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New Music Roundup: Chromatics, Majical Cloudz And Youth Lagoon

A triptych of tracks about love and loss, all gorgeous, each tackling a weighty topic with bittersweet beauty.

C Flanigan // Getty Images

Chromatics, "Shadow"

Late last year, producer and Chromatics anchor figure Johnny Jewel announced the imminent release of the band’s fifth LP, Dear Tommy, a followup to 2012’s sensually towering Kill For Love. And we still don’t have it.

The band has trickled out material over the past nine months, rewarding listens all, though this new single "Shadow"—released under the auspices of the Adult Swim singles series, though apparently a cut belonging ultimately to Dear Tommy—is the sort of gauzy, pillowy tonal piece full of love and lament and breathy vocals that Chromatics do so well, and make us both excited and impatient for the full Tommy experience.

"Shadow" is complex yet uncomplicated. It crests in all the right ways, with perfect drum sounds, instrumental segues laced with '50s ballad guitar lines, and an overarching ambiance of love turned to lament. It’s simply gorgeous.

Majical Cloudz, "Silver Car Crash"

"I want to kiss you inside a car that’s crashing/ And we will both die laughing/ 'Cause there is nothing left to do/ And we will both die laughing/ While I am holding on to you."

The morbid romanticism of the first verse from Majical Cloudz’s new single has drawn understandable comparisons to the Smiths classic "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" (which posits dying side-by-side in a bus crash as an act of consummate union and ultimate release), though Majical Cloudz offer a unique insight into this dark heartiness: "I will be honest/ I am afraid of love."

When you don’t know how to express an emotion so big and all-consuming as real love, well, you can find and express it in unexpected corners. "Silver Car Crash" is a love song sprung from the idea of literal wreckage, and the music that wraps Devon Welsh’s voice is minimal, like the peaceful aftermath of a violent collision, blown-over by blustery and dramatic snatches of samples, lending everything the quintessential Majical Cloudz finish of emotive restraint. This track comes from the project’s third LP Are You Alone?, out 10/16 via Matador.

Youth Lagoon, "Rotten Human"

Trevor Powers is preparing to release his third LP as Youth Lagoon, titled Savage Hills Ballroom, and the album's latest single presents Powers as a soaring troubadour of the spirit, a reflective psychedelic texturalist able to weave pathos, strength, and vulnerability into his beautiful and lush songcraft. Which is to say, it is a Youth Lagoon song, in the best sense.

"You walk the hours back/ Every night a 12-pack" is a key refrain, echoing the sadness, suffering, resistance, and euphoria people feel through reflection and nostalgia, whatever your means of processing the past. Savage Hills Ballroom is out September 25th via Fat Possum.

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