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 waking up to…
Bleachers & Grimes
Featured on HBO’s Girls
This past week in music started and ended with Grimes. But before we get to the new tracks, we need to rewind a little bit. Last June, Grimes released “Go” as a lead single to a then-unannounced album. Plenty of people, including Deadshirt’s own Sam Paxton, liked the track, but apparently it was very polarizing, and several weeks later Grimes suddenly announced that she had scrapped the entire album. There were rumors that the album was scrapped because of the negative feedback on “Go”, but Grimes has refuted that. Fast forward to Monday: Grimes, out of nowhere, drops “REALiTi” on her Facebook and Twitter accounts, claiming that it’s “a demo from ~ the lost album ~.” In the YouTube description, she says that she “lost the ableton file, so it’s not mixed or mastered,” but she could’ve fooled me; the song sounds great—it’s a cool dance pop song that kind of reminds me of Blondie or Madonna, but with Grimes’ signature ghost child voice. It might be my new favorite Grimes song, which makes me super bummed that this album won’t see the light of day.
After “REALiTi,” Grimes teased a collaboration between her and Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff (from fun. and Steel Train) that would be on HBO’s Girls. On Sunday morning, prior to the airing of the episode, Grimes and Bleachers released the audio for “Entropy.” The collaboration feels very natural; the musical style is very much Antonoff’s—a jangly pop tune that turns into a big anthem—but Grimes’ voice owns the song and makes it sound like it could almost be a Grimes solo song, especially with the poppier sounding “REALiTi” still fresh in the mind. It’s good to know that, even after the setback of tossing out her entire album and starting from scratch, Grimes has still got it; I’m expecting more big things from her in the near future.
Sam Paxton is tapping his toe and nodding his head knowingly to…
Featured on HBO’s Girls
Fans still enamored with the ever-diminishing returns of HBO’s Girls were treated to a surprise last Sunday in the form of a brand new track from ethereal rock queen/actual Brooklynite Annie Clark playing over the episode’s credits. The marriage of Lena Dunham’s fetishization of white hipster culture and Clark’s brand of earnestly kooky art-rock makes so much sense that I’m frankly surprised it took the show four seasons to feature her. In any case, “Teenage Talk” is reassurance that Clark’s fount of inspiration is still overflowing.
Though it was recorded during the sessions from which St. Vincent’s most recent, Grammy-winning self-titled LP was born, “Teenage Talk” actually reminds me way more of Clark’s earlier work. The guitar-light arrangement and gauzy synth call to mind the stark, intentionally chilly aesthetic of 2011’s Strange Mercy, and the wistful lyrics are reminiscent of the musings a younger Annie pondered on Actor or Marry Me. “I don’t think the past is better, better,” she croons, “just ’cause it’s cased in glass, protecting us from our now and later.” The song expresses with nuance what Dunham often does with such a heavy hand on the show; the struggle of breaking away from the perceptions people have of you from when you were younger, as well as coming to grips with who you are as you become an adult, are generally central themes of Girls, and it’s no surprise Clark is able to tap into that with relative ease and tact. The version of “Teenage Talk” you can hear above is a clean audio rip from the show, and it’s a bit short, which leads me to believe that an official, full length release of the song is forthcoming.
David Lebovitz is experiencing…
“Breath of Me”
Robben Ford feat. ZZ Ward
Into the Sun
Robben Ford is a guitar god who’s played with everyone from Miles Davis to KISS. ZZ Ward is a blue-eyed soul singer in the vein of Amy Winehouse and Adele, just on the cusp of the Big Time. I’ve championed ZZ Ward here before, and with good reason – she’s genuinely talented, a solid singer who doesn’t need pitch correction, and I want to see her get that extra push.
When the two of them team up, Good Things Happen. Peanut butter and chocolate right here. “Breath of Me” is an old-fashioned electric blues/soul fusion love song showcasing Ward’s soulful voice as much as Ford’s guitar mastery. It’s almost a vocal-guitar duet. Ward sings about love while Ford blueses it up in response. Just sit back and experience it.
Dylan Roth is Making Excuses for…
So here we have an arena-packing rock institution from across the pond who’s got a handful of big hits and a devoted international fanbase, an instantly recognizable sound, and a penchant for broad political statements and waxing philosophical. But enough about U2, let’s talk about Muse.
Muse is known for balls-out progressive rock jams, as well as punchy, radio-friendly singles about black holes and vampires. Muse has always had a heavy political bent, but usually their scary stories about unchecked, corporate-controlled governments are fed with a spoonful of science fiction. Not so with “Psycho,” which goes for broke with its attempt to change the way you look at the stock Drill Sergeant character you know from the movies. It’s a stern, unflinching condemnation of the way we train our soldiers to dehumanize their enemy, and even themselves. Do they succeed with this statement? I guess, but they go about it in such an abrasive way that they’re unlikely to convince anyone.