Maren Morris, Lumberob, The Midnight Wishers, EXEK, Lucius, Stella Mozgawa & Boom Bip and Uma Bloo are among these press releases for January.
Maren Morris – “Circles Around This Town”: A modern country song with a strong female voice that has become the most-added single on country radio. Written by Maren and frequent collaborators Ryan Hurd, Julia Michaels, and Jimmy Robbins and produced by Greg Kurstin, “Circles Around This Town” is Maren’s first new music of 2022 and arrived last week alongside a video directed by Harper Smith. “I could see the visuals for ‘Circles Around This Town’ the moment I wrote the song,” Maren says. “I’ve always been so inspired by the industrial, blown-out colors of music videos from the 90s, so Harper Smith and I wanted the aesthetics of this video to reflect that grainy, devil-may-care attitude of all my female heroes from that era: Sheryl, Fiona, Alanis. Obviously, having a penchant for the nostalgic, we decided to recreate my teenage bedroom and pin old photos of me as a kid on the walls and have me typing on an old PC computer. I knew I didn’t want to take anything too seriously in this video, so all our amplified ‘signs of the universe’ are purposefully campy, but they also ask the viewer, ‘Is the universe actually showing you signs or do you just know when you need to make a real change?’ ‘Circles Around This Town’ is my story, so I felt like I truly got to relive my journey from Texas to Nashville again.” Maren was nominated for two Grammy awards this year: Best Country Song and Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Chasing After You,” the #1, Platinum-certified collaboration with her husband Ryan Hurd.
Lumberob – “Blessence”: An intriguing and chaotic bouncy song with melodic layers and executed with a real playfulness. The video is equally charming and it comes from Lumberob’s long-awaited debut LP, “Language Learner,” due February 18, via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise Recordings. Described as “Aphex Twin meets Bobby McFerrin,” Rob wrote about the new single: “‘Blessence’ is a smooth little Lumberob jammer, stumbling heavy and sweet. Structure is all suspension, waiting for the clarity of the lyric… I AM DANGER. There’s plenty to worry about. SHANNON PLUMB and I have made a lovely dance, an instructive dance showing how to move to the Blessence groove. It is a smooth little jammer, stumbling heavy and sweet. It carves out your heart with its sharp edge. I AM DANGER.” The new album is described as “At times slippery like an energized Dada sound poet strapped to a bouncing electro-skank machine stuck in wannabe dub cumbia raga mode, all swathed in the psychedelic dark lord Kramer’s exquisite wall of wonder, LANGUAGE LEARNER is the eclectic electro-bounce art-pop debut LP from scrappy, old sono-linguistic loop artist LUMBEROB, mixed by the dark psychedelic lord Kramer for the resurrected Shimmy-Disc record label.”
Curtis Godino Presents The Midnight Wishers – “No Place Like Home”: A dreamy organ with haunting female harmonies, a psychedelic ghostly ambiance with a hypnotic presence, and a hazy music video. This is a song from their self-titled LP due February 11, via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise Recordings. Godino says about the track: It is “a liminal love song,” with a simple, ghostly arrangement of organ, drum machine, guitar, and glockenspiel to explore thoughts of love in the space between dreams and waking life. “When you close your eyes, I’ll be watching you from the other side,” Jin Lee sings. “I’ve always been a fan of girl groups and old generic love songs,” says the Brooklyn-based artist, previously known around town for his psychedelic band Worthless and his ’60s-style light projection shows. “No matter how cheesy, they always get stuck in my head, so I decided I would try to make some of my own, with the help of my friends.” The project belongs to Godino, a musical ringmaster in the tradition of Phil Spector or more aptly Shadow Morton, whose noir sensibilities spawned such uncanny pop marvels as the Shangri-Las’ “Leader of the Pack” and “Remember (Walking in the Sand).” Godino built the wall of sound almost entirely by himself, recording on his eight-track tape machine during the pandemic shutdown, and the trio (lead vocalist Jin Lee, and backing singers Rachel Herman and Jessica McFarland) are the perfect messengers for his tunes, visually as well as sonically.
EXEK – “Unseasonable Warmth”: Sinister horns, slick beats, groovy basslines, and synths intertwine into a cinematic soundscape before the vocals join the mix and bring some cacophonic darkness and claustrophobic ambiance. Speaking on the single, the band wrote: “Post-punks EXEK turn their gaze towards hip-hop for six-and-a-half stretched-out minutes. During that time, they’re looking out at a landscape resembling something between Ballard’s The Drowned Earth and Waterworld. Drums and bass act as cinder blocks that submerge, whilst thankfully short blasts of trumpet and synths assist in keeping buoyant. Just lay off the benzo’s when dozing off on pool toys.” This is the second single off their forthcoming album, “Advertise Here,” due February 4, via Castle Face Records. The track is “reminiscent of Brian Eno, White Fence, PiL, Full Circle, ESG, all things Geoff Barrows, Eroc, Lard Free, and music of free weirdos everywhere,” according to John Dwyer
Lucius – “Next to Normal”: A disco ball dancefloor with Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig’s harmonies and a mesmerizing glam video. This is the single from Lucius’s highly-anticipated new album “Second Nature,” produced by Dave Cobb and Brandi Carlile and set to be released April 8 on Mom + Pop Music (U.S. and Mexico), Dine Alone (Canada), Second Nature Records/Secretly Distribution (RoW). “Second Nature,” which features ten new songs, is a portrait of singer and songwriters Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe’s shared reflection, chronicling each other’s seismic life shifts—motherhood, divorce, unplanned career pauses—and setting it to music. “It is a record that begs you not to sit in the difficult moments, but to dance through them,” says Wolfe. “It touches upon all these stages of grief—and some of that is breakthrough, by the way. Being able to have the full spectrum of the experience that we have had, or that I’ve had in my divorce, or that we had in lockdown, having our careers come to a halt, so to speak. I think you can really hear and feel the spectrum of emotion and hopefully find the joy in the darkness. It does exist. That’s why we made Second Nature and why we wanted it to sound the way it did: our focus was on dancing our way through the darkness.” Of working on the project Carlile shares, “Lucius has been one of my favorite bands since their first studio album. I kept running into them at festivals and finding myself mystified by their power. This album feels like home to me and anyone growing up surrounded by 80s and 90s pop, but somehow Second Nature is the beginning of a new era—not just for Lucius, but for all of us. We need to get back up on our feet and that’s what this album is insisting we do. This is my first co-production with my dear pal Dave Cobb and I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder even to witness something let alone get my hands on it. It was an absolute blast.”
Stella Mozgawa & Boom Bip – “I Want to Be”: Cascades of electro beats, repetitive grooves, vast synth soundscapes with a hook. This is Belief, a new project by much-lauded producer and drummer Stella Mozgawa (Warpaint, Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett) and veteran LA producer Boom Bip, coming with a video, directed by Glashier and shot in Berlin. “We chose ‘I Want To Be’ as the first single because of its anthemic synth hook,” says Boom Bip. “It felt like an opening. The simple message “I want to be” grabbed us right away because it can be applied to nearly anyone’s plight or situation to push forward.” Mozgawa—best known as the drummer of Warpaint and a frequent collaborator with Kurt Vile, Courtney Barnett (whose wildly acclaimed “Things Take Time, Take Time” she co-produced) and more—and Boom Bip, the legendary, Mercury Prize-nominated L.A. producer born Bryan Charles Hollon, met more than ten years ago when Mozgawa first moved from Australia to L.A. Bonding over their mutual love of techno legends like LFO and 808 State, they found deep musical kinship and began trading ideas in earnest when Hollon took Mozgawa on tour to drum with his Neon Neon project in 2013. In 2016 they finally found time to cram every synth and bit of gear they owned into Eric Wareheim’s Absolutely Studios and jam with a single prompt: “What Would Mark Bell Do?” Recording hours of improvisation, they’ve spent chunks of time over the five years since shaping that material, playing under-the-radar shows cheekily billed as Beef to flesh out ideas along the way. “I Want To Be” is the first taste of much more to come from Belief.
Uma Bloo – “Marguerite’s Novels”: A dramatic and emotional piece with a cathartic quality and Molly Madden’s unrestrained vocals. This is the second single off the forthcoming album, “Don’t Drive Into the Smoke,” by Uma Bloo — the project of Chicago musician Molly Madden. Speaking on the track, bassist Luke Blanco wrote: “It may just be the name, but it is absolutely not a misnomer. This song is the sonic equivalent of finding a dusty book, unearthing it for the first time in 30 years. You used to love this book and fall into a romantic sense of nostalgia upon reading the opening paragraph. The verses and their staccato instrumentation are reminiscent of a plucked string section, conjuring up images of Victorian times, a time where you could only read the novel by candlelight. The final outro of the song, the most passionate and intense affair on the album, strikes a tear as it falls onto the yellowing pages. The death of anything (a body, a relationship, a career, a core belief, etc) is nothing to fear,” he continued. “Death isn’t something we fully understand, but at least within the realm of the living endings aren’t anything but a catalyst for transformation.” Due March 23rd via Earth Libraries, “Don’t Drive Into the Smoke” encapsulates a core of intense grief within layers of more familiar love and heartbreak. By opening her explorations in the form of an immaculately layered indie rock epic, the Chicago-based artist and the listener can face the depths of pain together. “It’s about needing love so bad, getting shards of it here and there, and then watching yourself from above as you spill all over the place,” she says. “Love and lust are great deceivers, fantastic distractions from getting to the heart of the pain.”
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