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Monday Mix: Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Hand Habits, Leon Bridges

Unknown Mortal Orchestra has dropped its second single of the summer. According to frontman and founder Ruban Nielson, “That Life” is a song that takes an uncluttered approach to dissecting the messiness of life. “I saw this painting by Hieronymus Bosch called ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ and in the painting there was a mixture of crazy stuff going on, representing heaven, earth and hell,” Nielson recalled recently. “When I was writing this song, ‘That Life,’ I was imaging the same kind of ‘Where’s Waldo’ (or ‘Where’s Wally’ as we call it in New Zealand, Australia and the UK) of contrasting scenes and multiple characters all engaged in that same perverse mixture of luxury, reverie, damnation, in the landscape of America. Somewhere on holiday under a vengeful sun.”

After working as a session guitarist and touring member of Kevin Morby’s band, Upstate New York native Meg Duffy moved to Los Angeles and formed the group Hand Habits. Duffy’s talent as a songwriter is front and center with the new single “Aquamarine” which comes from the forthcoming “Fun House” LP, expected on Oct. 22. Duffy says “Aquamarine” originally started as a minimally arranged acoustic ballad before evolving into the beautifully textured electropop song you hear today. “It was my goal to cloak some of the perils of mortality (lyrically) in a musical landscape that didn’t require the listener for a large amount of patience, to bring grief into the metaphorical club,” said Duffy.

Grammy-winning artist Leon Bridges continues his journey through the evolution of soul music with “Why Don’t You Touch Me” from his newest album “Gold-Diggers Sound.” Although the song clearly channels the soulfulness of ‘90s R&B vocalists like Babyface, Keith Sweat, and Brian McKnight, it’s executed with so much beauty that Bridges succeeds in transcending the pitfalls of nostalgia and is on the way to creating his own instant classic.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Ray Gill, Jr.