As summer segues into autumn, Getintothis’ Roy Bayfield travels from the Bahamas to Liverpool via the Home Counties and a Nazi holiday camp in search of the week’s best singles
Modern Nature – Nature – Single of the Week
Tapping into the English pastoral tradition where folk, prog and electronica flow together, Nature is a dreamy and disturbing odyssey. As much about human nature and behaviour as the natural environment, the track probes ideas of dangerous human urges, surfacing images of white saviours, of locking away and hiding from the light.
The music and imagery in the video are surface-serene, with a sense that an abyss of folk-horror – or worse, of some terrible aspects of current reality – could break through at any moment.
Modern Nature is a new project from Jack Cooper (Ultimate Painting/Mazes), Will Young (BEAK>), Woods‘ Aaron Neveu and Sunwatchers‘ Jeff Tobias.
A UK tour in Autumn brings Modern Nature to Liverpool on 18th September.
Grimes & i_o – Violence
Onetime Getintothis Album of the Year artist Grimes just dropped a massive new single in collaboration with enigmatic techno producer i_o.
Violence has been cryptically trailed on Instagram as the first track from ongoing mega project Miss_Anthropocene, a concept album about making climate change fun. Grimes lilts a melancholy pop song over throbbing layers of sound, like a siren at the end of civilisation. On the self-directed video, the artist and dancers are in a twilight marble palace, evoking an ancient empire in its last days.
The record comes wrapped in intriguing hints: the publicity of the the single features an image of an ancient-looking stone carved with emoji, on a fake press release with pretend ‘left in by accident’ text: ‘NEED TO FILL THIS OUT/RE-WRITE: It’s work it to talk about how Grimes is now c and c is preparing to join the simulation or something like that…’ While Grimes prepares to command and conquer in the unfolding narrative gameplay of Miss_Anthropocene, we might as well enjoy surrendering to this blissful posthuman soundtrack to the end times.
Health&Beauty – Rat Shack
The pros and cons of homebuying might not seem like promising song material, but Rat Shack is a beautiful and compelling reflection on love and security.
The poetic lyrics unfold over layers infused with soulful jazz horns, crafting an evocative track that’s simultaneously chilled and anguished.
The Chicago band’s seventh album Shame Engine / Blood Pleasure is due in November, promising blues, folk-rock and ‘the sound of love and fear oscillating through us’.
The Building – Life Half Lived
The Building, aka Anthony LaMarca from The War On Drugs, releases a new album PETRA in October. The title an acronym for Peace’s Eternal Truth Renews All, as well as the name of La Marca’s German shepherd dog (no relation to the Blue Peter one.)
Life Half Lived is a raw, warm and hopeful meditation on emotionally abusive relationships, accompanied with a tender video. Like earlier single Purifier it’s a song about facing up to life’s experience of hard truths with honesty and humanity, featuring heartfelt lyrics over a lush but simple arrangement.
Vinyl Staircase – Sidewalk!
In the Victorian sci-fi story The Battle of Dorking, the Home Counties town was depicted as the front line of a scary invasion.
150 years later, Dorking-based quartet Vinyl Staircase explore a different kind of paranoia on Sidewalk! – shining a strobelight on the experience of walking around at night listening to music, with larger worldly anxieties lurking in the background.
Vinyl Staircase‘ sound is nervy, lean and crunchy and Sidewalk! is as bracing as a faceful of grit and as fun as a surprisingly brilliant night out in a market town. Definitely a band to see live if you can; in the meantime, get a load of this edgy rumble.
DIIV – Taker
Soft harmonic vocals lilting over a deep metallic groove make Taker a captivating listen. The song is from
DIIV’s forthcoming third full-length album, Deceiver, trailed as ‘the soundtrack to personal resurrection under the heavy weight of metallic catharsis’.
DIIV are currently a four-piece comprising Zachary Cole Smith (lead vocals, guitar) Andrew Bailey (guitar), Colin Caulfield (bass) and Ben Newman (drums). The release of Deceiver is accompanied by a US tour, with UK dates being hinted at.
Soaky Siren – Dope Boys
Bahamaian rapper singer-songwriter Soaky Siren’s euphoric pop song tells the story of the impact of drug dealing on her island.
Talking about the origins of the track, she says ‘This was the first song I wrote for my EP and the producer, DallasK, asked me what my sound was. I told him “urban resort” and he got it right away…legend. What I meant was the sun’s out and yeah – we’re in paradise but there’s some very real shit going on and for us.’
Dope Boys features on EP LUCAYA, out this month.
Jack Peñate – Prayer
Jack Peñate returns after a decade’s absence with Prayer, a song ‘made for and with my family and friends…a piece about the unifying nature of loss and the thread of hope that survives throughout.’
Recorded in a day and visualised with a one-take video directed by Eddie Peake, there’s a refreshing sense of immediacy and directness to the soulful track which is the singer’s first official release since 2009 album Everything Is New.
Right Hand Left Hand – Prora
Cardiff duo Right hand Left Hand’s third album Zone Rouge will feature 11 tracks, ‘each referring to a location on Earth where something bad has happened: an act of corruption against the planet, an act of evil against fellow humans and occasionally both.’
Bouncy and danceable, Prora is the first single, and the first stopping-off point on this apocalyptic tour – evoking a brutalist Nazi holiday building complex constructed for ‘strength through joy’ holidays for compliant workers.
Immense and hypnotic, Prora is a darkly queasy pop delight.
Parsnip – Taking Me for a Ride
Melbourne four-piece Parsnip take us on a ride that is as quirky and perky as a children’s videogame soundtrack.
The second single from their debut album When The Tree Bears Fruit, the track points the way to oddball punky whimsy delivered with infectious energy.
Cute DIY in bright colours. Dial your tweeness filter down to zero (at least) and enjoy.
Pharoahe Rocher – morningstar
The urgent jumpy beats and samples that keep lurching out of the frame pull us through morningstar, the opening track on Pharoahe Rocher’s type beat type beats EP.
Hurtling beats leave nowhere to hide in a cut-up universe of Rocher’s mercurial imagination.
What can it all mean?
The artist reveals that ‘It’s based on a fever dream Nicolas Cage had about being a 30ft panther made entirely of cocaine’ – if so, it’s certainly the best track on that theme this week.
L.A.Salami – Tinder
Tinder is really just a seductive glimpse of what awaits in L.A. Salami’s Walkabout EP, a spoken word production that exists somewhere in a Beat hinterland where the voices of Kerouac and Bukowski still echo, poetry tumbling over sparse jazz and bluesy loops.
So what’s Tinder about? ‘Yes, that digital pit of indifference towards romantic spectacle. / Yes, that find-and-fuck phone application.’ OK then.
The EP comes out on September 27th on Sunday Best, the first in a trilogy of thematically-linked releases to emerge over the next year.