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.
Mike Duquette is voguing (in a sort of postmodern way) to…
“Living For Love”
When it rains, it pours. A week ago, I ducked into a Best Buy on the Upper East Side to snag a copy of Black Messiah, D’Angelo’s first album in fourteen years, an album that had been announced only the Friday before. Now, this weekend, we find ourselves with about half of a new Madonna album, rush released as a preorder to iTunes after the album leaked online in demo form (the full album is due in March).
Rebel Heart, the Queen of Pop’s thirteenth album, follows 2012’s MNDA, possibly one of the worst albums released by anyone so ensconced in the upper rankings of pop music. Lead track “Living For Love” indicates she’s righted the ship considerably. As has been the case since Ray Of Light in 1996, she’s still working with top-shelf, largely dance-oriented producers (Diplo co-helms this track, Avicii and Kanye West are also confirmed, as is a guest rap from Nicki Minaj), but despite the upbeat production, this is one of Madonna’s more adult affairs, with a low, impassioned vocal far closer to, say, “Live To Tell” than “Give Me All Your Luvin.” It’s easily the most interested I’ve been in a Madonna lead single since Confessions On A Dance Floor all those years ago. May Rebel Heart find Madonna in as comfortable and commanding a place in her career as becomes her status as a legendary pop performer.
Dominic Griffin is schmoney dancing with goth teens to…
“Down 4 So Long (Remix) (Featuring Ezra Koenig & Despot)”
Red Bull 20 Before 15
Tuesday Clubbin Muzik
The confusing formatting of his stage name aside, Makonnen’s had a helluva year for a relative rookie. That Grammy nod for the Drake-assisted remix of “Tuesday” is maybe the most deserved nomination on the whole fucking ballot, and now he’s back with another remix, flanked by Vampire Weekend’s Ezra, and Despot, everyone’s favorite albumless emcee (no disrespect to Jay Electronica). Usually these #brand curated music collabs can be seriously hit or miss, from Vans, to Adult Swim, to Horny Goat Weed or who the fuck ever, but this one is sincere and wavy in a way that feels organic. They really make you feel like these three dudes just like making music together, and that them being in a
studio Google hangout together is the result of mutual admiration and chemistry, and not, you know, someone supergluing the names of trending musicians to a twelve-sided die and seeing which three rolled together for a prime number.
Makonnen sounds as haunted and ethereal as he tends to, and Despot spits another in a long streak of deliberate, impressive verses, but it’s Ezra who really shows out, casually delivering quotable after quotable. Vampire Weekend makes Very Good Music, but this is the first time their frontman has been as likable on wax as he is on social media, and it is an absolute delight. If this doesn’t result in Ezra dropping a Gangsta Grillz mixtape, 2014 is invalid.
Sam Paxton is happily bobbing his head to…
Broken Social Scene
Broadsheet Music: A Year in Review
Now-defunct indie rock collective Broken Social Scene returned from the dead this week with a track contribution on Broadsheet Music: A Year in Review. The compilation album, organized by BSS label Arts & Crafts and Canadian news outlet The Globe and Mail, features songs from Canadian artists inspired by news-worthy events (for example, BSS alum Brendan Canning’s solo contribution, “No Doubt Or Fire,” is inspired by the death of Robin Williams). The Broken Social Scene contribution is technically kind of a cheat; recorded during the Forgiveness Rock Record sessions in 2010, “Golden Facelift” is a song that the band says they “felt strongly about lyrically and musically and [they] wanted to give it a proper unveiling when the time was right.”
Ostensibly about “reclamation and human accountability,” the song is pure weird-tinged BSS, with a twangy bass groove and whispered vocals that unexpectedly explode into a raucous breakdown in the middle. Canning and Kevin Drew trade off vocal duties, and I can hear Lisa Lobsinger in the background, but I’m sad to say there’s no sign of star vocalists Leslie Feist, Emily Haines (Metric), or Amy Millan (Stars). In any event, it’s nice to hear something new coming from one of my favorite bands, especially considering the indefinite hiatus the band announced in 2011.
Julian Ames is creeping up on you to…
“What’s A Creep”
JEFF The Brotherhood
It’s been a while since the fraternal rock duo JEFF The Brotherhood has released any new music. The summer of 2012 saw the band release Hypnotic Nights, their first album for Warner Bros. (produced by Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach) after a decade of limited-release indie records, but since then their camp has been quiet, until this week, when the band dropped “What’s A Creep” as a little holiday present for our ears and as a teaser for a yet untitled, upcoming 2015 album.
If this is supposed to be a Christmas song, it isn’t much of one. Though the single artwork is a photo of the brothers sitting with a Santa, and there’s a “Happy Holidaze!” message on the band’s SoundCloud page, there aren’t any sleigh bells to be heard here. Instead, the song is a garage punk tune about a creepy stalker. Of course, releasing the song with a picture of Santa does make the line “And he’ll be watching when you sleep,” seem like a twisted version of “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake” from “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” which is probably just what they want. Still, even with the vague connection to Kris Kringle, “What’s A Creep” is still a song that can be enjoyed long after the Christmas trees start to brown.