The Needle Drop


Premiere: The Telescopes - "Until the End"

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The Telescopes are a shoegaze and noise rock outfit hailing from England who have been at it since the late ‘80s. Since forming, they’ve dabbled in a myriad of other sounds ranging from the downtempo of their third album to the Metal Machine Music-esque feedback barrages of Infinite Suns.

On February 1, the band will release its 10th studio album, Exploding Head Syndrome, via Tapete Records. This new album comes on the heels of 2017’s Stone Tape and As Light Return, two of The Telescopes’ droniest efforts to date. Exploding Head Syndrome is, in contrast, a much more song-oriented work and was created almost entirely by frontman Stephen Lawrie on his own. The one exception being the track we’re premiering today, which has a co-writing credit going to fellow guitarist/vocalist Chris Plavidal.

“Until the End” forecasts something much easier-going than the outfit’s first two entries in the Tapete catalog. This track in particular even has a hypnagogic quality to it, in the same vein as John Maus’ take on pop. The quite AESTHETIC visuals courtesy of Little Lens Video further suggest that potential reference point, though admittedly Lawrie tends to bury his voice much deeper into the mix than Maus does. And most importantly, the instrumental palette here remains rooted in The Telescopes’ brand of shoegaze.

The seven remaining tracks on Exploding Head Syndrome have a bit more bite to them, but if you’ve been wanting to hear The Telescopes mellow out a bit or if you’re simply big on dream pop, do give this song and video a shot. Hope you dig it!

Brockhampton - "1999 WILDFIRE"

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The fuck am I looking at—a Brockhampton music video that's not in 4:3? Y'all were right: RCA changed them!

Piss-take aside, "1999 WILDFIRE" is the All-American Boyband's first official single of the year, promoting their upcoming album The Best Years of Our Lives, and it's cause for celebration if only because it's the type of banger that listeners seem to wish "Tonya" had been. It's not a bad one at that, with its OutKast-worthy hook and, damn, that bearface breakdown. Glad to hear him being integrated into the group's music more and more. These teaser tracks aren't giving us at TND much of a reason not to be optimistic about the new album. Hopefully that'll still be a summer drop.

Aesop Rock - "Klutz"

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New York-originating rapper Aesop Rock has been known throughout his career for his relentlessly wordy and enigmatic style, and his new single “Klutz” is no exception. The dark and paranoid song is a testament to his status as a top-tier wordsmith - no hook or refrain necessary; just bar after bar of dense rhymes. Aesop Rock acknowledged this in a statement about the song, saying that occasionally “song structure eludes me and it feels good. No problem-solving or pesky hit chorus, just rambling.”

Aesop Rock released his "Hot Dogs" single last year, as well as the third installment of a collaborative EP series with Homeboy Sandman called Lice. His last album, The Impossible Kid came out in 2016.

-Owen Murray

Mitski - "Geyser"

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Indie rock singer-songwriter Mitski has announced her new album, Be the Cowboy and released a new single, “Geyser.”

With a runtime of just under two-and-a-half minutes, “Geyser” gets right to the point. It starts slow but builds quickly, ending with an explosion of drums, guitar and synths. In an interview with NPR, Mitski said "Geyser" is “all feeling,” rather than narrative, and described it as one of her vaguest songs.

Be the Cowboy follows 2016's Puberty 2 and is slated for an August 17 release via Dead Oceans. Mitski recently finished touring with Lorde and Run the Jewels and will hit the road again this June for a headlining tour.

-Owen Murray

Snail Mail - "Heat Wave"

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Snail Mail is the indie rock solo project of Baltimore singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan. Following the promising 6-song Habit EP from a few years back, Snail Mail has released two singles ahead of her upcoming debut album, Lush, which will be out June 8 via Matador.

The newest is “Heat Wave,” which has higher production value and a much more grandiose sound than anything on Habit, which had a DIY feel. The guitar work is slightly more sophisticated but retains a rugged appeal, while the improved mixing brings Jordan’s melancholic and sentimental lyrics to the center of attention. The song is accompanied by an exciting, inspiring, and hockey-themed music video.

Snail Mail is playing numerous shows in the coming months, including opening for Japanese Breakfast and Belle and Sebastian.

-Owen Murray

Drake - "Nice for What"

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Before the hype from “God’s Plan” dies down, Drake has changed pace with his new single “Nice for What.” The track features a prominent Lauryn Hill sample, and is clearly made for the dancefloor. The Canadian crooner blends his pop rap sound with a dusty old school vibe, making “Nice for What” engaging and refreshing.

In addition to his recent singles, Drake was prominently featured on BlocBoy JB’s “Look Alive," as well as his remix of N.E.R.D.’s “Lemon.” As always, Drake has been generating a massive amount of buzz and anticipation for his new album, which he says will be for the city of Toronto.

-Owen Murray

Aminé - "Campfire"

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Portland rapper Aminé has teamed up with Phoenix rap trio Injury Reserve for a smooth, low-key single titled “Campfire.” It's Aminé’s second single since his debut album Good for Youwhich came out last year.

This unexpected combo pairs well on the short but catchy track. Aminé handles the hook, going on about his love for his red Mercedes – a familiar topic for Aminé – and trades verses with Injury Reseve’s Ritchie with a T. However, Groggs is nowhere to be found. 

Though "Campfire” was apparently produced by Asa Taccone rather than Injury Reserve’s Parker Corey, its tight instrumental and rocking bass is reminiscent of one of the trio's best tracks like “See You Sweat.” The difference being this track is significantly more skeletal. 

Aminé has not announced any plans for a new album yet, but Injury Reserve teased a new project on Instagram before kicking off their North American tour.

-Owen Murray

Tyler, the Creator - "OKRA"

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On new loosie “OKRA,” Tyler, the Creator raps relentlessly over a bass-heavy beat that would be the envy of just about any SoundCloud rapper. The song was released with a wild, garish music video that has Tyler’s high-energy personality and vision written all over it.

Tyler himself described “OKRA” as a “throwaway track,” but it really sounds more like a victory lap. After the success of last year’s Flower Boy, Tyler raps about his Grammy nomination and other recent accolades in his long, bar-after-bar verses. While it’s clear that “OKRA” isn’t a precursor to an upcoming project, it’s definitely a worthwhile listen in itself.

-Owen Murray