This week in The Singles Bar #18, Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles features:

Princess Nokia – aka shapeshifting New York emcee Destiny Frasqueri – has dropped her new emo-inspired mixtape A Girl Cried Red digitally on Rough Trade Records / Remote Control Records, as well as a video co-directed with long term collaborator Milah Libin for Your Eyes Are Bleeding from the release.

Princess Nokia has been releasing music via Youtube and Soundcloud since she was in High School and catapulted herself to the next level with last year’s critically acclaimed rap opus 1992 Deluxe – selling out venues across the globe and steadily gaining tens of millions of streams.

“Black people created punk – the band Death was way before The Ramones,” Destiny stated in a recent interview. “If you think about it, the wool has been pulled over our eyes. This is our shit. Very naturally, that’s why we return to it.” Drawing on influences as varied as the introverted acoustic sounds of Elliott Smith to the bombastic pop-punk energy of Paramore – A Girl Cried Red showcases another fully-formed side of Destiny that still taps into the uncompromising feminist ideology of Princess Nokia.

Youngblood, the third studio album from 5 Seconds of Summer (5SOS), the band shared the title song. 5SOS co-wrote the hard-hitting track with Andrew Watt and Ali Tamposi – the team behind Camila Cabello’s Havana. Fans who pre-order the album will instantly receive Youngblood and the first single, Want You Back.

5SOS performed their new hit single, Want You Back, on NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” The track debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in over 18 countries and has already amassed more than 60 million streams worldwide. An acoustic version of Want You Back is out now along with Want You Back (Tritonal Remix).

Want You Back showcases the bold new approach 5SOS takes on Youngblood. Following the Australian group’s five-plus years of recording and touring behind its first two albums – both of which debuted at No. 1 on ARIA albums chart and the Billboard 200 – 5SOS decamped across the hemisphere to Los Angeles to find a new set of collaborators, influences, and inspirations. Vocalist/ guitarist Luke Hemmings says, “We had to move forward and test our  song writing and progress. It was the greatest thing we could do – we were hungry for something new and exciting. It felt like starting the band again!”

Last week, Hop Along‘s new album Bark Your Head Off, Dog was released via Barely Dressed Records / Remote Control and was met with incredible critical acclaim across the board with rave reviews including Pitchfork, NPR, Esquire, Vulture, Noisey and Stereogum.

Hop Along shares the How Simple video, marking the first official video for the album and the first time the band has starred in a music video. The song’s joyful, kinetic energy is met with its emotional depth as viewers are immersed into the fantastical world they create.

“This is my first time appearing in a music video; in which case I decided to do something that felt risky to me,” says Quinlan. “I told myself that I’ve danced through my own house solo enough times to do an alright job of it in front of a camera. All that being said, I’m still surprised that this piece came to be. I wasn’t sure I had it in me to do it. Derrick did an excellent job directing, he made it a lot easier for me to access that part of myself and made it all look dreamy in a way that I couldn’t have achieved otherwise.” Belcham shares, “Frances came to me with a fully-fleshed out idea for this video, and approached the dancing with so much enthusiasm and vulnerability, it was such a pleasure to work this thing out with her.”

On the eve of the launch of his Nation of Two World Tour, Vance Joy shares a dreamy video for Saturday Sun with fans and also announces details for his #1 sophomore album, Nation of Two, on vinyl.

Already climbing the charts in the US (this week it was #5 on Billboard’s Triple A Chart and #13 on the Alternative Songs Chart), Saturday Sun sees Vance Joy return to his trusty ukulele to take in some on the road romance. The fan-favourite follows on from popular singles Lay It On Me (2x platinum) and We’re Going Home (now platinum) in Australia.

Missy Higgins has released CEMETERY – the second single from her album SOLASTALGIA, which is out now. Despite the downbeat title it’s an up tempo and infectious song. Missy explains: “It’s actually about a relationship that felt like flirting with death; a heart-exploding kind of love that was dangerous and exhilarating but ultimately could never last. The song is deliberately pulling in two directions at once because that’s exactly how I felt at the time.” .

The latest single from Melbourne’s Howlite Orchestra – is a piece of music that has captured the attention of many since its recent release; marked by gorgeous instrumentation and vocals that confidently highlight the strength within the group’s current creative dynamic.

The band has unveiled the official music video for Orchestra  – a visual release that matches the drama of the music itself excellently on camera. Helmed by Howlite’s Benjamin JR Botting and Paul O’Donoghue and Very Nice Production House’s Darcy Newtown and Alex Hodge, the music video of Orchestra heads to Colac, Victoria to put their brooding gothic-tinged narrative to work.

The video follows Alison as she comes to meet a band of cult members, as they bring her into the fold – her dedication to the cause presenting not to positive results for our protagonist, as you may expect. The video has been shot beautifully, taking in the gorgeous landscapes of Colac before delving into this rather haunting plot.

Celebrated Los Angeles-based rock band The Bronx are excited to share their new music video for Side Effects. Directed by Christian Jacobs (MC Bat Commander of the Aquabats / co-creator of Yo Gabba Gabba), the video was filmed in a house owned by renowned photographer and sculptor Adam Wallacavage, whose octopus-shaped chandeliers have earned him global notoriety and have led to exhibitions in Sao Paulo, Rome, London, Miami, New York, and LA. Jacobs and The Bronx frontman, Matt Caughthran, had the following to share on their creative process:

“The idea is loosely based on an old video game called ‘Night Trap’ where aliens invade a sexy slumber party and you have this cool, room-to-room, live-action scenario in which you try to save the day. The song is about dealing with the side effects of life as a musician/artist; all the things you never saw coming. After finishing a recent UK tour, we flew into Philly to rehearse and shoot the video in two days, and the excitement and inspiration, mixed with delirium and exhaustion, only seemed to add to the authenticity of the song’s lyrical content. This video is truly a labor of love, just like music/art/life should be.” – Matt Caughthran

Garage punk upstarts, SOPHISTICATED DINGO are sick of your smashed avo on toast and almond milk lattes and are doing something about it in their new video for YUPPIES.

Ever stand at a cafe behind a yuppie who orders a caffe latte with luke warm almond milk and a shot of decaf, double cupped with some extra foam for their dog and look at the baristas eyes and wonder how they haven’t picked up a pick axe yet? Well SOPHISTICATED DINGO have and they’ve lived everyone’s fantasy in their brand new video clip and dragged said yuppies from their smashed avo and given them one hell of a (musical) beating. It’s cathartic to watch and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Like watching the school bully get pulled up by a teacher.

Feel Brand New is the third song taken from the forthcoming Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders album Blue Poles, out May 4 on Barely Dressed Records. The track takes a different direction, both musically and thematically from previous single White Flag. Instead he captures and celebrates the sweet disposition that love can make life’s problems seem insignificant. It’s Jack Ladder at his most playful and joyous.

“Every moment heaven sent / dream together, pay the rent /
And never seem to save a cent / Still, I feel brand new.”

“The bones of the song appeared on New Years Day after going to bed sober before midnight.” Ladder says. “That day my partner and I went for a short bush walk that turned into a 5 hour trek. I was feeling a new chapter turning over.”

“Another year up in smoke / moving on, not losing hope /
You’d think we’d hang ourselves with this much rope, but I feel brand new.”

Following her breakthrough debut singles Try and Sure, Brisbane artist-on-the-rise Hatchie and Ivy League Records are thrilled to announce the artist’s highly-anticipated debut EP Sugar & Spice will be released on Friday 25 May. To celebrate the news, Hatchie has unveiled the new single & title track, Sugar & Spice (premiered on triple j’s Good Nights, followed by a play on KCRW), and video (premiered via Stereogum), whilst also announcing her first Australian headline tour, which will take place in July. The run will see the artist play at the Worker’s Club (Melbourne) on Thursday July 12, Oxford Art Factory Gallery (Sydney) on Friday July 13, before finishing in her hometown of Brisbane on Sat July 14 at Black Bear Lodge.

“After writing music that never felt cohesive or special enough to warrant its own venture, ‘Try’ marked a shift in my writing style I wasn’t expecting. I wrote it in early 2015, followed quickly by ‘Sleep’ and ‘Sugar & Spice’. They were written more for myself than for a specific project, in an effort to explore feelings of vulnerability and ecstasy I had previously suppressed. I wanted these songs to sound lush, sparkly, and recreate euphoric feelings I experienced falling in love for the first time. I reworked my demos with Joe Agius, whose production and writing additions achieved the perfect sound I was searching for, giving me confidence to start taking the songs more seriously and continue writing.

“The songs on Sugar & Spice were all written without much thought or pressure from myself or anyone else, allowing me to lay my feelings out like I’ve never done before. Joe & producer John Castle helped shape the sound you can hear in each track, bringing life to each song in its own special way.”

Aussie trio Middle Kids will release their debut album Lost Friends next month, and today they share new single On My Knees. The band explain the track is “about rejecting the value system of the individual as the prime unit of society. It’s also about how suffering and disappointment can help change our perspective in a healthy way. When we stop focusing on ‘winning’ and can submit to something bigger, or to each other, we are better people.”

On Lost Friends, Hannah Joy, Harry Day and Tim Fitz bring back their knack for haunting hooks, lyrical poignancy and irresistible indie rock appeal that critics praised in their self-titled first EP, released in February 2017. This radiant collection of new songs conjures melodic nostalgia for some of song writing’s very best, rich in heartfelt build and beautiful simplicity.

A seven-headed soul-rock hydra, straight outta Adelaide, this slightly-slack true-blue rock septet are into having a real good time. Led by charismatic leader figure, gravel-voiced frontman Reverend Ray, West Thebarton have spent the past few years honing razor sharp riffs, sticking them soundly to seriously tight melodic tones, and careering into bars, festival bills and best of lists.

Their life affirming anthems Moving Out, Bible Camp and new single Stuck On You have enjoyed a fair thrashing on triple j over the past 12 months, and they’ve already won over a ton of unsuspecting new fans on tour with Polish Club late last year, and at NYE on the Hill & Falls Festival in Byron and Lorne. After capturing the attention of Violent Soho’s James Tidswell the band have scored themselves a juicy record deal from his new label Domestic La La, and have committed their suburban homilies to tape. Their debut album, Different Beings Being Different will be unleashed in May and will see the band touring nationally before heading overseas for a string of debut festival appearances in Europe including Reading & Leeds Festival in the UK, Pukklepop in Belgium and Rock En Seine in France.

Brisbane hitmakers Sheppard drop their brand new single Riding The Wave along with news of their second album Watching The Sky which will hit stores globally on June 8.

With a clear vision of who they are and what they stand for, Sheppard have silenced the nay-sayers, throwing off the shackles of their global smash Geronimo, with two radio chart topping hits in the last twelve months with gold-selling Keep Me Crazy and platinum-selling Coming Home. Refusing to be defined by either their success or their detractors, Sheppard have steered their own ship, focusing on authenticity and delivering great pop songs to keep the world singing.

“It has been a huge journey of self discovery for us,” said singer George Sheppard. “With the incredible success of ‘Geronimo’ it was a big lesson for us to focus on the music rather than the success. Trying to base your future on your past will lead to inevitable failure, but creating something we believe in, not what pressure tells us we should deliver has ironically been what’s gotten us back in the charts.”

“Even when we were at our most successful, there was always someone trying to bring us down, but at every point there’s been many, many more supporting us and giving us this gift of being able to create music with our lives,” said Amy Sheppard. “That’s why you just need to accept yourself and what you have in the here and now —that’s really what ‘Riding The Wave’ is about. A long-term career band is going to have highs and lows, but what matters is the music. You’ve got to keep riding the wave… much like life.”

Groundbreaking artist Kamasi Washington’s highly anticipated second album Heaven & Earth is set for release June 22 via Young Turks. Two songs from the double album debut, listen to Earth’s, Fists of Fury and Heaven’s, The Space Travellers Lullaby.

The long-awaited follow up to Washington’s debut The Epic, Heaven & Earth is comprised of two halves, which find Washington confronting quotidian realities with cosmic themes. A further investigation of Washington’s world building ideas, the new album explores his reckoning with current global chaos and his vision for the future.

Fists of Fury and The Space Travelers Lullaby debut today alongside a pair of accompanying scenes created by acclaimed British artist and director Jenn Nkiru. The rich visual contextualisations are inspired by a more expansive collaborative Heaven & Earth film project that is due for release later in the year.

After a seven-year hiatus, Gang Gang Dance have announced their return. One of the most enduring and creatively vibrant musical acts of 21st Century New York, their new album Kazuashita will be released on Friday 22nd June via 4AD / Remote Control Records.

The band today reveal Lotus, the lead track taken from the record, it’s an ecstatic mix of deranged soul and hazy synthesizer ambience.

Kazuashita – the band’s first record together since the acclaimed Eye Contact in 2011 – is an intoxicating mix of shoegaze and electronic ambience, all held together by Lizzi Bougatsos and her otherworldly vocal. Bougatsos, alongside founding members Brian DeGraw and Josh Diamond, formed the group as an improvisational outfit in the early 2000s, and have consistently worked to blur the boundaries between music and art; as comfortable today performing at the Whitney Biennial as they are at Coachella and count Dash Snow & Nate Lowman, Tinchy Stryder and the Boredoms as previous collaborators.

As they prepare to hit the East Coast with Maddy Jane this month, as well as their own headline tour in May, Sydney’s STUMPS have released the hilarious visuals for their catchy as hell new tune, We’ll Do It Anyway! The music video sees STUMPS vocalist and songwriter Kyle Fisher going, well, bananas.

Directed by Josh Carr-Hummerston, the upbeat energy of We’ll Do It Anyway is matched perfectly on film, as we see Fisher jamming out and going to town on various instruments. Lyrically speaking, the single itself harks back to a day out amongst the masses Fisher experienced in Sydney. “The lyrics are about a certain visit I had to Field Day Festival in 2016 amongst the bulging and sculpted giants that roamed the grounds that day. It’s less of a scathing review of festival drug culture and more of an anthropomorphic journal embellished with superhero references.” STUMPS

Global superstar Jason Derulo travelled to his homeland of Haiti to create the official music video for Colors. The song is Coca-Cola®’s anthem for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ and on the day the song debuted, Jason posted on social media that he had the idea of unity in mind as he was writing the uptempo jam.

Shot in Miami (where Jason was raised) and at The Citadelle Laferriére (a mountaintop fortress located in Nord, Haiti) the video brings individuals together from around the world to celebrate their respective flags and nationalities. A guitar-strumming Wyclef Jean, also of Haitian descent, represents his colors in a cameo as well.

The vibrant video was directed by Gil Green, who also directed Derulo’s Stupid Love and Swalla (which has garnered over 1 billion views, and reached Double Platinum sales in Australia).

“As the lyrics say, ‘There’s beauty in the unity we’ve found.’ We’re inundated everyday with negative news and it’s hard to remain positive. That’s why it’s more important than ever to unite with people in your community to try and make a difference. As a Haitian-American, I’ve become more and more invested in giving back to where my family is from. To that extent, this song is a bit of a launch of plans that I am excited to reveal soon…”

GRAMMY®-nominated singer-songwriter/performer/producer/actress/activist, Janelle Monáe, has released a brand new electrifying song and accompanying visual, PYNK (featuring Grimes), from her highly-anticipated third solo album project and “emotion picture”, Dirty Computer.

The feel-good track is joined by a stunning companion visual directed by Emma Westenberg. PYNK (featuring Grimes), is now available at all DSPs and streaming services with the visual now streaming at Janelle’s official YouTube.

The album component of Monáe’s Dirty Computer is available for pre-order and includes downloads of PYNK (featuring Grimes), Make Me Feel, and Django Jane. The album and emotion picture is out now.

GODSMACK premiered the official music video for Bulletproof, the lead single from the multi-platinum US band’s upcoming WHEN LEGENDS RISE album due out now via Spinefarm Records. Directed by filmmaker Troy Smith, this satirical clip documents the band’s quest to make a new video.

In the video, GODSMACK’s manager – played by actual manager, Paul Geary – suggests that it’s time for the group to expand their fan-base by working with new (and clueless) video directors, including one played by Sebastian Bach and another by Billy Ray Cyrus. After being pitched a host of highly questionable ideas, vocalist / guitarist Sully Erna decides to hire his cousin, Salvatore Pasquale, from Sicily, Italy. Everything inevitably goes wrong at the shoot, climaxing with the set catching fire and, ultimately, the destruction of the video files.

GODSMACK premiered the official music video for Bulletproof, the lead single from the multi-platinum US band’s upcoming WHEN LEGENDS RISE album out now via Spinefarm Records. Directed by filmmaker Troy Smith, this satirical clip documents the band’s quest to make a new video.

In the video, GODSMACK’s manager – played by actual manager, Paul Geary – suggests that it’s time for the group to expand their fan-base by working with new (and clueless) video directors, including one played by Sebastian Bach and another by Billy Ray Cyrus. After being pitched a host of highly questionable ideas, vocalist / guitarist Sully Erna decides to hire his cousin, Salvatore Pasquale, from Sicily, Italy. Everything inevitably goes wrong at the shoot, climaxing with the set catching fire and, ultimately, the destruction of the video files.

For more music news, interviews, live reviews and photos head to Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles.