“Gemini” by Hoops // EP (Out August 26, 2016 via Fat Possum)
Loving everything about these guys last few releases. The playful atmosphere that weaves throughout their work is on display on “Gemini”, but also the Bloomington, Indiana based quartet drift further out into a dreamy melancholic state of beauty that feels like some wonderfully strange but forgotten 80′s pop gem. Just about perfect.
“Airport Bar” by Martin Courtney // Many Moons (Out 10.30.15 via Domino Records)
The Real Estate frontman has been dropping tracks from his forthcoming debut album, Many Moons, for the past several weeks. The latest comes in the form of the sweetly melancholic beauty, Airport Bar. It’s loaded up with impeccable melody, infectious harmonies, and instantly memorable guitar work - you know, the kind of thing Courtney does in his day job as well. Just wonderful stuff!
“Afterglow” by Ryan Hemsworth // Afterglow - Single (2015)
Ryan Hemsworth’s new soundcloud gift, “Afterglow”, is the perfect soundtrack for a late Sunday night. Consider it an airy, lilting lullaby to prepare you for the week ahead. It’s the kind of track that you play on repeat at you go about your end of the night routine, and it massages your brain to bliss. Kinda wonderful.
“Baby” by Hannah Cohen // Pleasure Boy (Out Soon via Bella Union)
I’ll just say it. I’m an absolute sucker for a somber, melancholic love song played on piano. Maybe it goes back to years of obsessing over Fiona Apple’s “Tidal” or Kate Bush’s catalog before that - but it just does something to me. Hannah Cohen’s heartbreaking “Baby” is no exception. It’s the real deal. Cohen’s sweetly pained voice is gentle, but coated in longing that is really something special to hear. On the flipside, the lovely piano and guitar work is less somber, and more commanding and finite - like this is it, one time to get the emotion out and then we’re done. It makes for a particularly powerful listen. I’m loving everything about this track.
“This is the Day (The The cover)” by Best Friend // This is the Day -Soundcloud (2015)
The The are one of those bands that people don’t talk about so much these days. This is a bummer, because they have a pretty stellar catalog littered with fantastic 80′s alternative gems. One of those gems is the 1983 cult hit, “This is the Day” (you might also remember it from the closing moments of the 90′s teen flick, Empire Records). Nashville dream pop quartet, Best Friend, have turned out a rock solid cover of said jam - managing to not only cover it well, but to put their distorted, hazy, shoegaze-y stamp on it. Definitely one to check out.
“Halloween” by Siouxsie & the Banshees // Juju (1981 / Polydor Records)
It’s really not Halloween unless I’ve blared this post punk classic about fifteen thousand times. I’m always surprised by how many folks have managed to miss this brilliant gem over the years. It is pretty much everything you’d want in a Halloween jam - energetic, exciting, and darkly alluring.
“How’s It Going to Be” by Widowspeak // Originally by Third Eye Blind
Well, this is certainly a little unexpected. Widowspeak recently dropped their fantastic new album, All Yours - but they’ve also done a couple of home recordings for a short but sweet EP called Two Covers. The first is a sweetly, somber Tom T. Hall cover, and the second is this haunting, dust blown take on the 90′s pop hit, “How’s It Going to Be” by Third Eye Blind. In typical Widowspeak fashion, it’s fucking gorgeous. Give it a spin.
“By This River” by Brian Eno // Before and After Science (1977 // Polydor)
I was recently making some mixtapes to listen to while I work, and I stumbled across an old Brian Eno nugget that deserves some more attention. “By This River” is one of my absolute favorite late night, lonely lullabies. It’s one of the songs that i used to hear on the college radio show that inspired this blog in the first place. It’s as good a time as any to rediscover a forgotten gem.
“Dopamine” by DIIV // Is the Is Are (Out TBD / 2015)
This is one that I’ve been waiting for quite some time and I am in no way disappointed. “Dopamine” is the new single from the brilliant dream pop/ shoegaze band, DIIV. The band’s last release was my favorite album of 2012 - the absurdly good, Oshin. The new track doesn’t stray too far from the hazy shimmer that they band used to beautifully in the past, and that’s just fine by me as no one does it quite like DIIV. If anything, “Dopamine” comes on confident and fast, no time wasted - lean, yet dreamy and frontloaded with pretty vocal harmonies. It feels more direct and aggressive than before, but still unmistakably the work of Zachary Cole Smith and his band.
“She’ll Kill You” by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein // Stranger Things - Original Score (2016)
Like most of the internet, I am totally in love with “Stranger Things” and everything within it from the cast to the chills to the sound and beyond. Of course, the sound does warrant a lot of attention because it’s brilliant work from Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein that immediately sets the throwback tone for the eerie world that unfolds on screen. The track, “She’ll Kill You” is a beautifully ominous representation of that world. It’s also a wonderful call to autumnal sounds that are just around the corner and always welcome in these ears.
“REALiTi” by Grimes // Previously Unreleased (2015)
It’s been a little while since Grimes scrapped her plans for a follow-up to her astonishing debut, Visions, but here she is back with a taste of what might have been. As she has moved on to another go at her proper follow-up, she has decided to release a previously unreleased (and unfinished, according to her) track called “REALiTi” to satiate the hunger for newness from her fans. She had previously spoke of how the scrapped sessions were for an album that treaded into the pop world more directly, and “REALiTi” certainly feels like that. That being said, there’s nothing remotely wrong with it because it’s a fucking killer track - infectious, pop-savvy, and dance-able, but still maintaining Grimes’ wonderfully fresh fingerprint. I kinda love it, and am holding out hope that we’ll continue to here more of her abandoned work as she continues to work on her proper follow up. Highest recommendation.
“Somewhere (Demo)” by Eastern Shift // Soundcloud Demo (2014)
Passion Pit frontman, Michael Angelakos, has gone and dropped a demo for a new track under the moniker Eastern Shift. It’s just a little over ninety seconds in length, but it has some of the earmarks of Passion Pit’s earlier work - pitch-shifted vocals, distorted electro beats - but with a much heavier hip-hop vibe. If anything, the track sounds a smidge like early Kanye West beats (back when he was better known as a producer, than all around entertainer). Perhaps it’s a sample of what’s ahead for Passion Pit or it could be some one off experimentation from Angelakos. Whatever the case, it’s an interesting listen and one worth a couple of spins.
“Teenage Talk” by St. Vincent // Girls - Season 4 (2015)
Not sure how long this link will be up at Soundcloud, or if the track is even officially named, “Teenage Talk”, but this new St. Vincent track from last night’s episode of the HBO series, Girls, is just too good to ignore. It’s subtle, but it sneaks up on you and the next thing you know, you’re playing it on repeat for like two hours.
“New Scream” by Turnover // Peripheral Vision (Out 5.4.15 via Run For Cover)
I’m an absolute sucker for songs that invoke a sort of lost nostalgia - pretty yet somber, emotional yet hazy on the details. It’s just a kind of feeling of lost time. The new single from Turnover carries that sort of weight and does so with a sweetly melancholic melody that swims in your brain for hours. “New Scream” is a fantastic first single from the band’s new album, Peripheral Vision, and it’s one of the standout tracks from recent months. Highly recommended for fans of Title Fight and Beach Fossils.
“In God’s House” by Bat for Lashes // The Bride (Out 7.1.16 via EMI)
Natasha Khan can really do no wrong in my book. Her new concept album, The Bride is inspired by a short film that she’s made (and will soon premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival) involving a young woman who’s fiance is killed en route to the wedding, so she rushes out to take the honeymoon that was planned for the couple - all while dealing with the loss, fear, and grief of her current state. She’s also shared the stunning second single from the album, in the form of the gorgeously dramatic “In God’s House”. Let’s just say, I’m fucking amped.
“Anything, Anything” by Beach Slang // Here, I Made This For You! (Out 10.17.15 via Polyvinyl)
I love everything about this project. In particular, i love Beach Slang frontman, James Alex’s song choices for this collection of tracks to celebrate the mixtapes made and received over the years, that helped him make it through. You should certainly read his letter explaining his choices (that is up on Soundcloud). The whole collection drops in a couple of weeks from Polyvinyl, but in the meantime you can hear Beach Slang’s take on the Dramarama cult hit, “Anything, Anything”. Incidentally, it’s a song that means the world to me for similar reasons, but I digress - just press play and listen loud.