Lovechild, NO WIN, Surfaces, NAKAYA, Nick Leng, Monokino, CDSM are among these press releases for April.
Lovechild – “Desperation Blues”: A whimsical acoustic guitar with fragile vocals while backup harmonies flesh out the song with a warm embrace. The other single, “Trouble Down the Line,” has the same layered vocals, a more upbeat melody, and a delicate acoustic guitar with an alt-country/folk vibe. This is the first release recorded entirely by frontman Leo Lovechild in his bedroom in his Brooklyn apartment, and both songs are a distinct shift away from the high-octane rock and roll that the band has become known for. With “Desperation Blues / Trouble Down the Line” the NYC indie-rock outfit showcases a much softer sound. Whereas the band has previously been described as somewhere between “Bob Dylan on crack” and “The Rolling Stones but harder and more druggy,” this new two-song offering is more like “Simon and Garfunkel but potentially sadder and less cheeky.” As Leo puts it, “I felt that it was important to present a different side of myself as a songwriter. Lovechild has been a big, complicated band with a big, complicated sound for a while now, and I love that sound and this band more than anything, but the long history of songwriters with a guitar, not needing much else musically to prop themselves up, is also a big part of who I am and what Lovechild is. I think as songwriters, some of us at least, we spend our lives day in and day out questioning this thing we’re doing, slaving away at, this thing that ultimately starts with a piece of paper and a pen and a guitar and not really much else. And it’s really hard sometimes, but reaaaaally important to at least try to show that thing to the world.”
NO WIN -“The Hit”: The sax gives a retro vibe to the buoyant song, which overall sounds like a blast of positive Southern California ‘90s vibes with a guitar hook and lighthearted, approachable fun. The track is featured on “Enhanced CD” along with two previously released singles “New Year” and “Spent Outside.” Speaking of “The Hit,” frontman Danny Nogueiras said: “I really wanted to make a song that made me feel like I was at a pool party. No bad vibes, just fun, and thinking as little as possible. The last two years didn’t leave a lot of room for careless fun in my life so consider this track my vision board for this summer. Manifesting an endless pool party 2k22.” While an endless pool party might conjure imagery of cannonballs and barbeques, “The Hit” ends up promoting a much more universal agenda of slowing down, savoring the moment, and embracing feeling good with the refrain “I’m getting sick of all the salt in my sweet / it’s like it’s sacrilege to be so saccharine.” There are flares of sax, guitar, and synths that interweave as the chorus rises to a crescendo to declare, “I just want to live / I just wanna hang out / I don’t wanna feel down.” NO WIN’s 2019 debut full-length, “downey” – a rowdy love letter to Nogueiras’ hometown – saw the band fully lean into pop melodies with ragged edges and an appropriately nonchalant eye across 29 exhilarating minutes. The new EP is available now as a digital release and a limited-edition CD from Dangerbird Records.
Surfaces – “I Can’t Help But Feel”: High octave vocals for a bouncy song with MGMT vibes and a joyful dancefloor. This is the new song by RIAA triple-platinum certified Texas-based pop duo Surfaces, the next era in Forrest and Colin’s musical careers. “’I Can’t Help But Feel’ is a new sound for us, both sonically and formulaically,” says the duo. “Instead of playing around on a computer in our home studio, this song came to us after a live jam during a soundcheck on tour. Once the chords started playing and the band began grooving, we headed straight to our green room and recorded it in the moments leading up to our show that night. The song became the catalyst for the creation of our upcoming album and is what inspired us to venture out to Joshua Tree and explore a new musical direction. It feels like the music we were always supposed to make. We hope you enjoy this first single… and get ready for a new world.” Inspired by the likes of Tame Impala and Tom Misch, the two artists isolated themselves in a house in Joshua Tree to self-record and produce their upcoming album. “I Can’t Help But Feel” marks the first release following Surfaces’ globally renowned 2021 album, Pacifico, which featured the standout single “Wave Of You” as well as collaborations with Tai Verdes on “Sheesh!” and Salem Ilese on “Come With Me.”
NAKAYA – “Fire Becomes Me”: A track slowly building its energy around NAKAYA’s soulful vocals, waves of guitars, pounding and cavernous drumbeats, and an echoing chorus of voices. Speaking of the EP, NAKAYA wrote: “Honestly, I started this project feeling completely directionless but what I found was that Fire Becomes Me became my source of healing. I would love to tie the theme up with a singular bow but life is not so linear so I will say that it chronicles a vast change. I always made frail attempts at controlling the way my life went, but in this record, you can see me grow from a person who fought with circumstance to one that embraced a sense of acceptance through my experiences. I am mutating and growing and shifting and I think the work reflects that.” The track comes with a video directed by Enmi Yang. The alternative artist based in Los Angeles blends electronic, R&B, and folk textures to create a unique and ethereal sound. Her truthful and poignant lyrics speak to her experiences traversing multiple marginalized identities and she works to provide a voice for those who lack representation in the alternative music sphere. She released her debut EP “Out of Breath” in 2015, and this new “Fire Becomes Me” EP is out via Better Company Records.
Nick Leng – “My Mind is a Mess in the Morning”: An introspective piano ballad with sincere vocals while the song repeatedly explodes into rewarding and euphoric bombasts. The song was released as a double single with the very different and almost classical-inspired “Morning / Midnight”. Speaking of the two new tracks, Nick wrote the following: “I’ve always had trouble writing quotes that summarize songs. It feels like the words can put songs in boxes, and possibly snuff out any personal interpretation a listener might have. In a similar way, when I was finished with ‘My Mind is a Mess in the Morning,’ and was thinking about releasing it as a single, it really excited me to pair it with ‘Morning / Midnight.’ They’re equally important to me, and, one might say, quite different. Together, I felt like they painted a better picture of what I’m trying to say. ‘My Mind is a Mess in the Morning’ was written while I was living in Topanga in a trailer park which, subsequently, (and arguably hilariously) became rat-infested, prompting a hasty departure. ‘Morning / Midnight’ was started there as well one late night when I was chopping up a classical piano improvisational piece I had recorded, on a sampler. There’s a video on my Instagram of me playing the melodica in the intro in the morning and the sun peeked through that ended up in the final version. I had considered dividing that intro, with the chopped piano and the ‘second part’ when the beat comes in, into two songs, but the journey of the intro, and the duality and sensation of when the bass and kick comes in, had a real story to it that it cemented the conviction that it’s one idea.” Last fall, Leng shared a new live LP, “LEMONS – Live From Drive In OC,” following his successful 2020 debut album “LEMONS.” He will be playing a number of live dates this spring, supporting labelmate LP.
Monokino – “Baby”: A nervous beat and weird caffeinated vocals inhabit this agitated synth-pop dancefloor turning psychedelic energy. The result is quirky but still very catchy. Monokino (the project of Dutch rock-pop composer George van Wetering) has also shared the accompanying visuals, created by George himself, and made entirely of ASCII characters. It has a stylistic kind of retro-futurism perfectly befitting Monokino’s sound. “Baby” itself is a heart-pounding stomper, provoking images of a high-speed chase a la Ryan Gosling’s Drive — think 90s garage-psych meets 80s art-rock, drenched in fuzz and exploding in synthetic sound. Speaking on the sonic inspiration for the track, George wrote: “The music for ‘Baby’ came about after someone said that, musically, I might want too much in my songs and I should stick with a simple chord progression. Of course, I didn’t agree and, in protest, I started making a song with only 1 bass note. That soon got boring and a different bass and guitar riff was created when I stepped on my distortion pedal. I never actually sang in this kind of talking voice on that pitch — but I imagined myself driving in a racing car, singing ‘Baby’ in this Billy Idol kind of way.” With the lyrics loosely inspired by a personal experience, George continued on the song’s thematic basis: “Although the song seems to be about someone who is no longer the one and only for someone — and suffers from that — it is actually about myself who, a while back, was never enough for someone who actually claimed that I was her one and only. She often wanted to be alone, but when I was gone, it was not good either. Some days I was too feminine, other days just too masculine. People like Billy, in a speeding car, would have let go a long time ago already, for sure.”
CDSM – “GFH”: Blending darkwave with punk electronica, the original song is wildly creative and comes with a retro saxophone, a groovy sonic theme, and an animated video. CSDM, a.k.a. Celebrity Death Slot Machine, is a collective based in Atlanta (GA) that features current and former members of alternative outfits: Material Girls, Neighbor Lady, Mothers, and Rose Hotel. CDSM is helmed by Ben Presley (vocals, guitar/bass, synthesizers, drums), Tyler Jundt (vocals, saxophone, synthesizers), and John Restivo Jr. (vocals, drums, percussion). The live band features accompaniment from Jack Blauvelt (synthesizers, percussion, backing vocals), Drew Kirby (synthesizers, guitar, backing vocals), and Vinny Restivo (synthesizers, bass, percussion, backing vocals). This formula, consisting of an evil choir of synthesizers, a shining drum set bathed in red fog, a tenor brass machete, and a cascading flow of motley melodists, is said to affect the room like a defibrillator jolting its pulse. “Hell Stairs,” CDSM’s forthcoming EP is both glamorous and bleak, swanky and derelict, uplifting and crushing. It’s hedonism clinking in your glass, change jingling in the pit of your chest. Sure, it is post-punk meets darkwave meets no wave, but it’s even more so, an invitation to dance away the pain, in the form of croonesque laments, rumbling synths, swirling saxophone riffs, and tight four-to-the-floor cadences. You now have the perfect clair-obscure soundtrack for a night at the local neon-noir casino. “Hell Stairs” will be released on April 29 via Mothland (Believe/FAB/Org Music) and Exag (Orchard). Expect to be pleased with the contents of this first EP from Atlanta’s hot new commodity if you enjoy the musical tendencies of artists such as Viagra Boys, The Voidz, MGMT, Warmduscher, Fat White Family, and Gorillaz.
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