May saw a slew of big EP releases from some of our favorite artists, some new styles and exciting collaborations from some of the hottest members in garage rock, and a hell of a lot of good follow ups and new releases. Here are some of our favorite songs of the month.
Oh Sees have gone through a lot of change, be it name changes, lineup changes, or style changes. Just look at the cover of their new album, Smote Reverserfor example, and you’ll get a pretty good hint at the current direction of the band. “Overthrown” is basically just straight up thrash metal, and it’s really fucking good. We’re wondering if the rest of the album is going to be as heavy, because if it is, Oh Sees just got a whole new set of metal head fans worldwide, and we’re really into that.
Ty Segall and White Fence
Ty Segall and White Fence’s previous and only other album together, Hair, is a masterpiece.People have been hoping for years that another collaboration or tour would manifest itself, and we finally got not only tour dates, but also festival appearances at Desert Daze, info about an upcoming follow up release, and a new song! “Good Boy” really shows the depth both Ty and White Fence have in their songwriting and musical armada, and we’re all for it.
Cuco finally released his EP, Chiquito, this month and fans were thrilled. His festival heavy tour and trickle down single release approach won him a very receptive audience, and month-by-month, Cuco has continued to take over the world. The release is full of incredible singles that we’ve been listening to for months, so we picked “Dontmakemefallinlove” for some variety and new music. It’s also classic Cuco, and really harkens back to his signature style.
“Almost Had to Start A Fight/In and Out of Patience”
Parquet Courts have that art punk scene on lock. They’re not on social media, they’re as intellectual as a lot of your favorite early 90s bands, and they’ve got the style to match. Their newest album is incredible, and it was really hard to pick a single. We’re going for “Almost Had to Start A Fight/In and Out of Patience” because it’s almost three songs in one. You’ve got the first two, then an announcement and Segway into “Freebird 2” which is one of the most hilarious lines from any song we’ve heard in awhile. The album is full of humor and great singles, and just about everything the band does is a hit.
With Clairo’s EP, Diary 001, the young artist sends a call and answer out into the world. After her viral hits and immense sensationalism, in part driven up to her performance at Blurry Vision fest in Oakland, and buzzworthy inclusion on Fader’s label, the noteworthy nostalgic vibe of Clairo will just keep ringing in fan’s ears. What we like most about the song “Hello” is the inclusion of international rapper Rejjie Snow. He’s as big a fan of King Krule as he is Tyler, The Creator, and his appearance on Clairo’s debut ep indicates she’s got some cool collaborators and hip contemporaries.
When we asked our audience what their favorite song on Iceage’s latest album, Beyondless, they said EVERY song was their favorite. If we had to pick just one though, it’d by “Pain Killer” because of how well the vocals of Sky Ferreria intermix with the single. It also gives us an old school big band sound that reminds us of favorites like King Khan and the Shrines. We’re down with ensemble arrangements, and it’s definitely one of the highlights of the album. That, plus we want more Sky Ferreira in the world. Where has she been!?
“Small Car Big Wheels”
The Garden came out with a radical new album last month, and Enjoy is the perfect foil to the manic jesters. Enjoy is Wyatt Shears’ solo act even though Fletcher plays with the band live. If you haven’t guessed yet, the band is one of The Garden’s magnificent side projects. Again though, the live band is a four piece group including Cowgirl Clue and Rexx, so it’s pretty fun to see the full group delve into heavy bass grooves and stage diving antics. The new release comes out on Burger Records next month and if the single is any hint, the album will be a pretty fun and casual affair. Extra points for how adorable and hilarious the music video is.
“Need A Little Time”
There are a LOT of good singles on Courtney Barnett’s new album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, the excellent follow up to her first album. Although not as much of a breakthrough hit, the second album provides much of the clever lyricism and humor. “Need A Little Time” though is a welcome discourse on sadness. As a single, it was easily our favorite song on the album. The music video too is perfect, as we see Courtney blasting off into space and strumming her guitar on other planets. “Need A Little Time” is a beautifully isolationist song you can just relax and get emotional to.
“Drunk in LA”
Beach House released their highly anticipated new album “7” earlier this month with a visual for each song. The common theme for the visuals on “7” is black and white geometric patterns, but the physical release of the album has rainbow accents. That’s a pretty good summation of the new release, same band, brilliantly complex new sound. It was difficult picking a favorite song from the new release, but the sad, dreamy anthem “Drunk in LA” and album opener “Dark Spring” are among some favorites. Although we love the experimental sound on the new release, and the sonic shoegazey style, the more classic yearning and heartbreak of “Drunk in LA” ultimately won us over. Before releasing “7”, Beach House announced a tour for the United States and Europe that will run from July through October. Make sure to see them in the upcoming months
Earlier this month, Chromatics returned with their new single, “Black Walls”, followed by the self-directed dark, yet dreamy music video, with the help of director of photography, Rene Hallen. The Portland based electronic band will finally release their upcoming album “Dear Tommy” this fall. In 2014, Chromatics originally put out a few singles for “Dear Tommy”, but had all evidence from the new album removed from every music streaming site. The record was scrapped, then re-recorded after band member Johnny Jewel had a near-death experience. “Black Walls” is a life affirming new track propelling the band back into national spotlight.
Wand have some great albums, and their recent EP Perfume,was a beautiful foray into a new style more akin to prog rock than garage rock. With this shorter release, the band took a dip in the pond instead of jumping full on into the pool. Perhaps a follow up and full album will be a more well polished approach, but songs like “The Gift” really give us an amazing gift of greatness that the band could be in the future.
“She’s My Sweet”/”Fuck the Toronto Raptors”
What a weird month. Mac DeMarco, Peter Sagar, and Colin Caulfield made some joke tracks and called it a “Met Gala-Red Carpet 7 Inch” in honor of, again, the bizarreness that evolved out of the Met Gala. Grimes and Elon Musk appeared together and their dating details seems more like a glitch in the system than actuality. The Catholic affair that was the Gala was as strange and otherworldly as just about any other celebrity news this month, so the Mac release scores some points with us just out of novelty. That, plus it’s cool seeing Homeshake and DIIV members jam and have a Mac attack.
Words by Hannah Hylton/Phillip Gutgesell
Photo by Josh Beavers