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New Music

Sylvan Esso Drops Glitchy Pop Single "Kick Jump Twist"

New MusicAndrew MeriwetherComment

After releasing the single “Radio” a little over two months ago, the Durham, NC based duo Sylvan Esso has dropped another thumping, pop-oriented groove. "Kick Jump Twist," like "Radio," begins with vintage, even nostalgic, synthesizers and samples. The bleeps and bloops are emblematic of Atari 8-bit videogames, and it’s hard not to imagine lead singer, Amelia Meath, punching hovering brick blocks with shimmering gold coins popping out.

This plunky beginning, however, quickly combines with Nick Sanborn’s quintessential production. The song masterfully builds, and in comparison to their first record, the latest singles of Esso demonstrate an evolution in composition. Esso seems comfortable with not giving the full drop till much later in the song, creating more complex layers of synths, and playing rhythms off Meath’s voice.

As of yet, there no definitive date for a new LP, but one imagines that with these new singles the sophomore album isn’t far off. You can, however, buy the two tracks out right now as a 12’’ via Loma Vista/Concord/Caroline International.

Listen to "Kick Jump Twist" below, and read our interview with Nick Sanborn here.

The Shins Return at Their Most Playful and Spooky on New Music Video "Dead Alive"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

It turns out The Shins are still alive after all... or sort of. While we may not be getting LP5 until some time next year after the release date was pushed back to secure a more favorable position on Coachella's lineup, Columbia Records threw fans a bone today with "Dead Alive," a new music video fronted by a skeleton James Mercer and some classic dream sequence trickery.

Appropriately spooky for the Halloween season, it's their first release since 2014's contribution to Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here, "So Now What," and signals a proper followup to 2012's Port of Morrow. There's some white in Mercer's beard now (!) but the indie mainstays still exude a youthful energy (and wear checkerboard vans) on the new single as they play around with various illusory effects and horror film tropes set to wistful melodies and glowing vocals.

Listen to STRFKR's Third 'Being No One, Going Nowhere' Single, "Open Your Eyes"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

STRFKR implore you to "Open Your Eyes" with the steadily uplifting locomotion of their third Being No One, Going Nowhere single, and as always the pop masters are smooth enough to convince you to listen.

Following "Never Ever" and "Tape Machine," "Open Your Eyes"'s synth beats are catchy and consistent enough to carry us over to their fourth LP's release on November 4th via Polyvinyl.

"Who doesn't need another friend?" they ask. Dancing is always better together.

Man Man's Honus Honus Releases New 'Use Your Delusion' Single, "Oh No!"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

"Happiness is just an accident," sings Man Man / Mister Heavenly maverick Honus Honus on "Oh No!". Following "Heavy Jesus" and continuing the rollout of his "apocalyptic LA pop" solo record Use Your Delusion, the single is a classic example of sad sentiments stuck in a sunny song.

"Oh No!" combines such lines as "Your heart is bubble-wrapped in permanent depression" with a deft touch of sax, an almost reggae pulse, and some of Honus' most nimble, surfy guitarwork to date for a deceptively delightful package.

Honus explained to Consequence of Sound,

[Producer King Cyrus King] wasn’t a fan of the song when I initially brought it to the table so it took a bit of convincing to get him onboard. It truly was a situation where when he first heard me demoing it out he went, ‘Oh no, not this song!’ The name was sort of born out of that moment even though the lyrics in the bridge already hinted at a title. Also, ‘Ono’ in this pronunciation is Hawaiian for delicious. Food for thought.

Going into this making this record I wanted to play around with different synth sounds, experiment with brighter, maybe even ‘cheesier’ tones that would draw a sharp contrast to some of the non-breezy lyrical content. I’ve always been a fan of juxtaposing opposing vibes and I love how the tune has a bouncy, summer feel but if you actually listen to what I’m singing, the sentiment is rather melancholy since it’s a song dealing with a breakup and post-breakup healing. But…if you’re someone who just hears the music and could care less about what the song is about, it’s a feel-good jammer and sounds even better when you pump up the volume! True story.

You can preorder Use Your Delusion, the self-release of which has been pushed back to October 28, through the Pledge Music campaign.

Read our in-depth interview with Honus, in which we discuss his solo record and more, here.

Listen to Dear Blanca's Somber New Single "Some Hearts Never Heal"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

South Carolina trio Dear Blanca, fresh off of previous release I Don't Mean to Dwell, two national tours (one of which included opening for Killer Mike and Bernie Sanders), and more, continues the roll-out for their forthcoming EP with the third single, "Some Hearts Never Heal." The track joins "Out Of View" on To Tell A Half-Truth, which is due out September 16 via Post-Echo.

"Some Hearts Never Heal" is a gritty, trembling take on lost love set to coursing guitar jabs and, later on, a layer of somber strings. Its aching lyrical laments of "a hopeless means to no end" were posthumously co-written by deceased family, adding to the depth of emotion.

Frontman Dylan Dickerson, whose vocals often flirt with a crossroads between The Walkmen, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Decemberists, explained to Transverso,

‘Some Hearts Never Heal’ focuses almost exclusively on the mental state of Scott Crane, the protagonist of this EP and late uncle of our bassist Cam Powell. His collection of poems and lyrics titled ‘Songs for Jeanette’ served as the source material for this record. This song is meant to portray the fragile condition of a man who is far too consumed with despair to see the good that is left in the world around him.

My earliest songwriting was heavily romantic and in recent years I have strayed away from that. When I got my hands on Crane’s book of poetry I quickly realized it was drenched in romanticism. Having to wrap my head around someone else’s romantic views while molding them into my own interpretation was a unique challenge. The result is what I would consider to be my proudest musical accomplishment.

Listen to Devon Welsh's Stunning Solo Single "Go Go"

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

We're still reeling a bit from Majical Cloudz's sudden breakup earlier this year, but former frontman Devon Welsh has been releasing more than enough solo material to patch the holes. Following his A+ debut "collection of songs," Down the Mountain, the brooding Montrealer released "Go Go" on his Bandcamp - an alternatingly languid and uplifting track that is lovely all the way through.

Laid over a delicate bed of synth drawl, "Go Go" sounds as if it's come from an adjacent planet in the same galaxy that spawned Beach House's "Norway," as Welsh's bold vocals wax dynamically over the space.

"If you hold the hand of God / Life's a problem love will solve," he groans. Listening to Welsh has always felt like doing just that.

Sylvan Esso Drop New Single, "Radio," Have Second Album on the Way

New Music, Music NewsAndrew MeriwetherComment

Grab your dancing shoes and thinking caps, folks, the Durham Duo is at it again. After successful splash onto to scene with their self-titled debut in 2014, Sylvan Esso is back with a new single. “Radio” which will leave their fans tingling with excitement for the sophomore album, which is set to release sometime in 2017.

The track certainly feels like a continuation rather than a departure (the bouncy bass lines and high hat sounds will be all to familiar), but producer Nick Sanborn (Megafaun, Made of Oak) has also added new textures, synths, and patches creating a fresh sonic landscape. Singer Amelia Meath (Mountain Man) is also in excellent form lyrically, maintaining catchy hooks alongside incisive commentary. “Radio” cuts, rather ironically given its own presumably hit single intentions, the pop-music-machine at the knees:

"Now don't you look good sucking american dick
You're so surprised they like you
You're so cute and so quick
Singin' I've got the moves of a TV queen
Faux girl hero in a magazine
Faking the truth in a new pop song
Don't you wanna sing along"

The single will be released on a 12” along with “Kick Jump Twist,” a song that has cropped up occasionally in their live sets, on 11/18.  In the mean time, the band has announced a Fall US tour, likely featuring new music along the way. So keep your ears open, there are sure to be some more groovy tracks coming your way soon enough.

Read our interview with Nick Sanborn here.

STRFKR Finally Announce New LP 'Being No One, Going Nowhere,' Drop Second Single

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Over half a year ago, STRFKR (née Starfucker) dropped a single titled "Never Ever" without any news of an album to come. Because of this, we took the leap in assuming it was a one-off, before STRFKR themselves corrected us on Twitter, providing the first hint that a follow-up to 2013's Miracle Mile was on the way.

Then, radio silence. Despite this delay, "Never Ever"'s "What would I lie for?" outro rings true today as the Portlandian trio has appeared again with new track "Tape Machine" and an album announcement for the grimly named Being No One, Going Nowhere due out November 4th via Polyvinyl.

"Tape Machine" is an excitingly groovy and psychedelic first taste of Being No One, Going Nowhere fitting of its delightfully starry cover art, but actually wasn't originally intended for the band. Frontman Joshua Hodges told Billboard,

Tape Machine’ was written with two Dutch friends while I was in Amsterdam visiting my girlfriend and trying to find inspiration. Those two friends and I wrote about six songs together and this was one they thought was too poppy for the project, so I asked if I could use it for this STRFKR record.

Click play and stare at space below.

Bon Iver Debuts Tempestuous New Single, "33 'GOD,'" off '22, A Million'

New MusicSean McHughComment

Justin Vernon has released another single to precede Bon Iver’s highly anticipated September 30th release, 22, A Million, out on Jagjaguwar, conspicuously titled “33 ‘GOD.'” Arguably the most tamely titled track on an otherwise baffling slate of album tracks, “33 ‘GOD'” is magnificently nebulous in its genre depiction of this newest iteration of Bon Iver.

Where For Emma Forever Ago presented a solitary Vernon coming to terms with myriad personal crises (and creating never ending apocrypha of “the cabin”) and Bon Iver, Bon Iver offered a more musically magnanimous version of Bon Iver (and continued to challenge perceptions of “Bonny Bear”), “33 ‘GOD'” combines both.

The track almost comes off as a combative confluence of Bon Iver new and old - seemingly more expansive (a la Bon Iver, Bon Iver) in its warping musicality, all the while seeming more and more enclosed within Vernon’s personal narratives (For Emma), but being something wholly foreign to previous Bon Iver efforts as well.

Musically, the song is all over the place, but in the most ethereal of compositions – the track opens with soulful piano and heavily distorted samples of Paolo Nutini’s “Iron Sky,” along with Lonnie Holley’s “All Rendered Truth.” Sampling is new territory for Bon Iver, but not Vernon, as his famous collaborations with Kanye West have undoubtedly exposed the Eau Claire native to the act quite a bit.

When Vernon’s trademark Bon Iver falsetto comes in, its familiar, but with a more Kanye-esque auto tune timbre, which warps into a brooding howl at certain points as the heavily modded percussion rumbles toward spiritually pitched breaks that recall a less tempestuous Bon Iver; a Bon Iver far less realized than the one “33 ‘GOD'” present.

It should be noted that lyrically, the song features what is arguably Vernon’s most tangible allusion to personal experience – the Ace Hotel. But even with such a fact, The Ace Hotel is a chain, featuring 9 different locations, so insight into what personal allusion the reference holds in Vernon’s journey is still entirely shrouded – as Vernon undoubtedly would prefer it to stay.

It seems unlikely that Vernon will release any more tracks from 22, A Million considering there have already been three singles released prior to the album’s release, and “33 ‘GOD'” just so happened to release on the evening of the same day 22, A Million had its first substantial leak.

That being said, 22, A Million appears to be shaping up as a titan of the 2016 release schedule, and a certifiable top-5 album of 2016 contender.

Hear Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam's New Single, "When The Truth Is..."

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam's forthcoming collaborative LP, I Had A Dream That You Were Mine, is shaping up to be one of our favorite records of the year and we're only three tracks deep.

The latest taste of the album due out September 23 via Glassnote is "When The Truth Is...", a swanky blend of bottle slide guitar, steady piano plinks, and a jarringly splendid marriage of Leithauser's pipes with those of a saxophone. Listen below.