Deadshirt Is Listening… Bringing you a rundown of our staff and guest contributors’ favorite new tracks released in the past week after they’ve had the weekend to blast them in their cars, in a club, alone in their rooms, etc.
David Lebovitz is bluesing it up to…
Eric Clapton & Tim Duffy
The Music Maker Relief Foundation has been working for twenty years to preserve the heritage of southern music by promoting and financially supporting aging musicians from the Southern musical tradition. To celebrate the organization’s twentieth year in operation, founder Tim Duffy dug up an unreleased 1995 track where he plays the Delta blues standard “Mississippi Blues” with Eric Clapton. Duffy picks out some backup licks while Clapton takes the lead.
The blues are often described as easy to play but hard to feel, and the blues are about feeling. Clapton and Duffy are both noted experts in the blues, trained by some of the best, and play the song with their years of expertise shining through it. One of the little joys of this track is hearing Clapton and Duffy have a mini-discussion at the end about Willie Brown (the composer of the song), and blues literature. It helps emphasize that these are two men that not only know how to play the blues, but understand its history.
Dominic Griffin is vibing to…
“m0rgan stop =͟͟͞͞ʕ•̫͡•ʔ =͟͟͞͞ʕ•̫͡•ʔ =͟͟͞͞ʕ•̫͡•ʔ =͟͟͞͞ʕ•̫͡•ʔ =͟͟͞͞ʕ•̫͡•ʔ”
“blah blah blah blah, you’re always fighting with me
ra ra, sun god, i need your vitamin D, i need your chemical X
so i can smile at whatever little mess i’m in next”
For a variety of unsavory reasons, a young white girl rapping always gets hit with criticism that sounds like a writing prompt for a think piece from hell, but I’ve always found the artist formerly known as Kitty Pryde to be a breath of fresh air in the post-millenial blog rap landscape. In maybe the best way possible, Kitty is the most Tumblr hip hop artist on Earth right now, an emcee whose first big song “Okay Cupid” was played as a love letter to Detroit lyricist Danny Brown, and who counts Riff Raff among her previous collaborators. To quote Gwen Stefani, “she’s just a girl” who lives on the internet, likes Lil B, and makes delightfully uninhibited, dreamy rap songs full of clever rhymes and navel gazing musings, essentially Taylor Swift if she discovered MF Doom in high school instead of an acoustic guitar.
“m0rgan stop” is a hazy daydream of a love song that floats over Brandun DeShay’s Sade by way of underwater Super Mario instrumental, with Kitty nimbly lobbing Dear Diary entries craftily contorted into paper airplanes over the heads of her detractors. Her latest EP is personal in an endearing way, but this song is truly standout, as she lays herself bare for her “Prince of Egypt, Prince of Persia, Prince of Paris.” She always presents her career as a fun romp she’s continuing merely to entertain herself, but with this new batch of tracks, I’m gleefully looking forward to her first full-length, whenever that comes down the pike.
Tha Carter V
“Picture me broke, but forgot to take the top off the lens
In the restaurant, I’m with Slim, wrestlin’ with lobster limbs…”
Nothing tickles me Codeine & Sprite Pink like a good comeback single. The Golden Era of Pre-Crisis Dwayne Carter begins around Tha Carter II and ended around 2009 mixtape No Ceilings (excusing the Zero Hour crossover event Rebirth) and ever since, we’ve all been waiting with bated breath for the moment that Weezy, the once professed Best Rapper Alive, would return to his rightful seat at the throne.
Now, this is not that moment. Not even close. We, more than likely, will never hear the dizzying heights of “Sky is The Limit” or “Upgrade U (Freestyle)” again in our lifetime, but as far as a reassuring example of Wayne’s singularly demented prowess for spewing off-kilter punchlines, new single “D’Usse” more than fits the bill. Over a cascading, triumphant instrumental from Lee Majors, Wayne hopscotches from non-sequitor to non-sequitor, taking a victory lap on the cosmic treadmill of his mind. The previous Drake-featuring single “Believe Me” took the “Forgot About Dre” route, largely letting his protege do all of his trash talking, but wisely, this track goes the opposite direction. Hookless and airy, “D’Usse” gives us some quality time with the entity known as Lil Wayne, who once famously told us he was so high, he could eat a star. Let’s hope this (potentially) final album features more celestial buffet.
Julian Ames is not stopping at just one to…
“Just One Drink”
The third song released in advance of Jack White’s new album, Lazaretto, is the booze-soaked country rocker “Just One Drink.” Musically, the tune stays pretty consistent with the the folk/country/Americana/rock aesthetic that White established on his first solo album, Blunderbuss. That is to say, the music is less guitar-centric, and features more instruments that were popular in a bygone era; in this track the fiddle gets extra attention among the typical rhythm section, giving the song a truly countryfied feeling.
Although it might sound like a rollicking good time, the lyrics tell the story of a dying flame in a relationship. White’s character needs just one drink to get his would-be lover in the mood. At the end of the song we get a refrain of “I love you, but honey, why don’t you love me?” It’s a sentiment that everybody has probably said or thought at one point–making it especially easy to drink along to and a perfect bar rocker.
Mike Pfeiffer is on the run but there’s….
“Nowhere to Hide”
I’m pretty sure the most efficient way to make yourself look old is to say “ROCK ‘N’ ROLL IS DEAD… THEY DON’T MAKE MUSIC LIKE THIS ANYMORE!!” Nothing says “I have two Blues Traveler albums I like and every time I hear anything on the radio it scares me” like that phrase, huh? It’s ridiculous for a lot of reasons, mostly because Rock ‘n’ Roll is going to live until someone finally kills the devil, but also because they do fucking make music like this anymore. Let’s talk Crobot.
The thrill of Crobot (and hard-rock contemporaries like Airbourne and Reckless Love) is that they let you live in a universe where bands don’t slow down, sell out, or do concept albums. They just released their first EP with Wind-Up Records and it’s 100% Old School Hard Rock/Metal Goodness, tapping the Page Iommi Reservoir of crunchy riffs that many would have you believe went depleted long ago. They just released “Nowhere To Hide” as a single and it’s a great example of the kinda power that they bring to the table. If you’ve worn out all your vinyl chasing the Led Zeppelin dragon (which is Smaug, I guess) then find fresh thrill from a familiar sound with CROBOT.