Our coverage last week was pretty steady, and we got to hear some great new stuff…so here we are with our weekly recap to start off your post holiday blues at work. We got some great ATH favorites offering up new stuff, with Winter and Phantom Handshakes getting fresh tunes out there. We also ran some great footage from Constant Follower of their performance atop a monument in Scotland, which I highly suggest you getting into, so I threw a jam in there from that performance. Lot of great stuff, with over an hour of jams to whet your whistle this morning.
One of my absolute favorite dream pop acts, Phantom Handshakes, has a new single out this week, and they’ve given us an advance listen we’d regret if we didn’t share with you immediately. Understated jingles hang on the horizon, waiting for the drums and synth washes to catch up, while Federica’s voice coos atop the mix. Once the opening verse kicks in, my focus immediately shifted to that vocal; it has this really unique way of hanging a tonal switch at the end of each syllable. There’s also a moment when she steps away from the sort of shimmering nature, and delivers this softer melodic vocal that perfectly slides into the mix. Toss that performance in with the classic twinkling guitar sound, and you’ve got yet another hit on your hands; I hope we get a follow up to No More Summer Songs real soon.
There were some great new tunes last week, and I certainly can’t get enough of some of the LPs that dropped, which we pointed you towards on Friday. The Dehd track that hit last week is for sure one of their best of late, but I’m still really partial to jamming to that Guy Capecelatro III album. Some intriguing tunes from the likes of Maria Chiara Argiro, Team Play and Rose Mercie make a nice appearance in this weeks track-listing, plus there’s a bunch of other tunes to get you started on Monday morning.
I was super in love with No More Summer Songs, the debut LP from Brooklyn’s Phantom Handshakes; they’ve just returned with this little pop delicacy to sneak into your day. Listening through, the musical elements feel really dense, but in a certain manner, they stay out of the way, letting Federica’s voice sparkle in the front of the mix. Having spent a lot of time with the band’s work, this might be her best vocal performance; she has masterful control over the melodic tones, letting them hang in the air as the guitars rise from behind to support. Flat out, the band rips. Plus, all digital sales have proceeds going to Emergency.
Weirdly, I felt like I didn’t cover too much last week, but apparently we got in at least 15 new songs, plus a few extras. I’m getting pickier in my old age, but mostly just figure you read Stereogum first, so no need to cover what they’re covering in their Premature Ejaculation column. I started out this week’s playlist with a cover from Screaming Females, but bookend it with the OG from The Selecter, cuz why the fuck not. Our friends Humdrum had a new hit, and that glorious Papercuts LP finally dropped in. It’s Monday, and there’s jams…I’m just over here listening to the first wave British ska.
We’ve been covering New York’s Phantom Handshakes for quite some time over here, but now they’ve turned us onto another artists, as they just dropped this catchy pop ditty with Edinburgh’s Swiss Portrait. This song works steadily on a solid beat, working that snare to its catchy best; the guitars swirl and jangle behind that, wrapping the track in this emphatic bit of jangling pop music. Federica’s vocals add the dreaminess you’re seeking, playing from the distance like some angelic whisper weaving in and out of the core of this track. Not sure if this is a one-off tune, or something larger at play, but we’ll keep you posted…for now just enjoy this hit.
We’re back with another fresh tune from the forthcoming Phantom Handshakes LP, No More Summer Songs. As I listen through this, I have a feeling that the band are sort of at the pinnacle of dream pop; they’re utilizing these crisp guitar notes, faintly fading into the dreamscape. The drum work is steady, almost like a metronome keeping the time so everything can swirl melodically around it. Federica Tessano’s voice has the perfect tonal quality to seep into your skin; just let your body absorb those melodic notes and cool your soul. Not quite sure this genre gets much better than this! No More Summer Songs drops on April 30th via Z Tapes.
Having released their Be Estranged EP last year, Phantom Handshakes are ready to drop their debut full-length in 2021, and we’ve got one of the new singles to share with you. Spending a lot of time listening to indiepop, you can’t help but immediately be drawn to that synthesized beat working over darkened guitar lines that curl and bop their way through your ear holes. Federica Tassano has this endearing voice too, hanging low with this coat over it that matches the mood of those aforementioned guitar licks; the tone changes to a more crystalized polish at the track moves into the chorus, bringing in this almost childish euphoria that only stands to make folks swoon. Their debut LP will be out later this year via Z Tapes.
A few weeks back we introduced you, or so we hoped, to the new project of Matt Sklar and Federica Tassano named Phantom Handshakes. Tomorrow, they’ll drop their brand new Be Estranged EP, but you can sample it here first!
The opening tracks set the stage for a dream pop meets jangle world; the guitars twist and turn in that angular post-punk dance I dig, while Federica lets her heavenly voice weave in and out of those chords. Still, you get a touch of respite in “At Rest” coming in with more oa subdued pop performance by Tassano; it’s all about her voice, despite the twinkling behind her. Jump ahead to “You Are an Idea” and you’ll find my favorite number of the 7; there’s a purity to the presentation, its clear of all pretense, giving listeners this purely elegant pop song. “Drift Away” is the perfect closing send-off for this EP; both the title and the effect of the song have you sailing away on this pillowy cloud of escapism. Be Estranged will be available on all platforms tomorrow! All proceeds go to Color of Change.