Brett’s latest single is the four-piece at their invigorating best, but with a darker edge than many fans may remember. “We fight harder with our backs against the wall,” sings frontman Mick Coogan on ‘Modern Classic,’ swerving away from the intimate romance of previous tracks ‘Lost City’ and ‘California Nights’ for a deep dive into the current American climate of fear and feverous worry. “Standing in the street, sleeping in a dream, world is slowing down but I go faster,” Coogan sings over breathy synths, chorus guitars and Drive OST-pulsing electronics, the disorientating effect of contemporary life in pre-election America distilled into a defiant, beautiful pop song.
Inspired by Robert Smith guitar lines and early new wave atmos, ‘Modern Classic’ is about the “vice and decay in the changing American landscape,” says Coogan. “The hopeful melodies are in contrast to the hopelessness of the message.” A truly modern classic would capture all the ennui and paranoia of the world we’re living in right now, the song decides: “A little bit of freedom, a little anaesthesia, slide under the waves,” Coogan sings, detailing drug use and the feeling of drifting through a waking nightmare. Like a butterfly in a hurricane, it’s a spot of beauty in a cavern of chaos. ‘Modern Classic’ is out today, and included on the group’s new EP, out November 11. Listen to the track above, preview the EP on Bandcamp and follow the four-piece on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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Apologies aren’t easy. They can be gut-wrenching admissions of error that bruise your pride and often blow up in your face. Sometimes, though, they just have to be done. New Jersey Casio-pop maverick John Hancock, despite what his otherworldly knack for a infectious melody may lead you to believe, is only human, and capable of mistakes like the rest of us. On ‘Guilty Party’, he atones for his fuck-ups with Prince-ish dance floor sparkle and a string of promises. “I’ll do the laundry. I’ll do the dishes too. I’ll make the bed. I’ll take the trash out, and I’ll be good to you,” he insists to a loved one he’s let down. “And when you’re full up with forgiveness, you’ll take me back inside.” If sorry is indeed the hardest word, you wouldn’t know it from the breezy, carefree funk of this stomping new single.
Previously frontman to Pitchfork-acclaimed Miami outfit Awesome New Republic, Hancock has had a busy year so far, releasing cult acclaimed single after cult acclaimed single, from the minimalist shuffle of ‘Negative Space’ to the serious splendour of ‘Lead Me Out’ and ‘Give It Out’. ‘Guilty Party’ – which starts as an ambient swirl, stretching into a fiercely danceable groove in its verse before descending into a fun, ’80s-flavoured MIDI sax meltdown at the end – is his most ambitious moment yet. Check it out above, and follow John on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you like what you hear. We’ll see you next Friday.
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On their latest blast of electro-pop chaos, Bad Wave are “tired, so tired.” No wonder, you might be thinking: last month’s cult adored single ‘3am’ painted the duo as up-all-night party-lurkers prone to trippy bathroom encounters and hallucinations about house pets. But ‘Night School’ is about a different kind of weariness. “We gotta get outta here,” insists singer Tucker Tota over grooving bass and a drum machine rhythm, venting his desperation to escape a humdrum town. “Burn, burn, burn, burn it down on the way out.” Bad Wave are tired, and this driving fuck-you to posers with “pink hair, white shoes and bullshit” is their infectious, anthemic line-in-the-sand.
Bad Wave being Bad Wave, of course, there’s humour in their frustration here, the track’s plodding, near-rapped verses dotted with hilarious bon mots. “Three weeks straight you been waking up in your underwear,” sings Tota, hatching a plan to pack bags and escape to Omaha over instrumentalist Patrick Hart’s wild instrumentation. “The track’s about how it’s so hard to leave—until you leave,” he explains. “And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”
‘Night School’, out today on 10K, is an education alright. The lesson? As well as their usual breezy sound, which Clash recently called “brisk, buoyant electro-pop” evocative of Animal Collective, there looms something else in the pair’s locker: big blockbuster punk sing-alongs. Check it out above or listen on Spotify and Apple Music, and keep it wavy with Bad Wave on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Class dismissed, see you next Friday.
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Time can’t be turned back, words can’t be unsaid, deeds can’t be undone. Viigo know this, but it doesn’t ease the pain on ‘Missing You’, the trio’s most emotional single to date. Chronicling a break-up in agonising slow motion, the track sees frontman MJ Hancock navigate a sea of R&B clicks, synth swells and sorrow, singing about the pain of trying to pull a relationship back from the brink. “And if I could, you know I would, you know I would go back there,” he promises, never quite losing hope. But ‘Missing You’ still feels like a goodbye.
With production full of Blood Diamond- and Diplo-ish steel drum echoes, the track packs more of the soulful electronic magic that’s won rave reviews for their other singles to date, from ‘Paranoia’ (“pulsing Balearic waves, roaring bass, and shimmering rhythms,” said The Line Of Best Fit) to last month’s intense, upbeat ‘Party Lights.’ “Search party came back with nothing to show,” sings MJ as the song winds into its second verse. “Call your name but nobody home… trying to catch your eyes in the glow, but you just stare into your phone.” The situation they describe is commonplace – everyone’s known that feeling of someone growing apart from you. Viigo’s sound however, and the intense emotion within, is anything but common. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and we’ll see you next week.
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Brett songs are like keepsakes from summer eves you can only kinda remember, postcards from places time faded to fog in your memory. They unfold in tiny details, rather than full-blown tales – like frontman Mick Coogan sang on ‘California Nights’, the DC-born group’s last single, they’re “pieces of a dream, slipped into the deep”, snatching at moments. ‘Lost City’, their latest adventure in swooping synth sounds and big dreamy choruses, is more of the beautiful, intimate same. “Whispers in the cinema, we took the long way home,” Coogan recalls over walking bass and echoing guitars, weaving a lovers’ story in delicate vignettes. The result is a track that brims with romance – ‘Lost City’, the kind of song you’ll be happy to stay lost in.
New to Brett? Let us catch you up on the story so far. Completed by guitarist Scott Dittrich, bassist Dave Kuehl and drummer Jon Jester, their last full-length ‘Mode’ was released in March on Cascine, before the blockbuster ‘California Nights’ premiered on Clash earlier this year, winning praise for its “stylish, evocative pop, perfect for those endless desert drives, top down and stereo blasting.” There’s an EP coming soon – ‘Die Young’, out later this year on 10K, which Coogan says is going to be full of “guitars that nod to the playing of MBV and the Cure” plus “themes of regret, the transportive power of memory, and the vibrant chaos of love.”
Till then, ‘Lost City’ is the late summer anthem your August has been asking for. Check it out above. Brett are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Follow them, and we’ll see you next Friday.
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Mr Witch is not a man of many words at the best of times, but today he is a man of even fewer words. He leaves all the words to Welsh rap sensation Akira The Don on new single ‘Doing Good’ while he busies himself in the background, communicating in drum machine, high-pitched robot noise, and crunchy, motorik rhythm. With every track he puts out, Mr Witch mutates into a new vehicle, like a shiny Transformer constantly shape-shifting, hitching things up a gear. Now, following the Mandarin rapping of ‘I Want You’, the stark riot of ‘Carat Cake’ and the party-starter that was ‘Feelin Fine’, the bewitching returns.
It’s something a little more chilled-out, Akira’s rhymes having a similar effect to a gnarlier Mike Skinner on a track like The Streets’ ‘Weak Become Heroes’. Imagine if the Deceptacons made lullabies for baby Deceptacons to fall asleep to, ‘Doing Good’ would cut the mustard. It’s the kind of simmered-down yet still nightmarish track you might require if you want to signal the epic end of a night out at a PC Music rave, the sound of neon lights slowly dimming but never quite fading out completely, the song Skrillex’s heart makes when he’s sad. Listen above, follow Mr Witch on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and we’ll see you same time, same place next week, 10K fam.
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Did we imagine Frank Ocean? Dream him? It’s been long enough now since his glorious 2012 summer soundtrack that fans, us included, have begun to question if he ever existed in the first place, or if ‘Channel Orange’ was some kind of hive-mind musical mirage. The wait goes on for ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, the Californian’s much-hyped new album, which seemed set for release last week after a live-stream began on Ocean’s website of him in a carpentry workshop. That stream amounted to nothing – or at least nothing yet. Which is why, to help ease the wait, because Frank Ocean fans do cry, today Bad Wave are stepping up.
‘Frank’s Track’ was Ocean’s short but affecting cameo on Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo album earlier this year. LA duo Bad Wave, fresh from the release of their mind-melting MGMT-ish curio ‘3am’ a fortnight ago, take that snippet to another dimension with the above cover, adding lullaby Rhodes keys and haywire electronics to the tender melodies of the original. Their sparsest moment yet, Bad Wave’s ‘Frank’s Track’ is a reminder that there’s a sparser side to a band whose upbeat, itching-to-dance electro-pop, on songs like ‘Extraordinary’, ‘Good Girls’ and breakout single ‘Runaway’, has earned them high praise from The Guardian, The Sunday Times, Beats 1, BBC Radio 1, DIY and more. Check it out above, follow Bad Wave on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and we’ll see you next week.
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