Oakland-based Aussie dreampop Artist To Watch Hazel English will release her double-EP Just Give In / Never Going Home this Friday. Today she’s shared another song from the project, the first one she’s recorded without Day Wave’s Jackson Phillips. Instead, for “That Thing,” English linked up with Justin Raisen, the producer known for his work with Sky Ferreira, Angel Olsen, and Kim Gordon among others. The result is a move away from the melodic haze that has typified her work so far toward a crisper, cleaner ’80s pop-rock sound without abandoning her songwriting’s fundamentally dreamy tendencies. “I love it when you do that thing to me,” English intones on the Chromatics-worthy chorus, while the verses pit her voice against a snaking lead guitar line and bright new wave keys.
L.A. Witch was recorded at Hurley Studios in Costa Mesa and mixed in Highland Park, Los Angeles, though early incarnations of several songs from the album originally surfaced on limited edition singles released over the last several years. The band’s initial aspirations were humble. “We never really thought we would or could release an album,” the band says.
“We were really just finding each other and finding our sound.” But after touring nearly non-stop for the last three years, L.A. Witch developed a singularly seductive, haunting, and wistful sound that enamoured the garage rock, dream pop, psych, and broader indie communities.
If you’re looking for a man who can provide you with endless jams, Steve Lacy is all yours. As part of The Internet and in his work with Tyler, the Creator and Kendrick Lamar, the dude has solidified himself as one of this generation’s premier new talents. Having released his debut EP earlier this year, he’s now dropped a new song called “4Real.”
Suitably labelled under a genre dubbed “plaid,” the track is an unrelenting freak-out about riding around on a rollercoaster of emotion, love, crazy bright colors—and it definitely has a touch of Prince about it.
Out of nowhere, Dev Hynes has dropped a brand new Blood Orange track. Quietly uploading the song to SoundCloud with a rough title, “Boweryldn Edit 6 15 September” breaks his post-Freetown Sound silence. Hopefully this is an indication that we’ll be hearing more from him soon, but judging from the low-key release of this track, it’s unlikely this will amount to much more than a b-side thrown online for fun.
However, we should definitely still be thankful, for the track is peak Blood Orange. The foggy song features a number of his signature elements, but it gets more adventurous in its second half. If this is the direction we can expect him to go in next, then we’re very excited to hear more. If it’s just a throwaway, though, we’re happy we still get to hear it at all.
BROCKHAMPTON’s second album arrives just over two months after their debut. A third album is imminent. So it’s fitting that this trilogy is called Saturation, a flood of material functioning as an extension of the group’s personality. BROCKHAMPTON are a rap collective defined by confidence—the idea that trying is as valuable as doing. They’re like a West Coast Wu-Tang Clan where everybody’s a winner. “It’s musical vomit, you just throw it up, you can’t resist the urge,” Ameer Vannsaid after the first Saturation came out. “We’re just trying to capitalize on how easily everything is flowing right now, we don’t really want to stop.” The sequel is not vastly different from its predecessor, but it is an improvement. Whereas the first Saturation preached self-assurance, the second actually collects on it.
In a short span, BROCKHAMPTON have ameliorated some of their more glaring flaws that existed on their debut. In place of the preachy motivation and biographical introductions, the Los Angeles group offer more appealing bouts of aggression and swagger. On the sinister “Chick,” Vann raps astutely, “Imma be a star even if I say the same things.” He’s has emerged as the most magnetic member of the nebulous-numbered crew. He’s got a biting sense of humor and weaves political commentary into his lyrics as easily as he does drug talk, but it’s the “Chick” line that gets to the core of his and BROCKHAMPTON’s ethos: They don’t have to say much to succeed, so long as they say it convincingly. On the same track, Matt Champion proves the point: “And I won’t cater to you/Yeah, I am not Carrabba’s/And I ain’t taking orders,” all with a knowing wink that name-dropping an Italian food chain is not exactly fashionable, but he still sounds good doing it.