This month, I think a lot of us—ourselves included—are hoping for a good start to what will be a great year.
Well, it’s not really in our power to guarantee that, but we can promise a great start to this first mixtape of the year—a brand new song from none other than David Byrne.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard any new solo material from the ex-Talking Heads frontman, but he’s been far from idle. In addition to collaborating with artists such as Brian Eno and Annie Clark of St. Vincent over the years, writing his own musical, and popping up as a guest artist on myriad albums and performances, Byrne’s remained an outspoken and observant critic of art and popular culture, penning books, essays, and op/eds on everything from music theory to the death of creative culture in NYC. (He’s also a prolific mixtape contributor; in a time when we’re drastically cutting our email subscriptions, we highly recommend signing up of his newsletter; it’s solid.)
This new song is one that’s written with collaboration from Eno for Byrne’s coming solo album—American Utopia (out March 9)—and it’s a banger, as the kids say.
We’re following that one with another party-/protest-ready one from studio favorite Sylvan Esso—their just-released “PARAD(w/m)E” (…it’ll make sense when you hear it). Then “Midas” is one of many favorites off the wonderful debut by Leeds-based newcomers Noya Rao—well-worth checking out the full album from them though. Following that up with a couple nice thumping, dancey numbers from two Sydney-based musicians—Hayden James featuring GRAACE (also out of Sydney) and Basenji (not the dog) featuring Tkay Maidza (from Adelaide, which we hear is kinda near Sydney…meaning in Australia) before hitting a new one from experimental Philly band Palm and a track from a great EP by a new favorite, Gloucestershire duo Ardyn.
We’ve been pretty into New York trio Sunflower Bean since their 2016 debut, but, if their new single “I Was a Fool” is telling at all, we’re in for a much more mature, awesomely grooved out vibe from them that has us very jazzed for their follow-up in March. Following that up with two supergroups of sorts off of Berlin label Morr Music—Spirit Fest (comprising Japanese duo, Tenniscoats, and members of Notwist, Jam Money, and Joasihno) and Icelanders Sin Fang, Sóley & Örvar Smárason (more from them on these pages soon).
Then another favorite, Maggie Rogers, debuted a new single last fall that we’re just getting around to highlighting—as with everything she touches, it is gold. And we’ve got a great track from yet another Sydney band—electronic duo Chymes—before moving on to a brand new one from Brooklyn’s Chrome Sparks featuring Angelica Bess. Finishing up with a slow-burn beauty from Swedish wünderkind Kasbo and a song from an album that’s quickly becoming one of after-the-fact favorites from 2017—The Kid from Los Angeles’ own Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith; it’s weird and wonderful and kinda everything we love—another that’s well-worth a listen beginning to end.
Here we go, 2018!