Don’t blink until you’ve heard these rich new tunes. [Single Reviews]
Moby Rich – “Blink”: Moby Rich is essentially what you get when you cross soaring pop hooks with nasty electronics, and on “Blink” they even sprinkle some video game samples into the mix from time to time. The percussive nature of the song contrasts nicely with a subtle ethereal feel beneath the sonic surface. What really makes this Los Angeles duo special though is the fact that Maxwell Joseph and Connor Pledger sing every song in unison, resulting in some killer harmonies, throughout “Blink” in particular. Thank you grandson for the introduction.
Mini Mansions – “GummyBear”: Last year saw the return of my favorite psych-pop group, Mini Mansions, releasing a stellar EP in addition to a collection of b-sides from their last full-length, The Great Pretenders. Now the trio is back with a proper follow-up to the 2015 LP, Guy Walks Into a Bar, which is slated for release this summer. The album’s lead single—an eerie, disco-tinged synth rocker with cheeky lyrics—is everything I’ve come to expect from Shuman and company.
MISSIO – “Temple Priest”: MISSIO first caught my attention with their song “Twisted” a couple of years back, and while their brand new single still possesses that industrial feel, “Temple Priest” is far more trap-heavy. To me “Temple Priest” feels like the perfect AWOLNATION song if AWOLNATION was a hip-hop group instead of a rock band. There’s still an undeniably rock sound, but this is a banger that feels markedly more hip-hop, no doubt due partly to appearances by Paul Wall and Kota the Friend.
XIXA – “The Code”: This Tucson-based sextet brands themselves as “dark western cumbia,” and honestly I can’t think of a better descriptor. I stumbled across XIXA (fittingly pronounced “chicha,” just like the style of Peruvian cumbia they channel sonically) thanks to a tip from my good friend and one-time TUNED UP colleague Michael Belt to check out NPR’s AltLatino weekly column, and as soon as I saw the “psychedelic cumbia” line, I knew this would be right up my alley. Sure enough, the haunting title track from XIXA’s new EP does not disappoint, with growls reminiscent of Mike Patton on the song’s bridge and almost Avenged Sevenfold-like vocal melodies on its chorus.