This is work of Matt Aufrecht, Joey Lemon, Paul Goodenough, and Shane Bordeau. This is the band’s second single of 2021 and Vault of Light will be their first album since 2018.
Much like Jamie Lee Curtis ‘s fitness instructor and John Travolta’s investigative journalist in the movie Perfect from 1985, pm the EP recently released by Mannequin Pussy also called Perfect (Epitaph Records) the Philly-based band likewise walk a fine line between outrageous provocation and romantic distress and Lycra-sheathed sensuality and moral confrontation and it’ll likely hit you just as hard as Ms. Curtis’s pelvic thrust routine hits in the movie whatever your thoughts on Travolta’s form-fitting shorts and his overall spotty ‘80s filmography (excepting Blow Out, the Philadelphia-set Brian De Palma classic) culminating with those talking baby movies and don’t even get me started on Battlefield Earth because that’s its own ball of wax.
Fortunately, in stark contrast to the big-budget bloat of Mr. Travolta’s L. Ron Hubbard Scientology-flogging space-opera dud, Mannequin Pussy’s Perfect is a far tighter affair. Which is also great news for anyone too lazy to digest their three existing full-length records since the EP successfully distills their most outstanding qualities down to an economical 13 minutes (almost 14 minutes!) with a running order that follows the age old pentatartite structure of extended play records:
Track 1) Melodic power-pop/alt-rock banger alternating between lighter waving and head banging parts; track 2) ferocious punk rock rave-up with verbal dressing down of the enables of oppressive social forces; track 3) melodic power-pop/alt-rock banger alternating between lighter waving and head banging parts; track 4) ferocious punk rock rave-up with verbal dressing down of the enablers of oppressive social forces; and track 5) the unexpectedly wistful, ethereal ballad closing number expressing undying devotion so believably and sweetly that even Karen O may be a little jealous.
To give one example of impactful brevity you can check out the title track above where the band maintain a face-melting musical escape velocity for a full two minutes as do the Real Punk Rock Housewives of Philadelphia who star in the accompanying music video. Brevity doesn’t equal boredom obviously.
And speaking of which if your band is called Mannequin Pussy you better not be boring or ever lose your sense of humor or provocation and the band hasn’t done any of these things by a long shot. It’s just that they’ve taken the prude-provoking attitude of early songs like "Clit Eastwood" and "Pissdrinker" and "Meat Slave 2" and filtered it through a hard won sense of maturity and cumulative life experience so that that now a line like “spit on my tits / tell me I’m perfect” registers with a newfound impact placed in the larger context of the insecurity and masochism encouraged by societal beauty standards and social media and high school class reunions. (Jason Lee)
This is the Synth Pop of Bryan Kveton, Carl Hauck, and Garret Bodette, and this is the first new music from the trio since their 2016 debut album, Mantra.
This is the stripped down Psych Folk of multi-media artist Liv Mershon, and Seeing Things is the first new music from her since 2015. Earlier this month she released the album’s lead single, "Moving Slow", and both tracks can be heard below.
Photo Credit: Annie Rhodes Kane
L.A.-via-Chicago artist appleby spent much of his early childhood competing on the international tennis circuit, before reassessing his priorities as a young adult, shifting to pursue his music-making ambitions. Judging by his latest single, the soothing yet cathartic “Half Life,” and its accompanying zen-like poolside video, it seems his dedication to honing his craft hasn’t wavered a bit.
The track begins with a simple repeated electric piano note, setting the stage for appleby’s soulful harmonized vocals to enter shortly thereafter, followed by warm and full-bodied piano chords, all of which are later joined by a skittering electro-acoustic beat that propels the track just enough to inject it with energy without shattering the overall life-affirming vibe. The track gets fuller throughout, but it never gets too busy. And all the while, appleby’s vocals—which brings to mind other alt-soul auteurs such as Moses Sumney—keep things comforting and uplifting until the track gently crescendos, his vocal finally fragmenting like the beat. Perhaps it’s a fracturing or, possibly, a transcendence?
There’s hardly any help in his lyrics, which find him in a state of limbo: “I’ve been stuck in this half-life full time / and I don’t know what to do.” In press releases, though, appleby describes the genesis of his latest track as “…organic and borderline magical…” If that’s the case, here’s hoping he indulges his taste for both on his upcoming releases. Gabe Hernandez
This is the trio of Zachary Good (clarinets, recorders), Lia Kohl (cello), and Ryan Packard (percussion).
The single is accompanied by the Mikel Patrick Avery directed video below.
Last month, Comerford released the album’s lead single, "Three Sisters", which is accompanied by a Dave Merson Hess animated video below.
In the Spotify Age, musicians looking to sell hardcopy releases are well-advised to bring extra assets to play. “L’Aventura,” the latest box set from songwriter and composer Tyson Swindell comes correct for lovers of musical minutiae, with a bound book of poetry and an honest to Memorex mixtape of pre-release material alongside his sweet, new lo-fi lament “Binary Stars.”
At bad open mics or the wrong side of YouTube, the term “lo-fi” can be shorthand for “low rent, low effort, low energy.” Not here. Swindell’s work is “lo-fi” in the best sense: slow, intimate, real. Ironically, the actual production fidelity is excellent. Swindell’s work has been consistently well-produced, and in places “L’Aventura” is almost cinematic.
The same sense of growing mastery extends from the production to the sound. Working almost exclusively with electronics, Swindell starts with the vibe of an excellent bedroom DJ, but shows a classic, songwriterly sensibility that recalls some of the bygone best of indie and shoegaze masters. “Binary Stars” may rely on digital instruments, but there’s as much blood from Band of Horses as Tycho, with both sides serving a poetic but personal lyricism recalling Bright Eyes and late-career Elliott Smith. It’s sad boy music for certain, music to mope to, but executed with pretty production and elegant restraint.
As to the rest of the assets, The Deli can’t comment – haven’t received a copy. If the book and tape live up to the single, however, the box is worth a look for anyone seeking musical company for a quiet night in.
– Matt Salter
Ambient music group Chord has released a new song called "Fm" from their forthcoming album, Imperfect Authentic Cadence, which is due out on June 4th via Debacle Records. This is the first new music from the group since 2013’s GMaj7.
This is the work of Kyle Benjamin, Phil Dole, Jason Hoffman, Sean McCarthy, and Trevor Shelley de Brauw.
"Fm" is the closing track of the three song journey that explores the most fundamental chord progressions in Western music. The album presents a cadence, which is a sequence of chords that brings finality and resolution to a musical phrase, that is intentionally left imperfect, hence the album’s title.
Miller blends improvised jazz, psych rock, and more into his music, and "Lockstep" finds him delving deeper into his more experimental side.
For the Tripartite Challenge on this one (this one being Hello Mary’s new single "Take Something") I’m gonna go with shoegaze/dreampop pioneers Lush crossed with a pre-“These Dreams” Heart in psych-folk mode crossed with the fuzzed out garage rock of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. But whatever the mix it’s a heady one that’s why the kids like to call this “head music” it’s a known fact.
L.A. by way of Puerto Rico indie pop group The Marías—led by the bilingual core duo of writer/producer Josh Conway and writer/lead vocalist María Zardoya—have released a video for “Hush,” the first single off their debut album, Cinema, out June 25th on Nice Life Recording Company/Atlantic Records, and it’s a slinky, two-tone minimalist slow-burner.
The track begins with insistent, pulsing synth bass, laying out the carpet for Zardoya’s breathy, beguiling lead vocal performance over a languorous, seductive mid-tempo beat—the kind you’d probably sway rather than dance to.
Lyrically, we’re firmly in “woman in control” territory, with lines like “every night / got you running in circles/touchin me/get your paws off my dolce cologne/back it up/off my throne cuz you know/you wanna make me/walk away and forget about it?”
Meanwhile, producer Conway keeps things moving along tightly, with shimmering, swimming synth pads and dream-pop guitar arpeggios entering at points, adding a tasteful sheen of 21st-century disco glam, while during the single-word “hush” chorus, pared-to-the-bone guitar lines yawn and warp like hot metal, while Conway’s deeper bass vocals share the stage with María during the bridge, adding a vague feeling of menace.
Visually, the video makes the most of a modest budget, cutting between a sterile but stylish 1960s psychiatrist office—decorated all in white, except for María—and a series of crimson-soaked sets that feel like a dance club designed by David Lynch, complete with writhing dancers costumed to look like living condoms. In the middle of it all is María, sitting stately on her ultramodern throne, perhaps getting cozy with the pop stardom she and the band may be on the verge of achieving. Gabe Hernandez