Weyes Blood – Everyday
Oversleeping is an awful feeling. One might be late, have missed a meeting, or could be missing out on something important. To oversleep on an album is worse. Sorry, almighty critic gods — I missed one! I first became familiar with Weyes Blood back in 2016 after she was featured on Drugdealer’s debut. That track — “Suddenly” — was a bright, constantly shifting journey into sunny California soft rock. Weyes Blood (Natalie Mering) released her sophomore album Front Row Seat To Earth shortly thereafter. With this year’s Titanic Rising, she has taken us directly to the bottom of the ocean (or from). Titanic Rising is lush with gorgeous instrumentation and melancholic-sounding choruses (listen to tracks like “Movies” and “Andromeda”). “Everyday”, perhaps the best song on the album, features ABBA-like instrumentation pinned underneath Natalie’s brilliantly sung melody. It’s as triumphant as it is soulful.
Listen to “Everyday”
Blood Cultures – Flowers For All Occasions
2017’s Happy Birthday, from New Jersey based Blood Cultures, is a distinctly unique blend of smooth electro-pop elements and generally feel-good tracks. Brimming with colorful synth lines, carefree melodies and hazy landscapes, the mysterious group set the bar for themselves pretty high (they wear black bags over the heads – it’s part of their thing, man!). Happy Birthday was an impressive debut, one that I personally considered one the best releases of the year.
Yet, there’s very little that we know about them (other than their New Jerseyan roots and masked faces). Back in October, the group released a track that can only be described as carrie-like, but it’s been radio silence ever since. ~ SpOoKy ~
However! That silence was broken k with the release of their newest track Flowers for All Occasions. The newest track continues stylistically from their debut and isn’t too much of a departure. It isn’t too dissimilar from anything off Happy Birthday. But that’s not a bad thing. Flowers for All Occasions is still an incredibly catchy, beautifully textured track that offers spacious melodies and brightly layered synths all bouncing off of one another. Wherever Blood Cultures goes next, it might be worth your while to pay attention.
Listen to Flowers for All Occasions
Ghost Funk Orchestra – Skin I’m In
What started out as a one-piece, then turned into a nine-piece. Ghost Funk Orchestra is a musical project between friends and collaborators all in the name of soul, funk and Latin music. What was once the solo passion project of Queens-based multi-instrumentalist Seth Applebaum has morphed into something beautifully textured, multifaceted and endleselly soothing. Steadily releasing music over the past few years, Seth has been slowly growing the group and its creative output over time. 2016’s Night Walker was clouded with looming melodies and interludes (listen to Demon, Demon). In anticipation for their first release with Colemine Records, the group released Skin I’m In last week along with a music video. The track itself looms over you like an ominous cloud with beautifully sung melodies interwoven between the ghost notes of the drums and the blue notes of the guitars.
Listen to Skin I’m In
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Planet B
DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN THERE IS NO PLANET B DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN.
Listen to Planet B
Courtney Barnett – Everybody Here Hates You
“Everybody Here Hates You” is Barnett’s first since the release of last years sophomore album Tell Me How You Really Feel (that’s 2018 B.C, for those keeping track). It premiered on Australia’s Triple J radio early in April and stands as a sputtering slow burn not too dissimilar from anything else in her catalogue. If you’re thinking “hey, this sounds like Jeff Buckley’s “Everybody Here Wants You,” then I’d say you’re right. Barnett said she was partly inspired by the 1998 track, though instead took to lyrics about self-loathing, depression and general social anxiety. The performance is loose, but in the way that doesn’t feel sloppy or amateurish. With wispy organs hissing away in the background, the track opens up into a very spacious chorus; one that might be fun to sing along to when / if you see her live.
Listen to Everybody Here Hates You
Crumb – Nina
April brought more than just showers, it also brought us new music from Boston-based neo-soul funk group Crumb. If you know this band, you know that they’ve built their name on top of cascading jazz lines, sweeping synths and spacious melodies (see: 2017’s Locket for a brief introduction). In April, Crumb announced the arrival of their debut album, Jinx and shared their newest single, “Nina” with the world. In true crumb-like fashion, “Nina” opens with brightly colored synths layered over a stammering drum beat. The vocals float through the track like warm butter while the instrumentation evolves into a hazy neo-psychedelic dream. It’s like listening to AM radio late midsummer on a Friday night.
Listen to Nina
Men I Trust – Numb
It would be easy for me to throw adjectives at you to describe the music of Montreal-based Men I Trust, but that wouldn’t do them much justice (not to mention how boring it would be). Instead, I can tell you that they sound like the musical equivalent of blissfully meandering down a lazy river alone, or that they sound how 1970’s shag carpeted, wood-panelled basements look (please: I mean this in the best way). They’ve been at it for several years (2014 A.D, to be exact); they’re hardly freshman. With the release of Men I Trust and Headroom in 2014 and 2015 (respectively), the trio refined their approach beautifully (just listen to tracks like “Tailwhip” and “Lauren”). Late last year, they announced their new album Oncle Jazz. With their latest single, the group meanders a little further into that 2am territory. With Numb, Men I Trust Infuse free floating, dream-like melodies into their chilled out rhythm section to create a moonlit feeling of serenity and sleepiness (back to adjectives; back on my bullshit). It creates a sense of spaciousness through the hazy synths and softly sung lyrics in a way that only Men I Trust can do, and it’s beautiful. “Numb” is like going to a sleepy nightclub at 6am and ordering a gin and tonic.
Listen to Numb
Japanese Breakfast – Essentially
New! Music! From! Japanese! Breakfast! (finally). After two years of waiting in a state of suspended animation, Japanese Breakfast (Michelle Zauner + friends) released a new song titled “Essentially” through W Hotels new music label. Essentially is the first track from the Philadelphia based songwriter since the release of her 2017 album ‘Soft Sounds From Another Planet,’ a collection of songs that was as hauntingly beautiful as it was memorable (check out songs like “Road Head” and “Boyish”). Suffice to say, new music from her is absolutely welcome. “Essentially” is a wobbling, oscillating track with a strong enough backbeat to make you get up out of your chair and _____. Through brightly colored synth lines and softly sung melodies, “Essentially” ventures further into pop territory much like her song “Machinist” did from her last release. Recorded in collaboration with W Hotels new record label, the proceeds from this track will go directly to the ACLU. SO go ahead, stream away (and let’s hope for a new album soon).
Listen to Essentially
Follow Conor at @rooneytns