Nostalgia, Ultra: It's 2007 all over again?
+ Ravyn Lenae // Quinton Brock // Peach Pit // Rex Orange County
Follow the Hear Hear playlist to stream all the songs + artists mentioned in this issue.
Between these two very-real lineups for upcoming festivals, the throwback Super Bowl Halftime Show, and the rise of album anniversary tours, nostalgia has been inescapable lately. In parallel, there’s been a surge of new releases from bands that provided my high-school soundtrack in 2007. Here’s a sampling of these surprisingly strong comeback tracks…
“Lights” // “Warning Signs,” Band of Horses. If you missed Ben Bridwell’s signature howl, it’s back in full swing. The band’s first new album since 2016 is a return to form, with songs that recapture the shimmering urgency of their classics.
“Prester John” // “Strung With Everything” // “Royal and Desire,” Animal Collective. After their 2009 masterpiece Merriweather Post Pavilion, the eclectic trio veered further into experimentation for their next few albums, which I found pretty inaccessible for the most part. Fortunately, their new singles roll out the welcome mat back into their sound. The tunes are still jammy and meandering, but they’re also warm, groovy, and jangly, with melodies and harmonies to latch onto.
If you want to keep diving back in time, don’t miss Matt Perpetua’s “Liminal Indie 2011-2014” playlist which perfectly catalogs that era — with signature jams from Real Estate, The xx, alt-j, Grimes, M83 and more. And if you want to hear from the next generation of artists, keep on scrolling.
Matthew Perpetua @perpetuaNew playlist FUTURE STARTS SLOW: LIMINAL INDIE 2011-2014, a look back on a phase in the indie lineage that now seems like a bridge between two eras Spotify: https://t.co/q5OEJW4OWe Apple: https://t.co/U4xyc2N83N Here's a preview of the first third... https://t.co/GEO8wnpE9S
New artists to know
Of course, it’s not 2007, it’s 2022, and the comforts of nostalgia can only distract us so much from, you know, everything. Fortunately, there’s been a batch of innovative new music from emerging artists serving as a much-needed source of joy and optimism.
Quinton Brock’s surf-rock soul. I cannot stop jamming to “There For You,” the ridiculously catchy new track from this Brooklyn artist, with its wonderfully wobbly guitars, hazy vocals, and a sweet sing-song chorus.
Ravyn Lenae’s partnership with Steve Lacy. Lenae’s excellent Crush EP in 2018 was produced front-to-back by Lacy, the prodigious producer behind tracks from Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, Frank Ocean, and his band The Internet. They’ve teamed up again on new single “Skin Tight,” a soft and steamy track that builds on her vibey sound — as she put it, “it has those hypnotic elements, but it’s very simple, familiar, and fresh.”
Ibeyi’s intense duets. I loved getting the chance to hear the twin sisters from Ibeyi chat about their collaboration on Hanif Abdurraqib’s podcast, Object of Sound. The conversation fueled my excitement for their upcoming album and got me into their catchy single “Sister 2 Sister.”
Peach Pit’s breezy, mellow pop-rock. Over the last year, I’ve become addicted to Peach Pit’s 2020 album You and Your Friends. It’s a front-to-back gem, with lead singer Neil Smith’s uniquely inviting voice carrying infectious melodies over summery strums. Their new follow-up From 2 to 3 does the same, and once again, I’m hooked.
On repeat: Rex Orange County’s sweet and springy album
WHO CARES? leans even further into the saccharine strings, lyrics, and vibes that have defined the Rex Orange County experience, right down to the aggressively cute thumbs-up illustrations splashed across the single covers. “OPEN A WINDOW” is a particularly glorious Start-of-Spring song, continuing his ongoing collaboration with Tyler the Creator, while “AMAZING,” “KEEP IT UP,” and “WORTH IT” all glide along on the same sunny energy that carried his breakout track, “Loving Is Easy.”
Haim x PTA, the partnership that keeps giving
Paul Thomas Anderson has created another stellar music video alongside my favorite musical trio of Jewish sisters, making a good song even better with a cinematic accompaniment. (For more on the backstory of PTA and the Haim sisters — spoiler alert, their mom was his elementary school art teacher — CBS Sunday Morning has a fun profile.)
Late-night jams from Dijon and Lucy Dacus.
A couple of great performances from great performers. I particularly love Dijon’s kitchen-sink // dining-room-table // tiny-desk aesthetic for his approach to live sets. (Let’s just…not talk about LCD’s SNL song selections.)