itchin’ for new tunes [single reviews]
Billie Eilish – “Everything I Wanted”: Apparently, this song is about Eilish having a dream of jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a devastating topic that kind of sneaks up on you. The tone is less creepy than most of the songs on When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? It comes across as honest and thoughtful, rather than overly raw. Eilish sounds earnest here and not apathetic. Her brother FINNEAS really helps bring that out of her—the heavy bass is ditched for an atmospheric backdrop that acts as a nice canvas for Eilish’s soft voice.
Glass Animals – “Tokyo Drifting (feat Denzel Curry)”: This track collides worlds and keeps you guessing. In one sense, it sounds exactly what you would expect Glass Animals going hip hop to sound like. Yet, there are moments that are surprising too: the song has three distinct sections, yet the groove is consistent throughout. Denzel Curry’s inclusion feels a lot more natural than you might expect. Will this mean new tunes on the horizon? Most definitely. This song could certainly spur in a new era of Glass Animals that we didn’t know we needed.
Ming & Ping – “Heaven’s Light”: I had to check out this track upon learning it was in part inspired by Bladerunner. I’m actually having a synthwave/outrun inspired custom piece built for my home office, but that’s another conversation. “Heaven’s Light” is Stranger Things gone pop. This isn’t your typical pop song—it’s carried by vocoder, with plenty of harmony and the vocals don’t come in until almost halfway through the song. I have a lot of respect for how this track seems to swirl around me, even with listening through earbuds.
Hoops – “They Say”: I have to admit, I figured this jangly indie pop group from Indiana was done for good. I’m glad to be wrong and to be welcomed back to the band with my favorite song I’ve heard from them so far. “They Say” is a dream-pop slow burner that elicits in me yearning for warmer weather (as if this early winter didn’t already do that). I hear a bit of both Real Estate and Washed Out here but with more endearing qualities. Hoops ditches some of their quirks from earlier tunes in favor of more polish.
Vlossom – “Catch Your Breath”: What do you get when Nick Littlemore of Empire of the Sun and Alister Wright of Cloud Control? This neat new project called Vlossom, that’s what! “Catch Your Breath” isn’t nearly as anxiety inducing at the title might imply; in fact it’s downright pleasant. This song sounds like it could fit on fledgling vaporwave fan’s playlist, or on a classic dream-pop playlist. This is as much for fans of Pet Shop Boys and New Order as it is for Tame Impala. This is ethereal journeying at it’s most fun—even when you have the dark, unsettling backdrop of a mausoleum in your music video.
Speak Seldom – “Spaces”: Columbus could use another dream-pop act I think. Speak Seldom is here to fill that void with “Spaces,” a song that sounds like the synthpop nephew of a Tame Impala or Real Estate track. Cory Heddleston has unassuming vocals that suit the gentle flow well, even as dancey guitar picking sneaks its way into the song. As finals week approaches for students in school, I might recommend this song for your study playlist for something a little different. This is the third single of many to come. Look for this group to begin playing out in 2020.