SPIN Singles Mix: Tame Impala’s ‘Cause I’m a Man,’ BULLY’s ‘Trying,’ and More
SPIN staffers handpick their can't-miss tracks to get you through the week
Welcome to SPIN‘s Singles Mix! The SPIN staff has rounded up their favorite, must-hear tracks for your personal playlists. Collecting the finest from Australian psych-rock troupes, Nashville power-pop singers, reunited Omaha punks, and more, these are the songs you need to know right now.
Avid Dancer, “Not Far to Go” (Grand Jury)
With a melody that can legitimately be called “groovy” and mellow vocals, “Not Far To Go” projects a quiet confidence. There’s just the right amount of grit, and the track sounds dreamy without being sleepy. Avid Dancer (a.k.a. former marine Jacob Dillan Summers) manages to sound lackadaisical but not disinterested, and he’s almost whispering his intimate lyrics because he knows he doesn’t need to shout. We’re already floating along with him. — JAMES GREBEY
BULLY, “Trying” (Columbia)
No matter how old we get, there is never a time in life when we aren’t “Trying.” That’s something the fast-rising Nashville retro-alt outfit — led by heart-on-sleeve singer Alicia Bognanno — can take comfort in, based on the confessional themes in this are-we-there-yet, Peter Pan-themed track. “I question everything / My focus, my figure, my sexuality,” Bognanno sings through strained vocals, with more conviction than the lyrics would suggest. Energy and presence are Bognanno’s greatest assets — and in all likelihood, her uphill climb will abate with time. — RACHEL BRODSKY
Desaparecidos, “City on the Hill” (Epitaph)
The best move Conor Oberst could’ve made this year is reuniting his one-off, anti-capitalist punk band Desaparecidos for their second album, Payola, due June 23. Coming 13 years after the excellent Read Music/Speak Spanish, first taste “City on the Hill” doesn’t disappoint with its whoa-oh refrains (listen for Cursive’s Tim Kasher in there, too), broken-arcade synths and pounding blasts of interlocked guitar and drums. It even goes out on a
keyboard guitars-trying-to-be-bagpipes solo. We eagerly await the upcoming duet with Laura Jane Grace. — DAN WEISS
Dilly Dally, “Gender Role”
Toronto punks Dilly Dally know how use their time economically. In under two-and-a-half minutes, their newest single, “Gender Role,” is alternately sexy, menacing, marching, triumphant, and chaotic. Lead singer Katie Monks slinks along with the bass line one minute, then screams like a falling bomb the next. Thankfully, the quartet will have a full-length debut coming soon enough. — CONNOR O’BRIEN
Grace Potter, “Alive Tonight” (Hollywood Records)
One of the greatest living voices in rock today, this Vermont singer has returned sans her usual band the Nocturnals for a well-deserved moment in the spotlight with upcoming debut solo album Midnight. “Alive Tonight” sounds every bit as Black Keys as it does Sia, a satisfying halfway point between two genres that’ve (maybe) never been that disparate to begin with. Potter’s new one highlights her trademark howly-growly belt as she rips lyrics like “You wanna get a reaction / You want everyone to listen to you” to measly shreds. The big leagues suit her well. — BRENNAN CARLEY
Jeremih featuring Flo Rida, “Tonight Belongs To U!” (Def Jam)
Though the R&B star’s recent foray into EDM shouldn’t come as a shock, it’s still a bit jarring to hear Jeremih’s distinctively subdued tone floating over such a synthesized beat. Things fall into place quickly on the radio-friendly experiment that never quite explodes the way you’re expecting it to, allowing Jeremih to keep things close enough to his slowed-down soul wheelhouse. Flo Rida’s verse is pure cheese, but doesn’t everybody love a little lactose now and then? — B.C.
The Muscadettes, “Pearl & Oyster” (Papercup Music)
Twins Chantal and Kathleen Ambridge technically hail from the Silicon Valley, but they were raised in Montreal — an opposite-coast upbringing that shines through their lo-fi surf-rock single “Pearl & Oyster.” Blending trendy ’90s grunge with classic ’60s beach-pop, the Muscadettes even welcome a bit of the ’80s with sing-shouty B-52s vocals. Do the mashed potato some more when the duo’s upcoming EP, Side A, drops on April 21. — R.B.
Mylets, “Honeypot” (Sargent House)
A bouncy beat and vibrant melody kick off Henry Kohen’s seemingly alluring “Honeypot,” but don’t be deceived — the 19-year-old also known as Mylets breaks through to the chorus with throat-tearing metal vocals. Yes, the Arizona cut may seem like a sweetly rich assemblage of sounds, but a dig deeper betrays a glorious irony; it is a stirring concoction of pandemonium. — MARGARET FARRELL
Tame Impala, “‘Cause I’m a Man” (Modular Recordings)
The title to the latest advance song from Tame Impala’s upcoming (and increasingly exciting) third album Currents might inspire bile-raising visions of the bro-est of country anthems, asserting masculinity in all the most cringe-worthy and reactionary fashions. Luckily, the song doesn’t feel that way — its machismo is self-loathing at best, and possibly downright satirical (“Cause I’m a man, woman / Don’t always think before I do / Not often proud of what I choose”) — and it certainly doesn’t sound that way, instead slithering by on a thick ’80s soul-pop groove. False male bravado, slick production, lyrics that take a couple listens to reveal themselves… maybe Steely Dan isn’t as out of place next to Tame Impala on the Coachella lineup as initially feared. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER