Dead Man's Gun Highlark



You would think Thee Oh Sees would’ve lost steam by now having just released their 17th LP, yet this is not the case. Their latest album, A Weird Exit opens up with electrically-charged “Dead Man’s Gun”, a tune driven by it’s distorted guitars and frontman John Dwyer’s distinct vocals. An absolute treat for recently-converted fans as well as those who needed confirmation that Thee Oh Sees are here to stay.



For those of you who know me, I am a sucker for smooth and soulful R&B jams. “Talking To Myself” off Gallant‘s new album Ology is layered with groovy tones, infectious melodies and beautiful falsettos, bridging the gap between contemporary and old school style R&B. When I listen to this song it just feels good, naturally getting me up onto my feet and dancing – what more can you ask for!



This past week, Frank Ocean has been the hottest topic of discussion. After a long four years of waiting for new music, fans across the world were over the moon when he dropped not one, but two projects. The first was a visual album entitled Endless, and the second was a standard album entitled Blond. A standout from both of these projects is the opening track on Blond. “Nikes” provides the perfect note to end your summer on— it features Ocean singing a contagious melody as he simultaneously raps over an entrancing beat. The banger soon transitions to Ocean singing solo, without any rapping, as the tune slowly dies down. “Nikes” is proof that Ocean has grown as an artist, as well as reassurance that the new album(s) were worth the wait. The song dropped alongside a colorful music video, complete with eyeliner, glitter, and intense visuals.



Fresh off the newly off the newly released EP Prima Donna, Vince Staples offers us “Smile” as this week’s hip hop pick. Electric guitar infused and somewhat trance inducing if you’re not careful, “Smile” locks Staples in as one to watch out for.



Veritable indie folk demigod Joshua Tillman, better known as Father John Misty, has mellowed down considerably since his acclaimed (and admittedly intense) second release, I Love You, Honeybear. However, just because he’s mellow doesn’t mean he’s not still hungry for love: his latest release exudes a relaxed passion. Anchored by a floaty and direct chorus—”I want real love, baby”—and a hypnotic guitar line, this simple love song proves Tillman can be as direct and cutting about wanting to be loved as he is about being trapped in a capitalist society.



The latest reimagining of Troye Sivan‘s Blue Neighborhood lead single is perhaps it’s funnest iteration. Rising Australian band Tigertown has turned Sivan’s languidly catchy indie pop hit up a notch by emphasizing the guitar and playing around with both his and featured artist Alessia Cara‘s vocals. Come for the longing that made the original such an ear-worm, but stay for Tigertown’s fizzes, pops, and guitar licks. If this doesn’t get you through the last days of summer, little else will.



Elephant Stone‘s “Manipulator” is directed towards exactly who you’d expect it to be directed towards, at least until you examine it a little further. It’s a commentary on the human enigma, reminding me a little of Billy Joel’s “Stranger,” and raising questions of who is the manipulator and who the manipulated- not always an obvious relationship in civilian eyes. The Montreal band is known for incorporating South Asian instruments into a heavy seventies rock sound, taking us back through the decades but at the same time bringing forward new perspectives on the art of composition. In “Manipulator,” we get all the elements that set Elephant Stone apart, but instead of overwhelming us, the result is neatly tailored into a track that’s absolutely classic but also evolutionary. The song is a part of the group’s upcoming LP, titled Ship of Fools– be sure to catch them on the East Coast in October!



A mere three months after the release of their first single, the Nashville duo Leagues is back at it again with a brand new album on the way. “New Money” is one of the tracks featured on the album (titled Alone Together), and my first taste of Leagues’ echoing synth- pop songwriting, which lives in the white space between musical genres instead of pertaining to just one. “I’ll give you everything- all I’ve got is me,” vocalist Thad Cockrell tells us, and it’s more than a chorus- it’s a promise. With Jeremy Lutito on a mellowed- out set of drums, the effect is not unlike that of AWOLNATION‘s “Sail”- slow jamming, pitch-defying, and packing punches in all the right places. The Tennessee- based band comes home this September, with a select few dates in the Midwest, including Nashville.


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