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 moshing to…
“Bury Our Friends”
No Cities To Love
This Monday, seminal riot grrrl band Sleater-Kinney surprised everyone by announcing No Cities To Love, their first album since going on hiatus following 2005’s The Woods. As I’m sure is true of anyone who loves S-K, I hesitated before listening to the advance track, “Bury Our Friends.” What if it was no good? Let’s be honest, reunion albums are kind of a dicy proposition. At best, they can capture what was vital about a band in the first place and spin it off in an exciting new direction. At worst, well, just look at what the Pixies did earlier this year.
It turns out I shouldn’t have worried. “Bury Our Friends” sounds like vintage Sleater-Kinney. “We sound possessed on these songs,” guitarist Carrie Brownstein (who you may recognize from her comedy series Portlandia) said in a statement, “willing it all–the entire weight of the band and what it means to us–back into existence.” Possessed is right: lead singer Corin Tucker, drummer Janet Weiss, and Brownstein are still on top of their game, delivering a thundering, punky track with an insistently driving drum beat and tense, wiry guitar lines. “Only I get to be sickened by me / my body’s a smudge / can’t make out the details” sings Tucker in her trademark love-it-or-hate-it wild yelp. Sleater-Kinney went into hiatus because the band wisely knew when it was time to take a break; luckily, they’re back because they know they have more work to do.
Julian Ames is taking a familiar drive to …
Radio One Rescores: Drive
BBC Radio One DJ Zane Lowe has undertaken a project to re-score the 2011 Nicolas Winding Refn film, Drive, using mostly original tracks from modern artists of Lowe’s choosing. While it is an interesting idea, I personally don’t really see why this is necessary. The Drive soundtrack is one of the most iconic soundtracks in recent memory–it created atmosphere for the film using moody, often dark, synth tracks, and Lowe doesn’t seem to be doing his score much differently by calling on artists like SBTRKT, CHVRCHES, and Foals.
Regardless of whether or not the rescoring will add anything to the movie experience, I have no doubt that the songs themselves will be quality. The first track released from the project, “Get Away” by CHVRCHES, supports my theory. It’s very much a CHVRCHES song: anthemic synthpop and Lauren Mayberry’s vocals make it instantly recognizable to any fan. But it also sounds like the band doing their version of M83’s “Midnight City,” where a repeating vocal sample replaces the iconic synth lead. The only thing missing is a soaring sax solo near the end. Still, the song really grooves and definitely matches the coolness factor of the songs off of the original Drive soundtrack. Now all we need to do is wait and see where it’s placed in the movie.
Steph Salo is drinking a latte in Urban Outfitters to…
Ambient Electro Pop
Paperwhite (a brother/sister duo from Brooklyn) has been releasing singles every few weeks on Spotify as a lead-up to their EP, dropping November 17th. Each single has been better than the last, and “Pieces” is definitely the pièce de résistance. This track is going to be a big hit with anyone who’s been a fan of what’s happening lately with female vocalists in synth pop. It’s been featured on Spotify’s “New Music” playlist, as well as VH1’s “Ten Singles You Need To Hear” playlist, so it’s getting a nice bit of attention. I work for LUSH (yes, the “bath bomb store”) and this has quickly become a staff favorite, so it looks like we may have the real deal on our hands. Honestly, it’s hard not to love; the vocals are dreamy, the harmony perfect, and the ambient “ohs” and “aaahs” make this the perfect single. I want pop music like this to catch on. It’s complex and perfectly produced, and you can tell a lot of thought went into the composition. As far as the general sound goes, think CHVRCHES meets Purity Ring meets early Madonna. Mark my words, this will be the anthem to hipster IT girls in due time.
Mike Duquette is getting electro-fied to…
Mystery Skulls feat. Nile Rodgers & Brandy
We’re a year and a half out from Daft Punk’s deck-clearing Random Access Memories, where the French duo ever-so-delicately reminded a genre choked with bass drops and occasionally anonymous programming that dance music always worked best when it has some real body behind it. (In Daft Punk’s case, of course, they threw it all the way back to the last gasp of the disco era, recruiting the likes of CHIC producer/guitarist Nile Rodgers, bassist Nathan East and behind-the-scenes luminaries from Giorgio Moroder to Paul Williams.)
The success of Random Access Memories and the scorching, inescapable “Get Lucky” was never meant to open the floodgates for a host of imitators to storm the charts, but it certainly made it possible for anyone who wanted to embrace the past to do just that. Bully, then, for producer/remixer Mystery Skulls, who last week released “Magic” as a teaser for their debut album Forever, out this week. “Magic” is a perfect blend of ‘70s disco, ‘90s soul and modern electronica, with swirling violins and the inimitable six strings of Rodgers (whom every pop fan owes a debt of gratitude, from “Let’s Dance” to “Like a Virgin”); a smooth guest vocal from the seemingly ageless Brandy, and some dirty, low-slung synths, all wrapped around a circular, stupidly catchy melody. If you’re looking for something to raise your pulse on the floor during these chilly autumn months, Mystery Skulls might be the act to beat.
Dylan Roth is pretending he’s on acid to…
“She’s Leaving Home”
The Flaming Lips (feat. Phantogram, Juliana Barwick, and Spaceface)
With a Little Help from My Fwends
Listen to the whole album at NPR.org
Have you ever listened to The Beatles’ classic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band and thought “man, this isn’t trippy enough?” Your troubles are over, man. Wayne Coyne, The Flaming Lips, and a bunch of their famous friends (sorry, I mean “fwends”) like Dr. Dog, My Morning Jacket, Phantogram, and Miley Cyrus(?!) have gotten together to re-imagine the entire album, and it sounds like, well, it sounds exactly like you probably imagine it sounds like. It’s soaked in echo and synthesizers, and there are weird robot noises and rapid fire drum breaks that come out of nowhere. This is what Sgt. Pepper’s might have sounded like if it had been inspired by the more potent hallucinogens of the twenty-first century.
Some songs are closer to the originals than others, but every track on the record kept the bones of the song (the structure and melody) more or less intact, but produced and performed them very differently. The experimentation tends to be heavier on the less popular songs off of Pepper’s, like the criminally underrated “She’s Leaving Home,” which here gets reworked by Phantogram, Juliana Barwick, and Spaceface from an orchestral piece of Baroque pop into something spacey and electronic. The original was tragic, but this one feels, like a lot of Fwends, fucking eerie and uncomfortable. In a good way, I think.