5. Corvair Are Bound To Be Throwing Shade
Two years on from their well-received debut album, Portland-based indie pop band Corvair are back this week with news of a second offering, Bound To Be, which will arrive next month. The husband/wife duo of Heather Larimer and Brian Naubert, alongside drummer, Mike Musburger, Corvair are musical veterans having released somewhere in the region of twenty albums between them. Bound To Be was written, “among the rubble of what’s happened in the last couple of years”, taking the chance to dig deeper, explore honesty, and, “write things we’d never been able to write before”. Ahead of the release, this week the band shared the second single from the record, Shady Town.
Although released on the cusp of Spring turning into Summer, Shady Town is a reflection on an altogether different season as Heather explains, “the Pacific Northwest brings you to your knees right about February, when you haven’t seen dry streets or sunlight for months”. The song was written in a moment of daydreaming, “we were losing our minds and fantasizing about escaping. We’ve been on some major cross-country drives in our lives, so we just created a Dada collage of odd road trip details against a sleazy guitar riff”. And what a sleazy guitar riff it is! It swaggers through the song like the lovechild of The Stooges and Veruca Salt, before briefly making way to the gorgeously harmonic call-off-the-road chorus, before it saunters back in wearing dark shades on a cloudy Pacific Northwest day like it thinks it’s Steve McQueen or something. Start your engine and hit the road, Corvair are leaving the clouds behind and whatever is bound to be, well let’s just go ahead and let it be.
Bound To Be is out June 23rd via Where It’s At Is Where You Are / Paper Walls. For more information on Corvair visit https://www.corvairband.com/
4. Consider Me An Avid Fan of Faunas
A city known more for politicians than musicians, Faunas were formed in Washington DC in 2018 by Genevieve Ludwig and Erin McCarley, “as a cathartic release from more serious, subdued projects”. They started off playing fast-fuzzy punk, before slowly mellowing into their current form, where acoustic instruments are layered with dark tones of guitar and synth, allowing the pair to explore wherever their songwriting takes them. With a new EP, Paint The Birds, due out in June, this week the pair shared the first single from it, Avid.
Having made her name as a member of Big Hush, Genevieve’s vocals really come into their own on Avid, a song of hazy memories, the subtle grit in her vocal contrasting the angelic swell of the backing, nodding to both the super-group-de-jour, Boy Genius and the timeless alt-pop of the Breeders. Lyrically, the track draws on classic commitment issues, the sense of an opportunity being missed writ large as Genevieve sings, “boy you were the last of your kind, all I wanted was for you to try, and you wanted me to call you mine”. There’s something special here in this open-book lyrical emotion and sticky instrumental hooks, a pop band refusing to be constrained by any notions of what is expected of one, Faunas just made themselves the very definition of ones to watch.
Paint The Birds is out June 20th. For more information on Faunas visit https://faunas.bandcamp.com/.
3. Angelo De Augustine Has His Eyes On The Skys
After the break-out success of 2019’s Tomb, and the inevitable heightened attention of his 2021 collaboration with Sufjan Stevens, A Beginner’s Mind, Angelo De Augustine could certainly be forgiven for needing a moment to take stock and take a breath. With that in mind, he retreated into the self-contained approach of his first two albums, spending three years working entirely alone, letting his mind run wild, including a disturbing period of, “otherworldly sensations and supernatural visions”, which threatened to derail the project entirely. Thankfully he got through that, “I had to take myself out of reality in order to try to understand reality”, and his fourth album Toil and Trouble was born. With the record due out next month, this week Angelo shared the latest single from it, The Ballad of Betty and Barney Hill.
Lifting its title from a famous UFO incident, The Ballad Of Betty and Barney Hill explores an alien encounter experienced by a couple in New Hampshire in 1961. After his own otherworldly experience, Angelo was drawn to their story, “when we experience something that doesn’t make logical sense, the mind looks to conjure any explanation…we appear to crave understanding. Perhaps it makes us feel safe”. While imbued with a certain amount of mysterious electronic pulses, for the most part the track feels like natural progress for Angelo, the grounding organic quality of the acoustic guitar and bassy pulse just about succeeding in tethering the almost trip-hop-influenced electric guitars and Angelo’s heavenly vocals to the soil. Toil and Trouble is a record that’s both disconnected from the world and entirely informed by it, an escapist counterpoint to the madness of our everyday reality, Angelo has created a recorded world to explore, and if you’re not careful you might never want to leave.
Toil And Trouble is out June 30th via Asthmatic Kitty. For more information on Angelo De Augustine visit https://angelodeaugustine.com/
2. Stephen Steinbrink’s Shimmering New Single
Somewhat remarkably it has been five years since the world last heard from the acclaimed Oakland-based musician, Stephen Steinbrink. That was around the release of 2018’s Utopia Teased, the culmination of a decade of relentless touring and recording, and a point where Stephen felt it was time to re-orient himself entirely. He took an internship making stained glass, spent three years restoring the 90-year-old windows of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and started monastic training in the Buddhist faith, all while occasionally stepping back into music to produce other people’s songs. It’s quite the sabbatical, but one that eventually began to fade, and songwriting began again, Stephen recalling how, “I slowly began writing for myself again, I tried to imbue my new songs with this sense of playfulness and wonder I felt while exploring these other interests”. The result is his upcoming album Disappearing Coin, which he previewed this week with the record’s first single, Opalescent Ribbon.
The track came to Stephen after he persuaded a friend to let him hide out in his recording studio, “I slept on the floor for six weeks, counted dust bunnies, and waited for songs“. It was written in collaboration with Paul Frunzi of Ever Ending Kicks, “our method was to drink coffee at midnight and write together, overlaying melodies onto repetitive rhythms and improvised drones“, and once it was done they celebrated as anyone would, “we watched the classic George Miller 1998 psychedelic masterpiece “Babe” Pig in the City“. The resultant track is both reminiscent of Stephen’s previous work, and wonderfully fresh, as an almost Motorik-beat is overlain with buzzing synth, and stunning layered vocal harmonies before the voices give away to a descending piano motif, quietly magnificent in its complete simplicity, and then it just ends, and you instantly want to press play again. Disappearing Coin is already feeling like a hugely welcome return, an artist taking their time to explore the world, following, “the various musical threads that dropped in front of my face“, and making something from them that’s all the more magical for how unhurried it feels.
Disappearing Coin is out August 18th via Western Vinyl. For more information on Stephen Steinbrink visit https://linktr.ee/stephensteinbrink.
1. Listen To Locate S,1 And You’ll Be Right About At Least One Thing
Based out of the ever-fertile musical soils of Athens, Georgia, Locate S,1 is the ‘difficult to know how you’re meant to say that name’ solo project of Christina Schneider. The project emerged back in 2018 with the release of Christina’s excellent debut, Healing Contest, while further acclaim came her way on 2020’s Personalia. Having previously co-produced with her partner, Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, Christina approached her next step determined to take the lead and make a record entirely in her own image. The result is Wicked Jaw, the third Locate S,1 album, set for release in July via Captured Tracks. This week Christina marked the record announcement by sharing the first track from it, You Were Right About One Thing.
Wicked Jaw was written at something of a turning point for Christina. During this two-year period, she was undergoing treatment for the trauma of childhood sexual assault, whilst navigating the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, somehow coming out with a record that’s surprisingly positive, “I was using these songs as an expression valve for all of these different parts (of myself) that I was trying to integrate”. The record’s opening track, You Were Right About One Thing dives straight in, exploring how, “the deepest psychic injuries can come from a lover that you trust more than you trust yourself”. It exists in the murky middle ground of, “resentment and gratitude“, trying to find your own truth through untangling the two. Musically, the track is a beautiful amalgam of sounds, swooping Fleetwood Mac-like harmonies meet an-almost doo-wop shimmy, as Christina belies the breezy pop sound by a surprisingly compassionate takedown of an ex-lover who treated her badly, and his possibly fictional new beau, “hope she doesn’t burn quite like I do, wrote all my worst fears down when I conjured you”. Ultimately this is a song that knows for all their misdeeds her ex wasn’t the one who created the patterns that plague her love life, Christina does want the best for them, and also for herself, to break the cycle and find true happiness. It’s hard to image a record that could come from a darker headspace than Wicked Jaw, yet by trying to process the events of her life, by taking the time to live amongst them, Christina has taken Locate S,1 to new highs. It takes a touch of magic to make the darkness shine so brightly, this album might just be remarkable.
Wicked Jaw is out July 28th via Captured Tracks. For more information on Locate S,1 visit https://locates1.com/.
Header photo is Locate S,1 by Ebru Yildiz