The best (and worst) new singles this week: Destroyer, Elizabeth and more

The best (and worst) new singles this week: Destroyer, Elizabeth and more

Elizabeth, pic by Naomi Lee Beveridge
Words by Augustus Welby

Grace Cummings and Vegyn also feature.

Destroyer – ‘Crimson Tide’

Destroyer songs resemble impeccably written stand-up comedy in how they compel you to repeat back every line to anyone who’ll listen. ‘Crimson Tide’ is visually suggestive and more zag than zig. The overall meaning is difficult to parse, but like Dylan in his mid-‘60s pomp, that doesn’t really matter. Dan Bejar upholds his preference for prettified post-punk grooves, over which references to “chicken shit singers,” “dead rich runaways,” and fools finding love inside china teacups sound perfectly at home.

Label: Dead Oceans

Elizabeth – ‘Meander’

Elizabeth stretches out on ‘Meander’, the third single from the Melbourne artist’s upcoming The Wonderful World LP. The build-up to this release has felt especially protracted, but that’s partly down to the singer’s comfortable on-record presence. ‘Meander’ is full of breath, with Elizabeth’s voice draped over the production like fairy lights. It’s not a song of holiday cheer, however, which is clear right from the opening line: “Try not to think/I always sink back into you”.

Label: Our Golden Friend

Grace Cummings – ‘There Flies a Seagull’

There flies a seagull/Shoot it down so that you might smile/So that you might be happy now”. This harsh invitation concludes the latest single from Grace Cummings’ debut LP, Refuge Cove. It’s a moving and often pained acoustic dirge. Attention centres on Cummings’ voice, which will be widely reported as raspy or whisky soaked. Whatever the fairest descriptor, the Melbourne artist makes music that requires full commitment, shunning bounce and perk for soulful excavation.

Label: Flightless

Vegyn – ‘It’s Nice to Be Alive’

London producer Vegyn, aka Joe Thornalley, makes electronic music with an appetite for friendly strangeness. ‘It’s Nice to Be Alive’ isn’t encased in searing synths or reliant on a build-and-drop formula. Thornalley’s production is still danceable, but more in the business of mood setting. Vocal samples cut in every now and then to tell us not to cry, “I love you baby.” It’s an easy introduction to the Frank Ocean cohort’s solo work, which will pique curiosity for more.

Label: Vegyn/PLZ Make it Ruins