morly – “sleeping in my own bed”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

katy morley’s work has always been arresting.  under the mononym morly, she has thus far produced two swirling, ethereal extended plays, 2015’s in defense of my muse and last spring’s something more holy, collections that paired a strong pop sensibility with the catharsis of sparse, minimalist dance music.

next month, morly will release sleeping in my own bed, a three-song 12″ single that gravitates towards a more organic approach to songwriting.  the end result is gorgeous; “sleeping in my own bed” finds morly’s aching lead vocal more prominent than it’s ever been, working in tandem with a sprawling acoustic piano accompaniment to create a plaintive, comparatively straightforward pop song.

despite a new focal point, morly’s sonic touchstones continue to be integral to this permutation of her aesthetic: the rhythm section takes a supporting role this time around, but still stretches out when necessary, and choral pads swell to add a celestial veneer to the track’s more expansive moments.  regardless of which facet she explores, morly proves time and again that the precise combination of simple ingredients will yield a downright magical product.

sleeping in my own bed is out august 25th via cascine.  take a listen to its title track below.

oyster kids – “40 nights”

– featured image courtesy of blake zimmerman –

oyster kids continue to be as elusive as the night is long, but that doesn’t prevent the pair from repeatedly turning in stunning, anthemic pop gems.

“40 nights,” the fourth standalone cut from the los angeles duo, has all the hallmarks of a track primed for heavy radio rotation – layered vocals, memorable hooks, appealing duration – but it’s the intentional eeriness permeating throughout that gives the song its singularity.  8-bit synth blips immediately agitate the texture and link with large swaths of echo to produce a haunting, cavernous effect that surges underneath the more aesthetically pleasing components of “4o nights,” a dichotomy that’s explored in most oyster kids tracks but has yet to feel this nuanced.

there’s no word on a larger batch of oyster kids tunes, but these single servings will more than suffice for now.  take a listen to “40 nights” below.

elohim – “hallucinating”

– featured image courtesy of chase o’black –

an eerie spoken-word passage of a woman reading the textbook definition of a hallucination is the only remnant of elohim’s previously brooding aesthetic on her latest single.  on “hallucinating,” the los angeles-based artist focuses all of her energy of the latter part of her electro-pop designation, turning in a jubilant gem aided by a conglomerate of string motifs and mariachi horn lines.

“hallucinating” is out now via b3sci records.  elohim will bring the track, along with the rest of her repertoire, on tour this fall, opening for the irish producer eden.  take a listen to her new single below.

oyster kids – “gum (everybody’s my friend)”

– featured image courtesy of blake zimmerman –

los angeles duo oyster kids let their confident pop sensibilities do most of the talking.  biographical information on the pair is scant, but the magnitude of their output thus far is hard to ignore; singles “creepy” and “lips” both materialized as the yearly calendar was shifting, and each explored the juxtaposition of ominous and anthemic in slightly different ways while still ultimately yielding a sharp, fully-realized end result.

yesterday, oyster kids returned with their third single.  “gum (everybody’s my friend)” aesthetically bowls down the middle of its predecessors; the song’s peaks and valleys are a bit more streamlined this time around, and the darker undertones are certainly more covert.  rather than setting the moody titularly or via a specific timbre, the duo house a sense of debauchery in the simple commands of the song’s hook, crafting an understated breed of anthem via repetition.  take a listen to “gum” below.

elohim – “sensations”

elohim-chase-oblack
photo courtesy of chase o’black

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.

morly – something more holy

morly ep cover
out april 8th via cascine

at the outset of her career, it appeared as if morly would be content exploring the emotional ceiling of minimal, ambient-indebted dance music.  much of her debut ep, in defense of my muse, operates within these confines; only on its finale does she finally allow us to hear her voice.  in that context, “drone poem (in defense of my muse)” was an anomaly, but now it feels much more like a prelude.

morly’s sophomore ep, the beautiful something more holy, is an about-face, a decidedly vocal-centric body of work that finds the producer and singer maximizing each facet of her minimalist palette.  morly’s vocals inject energy and tension into the brooding, resting heart rate pulse of “if only chords,” while “by the polo pond” is particularly commanding, its rather bleak thematics delivered atop a synthetic brass section for extra emphasis.

but perhaps the most important voices aren’t the ones carrying the main melody.  the ep’s title track is largely constructed around a bevy of vocal manipulations, ones that both support morly’s lyrics and juxtapose their smooth contour with a more angular polyrhythm; “plucky” uses similarly-manipulated textures to flesh out underlying harmonies.

something more holy again leaves much to be desired, but only in terms of quantity, certainly not quality.  the ep’s physical release is paired with its predecessor; played in succession, the two outline an expansive, virtually limitless foundation for morly to further construct her sonic architecture.  we’ll be waiting – albeit a bit impatiently – to hear what she builds next.

 

premiere – haunt

haunt band
photo courtesy of the artist

the members of haunt may now split their time between los angeles and portland, but the project’s genesis is rooted in a childhood friendship cultivated in laguna beach.  since forming a year ago, the duo has been stockpiling a collection of nocturnal pop songs that harness many of the salient attributes of chillwave but are examined through a sharply-focused lens.


haunt will release their latest ep, crush, on may 6th via portland-based track and field records.  a short, intimate glimpse into the ep’s construction can be viewed above; below, you’ll find the premiere of its lead single, “perfume,” awash in gorgeous organ tones and armed with a subtle yet infectious hook.  listen in.

morly – “plucky”

morly
photo courtesy of the artist

morly is sitting on her sophomore ep, something more holy, due out april 8th via the inimitable cascine.  the minneapolis-bred producer and songwriter has since pulled up roots and relocated to los angeles, but her home state’s chilly atmosphere lingers in her compositions; the ep’s second single, “plucky,” is bundled up in morly’s tranquil vocals and dexterous drum programming, while steely tones work to generate more heat on the off-beats.  take a listen below.

satchmode – “undertow”

satchmode
photo courtesy of graham burwell

los angeles duo satchmode have conveyed their penchant for hook-laden dream-pop rather convincingly over a handful of recent singles, but their latest one flips the script.  moodiness is intrinsic to the mechanics and development of “undertow,” not an underlying symptom, with calculated, angular guitar motifs meted out against a warm bass line and smooth, cyclical vocals that often stretch into a falsetto stratosphere.  take a listen to “undertow” below.

 

oyster kids – “lips”

oyster kids
photo courtesy of the artist

have crossover pop acts like foster the people and gotye already become nostalgic touchstones?  mysterious los angeles duo oyster kids put forth a convincing, favorable argument with their second single, “lips,” a brassy, mid-tempo anthem accompanied by a listless set of lyrics capable of embedding itself deep into psyches upon repeated listenings.  while less outwardly eerie than its predecessor, “creepy,” “lips” solidifies the duo’s penchant for a dichotomy rarely executed so well.  take a listen below.