As I write this introduction to the August version of Freshly Squeezed, I am also getting ready to head to End Of The Road Festival. So I will keep it sort and sweet as I have little time. That’s it? I guess? There’s a lot of good music below, jus’ sayin’.
Oh, and here’s a link to the Spotify playlist that includes tracks from this month’s and past editions of FrSq. Right here.
Circuit Des Yeux – Paper Bag
Circuit Des Yeux – the project of Chicago-based Haley Fohr – is back with a new track from upcoming album Reaching For Indigo and boy, what an absolute stormer it is. ‘Paper Bag’, Fohr’s debut for Drag City records, sees her go above and beyond expectations, producing an immaculate track that soars and drives forward in stunning measures.
The first two minutes lulls the listener into a trance with repeating synths and vocal calls before blasting into a stampede of rocky folk and fierce cries of “Stick your head into the paper bag / four corners you may find / was it the memory / of every room you’ve been inside”, that recalls Fohr’s more direct work under the Jackie Lynn alias. In what seems like forever and no time at all, both worlds are meeting in the middle and hitting a sweet spot that is eerily calming.
Clairo – Pretty Girl
Clairo, – real name Claire Cottrill – has quietly been building up a fanbase through a slew of mixes, features on tracks by Jakob Owaga and more, and a steady stream of short, catchy tracks and Bandcamp releases much in the same way that Alex G or Car Seat Headrest did before being introduced to a larger audience.
Alex G is a good comparison for her earlier work, but the newer, more funk-laden direction taken on ‘Pretty Girl’ may well have helped produce her best track yet. Initially packaged as part of the Father/Daughter Records compilation The Le Sigh Vol. III, ‘Pretty Girl’ sees Clairo channel LCD Soundsystem’s ‘I Can Change’ and shaped it into a dream pop gem. Where James Murphy shouts in desperation, Cottrill sings “I could be a pretty girl / Shut up when you want me to” with a raised eyebrow and a sarcastic smirk, resulting in a track that’s as suitable as a big ‘eff you’ as it is a mopey bedroom dance soundtrack.
Daniele Luppi & Parquet Courts – Soul & Cigarette
Luppi’s last studio album, Rome, was a collaborative album with mega-producer Danger Mouse, which also featured input from Jack White and Norah Jones. Luppi’s urge to collaborate with huge contemporary artists has manifested itself again for new album Milano, which will feature Karen O and Parquet Courts, who are present on the first single ‘Soul & Cigarette’.
‘Soul & Cigarette’ is not a far cry from Parquet Courts last LP Human Performance, which saw the New York-by-Austin band embrace the influence of the likes of Talking Heads in an effort to shake up their dusty signature post-punk revivalist calling card. This sound is still here, as Andrew Savage’s almost disgruntled vocals lay over melancholy, stumbling guitar cuts. However, Luppi’s contributions of sweet piano either side of the meat of the track transforms it into an avant-garde piece that would sit nicely in the Silver Jews or The Velvet Underground’s discography.
Pardoner – Pivot Fakie
‘Pivot Fakie’ is like a punch to the mouth when you’re in a mosh pit that only heightens the adrenaline rather than derailing the mood.
Over layers of thick distortion, the San Francisco band Pardoner have offered up a tight track that is brimming with punchy percussion and a dark ambience that manoeuvres between shoegaze and post-punk effortlessly. An immediate, explosive track that is sure to put Pardoner on the pedestal of being one of the best up-and-coming punk acts of the year.
Radiator Hospital – Dance Number
In the run-up to their fifth studio album Radiator Hospital Play The Songs You Like, Philadephia band Radiator Hospital (duh) have shared a sharp leading single that showcases the outfit as being as thoughtful and playfully sunny as ever.
The concept of the forthcoming album is about “not only how songs themselves affect our lives, but how the same song can mean wildly different things to different people and how that meaning can change over time” according to a press release, which is one of the most thought-provoking I’ve come across in a while.
‘Dance Number’ is a 2-minute feel-good poppy track, but it sees Sam Cook-Parrott elaborate on this juxtaposition through strained vocals, pondering how “In between the notes of your favourite song / You try to figure out where it went wrong”, a possible nod to a shared “our song” with a past flame or close friend.
And some more mixed nuts:
- Carmen Villain – Borders (feat. Jenny Hval)
- Destroyer – Sky’s Grey
- John Maus – The Combine
- Lazy Day – Hiccup
- The Horrors – Something To Remember Me By (FYI: I am employed by Caroline International and am currently working on the release of this track. No bias just really like it).
- Versing – Radio Kinski