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.
Julian Ames is biting another neck to…
“Bathroom Tile Blues”
This past week, The Orwells dropped what could possibly be the best summer rock album of the year. Disgraceland is filled with stirring riffs, rousing anthems, the classic “Be My Baby” kick-kick-kick-snare, and many other delightful things that a good summer rock album needs. Channeling groups like The Strokes, Kings of Leon, The Libertines, and others, every song on this album is money – each one having the ability to perfectly soundtrack a different summer moment. Seriously, if this album hadn’t completely snuck up on me this would’ve been a full review.
The song I originally wanted to do for this was called “Who Needs You,” a Strokes-ian rocker with a riff that instantly caught my ear; it turns out that it was actually released as a single and an EP in 2013, so sadly it’s disqualified for consideration this week. Instead, I went with “Bathroom Tile Blues,” a slightly slower tune with an equally catchy guitar riff and vocal melody. In the song, lead singer Mario Cuomo laments the heavy boozing, sleeping-with-models rockstar lifestyle. It’s somewhat ironic because Cuomo is only 20 or 21 and his band is nowhere near that level of fame yet, although The Orwells might reach that level pretty soon if they keep putting out albums as consistently awesome as Disgraceland.
Dylan Roth is starting a new life to…
First Aid Kit
This week, Swedish duo Johanna and Klara Södorberg release their third full-length album, Stay Gold. The album is of the quality fans have come to expect from this talented pair of young voices whose harmonies intertwine as only sisters’ can. Stay Gold is their first release from Columbia Records, and could see them break out into even greater success. (Last album they debuted their single on TBS’s Conan – this week they’ll perform on Letterman.) As their heroes like Conor Oberst begin to fade into the background, delivering less satisfying records less often, First Aid Kit continues to rise through the ranks of folk music and inspire the next generation. (Yes, there are humans younger than Johanna and Klara Södorberg.)
The highlight of the LP is “Waitress Song,” a ballad of escape and reinvention. First Aid Kit’s sound is timeless; their songs feel as if they could have been written any time in the past half-century, and yet feel perfectly contemporary. The appeal of starting a new life under another name rather than facing the struggle and heartbreak in the one you’re living now never gets old, and the duo expresses it purely and truly. Complemented by strings and pedal steel guitar, First Aid Kit has never been so compelling.
Dominic Griffin is vogueing to…
“Frontin’ (Featuring JAY Z) (Disclosure Remix)”
Ten years ago, “Frontin” was possibly my favorite song. I was, and remain, a diehard stan of Pharrell Williams and “that Neptune sound.” Uberhyped dance act Disclosure give the white face mask treatment to a post-millenial classic of chilled out hip hop vibes, dressing up Pharrell’s first (and arguably, most Pharrellian) solo single as a fun romp that wouldn’t be out of place on the runway with its ’90s house embellishments.
“Frontin” was always a laid back affair, a coolly delivered jab of rapier wit deflating the masquerade of a would-be dance partner for the singer/writer/producer. Here, Disclosure speeds up the tempo and livens up the party, an extravagant extrapolation of the same general intentions, to outdo someone’s “hard to get” exterior by putting their facade on display for all to see. What’s cooler than playing it cool? Dancing up an ice storm and shattering the finely hardened sculpture left in the wake.
Sam Paxton is doing the Elaine dance to…
This week saw the release of Scranton, PA natives Tigers Jaw’s third studio album, Charmer. The album was released in the wake of a schism in the band that saw all but two of the founding members departing. Surprisingly, the breakup was amicable and even though the change was announced last year, all six musicians stuck around long enough to record what amounts to a farewell album. The band describes themselves as “equal parts Fleetwood Mac and Brand New,” and the tight songcraft, overdriven guitars, and misanthropic lyricism bear witness to both comparisons.
Take the opening track, “Cool,” an under three minute number that explodes out of the gate with a muscular guitar riff and a doom-cum-surf rock vibe. Ben Walsh’s husky voice cuts through the fuzz like a lead guitar line as he croons “I’m out in California now / Ari gave me his new car / and all the girls are so champagne,” working his best Miserable Morrissey impression. It’s an infectious track, arriving just in time for summer romances to crash and burn to. And frankly, if there’s a better encapsulation of life than “it’s a cruel world, but it’s cool,” I haven’t found it yet.