Tycho – Spectre

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About a month ago, I wrote an article about Tycho’s “Montana,” the second song to be revealed from their upcoming album Awake. That track showed us that Tycho is now bigger than just a solo project; “Montana” was more expansive than anything on 2011’s excellent album Dive.

Today, Scott Hansen, the mastermind behind the San Francisco ambient electronic project, returns with “Spectre.” It’s Tycho’s most live-sounding track yet, expanding upon the live instrumentation of “Montana” with Scott’s guitar-work and a heavy drum riff from Rory O’Connor. Long-time fans need not worry; while “Spectre” is a clear break from Dive, Scott Hansen’s trademark lush sound hasn’t gone anywhere. Stream it below.

Tycho’s Awake will be released on March 18th via Ghostly International.

STREAM: Tycho – “Spectre”

Pillar Point – Echoes

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Coming from Seattle, Pillar Point gives a surprising impression of an artist who can see the sunshine. While new track “Echoes” is certainly expressive and emotional, that emotion definitely tilts in a hopeful direction. Over a quick hitting beat and warm synths, Scott Reitherman sings in a calm, even voice and describes the effects of a nameless “she.” Whether it makes you nod along or just sway, it’s a lovely release that has confidence in what it’s doing and the way it’s doing it.

Check out “Echoes” below and watch for his self-titled debut album, Pillar Point, out February 25th via Polyvinyl.

STREAM: Pillar Point – “Echoes”

Introducing: SOLO

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Australian newcomer SOLO (Sophie Lowe, get it?) makes music with warmth and polish. That’s a difficult balance to strike, but she walks the tight rope perfectly on new track “Dreaming.” Jangling, scratchy guitars strum behind her lightly reverbed vocals, and actually form the beat as well. As the title might suggest, this is music that evokes staring up at a blue sky, lying on a grassy hill. If that’s hard to imagine in the middle of the snow, keep in mind that Sydney is plenty warm this time of year. Lowe’s voice is emotive, but soothing. She sings, “I am dreaming. You take me by surprise.” When it comes to her easygoing, but affecting pop, Solo is the most pleasant of surprises. Check it out below.

STREAM: SOLO – “Dreaming”

JJ – My Boyz

“My Boyz,” the new release from Swedish band jj, is introduced with a title card explaining everything that the song and accompanying video are not: a commercial, a single, a cry for help. Well then, what are they exactly? A sprawling, six minute piece that seems intensely personal, a chance for Elin Kastlander and Joakim Benon to vent a little bit. The video is divided into five parts with a prologue. There are flashing strobe lights, quick cut images of Kastlander in glittery eye makeup singing with lamenting melancholy. A man runs shirtless with clownish makeup on, a woman screams underwater, snow falls and flowers glow with neon filtering and then there are glimpses of grainy filtered scenes, meant to evoke happier times.

It’s not entirely clear what it’s all supposed to mean, but when has heartbreak ever made sense? The music practically drips as piano chords and ambient synths provide a light backing for the tortured vocals. jj are known for incorporating hip hop elements into their music, but there is no drop to speak of here. Maybe there’s something to the idea that the kinds of conflicted feelings that inspired this song don’t really lead to anything concrete. There’s not a hard hitting beat or rhythm to latch onto, and so we’re left drifting, awash in sound and emotion. Check it out above.

TEEMID & Joie Tan – Crazy (Gnarls Barkley Cover)

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Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” was an irresistibly catchy earworm of a song way back in 2006. Singer Joie Tan and producer Teemid decided to dust it off and make us love it all over again. The most notable change on this cover is the general shift from the more funk based producing of Danger Mouse to the EDM style of Teemid. There’s a groovy bassline and thumping beat that wouldn’t be out of place on the original, but handclaps and synths, along with Tan’s partially looped vocals, form a new backbone for the song. Covers are supposed to expand on the original and utilize the new artist’s unique skill set. Well, this track accomplishes both in spades and as much as people might believe that “Crazy” was a near perfect song, this might just be a near perfect cover. Check it out below, you’d be crazy not to.

STREAM: Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy (TEEMID & Joie Tan Cover)”

Charles Murdoch – Dekire (Ft. Oscar Key Sung)

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Getting it right every time is tough, especially when it comes to record labels. Yet Australia’s Future Classic, one of the top labels in music right now, are somehow pretty close. Their recent successes include Flume’s “Sleepless,” and “Holdin On,” Panama’s “It’s Not Over,” Touch Sensitive’s “Pizza Guy” and of course Flight Facilities’ “With You.” Now you can count Charles Murdoch’s “Dekire (Ft. Oscar Key Sung)” as Future Classic’s ninth-inning strike out. “Dekire” is the lead single off Murdoch’s Weather Straight EP and it provides three minutes’ worth of absolute bliss. He takes his downtempo, minimalistic style and combines it with the future soul vocals of Oscar Key Sung. The result is everything you’d hope it to be and more. Stream “Dekire” below.

STREAM: Charles Murdoch – “Dekire (Ft. Oscar Key Sung)”

Air Zaire – Full Moon: Mix De Lune

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Do you ever experience DJ anxiety? Do thoughts like “will my playlist be good enough?”, “OMG! WHAT SHOULD I PUT ON NEXT?”, “does this song reflect the current state of my friends’ inebriated minds?” or “will someone catch onto my early-90’s references!?” echo through your head? Fear no more, sweet children. Air Zaire has whipped up a summer mix in celebration of the upcoming Full Moon festival in NYC this month. Complete with ATG favorites Tanlines, The Knocks, Little Daylight, Miami Horror, Wild Belle and more, this is one set of tunes that guarantee a good time.

In line with the groovy, tropical vibes of the event, the playlist is loaded with island-influenced drums, swinging disco beats and delicious remixes, including Cyril Hahn’s remix of “Say My Name.” If we’ve learned anything, it’s that if you’re going to mess with the Lady B, it better be flawless. Mission accomplished, Cyril. With nu disco, chill house and few hip hop jams for a good measure, just press play and let your DJ anxiety melt away. Stream the mix below.

To see all these artists and more — including a bunch of our favorites playing on a Neon Gold-curated stage — in action, buy your tickets for Full Moon here, ditch your shoes and head over to Governors Beach Club on Saturday, June 22nd for one incredible party.

STREAM: Air Zaire – Full Moon: Mix de Lune

Toro Y Moi – Say That

I love nature. I also love Toro Y Moi. So, as you can imagine, I was pretty floored when the artist né Chazwick Bundick’s newest video came out, combining both nature and Toro into the most artful of video montages. What makes the whole endeavor even more glorious is that it’s set to the soulful “Say That,” the latest track off Chaz’s forthcoming record, Anything In Return. Chaz has always erred on the R&B/funk side of chillwave, but “Say That” sees him embrace the disco-soul troubadour inside himself, pairing a solid back beat with sparkling musical texturing and seductively floating his vapor-like vocals above it all. Enjoy.

Toro Y Moi’s Anything In Return is due out January 22 on Carpark.

Twin Shadow – Five Seconds

Brooklyn-based George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow, has released “Five Seconds” off of his upcoming album Confess, slated for release July 10th via 4AD Records. Known for his new wave ’80s aesthetic from his 2010 debut Forget, Lewis’ latest release expands on the ’80s vibe with an uptempo drum beat, soaring synths, and his signature smooth, crooning vocals.

As Lewis explained to Stereogum in February, his new material is still very synth-heavy, but with more emphasis on sampled acoustic drums, as evidenced on “Five Seconds.” The nostalgia-tinged track feels like it could easily be on the soundtrack of a John Hughes movie with Lewis’ distinct style of slightly bittersweet lyrics that are so full of heart.

And after reading on the Twin Shadow website that a motorcycle crash with a friend and the feeling of eventually riding a new bike inspires Confess, it’s even clearer where Lewis is coming from with his latest material: “…I got a new bike and went to LA to record what is now called Confess. I took the bike out at 6AM one morning after not having done much riding in the couple years between Forget and Confess…I inched toward 100 on the speedometer and punch the last five. TON UP! My mind is filled with words. My heart is full of love. This is where I want to be. I want to stay here, and I want to tell you everything.”

MP3: Twin Shadow – “Five Seconds”

MMOTHS – Summer (Feat. Superhumanoids)

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about MMOTHS and I have a feeling it won’t be the last. Last time MMOTHS appeared here on ATG was with his collaboration with Keep Shelly in Athens. This time, he’s enlisted the help of LA dream-pop wizards Superhumanoids on a new track, “Summer.” The song is laidback and atmospheric yet at the same time driven by a heavily percussive beat. The song’s title is an ironic one considering how depressing the lyrical content is. Listen for yourself below.

STREAM: MMOTHS – “Summer (Feat. Superhumanoids)”