These new tunes will bring culture and harmony to your eyes (and ears) [single reviews]

Hembree – “Culture”: Hembree had one of my favorite EP’s from 2017 with Had It All, and while 2018 was fairly quiet for the Kansas City-based quintet, the release of their debut full-length is now a very concrete reality. The unveiling of House On Fire to the world is just three months away, and there is no better way to build on that anticipation than with the album’s pulsing, grooving lead single “Culture.” I’ve been eager for more music from Hembree ever since I first saw them live a couple of Novembers ago, and with the rocking electricity and atmospheric electronics of “Culture,” I have a funny feeling my odd craving will be long gone come April 26.  

LIILY – “Sepulveda Basin”: Last year LIILY flew onto my radar with their unbridled blend of rock and roll, but this brooding third single just goes to show both how multifaceted the young Angelenos truly are and the true breadth of their talent. It is eerie yet ethereal; it is driving yet searing. At times “Sepulveda Basin” even calls back the indie/post-punk sounds of Foals, all the while still bringing their fresh rock take to the table. It signifies the strongest tune yet of the three singles the quartet has already released from their debut EP I Can Fool Anybody In This Town, an EP which I for one am incredibly thrilled to hear in full.

Vampire Weekend – “Harmony Hall”: It’s been a very long time coming (six years almost), but indie rockers Vampire Weekend are finally back with the first taste of their fourth LP, a warm, upbeat tune called “Harmony Hall.” The equally entrancing riffs from both guitar and piano unite the song’s melodic instrumentation. Meanwhile, frontman Ezra Koenig’s lyrics are poignant and convicting throughout; one line in particular really stood out to me though: “I don’t wanna live like this, but I don’t wanna die.” It’s one of those one-liners that kind of came out of nowhere and really made me think. If it’s any indication of what to expect with Father of the Bride, you can count me in as very excited.

Maple & Beech – “Side-Eye”: There’s no one track from January that sends chills down my spine nearly as easily as the new single from Maple & Beech, a song which I just happened to stumble across this month when listening to a Spotify playlist that featured the artist I now manage. I was immediately taken aback by the trippy backbeat and haunting horn line—the latter of which can only come from a tenor and baritone saxophone. I kept thinking about Son Lux when I first got hooked to “Side-Eye,” and honestly I still hear quite a few similarities, even after weeks of it being a staple in my own regular rotation playlist.

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