air, Errors, Gwenno
Who? Grand Vapids
What they say? Emerging from the revered Athens, Georgia indie scene, post-punk rockers Grand Vapids are returning with a new full-length, Eat the Shadow, on July 12. Produced by David Barbe (The Glands, Drive-By Truckers, Sugar) and tracked live at Athens’ Chase Park Transduction, the 9-track set is a long-awaited follow-up to their 2015 debut Guarantees. Eat the Shadow presents a band that has resurfaced after dark years of coping with personal tragedy, identity crisis, and dysfunctional relationships. The album opener, “Disjecta,” was inspired by the latter, serving as catharsis for two partners in the midst of breaking up while still living together and attempting to rediscover their respective identities. The track’s slacker-rock vibes project the sense of foreboding that accompanies feeling isolated in a relationship that is consuming you.
Why we love it? ‘Disjecta’ is a punk-infused gem of understated, greyscale indie rock from alternative veterans Grand Vapids. Harnessing the melancholy/emo tones of bands like Ought and Protomatyr, the Georgia-based four piece manage to create a slow-building and deeply personal track that lingers long after the first listen. (NK)
FFO: Ought, Protomatyr, Motorama
Who? Heavy Heart
What they say? “Dowsabel is an old English word for sweetheart, and this song is about a love affair, but it’s a bittersweet, broken and defeated one. It’s about the jagged edges and the blood we draw; the damage that we do to each other in the name of love. Living in a room filled with dust, dying flowers, and the ghosts of unspoken words, we’re together but alone, too afraid to walk away, prisoners in an unlocked cage”.
Why we love it? Shimmering and imperious Heavy Heart return with their second track. Detailing heartbreaks every sinew, this slice of dream pop is utterly impressive, the evocative vocals and simmering backdrops are the sound of someone collapsing in on themselves. Gorgeous. (BC)
FFO: Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, Slowdive
What? ‘Goofy Pills’
What they say? Necklace is the brainchild of Portland’s Batt Simpsun and LA’s Chris Lynch (Gardens and Villa). It was good times, no hassles as they crafted Sunshine Pop with tasty four-part vocal harmonies on an 8-track in Batt’s bedroom. But musical bliss became a lyrical love saga as they fell in love with the same girl…. and she fell in love with them too. Much drama and many meandering paths later, Chris and Batt found each other again and headed back into a proper studio — this time accompanied with synth hooks by Adam Rasmussen (Gardens and Villa), groovy bass licks from Adam Morgan (American Spirit), and mixing by the late, great Richard Swift. In its current iteration, Necklace’s tunes are performed by Batt with his unlikely best friend Spenser Canada (spouse of the aforementioned girl).
Why we love it? Necklace’ ‘Goofy Pills’ is a wonky pop delight, sewn together with everything from easy listening soundtracks to signature Lennon and McCartney chord progressions and the self-aware comedic lyricism of Father John Misty. (NK)
FFO: Papooz, Peter Bjorn and John, Father John Misty