the sunset thunderstorm rolling in is a striking accompaniment to the latest mitski single. “happy” is culled from her forthcoming album puberty 2, out june 17th via dead oceans; the track’s titular personified emotion runs rampant throughout its various phases, twisting through a sparse, eerie opening that blooms into a cacophonous, sax-driven wall of sound. though its exterior is at times ferocious, the inner workings of “happy” unfold to reveal mitski’s true mastery of emotive songwriting, along with her uncanny ability to pit intimate vulnerability against those thick, abrasive textures. take a listen below.
the ann arbor, michigan quartet pity sex is a pop band masquerading as a shoegaze outfit. beneath gloomy exteriors lie adroit guitar melodies and strong vocal hooks, a trait the band first explored on their 2013 debut feast of love and have now set out to perfect on its follow-up, white hot moon. co-vocalists britty drake and brennan greaves again team up for listless explorations of infidelity and longing, toggling between downtrodden narratives and pointed conversations as fuzzed-out guitars buzz in the background.
the album’s twelve tracks rarely waver in tempo, a veritable locomotive engine that propels its train into the realm of 1990s nostalgia with a focus squarely on lyrical development. drake takes more of a center stage than on previous efforts, be it commanding her own lead vocal on early stand-out “burden you” or sparring with greaves in traded stanzas on “september,” but her true apex hits on “plum,” a sparse, heartbreaking reflection on the loss of a parent that eventually gets consumed by a wall of guitars.
greaves’ performance across white hot moon isn’t too shabby either; his mumbled musings are more in-tune and focused than before, and ceding a bit more vocal duty to drake this time around allows for the attentive guitar work sprinkled throughout tunes like “orange and red” and “nothing rips through me.”
white hot moon feels very much like a continuation of its predecessor, and that’s perfectly alright. pity sex excel at honing their craft, and astoundingly resonant pop gems like “pin a star” seem to suggest that downtrodden shoegaze is a comfort zone the band won’t need to rely on for much longer. whether or not they will choose to completely shed their dichotomous aesthetic remains to be seen, but it’s clear that white hot moon is an incredibly focused effort that basks in a soothing analog warmth. soak it up.
yumi zouma excels at crafting an instantly-recognizable brand of muted, refined pop music; that much is clear, and has been for some time. what’s particularly admirable is the quartet’s ability to harness that dimension of their sound and funnel it effortlessly through different channels. on “barricade (matter of fact),” the latest single culled from their forthcoming debut album, yumi zouma pairs a breezy, subdued vocal with equally at-ease instrumentation, favoring an exquisite exercise of restraint over the pursuit of an anthemic hook. yoncalla is due out may 27th via cascine; take a listen to “barricade (matter of fact)” below.
mysterious los angeles artist elohim has offered up a series of stand-out singles dating back to last fall, all of which will form the foundation of her self-titled debut ep, due out may 20th via b3sci records. joining that collection today is “sensations,” a buoyant, almost euphoric synth pop gem that does its best to bely elohim’s darker, more brooding aesthetic with soaring hooks and massive melodies. take a listen to “sensations” below.
michigan singer-songwriter daniel wilson is sitting on sinner of the week, a new ep due out later this year. the allure of wilson’s voice is inescapable; on his latest single, “wedding daze,” wilson explores the outer confines of his vocal range against a backdrop of brassy synths and authoritative percussion, turning in a joyous, much-needed slice of neo-soul as a result. take a listen below.