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PREMIERE: Tall Juan further explores global sounds on "Irene," new album out 5.11

The music of Queens-based musician Tall Juan frequently eludes genre-descriptors, ever the joyful amalgamation of sounds contemporary and classic, performed in a manner that’s wholly unique. His new single “Irene” is representative of this wide-breadth of influences; a freak-folk instrumental provides the backbone for a modern interpretation of Caetano Veloso’s 1969 track, wherein Juan Zaballa’s vox leaps and bounds with energy reminiscent of his previous garage-rock efforts, albeit this time decidedly more acoustic. Such an approach is demonstrative of Zaballa’s ethos for his forthcoming LP Atlantico, a collage of differing sounds and languages that ultimately pays tribute to the influence of African music in South America. Give it a listen below, ahead of Atlantico’s release next week on May 11th. Photo by Matthew James-Wilson

 

   

Jack Symes looks to the heavens in new video "Cool God"

If there were ever a time to question the wholly unjust nature of our universe, it would be the last two months — thankfully, New York songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jack Symes provides a pleasant downtempo indie meditation on the unfairness of our current pandemic via new video “Cool God.” Over mellow muted chords and easygoing percussion, Symes’ nasally vox questions the decision-making process of our Creator, asking at the track’s beginning, “do you ever look down below at your children in sorrow, and think ‘what have you done?’” Symes continues to parse recommendations to the Great I Am, including but not limited to having a smoke and sharing a “cold one” with the various angels and saints. It’s through this irreverent narration that Symes hits on a note many of us our likely thinking — something to the extent of “Jesus Christ, could we get a break for once?” — albeit communicated in laid-back manner that may provide a necessary, chill reprieve from the hyper-seriousness of the present. Watch it below.

   

Hennessey ponder if greed is good on "(Let's Pretend) It's the 80s"

If you’ve ever met a person who’s watched American Psycho or The Wolf of Wall Street so many times that he begins to admire the main character, Manhattan dance punk group Hennessey has a song for you. New track “(Let’s Pretend) It’s the 80s” is a new wave-infused bop, brimming with Talking Heads-like guitar work and scaled back synth that are deftly interwoven, yet feel minimalistic in comparison to principal songwriter (and band namesake) Leah Hennessey’s larger-than-life vocal performance. While the single is propelled by singable hooks and a concise format, its glitzy production is a shiny veneer for the track’s disapproval of wonton greed — amid its various grooving parts, bitingly sardonic lyricism abounds (“let’s love like we love money”). That being said, parts of the track resonate as a simultaneous satirization, and celebration, of the Reagan Years, wholeheartedly leaning into a vintage aesthetic while presenting contemporary nostalgia as white washing the decade’s unsavory elements. In all it makes for a brutally clever ear worm, one that Patrick Bateman would likely describe as “a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics — but they should.” Stream it below. —Connor Beckett McInerney, Photo by Mike Martinez

   

Matt Evans maintains percussive composure on "New Topographics," live stream 5.1

Listening to New Topographics, the latest full length by Brooklyn drummer and composer Matt Evans, is oddly reminiscent of the experience of watching an ASMR YouTube video; it’s various percussive textures and cool synths are tactile and tingle-inducing, yet the timbre rarely rises above that of a whisper. This muted quality is what makes Evans’ most recent effort the alluring record that it is, a space wherein the artist deftly navigates quietude drum-first, ever heightening the energy through polyrhythmic breaks and employing electronic instrumentals in a manner that compliment, yet never overshadow his rhythm-forward approach. Standout tracks “Spinning Blossoms” and “Jaich Maa” well demonstrate this interweaving of elements, evocative of the ambient artists like Hiroshi Yoshimura yet decidedly more movement-oriented — even on Topographics tamer tracks, Evans’ intrepid percussion enables a forward momentum that keeps things consistently interesting. Give it a listen below, and catch Matt Evans (along with other Whatever’s Clever artists) on Twitch this Friday, May 1st for the label’s May Day Extravaganza. —Connor Beckett McInerney

   

Joyer trudge onwards on new split EP

Slowcore outfit Joyer's new split EP finds the North Jersey duo leaning further into their unhurried, speaker-crunching sound, providing two tracks replete with innovative lyricism and roughly-hewn guitars. Recording alongside North Carolina’s Aunt Ant (formerly of NYC) and Toronto’s Poor You, their tracks “Juniper” and “In Time” are trudging, at times uneasy drone rock— band members Nick and Shane’s unison sing-speak provides hazy non sequiturs (“I hear the mosquitos when they bite down,” “I’m a ghost-running backlight) alongside stuttering chord progressions and trudging rhythmic breaks. The end result is an engaging mix of slacker rock wordplay and discordant instrumentation, both boisterous in its separate parts yet quiet in execution, and a sound that will resonate with fans of Red House Painters and LVL UP. Give it a listen below. —Connor Beckett McInerney