The enigmatic singer spoke to Popdust about the creative process behind the "post-genre" sound of her latest record, I Disagree.
Despite introducing herself countless times in one of her first viral videos, the Internet spent 5 years trying to figure out who Poppy really was. The enigmatic singer, performance artist, graphic novelist, and church leader (born Moriah Pereira) has wielded ambiguity in savvy and eerie ways throughout her artistic career, creating a pastel-hued cult of mystery surrounding her multimedia Poppy project since 2015. Returning with a new "post-genre" sound that melds together shades of industrial rock, nu-metal, and ethereal hyper-pop, Poppy put out her third studio album, I Disagree, back in January. She's never been beholden to a singular sound or character, and her latest project showcases this ability to evolve as she expands her Poppy-verse to new dimensions in one of her most emboldened metamorphoses yet.
Take the music video for the album's title track, "I Disagree," which stars Poppy wreaking havoc at a roundtable of record label execs as she sings about apocalyptic ends and new beginnings. "We'll be safe and sound / when it all burns down," she chimes in a crystalline chorus amid a swarm of doomy guitar riffs before the shot closes on her overlooking a mass of flaming bodies. Despite the seemingly macabre visuals, this song—like many of the others on the album—is as much about asserting oneself against oppressive forces as it is about regrowth in the face of chaos. Out of the ashes is born a new version of Poppy, adding another layer to her evolving mythology.
On I Disagree, Poppy navigates between ethereal vocal passages before launching into thunderous, nu-metal breakdowns. This jolt in momentum can be dizzying at times but on the whole a lot of fun to listen to and definitely a refreshing break from the poptimism direction many singers are heading towards. Her alt and nu-metal influences are detectable enough: Rammstein, Marilyn Manson, and Nine Inch Nails, and even metalcore bands like Norma Jean come to mind. Poppy has been vocal about these influences in interviews, but she also prefers to refer to her latest record as "post-genre" rather than boxing it in as a "metal record." Her ability to navigate between different sounds and styles is an impressive showcase of range, which shouldn't be surprising coming from an artist who has in the past explored everything from synth-pop (on 2017's Poppy.Computer) to heady dark-pop on 2018's followup, Am I A Girl?
But one of the most compelling aspects of Poppy's career is that she'll never lift the veil too high. In an age when almost no personal detail of a celebrity is withheld from audiences, it can be refreshing to see a star who embraces these elements of spectacle, persona, and mystique. Like Marilyn Manson and David Bowie, Poppy is a master of world-building and theatrics. Though Poppy was once notorious for staying in character during interviews, she's since opened up to show her most human side yet.
Enter Poppy's uncanny valley corner of Youtube. Poppy's videos quickly made her an Internet sensation, garnering millions of views on videos like the "I'm Poppy" clip (which now has over 23 million views). She would go on to steadily release a slew of mesmerizing, often A.I.-esque videos that left people equal parts intrigued and freaked out. Is she a computer? A cult leader? The Warhol of Youtube? A surrealist performance artist pulling off an elaborate stunt to critique the pop machine? Well, as she already told us: She's Poppy.
Poppy began to shed her robo-humanoidism aesthetic on "X", the closer to her 2018 album, Am I A Girl? (the sonic embodiment of her former sugary-pop sound meeting a nu-metal sensibility). She also fleshed out these darker, moodier tendencies of Nine Inch Nails-esque rock on her 2019 EP, Choke, which was released on Diplo's Mad Decent label.
The Poppy mythology grew more entangled when she made a public statement parting ways with former collaborator Titanic Sinclair (real name: Corey Mixter), whom she was involved with in the Mars Argo lawsuit. The lawsuit is perhaps alluded to on the track "Anything Like Me," where Poppy sings fairly straight-forward lyrics such as, "I'm everything she never was / Now everyone's out for my blood" etcetera. Although Sinclair did contribute to the album and is credited on a few songs, Poppy's decision to sever ties reflects a new chapter in her artistic career, as she invariably moves towards more autonomy and control over her own sound and direction. She's also no longer working with some of the major labels that she's worked with in the past. Instead she put out I Disagree through the metal label Sumerian Records and is set to tour in support of Deftones in the summer of 2020.
I spoke to Poppy in February over the phone before she headed to perform her Boston show on the I Disagree tour. Read our conversation below.
POPDUST: So I know you're on tour right now. How has it been playing the new songs from I Disagree live?
POPPY: Great! I'm having a lot of fun, and I've been waiting to be able to do this because I have had a lot of the songs for a while, so it's great to finally be able to play it.
I saw that you've been playing a cover of the T.A.T.U song "All The Things She Said," which is incredible. What drew you to that song?
Thank you. That song has been a favorite of mine and I feel like it fit amongst the other songs very well.
In your own words, how would you describe the new sound on the album?
Well, I just call it post-genre, that's what I've been using. It's not any specific genre, as you can tell from the record, so I'd say that's the best descriptor.
When you started out creating I Disagree, did your vision for the album retain its shape throughout the process or did it go through a few different evolutions as you went along?
I just went into the process with an open mind, and I wanted to make an album with no rules, and I think we did that, and that's I Disagree. No rules.
In interviews you've mentioned that this album has a lot of different sonic influences, from Marilyn Manson to Trent Reznor to Madonna. What kinds of bands did you like to listen to growing up?
Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, No Doubt, Blondie: I was very drawn to all of them.
I wanted to ask you about the song "BLOODMONEY" and the themes you explore on that surrounding religion. Throughout your career as Poppy, I've noticed that, while your sound grows with each album, these themes surrounding religion and/or devotion continue to crop up. Are you attracted to the aesthetic or visual elements surrounding religion?
I think some religion is fascinating, but [I] also think that people can follow blindly without asking questions. I think any religion needs to be questioned at times, and I think it's fascinating to analyze, but I don't subscribe to any one in particular.
Can you expand on what you were hoping to explore on "Bloodmoney"?
It's about hypocritical people that are a different way behind the curtain [and] which things are a lot darker behind the scenes and behind the curtain, so that's what I'm expressing.
Speaking of addressing people, the video for "I Disagree" seems to have a pretty clear message towards the established music industry. What kinds of changes would you like to see within the music industry?
That's definitely a complex question, but I don't think there's a ton that can be done in the immediate future because certain people are in positions of power that won't let ideas come through. But I think whenever you mix art and business, there's going to be compromise, and I just feel fortunate that I'm in this position where I don't need to compromise.
While making I Disagree, did you feel like you were in a position where you had more control over what you were creating?
Yeah, absolutely. It was shown to industry people after it was completed, so at that point I didn't take into account anyone's opinion because it was already done. So I did have complete control over it.
"Nothing I Need" appears to preach a kind of minimalism within a pretty sonically maximalist album. Is that something you intended?
It serves more as an interlude on the album. I wouldn't say it was intentional that it was minimal, but it allows the listener a second to breathe, because it is a lot of information as an album as a whole. The message is just being okay with being okay, and it doesn't mean settling by any means; it just means you're accepting things for what they are and things that end...you're okay with it. You're okay with starting over, and maybe things you thought you always wanted are actually things you don't need.
With this new chapter, do you ever feel like you are leaving behind your previous Poppy persona or perhaps evolving into a completely different person?
Evolution. I wouldn't say I'm leaving anything behind, because I think if I was to stay consistently the same it would be really boring, and I get bored really easily.
In terms of what's next on the horizon, I saw that you have another graphic novel coming out. Can you tell me a bit about that and how you got into that medium?
Yeah, I have been always drawn to it, and it just felt like the right time when we launched Genesis I, my graphic novel that came out before my first release. And yeah, I'm really excited for Poppy's Inferno because it comes out in July, and it'll have an album that you can play along while you read it.
- Poppy, "I Disagree" and the Modern Definitions of Fame | 25YL ›
- The Big Read – Poppy: Human After All, the NME interview ›
- Poppy Explains 'I Disagree': 'I've Never Said My Music Is Metal' ›
- How Poppy Learned to Say No on "I Disagree" - PAPER ›
- Poppy promotes empowerment, explores developed sound on 'I ... ›
"Estrangers" is a groovy slice of dream-pop that unfurls in wonderfully unexpected ways.
Patience is a powerful tool wielded by Brooklyn dream-pop outfit No Vacation.
Over the last few years the band has been working on a collection of songs comprising their forthcoming EP, Phasing. During that time they've discovered new ways of rounding out their once jangly, surf-tinged sound. This evolution is no better showcased than in their new single, "Estrangers" which weaves together elements of bossa-nova rhythms, Romantic-era strings arrangements, and ethereal guitar work. Today, No Vacation are sharing Phasing's first cut, "Estrangers," which Popdust has the pleasure of premiering.
No Vacation is made up of Sab Mai, Nat Lee, and Harrison Spencer. Since disbanding and then coming back together under a new name in 2017 and relocating from San Francisco to Brooklyn, No Vacation has undergone several transformations but have maintained their same lineup––and you can certainly hear this close bond in their new music. Their upcoming EP is the culmination of moving, learning, growing, and ultimately phasing into a new sound. No longer beholden to a single genre, No Vacation is leaning into the creative experimentations hinted at on previous releases such as 2017's Intermission EP. "Estrangers"—in all of its nostalgic, emotionally-cutting glory—has the band delivering on their most instrumentally dynamic, genre-bending potential yet.
"Estrangers" opens bright and wavy, with a bittersweet sense of nostalgia lingering just below the surface. A warm guitar groove drifts effortlessly over Sab Mai's calm lilt before a cello portion unfolds in the song's final third, transcending the subdued, dreamlike quality of the composition. It's an instrumentally dynamic track that never loses its composure; reminiscent of the sounds of Stereolab. Hearkening back to the shoegaze-y influences that marked the band's earlier work while leaning into new experimentations, "Estrangers" is a groovy slice of dream-pop that unfurls in wonderfully unexpected ways. Listen below.
Phasing is due out October 18th via Topshelf Records. You can pre-save here.
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With its psychedelic groove and rich production style, Kid Bloom's latest release is a truly infectious display of the rising musician's star power.
With its psychedelic groove and rich production style, Kid Bloom's latest single and music video is a truly infectious display of the rising musician's star power.
"EVRWNDR" is a vibey cut off of Kid Bloom's recently released Lemondhead EP––a collection of six tracks that offers his most refined sound yet as the follow-up to his 2017 LP, A Long Kiss Goodbye. Today, Popdust has the pleasure of premiering the new track's music video.
Working under the moniker Kid Bloom, LA-based musician Lennon Kloser has been steadily churning out lushly arranged tunes that fuse together psych and indie pop to create an instantly captivating sound. Recently, he's come into a fully-realized psych-pop sound rounded out by more intricate arrangements and instrumental experimentation. On "EVRWNDR," Kloser's rich vocals resonate over a dreamy swirl of synths, as a robust drum beat drives the track forward. It's one of the more vulnerable tracks on the EP, showcasing Kloser's lyrical and sonic range.
The Jack Begert-directed video finds Kloser in what appears to be waking up from a bad dream, or at the very least a pretty rough night. Set against the neon glow of a house party, the visuals focus on Kloser sitting alone amongst the crowd. Inspired by Kloser's "hypersensitivity to emotions," "EVRWNDR" explores how alienating and paralyzing our emotions can render us.
Here's what Kloser had to say about the video: "Jack (director) and I were sitting on top of my roof smoking a joint one day when we came up with the concept for this video. I always loved Goosebumps when I was younger, so the visuals and mystery throughout the video was inspired by my love for the series."
Watch and listen to "EVRWNDR" below:
The alt-pop star's latest offering is her most vulnerable work yet.
Since releasing her debut EP, Ungodly, in 2018, BAUM (aka Sabrina Teitelbaum) has found success in subverting our expectations.
You might already know the rising alt-pop star for her latest DGAF-minded single, "F*ckboy," a fun and flashy track that shined with defiant energy and a brightly colored music video to match. "F*ckboy" flipped the switch on our gendered perception of sexual deviance and positioned Baum as a force to be reckoned with.
This week, BAUM returns with a new single and music video for "Bad Kid." Her latest offering presents a softer and more vulnerable side than we've ever seen before, laying bare the struggles of navigating guilt, grief, and loneliness as she sings, "I didn't care when you still were around / Why did it take 'til you're six in the ground? / To say that I'm sorry for the things that went down."
A bit about the song from BAUM herself: "This song is about grieving, and regardless of how many people you have around you, you feel completely alone when you're going through that. We just wanted to capture that idea in a beautiful place. It was a slightly dangerous experience - the doors almost flew off our car at one point and then the car broke down on the side of a mountain at night - but it was the most amazing week of my life."
To match the song's theme, the Marcella-Cytrynowicz-directed video for "Bad Kid" was filmed on location in the otherworldly, remote landscape of Iceland. The icy, unforgiving backdrop of the tundra further drives home BAUM's feeling of alienation and despair.
Popdust had the opportunity to talk to BAUM about her new single and video, her creative process, and what we can expect next from the mind of Sabrina Teitelbaum.
Watch the video for "Bad Kid" and read our conversation below.
What was the process behind creating "Bad Kid"?
Very unexpected and very emotional. I had no intention of writing this song, so I was super caught off guard and kind of overwhelmed in the moment. It was a pretty quick process—we wrote it in a couple of hours, and the production was done within a couple weeks. I guess it was a heavy but cathartic process, overall.
The landscape for this video is pretty remarkable. How did you decide on a location, and how does the Icelandic terrain factor into the song's message?
Marcella had been there shooting a couple months prior, and she showed me the video she did. When you go up the coast a couple hours from Reykjavic, Iceland starts looking like another planet. It's freezing and quiet and beautiful, but, most importantly, very empty. We wanted to go somewhere that really captured the loneliness in the song.
Who did you work with on this video?
Marcella Cytrynowicz directed it, and Gus Bendinelli shot it. It was a VERY small group of us who went.
Do your new songs, "Bad Kid" and "F*ckboy," feel like a continuation of your debut EP, Ungodly, or an entirely new chapter?
Totally new chapter. This music feels so, so different to me. I wrote the first project when I was 18 and still in school, and I'm 22 now. Life has been absolutely wild in the last couple years, and it would've been impossible for me not to change dramatically. Not even change, just like grow up, I guess. I feel like a different person, so the music is definitely going to reflect that.
A lot of your songs subvert the typical narratives surrounding relationships and gender dynamics. What's been your experience exploring those ideas? What are some of the reactions you've gotten to your music?
Exploring those ideas through music has been a really great experience for me and has helped solidify my confidence. I think I've always rejected traditional ideas of gender and sexuality to a certain extent, but I hadn't really talked about it until I started writing about it. It's one thing to have your opinions and think about heavy topics, and it's another thing to publish your opinions to the world. It was definitely scary at first, but the reactions have been really positive, and I'm grateful for that.
How does the idea of loneliness factor into your music?
Oh, dude, that's the whole thing. I think that's the feeling everyone is always trying to escape. If I never dealt with loneliness, I don't think I would have anything to write about.
Who are some artists that you've always dreamed of playing with?
There are so many artists I've dreamed of playing shows with, and I'm a little embarrassed to answer that, but I will say I'm a big fan of a lot of new music coming out right now. The new Blood Orange record is amazing, Caroline Polachek's singles are on repeat, Daniel Caesar's album, etc.
What's next for Baum? What can we expect on your sophomore release?
This project is going to be very different from the last project. I'm experimenting a lot with song structure, so there will probably be a bunch of weird songs on there. I think I just trimmed a lot of the bullshit and don't really have space for stuff that isn't 100% true to me. I also want to play some shows soon, so hopefully that'll happen in the next six months or so.
New music from Clairo, Brockhampton, Sleater-Kinney and more!
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.
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.
Featuring new songs from Pabllo Vittar, Chance the Rapper, Rico Nasty and more!
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.
1. Pabllo Vittar - "Flash Pose" (Feat. Charli XCX)
Brazilian singer, songwriter and drag performer Pabllo Vittar tapped Charli XCX for a new song called "Flash Pose," a fun and clubby cut about looking really hot and posing for pictures––and feeling confident while doing it. As was to be expected coming from two of pop's biggest icons, "Flash Pose" sounds instantly infectious. The last time Charli XCX and Pabllo Vittar put out a song together, it was for Charli XCX'S 2017 excellent album Pop II on the song "I Got It"––you know, the one that goes, "I got it, I got it, I got it, I got it, I got it" ad infinitum.
2. Chance the Rapper - "Do You Remember" (Feat. Ben Gibbard)
Reader, the day is here. Chance the Rapper just dropped his long-awaited official debut album, which features a whole host of guest appearances from Bon Iver to Nicki Minaj to Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard. As a veritable Death Cab fanatic and Chance the Rapper enthusiast, this is the collaboration I never asked for but absolutely needed.
"Do You Remember," is a nostalgia trip of a groove where Chance wistfully raps about past summer memories and features Ben Gibbard's distinct, melancholic voice on the chorus: "Do you remember how when you were younger / The summers all lasted forever? / Days disappeared into months, into years / Hold that feeling forever." At this point, I will forgive BG for never putting out the other Postal Service album he promised. Some ideas for a future supergroup include: Chance Cab For Cutie. Alternatively, Death Chance The Rapper.
3. White Reaper - "Real Long Time"
White Reaper is gearing up to put out their fourth album after recently signing to Elektra Records. A few months ago, the Louisville rockers shared the forthcoming album's first single "Might Be Right," which marked the band's first new music since 2017's The World's Best American Band, and this week they unveiled a new power-pop track called "Real Long Time."
While the guitar tones on the new songs can lean into '80s rock revivalism, both "Might Be Right" and "Real Long Time" show White Reaper continuing to hone their instantly recognizable brand of flashy, energetic power-pop—both vintage and novel—by blending together garage rock scuzz and Thin-Lizzy-approved riffage.
4. Rico Nasty - "Time Flies"
Hot on the heels of her latest project with Kenny Beats (Anger Management), Rico Nasty is back with a new track, and this time she's adopted a (slightly) pared-down vibe from her usual rapid-fire style verses. Her new song, "Time Flies," is a little less incensed and shows off a more melodic approach, with Nasty waxing introspective on a sing-songy hook: "I don't wanna be on the ground when the time flies / Had so many friends goin' / Wonder when it's my time / I live every day like I'll die by the night time / It took me so long getting back to my right mind."
5. Loving - "Vision"
This week, Canadian indie rock trio Loving unveiled a new single called "Visions" via Last Gang Records. Loving is made up of David Parry, Lucas Henderson, and Jesse Henderson, and together they create lovely, easy-going tunes that pair well with the sunny stretches of late July afternoons or aimless drives. On "Visions," drowsy guitar slides and warm acoustic strumming take shape around soft percussion as Jesse Henderson muses about the "strange prison" of how we envision our futures.
6 + 7. Caroline Polachek - "Parachute" and "Ocean of Tears"
Last month, Caroline Polacheck (formerly of Chairlift) shared "Door," the first single she's released officially under her name, marking both a return and a new beginning. Polachek previously put out songs under the moniker Ramona Lisa and went on to explore more ambient territory in CEP before shifting to her latest project. This week, Polachek followed up "Door" with two new songs: the sparse slow-burner "Parachute" and the pulsating, R&B-tinged "Ocean of Tears."
8. Palm Haze - "Almost Soon"
Vancouver-via-Brazil shoegaze duo Palm Haze released a new track today called "Almost Soon," which comes off of their upcoming album Rêve Bleu (out August 30th via YHS Records). With a sound that's reminiscent of gaze-y heavyweights like My Bloody Valentine, "Almost Soon" is a stunning display of control of texture as the band strikes the perfect (maybe even Lynchian) balance between sounding heavy and dreamlike. Vocalist/bassist Anna Wagner's cool-toned voice curls around waves of anesthetic, foggy distortion as she assures the listener: "Whatever you do, whatever you say, it's okay."
9. Germano - "Lost Crowd"
Brazilian-born pop artist Germano isn't sure of what the future may hold, but he's taking it in stride. Today he's sharing his first single, "Lost Crowd," a moody electro-pop tale that reckons with feeling lost and finding comfort in the unknown and celebrates the beauty of contradiction. The song kicks off with Germano's magnetic vocals and eases into a lush swirl of electronic instrumentation and settles into a laidback chorus that perfectly balances Germano's introspective lyrics with the song's wistful melody. The song is accompanied by cinematic visuals featuring Germano and three others dressed in matching white t-shirts and jeans as they go through synchronized acts of hanging out in empty loft apartments and parks. Germano's debut EP is expected out later this year.
10. Alexander Noice - "Affectation"
Alexander Noice wears many hats; the LA-based composer, guitarist, producer, and bandleader is known for his experimental, often genre-defying compositions that dip into minimalist art-rock and jazz. His latest, "Affectation" welcomes you into Noice's eclectic menagerie of sounds through a flurry of layered of vocals and eerie harmonies—the result is wholly mesmerizing. Alexander Noice's forthcoming LP, Noice, is out August 23rd.