New Releases

Pom Pom Squad Celebrate Love's Gut Punches on "Red With Love"

The Brooklyn rockers seem poised to blow up in the indie world.

Pom Pom Squad has everything you could want from a Brooklyn-based indie-punk outlet—wailing guitars, searingly confessional yet simultaneously original lyrics, and music videos loaded with glitter and neon lights.

Their latest offering, "Red With Love," is a wide-eyed celebration of love, in all its overwhelming bittersweetness. The video plays with classic symbols of femininity—cheerleaders, prom queen crowns, wedding dresses—refracting them through glitchy filters and smashing them against streamer-covered diner counters. It perfectly encapsulates the sugary head-rush of desperation and glee that defines the sweet chaos of romance.

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The band might be most comfortable writing about the sharpest, bloodiest edges of romantic and emotional angst, but "Red With Love" is a marked change from that niche. It's an exploration of what it might mean to accept love for yourself and someone else. The product is tender and fierce and also extremely danceable.

"'Red' is my first proper love song and a pretty unguarded look into my heart, my relationship anxiety, and my acceptance of my own queerness," lead singer Mia Berrin told Paste.

"Red With Love" comes on the heels of the band's slow-burning cover of FKA twigs' "Cellophane," which offers a different kind of ecstasy. On that track, Berrin's voice breaks over fiery guitar and whirring synths, which sound like they're on the edge of shattering–until they do, collapsing into the song's aching final chorus.

The best indie rock bands have something far more than just catchy songs and emotional messages. Maybe it's a sense of forward motion combined with a deep internal ache, or a synergy that just clicks. Pom Pom Squad has whatever that magical X factor is, and it's no wonder that they've experienced so much success in the Brooklyn scene. Both "Red With Love" and "Cellophane" are examples of indie rock at its most golden, raw, and blindingly alive. It's likely that Pom Pom Squad won't stay a local gem for long.


MUSIC

Fresh Music Friday: Goodbye to Mercury in Retrograde

New music from Clairo, Brockhampton, Sleater-Kinney and more!

Brockhampton

Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball/Billboard

Mercury is finally out of retrograde, and it feels like we can all collectively exhale. To add to the good vibes, this week was filled with some seriously great new releases.

Fresh Music Friday is here to give you a breakdown of new singles, EPs, and albums to check out as you make your way into the weekend. Get ready to jam out with some of our favorite up-and-coming artists, plus celebrate new releases from those you already know and love.

This week, Clairo's anticipated debut album, Immunity, arrived; Lana Del Rey confirmed the release date for her forthcoming album, Norman F*cking Rockwell, (out August 30th, officially); and Brockhampton returned with their first song of 2019 called "I Been Born Again" and news of a new album, Ginger, that is reportedly due out later this month. Additionally, post-Janet-Weiss Sleater-Kinney features started coming and didn't stop coming as S-K shared their third single, "Can I Go On," from their new album, The Center Won't Hold, which comes out on August 16th. Plus, new singles from Pom Pom Squad, Field Mouse, and Jadu Heart are here. August is shaping up to be a pretty great month for music. Here are six new songs to get you started.

1. Brockhampton - "I Been Born Again"

For a group that loves to saturate the music industry with new releases, we haven't heard all that much from American boy band and rap collective Brockhampton in the year 2019. That's not to say its members have necessarily been quiet. Frontman Kevin Abstract put out his solo album, ARIZONA BABY, back in April, and the rap collective has been making their rounds on the festival circuit all summer. But this week, Brockhampton dropped their first official song and video of the year called "I Been Born Again," the first single off of their upcoming album, Ginger, that is reportedly due out in August.

2. Clairo - "Sofia"

Last week Clairo unveiled "Sofia," the third and final single from her debut album, Immunity, which is out today. "Sofia," with its musical nods to The Strokes and dense production helmed by Rostam, is a song that feels like a natural evolution for an artist like Clairo, who found her beginning in twee, laptop pop and developed into a fully fleshed-out indie rock act. Immunity demonstrates that despite her rapid launch to viral fame, Clairo is committed to honing her sound and, more importantly, she's carved a space for herself and she's here to stay.

3. Sleater-Kinney - "Can I Go On"

The rollout for the new Sleater-Kinney album (and its accompanying drama since drummer Janet Weiss recently left the band) doesn't show signs of quieting down. The forthcoming and polarizing S-K album (entitled Hurry On Home) was produced by Annie Clarke of St. Vincent and is slotted for release on August 16th via Mom+Pop. The band has already shared the title track and second cut called "The Future Is Here," and this week, they've dropped the album's third single, "Can I Go On." The new song grapples with the paradox of modern ennui—a society in which everyone is simultaneously feeling too tired to go on and too wired from all of the casual productivity-inducing stimulants that help propel them through the day. The Center Won't Hold is out 8/16 via Mom+Pop.

4. Pom Pom Squad - "Honeysuckle"

Pom Pom Squad is made up Mia Berrin, Mari Alé Figelman, Shelby Keller, and Ethan Sass, and together they create grungy rock that burns with defiance while wearing its heart on its sleeve. Back in May, the NYC-based four-piece announced their sophomore EP, Ow, with lead single "Heavy Heavy" and this week, they've shared a second song called "Honeysuckle." "Honeysuckle" kicks off with a weighty bass-line and a scuzzy, '90s-inspired guitar line before Mia Berrin's gravel-dipped-in-honey vocals cut through the noise, as she thinks out loud: "If I'm nothing without you, am I anything at all?" Sounding both vintage and contemporary is not an easy balance to strike, but Pom Pom Squad does it well and leaves you wanting more.

5. Field Mouse - "Black Hole, Son"

Field Mouse is gearing up to release their third full-length record, Meaning, on August 16th via Topshelf records. Last month, they shared the luminous lead single, "Heart of Gold," followed by "In Blue," and today they're back with a new track called "Black Hole, Son." Despite its punny title, "Black Hole, Son" is more concerned with the inevitable end of the world than your average Soundgarden hit. Though much of songs on Meaning are tangled up in catastrophe, Field Mouse manage to find and convey a sense of peace through their warm, airy melodies and brightly infectious songs.

A bit about the track from guitarist, vocalist, and lead writer Rachel Browne:

"['Black Hole, Son'] is about a vision of the end of the world in something catastrophic, like a black hole. The verses deal with more earthly feelings of solitude and relationship tension, things which seem ridiculous when set against total annihilation. It is about going back and forth between fretting over micro things like social anxiety and freaking out about the literal end of the world."

The Brooklyn-and-Philly-based indie rock group (anchored by founding members Rachel Browne and Andrew Futral) has grown recently to include Saysha Heinzman, Tim McCoy, and Zoe Browne. Their particular brand of sometimes-scroungy-and-sometimes-spacious-but-always-melodic dream pop sounds fully fleshed out and more determined than ever before.



6. Jadu Heart - "Whitefang"

Jadu Heart's latest offering, "Whitefang" is as if the synesthetic experience of I-Tunes visualizer were sonified. It's a collage of airy synths, propulsive vocals, and kaleidoscope instrumentation morphs together and erupts into a cathartic breakdown. "Whitefang" offers an exhilarating preview of the young duo's debut album, Melt Away, set for release 8/16.

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7. Baby Shakes - "Nowhere Fast"

Scrappy, catchy, and a little rough around the edges, Baby Shakes' new single, "Nowhere Fast," is an irresistible slice of garage pop filled to the brim with boppy vocals, surfy drumming, and scroungy guitar riffs. The NYC garage punks recently announced a new LP, Cause a Scene, due out 9/20.