Signal Boost: 15 Tracks from June & July 2022 You Should Know

The months’ most discourse-worthy singles, according to our Senior Editor.
Signal Boost

Signal Boost: 15 Tracks from June & July 2022 You Should Know

The months’ most discourse-worthy singles, according to our Senior Editor.

Words: Mike LeSuer

LUCI photo: Vincent Marc

August 01, 2022

There’s enough highly publicized new music released every day now to keep you busy for at least a year. Chances are you haven’t heard all of it—and if by some miracle of temporal tampering or unemployment you have, chances are you haven’t retained too much of it.

That’s why every month, our Senior Editor Mike LeSuer rounds up fifteen tracks to reiterate their importance in an unending stream of musical content. Comprised of pre-released singles, album deep cuts, and tracks by unfairly obscure artists, he thinks these guys could all use a little Signal Boost.

Amitié feat. Pierce Jordan, “Stress Dreams” 

While Pierce Jordan’s vocals can immediately be identified as those wilding out pretty much non-stop on Soul Glo’s recent debut for Epitaph (and certified Best Album of 2022 (So Far) contender), you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re mistaken when hearing his guest spot on Amitié’s single “Stress Dreams,” a song that strips the vocalist from the familiar context of both raging hardcore-punk and radical politicizing. It may take some getting used to, but their placement instead over introspective post-rock guitar and rasping highly personal lyrics about individual turbulent human relationships are just as powerful—even before they culminate in an emoviolent breakdown.

Black Magnet, “Floating in Nothing” 

I’m not saying Black Magnet intentionally lined up the reveal of their pulsing, anxiety-inducing industrial anthem “Floating in Nothing” with the release of heavily shared NASA-sourced images reminding us all that we are, in fact, floating in vast swaths of nothing, but it does seem like a pretty profound cosmic coincidence. Taking more cues from the harsh sounds of a group like Uniform—or straight from the source: Ministry—the track is the abrasive flipside to the peaceful existentialism of those Webb photos, accentuating the hardships we face within the decaying climate of our terrestrial Something.

Boon, “Talking To” 

When we spoke with Daniel Rossen at the beginning of the year, the conversation concluded with an open-ended statement in regard to the status of his band Grizzly Bear, which hasn’t put out any new music in five years. Fortunately the influence of their technicolor guitar crusades has evidently been picked up by a new generation of songwriters, with Julie Odell revealing a very-Veckatimest single over the summer—as did Boon, whose whirling “Talking To” manages to dip its toes in the psychedelic pools of Animal Collective’s freak-folk tendencies of the same era in its climactic outro. God, I love classic rock.

Booter, “Crushin’” 

For a while now, Remember Sports has been my go-to band for ramshackle, airy pop-punk about the profound bummers of heartache—but since that band leveled up last year with what would almost certainly win the award for Best Vocal Performance on a Pristine Pop Single Spanning at Least Six Minutes and 45 Seconds, should such a superlative exist, that’s left a bit of a gap in certain downcast playlists. Yet Booter hits all the marks consistently achieved by that band with “Crushin’,” a prime candidate for the slightly less specific—yet equally fictional—prize for Best Song About Crushin’ on a Straight Girl (and Needing to Catch a Break, Girl). The perfect jam to push her out of your head, if only for two minutes.

Cryalot, “Hell Is Here” 

Considering that “Well Rested”—Kero Kero Bonito’s explosive, seven-minute, deep-house anthem about being on the right side of a Biblical apocalypse—was a strong candidate for song of the summer last year, I’m not entirely sure what it says about the state of things (personally or globally) that this year’s ballot contains another strong entry from KKB’s Sarah Bonito, who’s this time taking us in the other direction. “Hell Is Here” marks the initiation of Bonito’s Cryalot moniker, which evidently pulls considerably more from the band’s longstanding affection for Death Grips, though the single veers more toward what projects like Black Dresses have been exploring at the intersection of heavy electronics and black metal’s extremity and aesthetic. Very little here to indicate that she’s staying well-rested.

Flora Lux Victoria, “Let Them Devour Me” 

The thing about a noise-pop project from an artist who’s previously most comfortable within the realm of metal is that this typically balanced formula could potentially weigh so heavily on the “noise” side that the “pop” gets effectively drowned out. The debut demo collection from Sleeping Peonies’ Lydia N. kicks off stupidly loud with “Let Them Devour Me” properly setting the scene for an EP that occasionally recalls The Depreciation Guild and even witch house when you can hear anything beyond the avalanche of ear-shredding distortion. 

Gloria de Oliveira & Dean Hurley, “All Flowers in Time” 

If it weren’t for the album cover being instantly identifiable as a title within the Sacred Bones library, or the name Dean Hurley invoking sound projects in collaboration with David Lynch, the spaced-out etherilaism of “All Flowers in Time” might invoke the turn-of-the-millenium aesthetic and can’t-log-off ideals of 100% Electronica’s vaporwave empire. Leaning considerably further into de Oliveira’s dream-pop background than Hurley’s contrasting dark-ambient wheelhouse, the first track from the duo’s forthcoming collaboration marks it as a late-summer comedown record perfectly tailored for the final weeks of tiny-sunglasses-and-crop-top weather.

LUCI, “Ash & Dust” 

It seems like there’s never been a better time to be an artist equally inspired by the experiments of Kanye as they are by those of Jack White, who grew up transfixed by the dark, honest mutations on hip-hop and rock spearheaded by singular voices like Tyler, the Creator and System of a Down. Following in the footsteps of artists like Ho99o9, LUCI’s debut single “Ash & Dust” is a complex patchwork of these influences in its blend of pop and rap—which both skew heavily left—with ferocious verses merging with an oddly spiritual chorus appropriately undergirded by an ambient organ. Meanwhile its visual seems to take cues from David Lynch with its setting being what looks like the bedroom from his pre-Eraserhead short The Grandmother, not to mention LUCI’s costume design giving “Don’t look behind the dumpster at Winkie’s.”

Mother Nature, “Don’t Worry” 

A few weeks before unveiling their vibey EP Nature’s World, Chicago duo Mother Nature introduced the project with the in-your-face single “Don’t Worry,” which came with a single-take, literally-in-your-face music video where both emcees took turns confrontationally rapping directly into the camera. Although this isn’t quite the energy that possesses the five other tracks on the EP, it remains a standout among the collection which, in being placed first on the tracklist, compels the listener into submission as the rest of the project plays out, providing producer Renzell a little more space for his thump-and-clatter instrumentals. Way cooler than Russian Ark, in my opinion.

Nameless Twin, “My Eyes Went Black” 

Well, we did finally got that Alice Glass solo album this year, but if that felt too maximalist or too far removed from the work she was doing a decade ago when the term “witch house” was still used either jokingly or pejoratively, “My Eyes Went Black” scratches that fairly specific itch. It’s the debut single from Dokoe guitarist Alicia Rei Kim and Holy Fawn’s Ryan Osterman, preceding the latter group’s anticipated new album with an exciting recontextualization of the project’s wall of dark synths from the realms of post-metal and shoegaze toward more industrial electronic soundscapes. I’m anticipating at least one future song title from the duo being sprinkled with crosses and triangles. 

Pope, “Ocean Song” 

Despite “Born in the ’90s, never left” becoming a more fashionable bio every year, Pope hasn’t quite achieved the cult success of Donovan Wolfington, the dissolved emo crossover group that lent Pope two-thirds of its lineup. Though they’ve been quiet lately (“We’ve been locked out of our bandcamp for a minute” read the message in my inbox attached to news of the single), “Ocean Song” feels like it could’ve been (wrongfully) cut from 2017’s True Talent Champion, signaling a continuation of their friendlier take on grunge solidified on that record as they hint at upcoming live dates outside of their native New Orleans.

Rhys Langston feat. Fatboi Sharif, “Progressive House, Conservative Ligature” 

I remember a little while back somebody graphed a handful of prominent rappers on a scale of how wordy their raps are, spanning from repeated-hook hockers like Drake to guys like Aesop Rock whose albums are just 80 straight minutes of your head spinning around like the girl in The Exorcist. Rhys Langston continues to prove his allegiance to Aes’ end of that spectrum on this single which juggles politics and Airplane! references, and even a characteristically cryptic guest verse from molasses-mouthed emcee Fatboi Sharif—dude’s everywhere this year—can’t bump the needle on it to the Petey Pablo–verse—or even the “musical equivalent to listening to a podcast” category of wordy raps you can at least follow along to—from its place firmly within the “definitely need a dictionary on hand” grouping. Maybe not the best song to drive to.

Scarcity, “II” 

Of all the complex, asterisk-marked black metal bands buried within The Flenser’s discography, Scarcity’s among the most unique in spite of the fact that the duo’s formula is remarkably simple: it’s the logical union of black metal instrumentation and modern classical structure. The second movement from their debut album proved just how straightforward—and affecting—the idea is, swapping out the prog-minded wanderings long embraced by black metal over the course of its reverently lengthy runtime for something more cyclical, which also more effectively transmits the intensely anxious feeling the genre generally strives to create. Looks like we’re about to find out how many beers we can pour for Glenn Branca in 10 minutes.

Ty Sorrell feat. DuctTape Jesus, “Same Colors” 

Feels like a big moment for rappers taking inspiration from various corners of the blog space circa 2011, with Ty Sorrell’s new HomeGrown project not infrequently invoking the travel-agency-muzak, psych-tropicalia of Monster Rally. That influence particularly comes through on “Same Colors,” which both leans on those soothing sounds in its looped sample and Sorrell and guest emcee DuctTape Jesus’ smoked-up verses while veering in the opposite direction between its stuttering trap beat and Sorrell’s frequent MIKE-esque vocal interjections. 

Wailin Storms, “Broken Into Three” 

While there’s something inherently bluesy about the name “Wailin Storms,” the impression the quartet gives of their native North Carolina is considerably more Southern Gothic than Delta blues. “Broken Into Three” resembles the questionably reliable narrator noir of Bambara if that band’s sound was tweaked a bit to appeal to the audience of metalheads attracted by their label home of Gilead Media, who’s responsible for recent noise from Thou & Mizmor, Krallice, and Yellow Eyes. The result is something panicked, unsettling, and occasionally loud, allowing for a certain eeriness in its quiet stretches rarely afforded their labelmates.