Day Wave sucked me in immediately with “Drag,” a shy track that spins through loneliness on a roller coaster of deceptively bright fuzz-pop. Listening to the music that Jackson Phillips makes as Day Wave is like getting all of Motion City Soundtrack’s urgent emo freakouts fused with Real Estate’s languid lingering guitar loops. His new track, “We Try But We Don’t Fit In,” is slower and dreamier — a slushy synth anthem about fucking up, but doing it surrounded by people you love. “Hold on/ Who am I again?” he asks at one point, with the kind of frankness that suggests he knows exactly who he is, and has been shirking his true self. When “Drag” came out, I wrote that the tense uncertainty reminded me of a middle school situation, and that comes through again here. Not because the music is immature by any means — it’s highly sophisticated — but because Phillips has completely captured a particular, timid kind of ennui that we associate with teenagers. It’s not till you grow up that you learn all these lurking questions and open-ended answers never really fade. I’d listen to this on loop all day for a drive to the beach, but I’d also listen to it in my room alone, quietly contemplating the universe. The song arrives with news of a debut EP called Headcase, and you can hear it below.
Here’s the Headcase tracklist:
01 “Nothing At All”
02 “Total Zombie”
04 “We Try But We Don’t Fit In”
Day Wave is self-releasing Headcase on 7/17.