Nothing sounds like 18+. The guy/girl duo has been seducing new fans for years without ever putting out an official release, maintaining a profile more anonymous than even the mysterious Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland (who, even though they broke up, are still our Jay and Bey of experimental music right now). Beginning in 2011 and ending last year, their trilogy of M1xtape, Mixta2e, and Mixtap3 collected murky, dissonant takes on R&B and hip-hop that trumps, I’d argue, that other more-popular trilogy of murky R&B. That probably describes a ton of stuff these days, but on those tapes, 18+ sounded completely singular, something that comes through on their first official single. “Crow” tosses together a bass line, finger snaps, and a constant repetitive sample of a crow’s caw as the pair cooingly sings, “Pretend that you’re happy.” “Horn” meanwhile blends a distant echo of a horn sample, a brittle hip-hop beat, and dissonant drilling that would sound at home on the quieter moments of a clipping. or Wolf Eyes album. That all lays down the foundation for the male member’s rapping that brings to mind a Shabazz Palaces track while the female member laughs in a way that gave me flashbacks to that terrifying moment on To Be Kind — and yet it all somehow still feels like R&B. I’m dropping a lot of other band names here, but really I’m just grasping at straws. Nothing sounds like 18+.
The “Crow”/”Horn” 7″ is out 8/4 via Houndstooth.