Best Ex might be a name you don't recall -- but the band is certainly familiar. Fronted by singer/songwriter Mariel Loveland, the pop-speckled project toured across the US and UK as Candy Hearts, a wide-eyed punk band rooted in the nostalgic world of Vans Warped tour and the Tony Hawk Pro Skater sound track (if you didn't fight with your siblings of the PS1 controller, were you even a millennial?). Today, the band has abandoned their bucket-list mission of finding every Tony Hawk level in real life and adopted a sparkling new sound.
It was travelling between continents -- with Loveland splitting her time between the US and UK -- where Best Ex truly found its roots. While they've managed to maintain the wistful heartbreak of previous releases, they've slapped on some fuzzed-out synths and a heavy dose of sarcasm (blame it on the chemicals in Loveland's recent addiction to Hot Cheetos or the fact that she had to fly back and forth to recording sessions with a deep, pathological fear of air travel).
"Bad Love" -- Best Ex's first single in two years -- is a departure from the Loveland's previous work. It's abandoned the summery, shimmering hope of the band's previous releases and dove straight into the frigid streets of New York at night with its Doc Marten boot ankle-deep in a puddle of melted snow. Though Loveland still recalls the innocent school girl crushes and room temperature beers of her college years, she's found herself in a hotel bar in Manhattan wondering first, why she breaks her own heart, and second, if she missed out on a lucrative career as an extra on Gossip Girl.
"When I was younger, I honestly never pictured my life to be as painfully dramatic as the TV shows I used to watch -- then I moved to New York, found myself stirring the ice in my $20 cocktail with existential dread, and wondering why the people I love never seem to return the favor. The result of that feeling is 'Bad Love,'" she said. "It's about those relationships you hold onto even if you know they're doomed from the start because the highs are so high that nothing else compares."
"In a very New York way, everything about 'Bad Love' feels like the hipster purgatory of perpetually waiting for the L train at 2 am on a claustrophobic subway platform," she continued. "You might ask yourself why you constantly do this. Why you ever moved here next to a train you were told in advance wouldn't be working. But you did it anyway. Because you love it here, and eventually, that train is going to come, and you're going to get on it, and the air conditioning is going to feel like you've found God. Is it worth it? I haven't quite figured it out. but I hope that it is."
"Bad Love" is out Sept. 19 via No Sleep Records in the US and Alcopop in the UK.