It's the April edition of Listen Up! Our monthly list of hot n' ready new releases from artists we think you should know. Scroll through for our take on what's good and listen to a conveniently curated playlist. Play loud.
By Luke Graves
Chrome Sparks – Chrome Sparks
Chrome Sparks’ eponymous studio album releases this month via Counter Records, and the debut-de-force from producer/percussionist Jeremy Malvin is not to be missed. Malvin’s latest project is a lush electro-beat exploration that perfectly underscores synthesized confessions of unrequited love and longing for meaningful relations in our increasingly isolated, “always-connected” world. Oscillating from Tangerine Dream-like mood pieces to upbeat, tropical club bangers and back, Chrome Sparks’ romantic vision of the future (and present) is fortunately less Blade Runner and more Close Encounters of the Human Kind.
Chrome Sparks released on April 13 via Counter Records.
Twin Shadow – Caer
“I was in the back room, dreaming out loud before I found you, I was stuck on that phone call, Tom Petty-waiting on a free fall,” confides George Lewis Jr. on “Brace,” the third single from his forthcoming record under the Twin Shadow moniker. With Caer, meaning “to fall,” our modern-day Icarus documents his descent in meticulously-crafted pop perfection—autotuned nocturnes detail overconfident one-night stands and glossy ballads are dedicated to fiery bouts of self-destructive behavior. Twin Shadow’s timeless brand of “forever music” is present throughout and is perhaps most evident on the album’s first single, “Saturdays.” The moonstruck track features HAIM lending sun-kissed harmonies and shimmering guitar riffs over a springy bassline, as Lewis’ increasing urgency around a fleeting love forms the soundtrack to our own personal grapples with gravity.
Caer releases on April 27 via Warner Bros. and Reprise Records.
Caroline Rose – Loner
Her first album released under Nashville’s own New West Records, Caroline Rose’s Loner trades in the folksy roots-rock sound of records past for synthesizers and charismatic pop anthems on modernity, accidental pregnancies, and the angst of adulthood. Hailing from Center Moriches, New York—only an hour and a half from New York City—Rose seems to have embraced both the suburban boredom of small-town life and the electric energy of her nearby metropolis. On Loner, the colorful queen of “Schizodrift” buoyantly bounces between feminist surf-rock anthems, soulful synth-pop, and introspective reflections on death, all with a breezy confidence, self-awareness, and sense of humor that draws comparison to the works of Wayne White and Wes Anderson.
Loner released on February 23 via New West Records.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Sex & Food
Stripping away all of the romanticism surrounding 2015’s Multi-Love, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Sex & Food skins the human condition down to its most skeletal elements in more than title alone. On UMO’s fourth studio album, New Zealand native Ruban Nielson sketches lo-fi depictions of one person’s individual experience in The Age of Anxiety. Erratically transmuting between genres, from the group’s signature psychedelic musings to R&B (“Hunnybee”), rock (“American Guilt”), and disco (“Everyone Acts Crazy Nowadays”), Sex & Food offers an intimate glimpse into Nielson’s own fractured psyche, landing somewhere between a phantasmagoric acid trip and a full-blown panic attack.
Sex & Food released on April 6 via Jagjaguwar.
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Luke Graves is a latchkey printmaker and occasional writer of words based in Nashville. See more from Luke, here.
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