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 Speedo shopping to…
“‘Cause I’m A Man”
I never got on the Tame Impala hype train; too many blogs and music reviewers have described them as “psych rockers,” a term that typically makes my eyes glaze over since it usually implies overly long tracks that aren’t really catchy or interesting. But I’ve heard some of their stuff and was unoffended, so I decided on a whim to start paying attention when they announced their new album, Currents, and accompanied it with the brand new track “‘Cause I’m A Man.” Sitting somewhere between yacht rock and chillwave, the song is a far cry from what I was expecting. The deep grooving bassline and mysterious synths make it ideal for the fast approaching lazy summer days relaxing by a pool.
The song reads like a concession that men are the worst and we know it. When his hypothetical lady asks for a reason behind his most recent bone-headed fuck up, Kevin Parker, in breezy falsetto, proclaims it’s “‘cause I’m a man, woman!” The song has a light-hearted rundown of all the dumb tendencies that are associated with being a man. In the end Parker admits to this lady that “I’m a man, woman, I’ll never be as strong as you.” Ain’t it the truth?
Sam Paxton is doing that grooving head-nod thing to…
“Sunshine on My Back”
If there’s one thing that can always be said for The National, it’s that they know how to cultivate a feeling. Their sound, which didn’t really coalesce until 2007’s Boxer, is a curious mix of creeping melancholy and reserved hope. This week the band released a new track to commemorate the international release of their documentary Mistaken for Strangers. The song, entitled “Sunshine on My Back”, is vintage National, and was recorded during the same sessions as their excellent previous album, Trouble Will Find Me. Like the tracks on Trouble, “Sunshine” features hypnotically rhythmic drumming, moody piano, and minimalist guitar work. The song finds lead singer Matt Berninger using the upper register of his rich baritone voice rather than the usual brooding lower notes, and the wispy vocal harmonies are provided by Brooklyn songstress Sharon van Etten. The National has indicated that their next album will be a sonic departure from their recent work, so “Sunshine” is more of a reminder of the past than an indication of where the band is headed, but I’ll take any occasion for more music from one of my favorite bands.
Mike Pfeiffer is backyard twist and shouting to…
“Pearl and Oyster”
Hey, spring’s here again! As I prepare to stop complaining about the cold and start complaining about the heat, the search for more temperature-appropriate music slams the piano lid shut on the hands of anyone trying to do ballady covers of New Wave songs, and frees one’s mind to listen to the kind of music that puts condensation on a cocktail if you leave it too close to the speaker. Always on the look out for Garage Rock and Sibling Bands, it’s so nice when I get to have a french-fries-on-burger combination of both like The Musicadettes. Like putting sea salt in a chocolate bar to cut the sweetness, The Muscadettes (twin sisters!) make sure their surf rock doesn’t lean too twee by rubbing a helping of gritty kinda 13th Floor Elevators garage on it, and the results on this single from their upcoming EP are pretty delicious. A good hook on an organ to make you feel like you’re putting together an Ocean’s 11 heist, an easy breezy Woo! in the chorus, and a filthy spirit delivered in a sweet voice make you wanna be in the front row sloshing beer on the stage while wiping lipstick off your cheek. It’s just good! It’s fun! Stop ‘n Go guitar riffs give way to a big wave of a doubletime drum beat and you’re carried away on the enthusiasm, why complicate things? And like all the best confections, after you finish you wish there was just one more bite. Keep an eye out for the full EP from PaperCup records on April 21st.
Sparks is one of those bands who got stuck with the “Glam Rock” label on their debut because it was the only word for “Weird Rock” at the time, and like their spiritual brothers Roxy Music they’ve been stuck with every catchall sobriquet for brainy pop since then, from Chamber Pop to New Wave. The same goes for Franz Ferdinand, first Indie Rock and then Post-Punk Revival and settling into what I think ultimately best describes music by smart people that’s grating when it isn’t brilliant and marked by distinctive weird lead singer voices, Art Rock. I’m a fan of both artists, but had guarded feelings when they teamed up to make supergroup FFS, largely because that is a thing that has never worked like ever. I mean, one of the songs on this eponymous first album is actually called “Collaborations Never Work.” They know what’s going on here (Sparks brothers Ron & Russell Mael have been doing this since 1968, they ought to know) and they’re giving it their best shot anyway, and it sounds like they’re having a good time.
“Piss Off” is the first full song they’ve released, and it makes use of both group’s strengths, namely the dry wit of Franz Ferdinand and the distinctive weirdo affectations of the brothers Mael. It’s simple and bouncy and defiant, and taps into that nobody’s-home-and-the-world-can-go-suck-a-dick feeling that makes you want to pour yourself a stiff drink and stand on your coffee table in a cape while wailing your favorite songs. “Piss Off” is actually a good choice, a triumph of Queen-esque jubilance turned all the way to the interior, acknowledging those times when you haven’t won and you aren’t the champion but everyone can Piss Off because you’re going to lick your wounds and come back from the bottom. Good stuff.