We finally received an answer to Jet’s (RIP) (my personal favorite moment in their illustrious history) 2003 single “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” The smart answer is in the form of this understated single from similarly named, drastically dissimilar musically: Wet’s “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl.” Playing with silence, gentle synths and astounding vocals in a way that James Blake’s eponymous debut album was praised for, Wet’s EP is one of my favorites to be released recently.
The cover of Wet’s EP is a deformed rock in the shape of a face in its hands, a shiny, unfeeling sculpture. The symbolism for Wet is the way these songs feel formed in-time, as lead singer Kelly Zutrau weaves a story throughout, much like a sculptor slowly feels out an unmolded piece of clay into a less unmolded piece of clay. Wet’s EP was released on October 15, and can be streamed (and bought) on their Bandcamp page.
A spiraling downwards. It’s something we have all, at some point, felt. That moment you know you have made a huge mistake, or (you self-assuringly tell yourself) someone else has at your expense. Felt the stomach implode and the brain go numb, but we have never really heard it the way BANKS guides us through that moment. Hushed enough, but brimming with enough teeth-gritted confidence we hear BANKS defiant stance through filtered vocals. BANKS pitch on “This Is What It Feels Like” shakes like one teetering on the edge of bursting with anger and sadness. Synths swarm around her escalating the tension as BANKS ushers in the chorus. The magnitude of these swelling emotions accurately depicted in BANKS new video, seen below, as a lonely BANKS revels in the storm ravaging outside.
I’m so hungry. All those people eating ribs. It was a little discombobulating in the middle of Wavves’ new music video “That’s On Me,” but all in all still looked delicious.
Now, I may be a sick individual if I can watch this video, which graphically filets a hanging pig, and leave hungry. But not everyone can enjoy a song which in one line says “You’ll regret your whole life” and in the next says, whatever. Wavves has been doing weird shit like this throughout their career and, let’s be honest, their music has always been a little off-kilter. They’re constantly bridging the real and the absurd, whether that be sonically or visually. This Waves track is the next in a line from these disenchanted rockers that I can get fully on board with. (more…)
Oh My Goodness’ single “OMG OMG” starts off gleefully enough before lead singer Therese Workman starts rapping as fast as she can to make sure she won’t be left off the next list of rappers Kendrick plans on murdering. And then, the whimsical whistling comes back as quickly as it left as if nothing ever happened. It’s the musical equivalent of falling down the stairs, and then looking around to make sure no was looking before getting the hell out of there.
The sound that the Brooklyn based duo (a would-be shocking fact if the link to the video wasn’t right there simply because there’s just so much going on) has come up with is uniquely their own. Oh My Goodness seem to get bored of staying in one place–very much represented in their video where, even if they are just standing in one place, they’re being cut into jagged pieces of themselves. The band rushes between indie pop, rap, and ends with a chaotic, swarming guitar. The distorted guitars, ability to play with space, constantly filling it up to a bursting point before popping the balloon to let it all rush out, and ooohs and aaaahs all remind me vaguely of Grizzly Bear if Edward Droste would do what we have all been waiting for and start rapping his lyrics.
“OMG OMG” is the first video to come from Oh My Goodness’ debut self-titled EP, which you can download here.
You know, I like Paper Lions. I like their new album, My Friends. I like that sometimes lead singer John MacPhee sounds like Brian Wilson and I like it less when he sounds like a version of Brian Wilson that just inhaled helium. I like that Paper Lions sing about their friends, about going on road trips and vacations to Philadelphia. Paper Lions sing songs stuffed-filled with nostalgia and wishful childhood ideals like a piñata ripe to be busted open and feasted on, and I like that, too. These songs would fit perfectly on the soundtrack to Garden State, which is a movie I like. But you know what else? I don’t love Paper Lions. (more…)
Listening to Gold Lake’s single “We Already Exist,” it noticeably comes without much of the grainy lo-fi sound that accompanies many a band’s very first output. “We Already Exist” completely bypasses a band’s awkward, still-finding-their-way-and-working-out-the-kinks phase and immediately enters a song that would perfectly soundtrack one of those gorgeous city time lapses (particularly a Seattle one). If you’ve ever seen one of these, you know its a huge compliment; the song feels expansive and beautiful in this same way. And there’s good reason for this, as Gold Lake’s story is enviable enough to leave me a little mad wondering if my invite to Spain got lost in the mail. Gold Lake was initially formed by duo Carlos del Amo and Lua Rios, who met abroad in Europe and were successful musicians under the moniker We are Balboa in Spain (the trio was completed by drummer Dave Burnett once the band rooted in Brooklyn). And, oh, yeah, Carlos just happens to have opened up a club in Madrid so that they would always have a place to celebrate. So, we have: meet cool European, check; form successful band together, check; and open up hip Spanish club, check. The product is Gold Lake, who have already worked with producer Phil Ek (The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty) on their anticipated LP Years, expected out this year.
As you would expect after all their worldly experience, Gold Lake’s single is a polished piece of shimmering pop music. A futuristic take on Fleet Foxes’ first album, featuring similar sparse and tangible guitar strums, and gorgeous layered background vocals. For a band trying to replicate their Spanish successes, their first step has them taking them lead. I only hope that I get invited to Carlos’ cool Brooklyn club when he decides to repeat that success.
I have to confess, if I were lucky enough to be attending the Capitol Hill Block Party and The Grizzled Mighty came out and said something like, “We’re The Grizzled Mighty, have a good night!” and just walked right back off stage, I’d be astounded. I mean, it’s a helluva name and one I’m not even entirely sure makes sense, making the unconceivable conception of the name that much more mythical*. But, as you’d expect, with great band naming comes great songs. So, even if you’re less impressed with the band name than I, the encore of music they’ll (almost) assuredly play after announcing themselves should leave you with more or less the same sense of astonishment.
The guitarist, Whitney, is a former member of Deerhunter, a fact that is only apparent if you trace The Grizzled Mighty’s warbling, Southern-twanged sound to the geographical roots of Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox’s roots of Athens, Georgia. The southern region of our contingent 48 stateshas churned these classic rockers with modern influence out over the past couple years from the likes of Kings of Leon (circa 2007 standout pre-sellout Because of the Times), Alabama Shakes or Gary Clark Jr.. The Grizzled Mighty borrow the fuzz-rock of Gary Clark Jr., but the terrible-twosome inject it with a fearsome infatuation of guitar solos that the band describes as ones that “[bring] the erotic riffs of Hades to the trembling surface.” So, yeah, as you can see, the band is masterful at descriptions and it’s easy to see this knack bleed over into a formidable sound that’s sure to compose a show based a lot less on their kick-ass name and a lot more on the music’s ability to rile you up to kick some ass.
*Having spent enough time on the name, this was best left as a footnote: How did they come up with the name? Were they shouting out adjectives to describe bears and they just chose those two? Oh, to be a fly on the wall in that brainstorming session…
Uh! Grunts and groans – it’s basically the least and at the same time the most I can say in reaction to hearing Male Bonding’s new primal, churning song, “The Itch.” The song succeeds in so many ways, and builds on what Male Bonding has been perfecting over the years. Male Bonding is at its best when, at first listen, you don’t catch the lyrics; you are dancing in your room to a Technicolor guitar solo. But as you slow down and inevitably are pressing repeat you start to listen and get a little bummed out.
The UK trio’s simultaneously sardonic and playful music is what first drew me to the group. The first single of theirs I heard was “Bones,” a song that’s piston-like drums and screeching guitar is almost enough to distract you from the sobering lyrical content that warns you against achieving your dreams. Their mature pop-punk sensibilities, along with Japandroids, pulled me out of a desolate, molding cave filled with old Blink 182 and Simple Plan CDs. The songs are catchy enough that they could be enormously successful—and as it stands now they are at the very least criminally underrated—but their approach is enough to make critics swoon.
At 16, most of us were wildly ambitious and in way over our heads, maybe some (or a lot) of us dreaming of being famous rock stars that got to tour the world. And this is Male Bonding at its finest, but Male Bonding is a famous, super rad rock group that gets to tour the world. So, when the chorus hits: “Things I have done, things I have seen/ Still miss that buzz from being sixteen” it gives you a little hope that maybe you’re doing something right after all.
Sometimes I notice people passing by with headphones that render them completely oblivious. They are eyes closed, air drumming, pianoing or guitaring, head wobbling like a watermelon about to topple from the picnic table. I can’t help but wonder how they’ve reached this complete lack of self awareness. But sometimes I find myself on the other end, like when holychild’s “Best Friends (DADO remix)” comes on and suddenly, my leg jubilantly finds the rhythm and the next thing I know I’m air-xylophoning in public–no common feat.
If holychild’s “Best Friends” was your way-too-early summer anthem, then here’s a remix to get holychild right back into your “Backyard Bash” playlist. The remix is a juiced-up, put-into-a-machine-and-synthesized-out version of the already unfairly catchy original. And if you’re less of a Drake guy/gal, and more into CHVRCHES and Purity Ring but still want to announce your love and exclusivity towards your friends using the glory of music, then look no further.
Look out for more experimental pop from the band that “can’t be boxed in” this fall when they’ll be dropping their new EP.