tomberlin – “self-help”

– featured image courtesy of philip cosores – 

studious patrons of a specific corner of the internet may already be familiar with sarah beth tomberlin’s stirring at weddings, released under her surname last year.  the substance and weight of that album appropriately drew the interest of saddle creek, who will reissue at weddings, containing three brand-new songs, on august 10th.

as an introduction (or re-introduction), tomberlin has shared a new music video for her standout cut “self-help,” its meditative, metallic timbre supplemented by hazy footage of tomberlin taking in an aquarium.  the recurring jellyfish feel like a subtle nod to references of electrocution and overall pain, concepts tomberlin sifts through with devastating turns of phrase.  watch the video below.

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tmboy – “focus”

– featured image courtesy of andrew mcintyre – 

the brooklyn duo TMBOY explored the euphoric release of frenetic, electronic pop on their 2015 self-titled release, a territory they seem keen to return to on a pair of new singles due in late june.

“focus,” the first of these two singles, arrives today accompanied by a stark monochromatic music video, the director andrew mcintyre capturing the duo’s affecting performance and choreography amidst various sprawling backdrops.  the kinetic energy throughout “focus” is palpable, a pulsating vessel well-suited for sarah aument’s acrobatic lead vocal.

a wonderful re-introduction to TMBOY ahead of their double-single focus / seed, which in turn is a primer to a forthcoming album, “focus” is an intricate slice of compelling pop music, one further enhanced by the earnestness of its visual counterpart.  get acquainted below.

astronauts, etc. – “the border”

– featured image courtesy of brendan nakahara – 

it’s been about three years since anthony ferraro released the excellent astronauts, etc. album mind out wandering, a ten-track collection that paired the bay area musician’s penchant for sharp pop songwriting with psychedelic meanderings.  later this summer, ferraro will return with a follow-up full-length, living in symbol.

co-produced by toro y moi’s chaz bear, living in symbol appears to fully embrace those swirling polychromatic tendencies of its predecessor.  lead single “the border” is awash in eerie strings and soft acoustic guitar strums that ease into the syncopated bass and drum groove as ferraro’s sonorous lead vocal floats by.  it’s a careful and methodical track, one that hints at a further refinement of ferraro’s already-robust songwriting with a tinge of deepened introspection.

living in symbol arrives july 27th via bear’s company records.  watch the spaced-out music video for “the border” below.

kevin krauter – “keep falling in love”

– featured image courtesy of alexa viscius – 

kevin krauter’s upcoming full-length, toss up, has all the trappings of a quintessential summer album: timeless singer-songwriter cuts delivered in a breezy, mid-tempo capsule.  after sharing the album’s lead single, “rollerskate,” at the top of last month, krauter returned earlier this week with its follow-up, “keep falling in love.”

anchored by spacious acoustic piano chords and syncopated guitar and synth interplay, “keep falling in love” is an earnest ode to loved ones enveloped in a relaxed soft rock exterior.  an accompanying music video, shot by krauter and friends over the course of a midwest road trip, chronicles the bliss and tenderness of companionship, clips of breakfasting, dancing, and celebrating stitched together into a nostalgic collage.

toss up arrives june 15th via bayonet records; watch the music video for “keep falling in love,” below.

sun june – “discotheque”

– featured image courtesy of bryan parker –

the austin quintet sun june are gearing up to release what is sure to be an essential summer record.  laura colwell’s lead vocal on the album’s second single, “discotheque,” has an airy weightlessness that underscores the track’s enduring melancholy, a complementary practice further embodied by the warm bell tones that overlay the track’s slow-burning arrangement.

“discotheque” is paired with a self-directed music video that traffics in equal parts nostalgia and poignancy, wide-open panoramas juxtaposed with intimate home film footage.  taken in as a complete audio/visual experience, “discotheque” is an understated, aching exercise in restraint, its slight haze imbuing the aura of a humid summer evening.

sun june’s debut full-length, years, is due out june 15th via keeled scales.  watch the music video for “discotheque” below.

caicos – “turned again (crux)”

– featured image courtesy of tory williams – 

after establishing his bona fides as a member of the new york-based band gospels and a collaborator of gabriel garzón-montano, alex frenkel has struck out on his own under the moniker caicos.  “turned again (crux)” is the first glimpse of frenkel’s debut extended play, promised land, and it establishes a project equally preoccupied with careful, measured narratives as it is with vibrant collages of pastoral electronic pop.

paired with “turned again (crux)” is a surreal, illustrated music video created by rozalina burkova in conjunction with the wild honey pie.  in case the track’s allusions to medusa and greek mythology weren’t explicit, the accompanying visuals hammer home those references with slightly absurdist humor, blossoming flowers coordinated with the vernal bloom of the song’s chorus.

promised land is due out august 10th via the folks at very jazzed.  get acquainted with caicos below.

shy layers – “gateway”

– featured image courtesy of jamie keiter – 

jd walsh makes polychromatic pop music under the moniker shy layers that feels like an extension of his visual artwork.  the newly atlanta-based polymath puts this on full display with “gateway,” the effervescent lead single off of walsh’s sophomore full-length, midnight marker.

the self-directed music video feels like using a kaleidoscopic lens to excavate walsh’s brain; psychedelic images continuously swirl with walsh superimposed over them, trotting out the track’s salient instruments: voice, guitar, modular synthesizer.  from a strictly auditory standpoint, “gateway” is an unassuming balearic gem, with myriad countermelodies and motifs intertwined amidst walsh’s earworm of a lead vocal.

midnight marker is due out may 25th via beats in space.  check out the irresistible music video for “gateway” below.

 

yours are the only ears – “seeds”

– featured image courtesy of allyssa yohana – 

susannah cutler’s output as yours are the only ears has thus far been sparse but affecting; a handful of standalone singles, along with an extended play, can be digested via the project’s bandcamp archives.  at the end of last year, cutler released “saturn,” a wondrous single culled from her long-awaited debut album.  that debut album now has a title, knock hard, along with a new single, “seeds.”

“seeds” arrives with a music video, directed by allyssa yohana, in tow, its audio and visual components dovetailing to create an acoustic, autumnal environment perfect for exploring a relationship’s end.  resonant steel strings and mournful slide guitars converge around cutler’s lead vocal, which is laid bare twice at its most poignant couplet: “the bark around my heart won’t peel off / as my body slowly rots.”  with just a few components tastefully arranged for maximum impact, “seeds” is another telling precursor to one of this year’s most-anticipated albums.

knock hard is out may 11th via team love records.  watch the music video for “seeds” below.

wellness – “fake flowers”

– featured image courtesy of the artist – 

jordan gatesmith recently packed up and moved west, trading the deep freeze of minneapolis for the comparative warmth of los angeles to work on a new project, wellness.  after a pair of extended plays, gatesmith has linked up with the ever-reliable forged artifacts for his third release, a six-track collection entitled mall goth.

despite a cross-country move, it seems like wellness’ aura still retains vestiges of frozen origins; lead single “fake flowers” is icy and metallic in the classic post-punk sense, gatesmith’s outsized baritone washing over the track.  its third dimension comes from an irresistible guitar motif woven throughout, adding depth and nuance that compliments a powerful linear pull.

add in a carley solether-directed clip chronicling the escapades of a quartet of mall goths, and “fake flowers” is rounded out into a vessel that fully announces gatesmith’s aesthetic for this release.  mall goth arrives april 6th.  watch the video for “fake flowers” below.

half waif – “keep it out”

– featured image courtesy of tonje thilesen –

details about the forthcoming half waif album, lavender, were still scant at the end of last year when we named it one of our most anticipated releases of 2018.  that anticipation has only increased as more information has come into focus; lavender is due out april 27th via cascine and comes front-loaded with an arresting lead single, “keep it out.”

nandi rose plunkett has always excelled at wrapping soaring melismas up in swaths of synth pads and leads, a pairing nearing its apex and on full display throughout “keep it out.”  combined with celina carney’s stunning visuals, “keep it out” becomes a masterclass in dichotomy that stretches from its narrative to its arrangement and weaves through the most intricate of details.

that plunkett can distill all of this into a capsule of pop perfection – with a surging chorus to boot – is a testament to her enduring gift as a songwriter.  if “keep it out” is any indication, lavender should be one of the year’s more memorable releases.  check out the music video below.