New this week / Singles in review

Ariel Pink - Put Your Number In My Phone

Ariel Pink is an experimental pop musician based in Los Angeles, known for his prolific nature and his pioneering of lo-fi home recording during the earlier stages of his career. “Put Your Number In My Phone” is the first single to drop from his upcoming double album, Pom Pom.

The track sounds like an ode to 60s British Invasion groups and psychedelic folk luminaries such as Syd Barrett and Robyn Hitchcock. With it's gently strummed guitars and soft mellow production, Ariel croons about tea and butterflies and living life to the fullest. It's charming, simple and quirky. The track also includes a sample of a girl leaving a message on his voicemail, which is vintage Ariel Pink.

Grouper - Call Across Rooms

Grouper is Liz Harris, a noise musician based in Portland, Oregon. “Call Across Rooms” is the first single from her tenth studio album, Ruins. Usually drenched in ambience and reverb, Harris sheds a lot of her characteristic effects and presents us with her most sparse, intimate track yet.

Recorded in Portugal, “Call Across Rooms” is just Harris and her piano recorded in a room with one microphone. Her voice is faint, muffled and just audible enough for us to make out her beautiful, haunting vocal melody. A melancholic track that exerts a cold, cold loneliness.

Vince Staples - Hands Up

“Hands up” is the second single to drop from Hell Can Wait, the highly anticipated upcoming album by Long Beach hip-hop artist Vince Staples. Where his first single, “Blue Suede,” dealt with the paranoia of street life and growing up, “Hands Up” addresses a more deep-seated and, some would argue, heavier matter.

"Shoot him first without a warning/ And they expect respect and non-violence/ I refuse the right to be silent," Staples sputters across a dizzying symphony of chaos. With a looped descending bass line, synths that mimic sirens and percussive hi-hats that mimic circling helicopters.

Arca - Thievery

Arca is a Venezuelan producer who has done some work with renowned artists such as Kanye West and FKA Twigs. “Thievery” is the first single to drop from his highly anticipated debut album, Xen.

The track samples cold, almost mechanical, utterances over a landscape of razor sharp, glassy percussion. It's a dynamic, otherworldly, cosmic, jungle run. It's quite minimal but effective and intricately pieced together.

SBTRKT - Look Away (Featuring Caroline Polachek)

SBTRKT is the moniker for British producer Aaron Jerome. Coming of the success of his debut, self-titled album back in 2011, “Look Away” is the sixth song to appear from his sophomore album, Wonder Where We Land.

Teamed up with Chairlift's Caroline Polachek, what’s created is a hypnotic, colourful, soulful track, pieced together with ethnic sounding piano samples, burning synths and deep, crunchy percussion.
This article first appeared in Issue 24, 2014.
Posted 3:00pm Sunday 21st September 2014 by Adrian Ng.