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.
Sam Paxton is smashing his guitar to…
“Break The Rules”
After the 70s and 80s had their respective turns in the pop culture revival spotlight, it would appear that, for better or worse, the 90s are coming back. Charli XCX (aka Charlotte Aitchison), who has had a ridiculously successful summer (featured in Iggy Azaelia’s smash hit “Fancy” as well as on the soundtrack to The Fault In Our Stars with the infectious “Boom Clap”) mined the decade to great effect last year on her debut True Romance. Only twenty-one at the time, Aitchison is a true child of the 90s. Despite her age, she released an album mature beyond her years to widespread critical praise. True Romance is a stellar amalgam of 90s girl-group pop, EDM culture, and contemporary electronica flourishes. With her plaid miniskirts and tatter t-shirts, Charli XCX is like a sixth, lost Spice Girl, kicked out of the lineup for being too overtly provocative.
This week, Charli announced the follow-up to True Romance: entitled Sucker, the new LP is scheduled to release in October. In advance of the album, she shared the first single, “Break The Rules,” on her Soundcloud page. If “Break The Rules” is any indication, Sucker will marry the filtered nostalgia of her first album with a new, punk-inspired energy. The track marries a gritty, fuzzed-out bass line to acoustic guitar and a breakbeat–the whole ordeal is reminiscent of Blur’s “Song 2.” Like many of her songs, “Break The Rules” is a party anthem for the disaffected Gen-Y set; Charli just wants to keep “going to the discotheque, getting high and getting wrecked.” Clearly she doesn’t want the party to end, and if she keeps churning out punky hits like this, she just might get her wish.
Dominic Griffin is Schmoney dancing to…
“They want the old Bino so they try to rewind
The new Bino too ahead of his time”
It’s odd to joke about your fans’ wanting you to regress and claiming you’re too futuristic, especially on a throwaway jam that feels like a flashback to the curiously received mixtape you put out before your last genre-expanding studio release, but hey, this is the same guy who quit a beloved television series to rap about memes. If I sound entirely too critical of an artist I’ve professed an admiration for in the past, it’s because, after the minor revelation of because the internet I expect a little more from Donald Glover, particularly after the misfire of his “Twitter activism is wack” rant. If you want people to stop thinking you’re a one dimensional “New Black” only concerned with Kitsune cable knits and white pussy, it might be a good idea to evolve your rhyming persona to match your growing musical talents.
Outside of an extended allusion to career highlight “Telegraph Ave” in the instrumental under his second verse, “Candler Road” wants to box lefty with the in-between-album cuts Drake likes to release at 4am from an Instagram model’s hotel room. At this point, watching Gambino trail Aubrey so blatantly is becoming frustrating. It isn’t just the vintner-based boasts (“Cabernet, I can smell the tarp”) either. Drake would probably rather spar with J. Cole or Kendrick Lamar, but the Childish Gambino persona now regularly takes night drives in Champagne Papi’s lane, and the disparity in their arcs and confidence levels is drastic. This song is fun and by no means a flop, but after the success of bti, Glover needs to stay thinking out of the box, especially when the competition is using these late night throwaway singles to do things like “0-100.”
“Blockbuster Night Part 1”
Run The Jewels
“Last album voodoo, proved that we was fucking brutal…”
Blessing you fucking pissants with the sequel you barely deserve, El-P and Killer Mike, Tag Team Champions of this rap shit, are back to stomp on the ostensible opposition. There are no two other human beings on Earth at the moment working in sync the way these two do. If you missed their first collaboration, well, first of all, fuck you. No, seriously. There’s no excuse. Very rarely do I pull the “you’re part of the problem for not listening to the right music” card, but in this particular case, objectivity doesn’t enter into the equation. Opinions are not relevant. Run The Jewels is important. There’s no metric to weigh their rhymes by, the potent power of El-P’s production, the fierceness of their collective voice, the punch it packs, that could undercut the magnitude of these two distinct artists joining forces.
Parts of speech become hollow tipped bullets, loaded into phrase clips and shot out of a .50 calibre microphone, splitting open targets in every direction. This is two of the realest MCs on the globe, passing time together by pointing out the hypocrisy and idioicy that surrounds them. On this, their lead single, when El-P turns to his compatriot and conspiratorially snarls “Look at these kiddies Mike, I’m a rat-a-tat em for living” you get the distinct feeling you’re riding shotgun in the booth, pre-gaming for The Purge of everything fake and fleeting in the world of hip hop. As Mike muses, “I give a fuck if I’m late, tell Satan be patient.” If Tartarus is to be their final destination, these two are going out in a blaze of glory.
Julian Ames is passing out to….
“Black Moon Spell”
Black Moon Spell
Heavy riffage is the name of the game on “Black Moon Spell,” the second song released from King Tuff’s new album of the same name. Right off the bat it kicks off with an evil sounding guitar lick that announces that this is something different. The first song released for the album, “Eyes of The Muse” is very bubblegum in comparison to “Black Moon Spell,” with its themes of witchcraft and voodoo. In “Black Moon Spell” King Ting Tuff brews up an evil love potion, leading to the catchy chorus, “when your heart starts beating, baby you’ll be dreaming in a black moon spell.” The riff continues throughout and there’s a really fiery solo to keep your heart rate up. From what King Tuff is showing us between “Eyes” and “Black Moon,” the new album is shaping up to be another stellar effort.
Not sure what it is about New Jersey, but the rockers that come from there are incredibly good at writing anthems, from old schoolers like The Boss and Bon Jovi, through the Misfits, and up to the new guard which includes The Gaslight Anthem and Titus Andronicus. In that class is, of course, Gerard Way, the former frontman of My Chemical Romance, a band responsible for the popularization (for better or worse) of the Emo subculture; but even if you scoff at the word “emo,” just realize that for his band, it was all just part of the theatrics (they would go through several costume changes before their break up) and behind it all were some very good anthems.
Now Way is striking out on his own with a new album titled Hesitant Alien. With the newest song and video, “No Shows,” Way is demonstrating that he hasn’t lost the songwriting abilities he had with his old band. The song is driving and anthemic, with the incredibly singable chorus “we don’t need no shows.” It’s very similar in sound and sentiment to the MCR song “The Kids From Yesterday,” off of their final album Danger Days. Way says that this whole album is heavily influenced by Britpop, and while I’m not well-versed enough in that genre to attest to that here, I can say it does have a similar feel to Bowie’s “Heroes,” minus Robert Fripp’s iconic guitar part. The one weird issue with the song is the decision to mix the vocals to sound as if Way is singing through a megaphone for the whole song. The intent is clear, but it kind of muddies the song and makes it a little hard to understand. Way uses classic rock and roll imagery like the devil, metal, electricity to get his point across. The video even recalls some of MCR’s theatricality, staging the performance during some sort of intergalactic talk show. “No Shows” proves that even after his four-year absence from the music scene he hasn’t lost his edge; Hesitant Alien should be an interesting affair.