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 going beautifully insane to…
Back in the fall of 2014, lead singer and one-half of the electronic duo Crystal Castles, Alice Glass, announced her departure from the band. Many people called it a breakup and assumed that without the Glass, the lead singer, Crystal Castles would be no more. This past week, the other half of the group, Ethan Kath, posted “Frail” using the Crystal Castles name, proving that the project wasn’t dead after all. Unfortunately, along with the song, Kath posted a rather negative statement about Glass, wishing her “best of luck in her future endeavors,” while also taking credit for all the lyrics and claiming Glass wasn’t a part of the bands most popular songs. In response, Glass tweeted “for the record, i wrote almost all of the lyrics in my former band and the vast majority of the vocal melodies.” After that, Kath deleted everything in his statement that came after his “best of luck” wishes.
While that bit of drama is certainly interesting, don’t let it distract you from the actual song. Any fan who was worried about the band after the split should be immediately put at ease, since “Frail” has all the makings of a classic Crystal Castles; whoever Kath found to replace Glass does a great job filling in; the difference is negligible, especially when her voice is bathed in the same distortion, echo, reverb or whatever effects Kath often uses. As ever, the band embraces clipping (a form of digital distortion that is usually undesirable) as a musical tool that gives the big synths their slightly-off feel. “Frail” is less than three minutes long, but it’s a big enough morsel to reassure fans about the future Crystal Castles.
Dominic Griffin is Drake-facing to…
If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Now that Drake’s latest has finally made it to shelves in physical release form, we’re treated to the one of the two bonus cuts he promised (the other being the already released “How Bout Now”). As the slow, lurching cut begins, Drake murmurs that it sounds like what being rich feels like, but somehow, I doubt the comparison. The instrumental’s distorted, broken and analog tinge feels like a mind palace collapsing in real time, Eternal Sunshine-ing upon itself. Aubrey has always gotten shit for being too emotional on wax, but it’s a testament to Boi 1da’s uncharacteristically dreamy production that he comes off measured and reserved compared to the track’s damaged lilt.
The subject matter, another private conversation with a paramour made public, is in no way new, but the delivery is refined. Take the similar “Hate Sleeping Alone,” the bonus track from his sophomore release Take Care—a knotty, rambling, and toxic ode to booty calls—and contrast it against the tight-lipped lament on display here. “My Side” sands down the vitriol and self loathing, tightening the old run-on, oversharing bars to efficient but evocative phrasing. It may not seem like he’s saying much, but lyrics like “me and you are playing house / start thinking that I’m losing to ya” speak volumes. The song is slight, but even a cast-off from the 6God has weight. Drake’s knack for taking casual refrains and turning them into quiet storm anthems remains, so I fully expect “why you never come to where I stay?” to be fired off in various emoji-permutated SMS missives in the coming weeks.
David Lebovitz is stayin’ alive to…
“All I Ask Of You”
Josh Groban and Kelly Clarkson
For this review, let me take you through my thought process for this:
Okay, there’s a new Groban tune. Not a huge fan of his style, but he’s undeniably a great singer. Oh, it’s from Phantom Of The Opera? Neat! And the duet is with…Kelly Clarkson? I mean, she’s pretty good, but her sound as of late just doesn’t click with me. I might as well give this a try, let’s hit play.
Okay, Groban sounds good, great even. And here comes…oh. I never realized Kelly Clarkson could hit those high notes. Like, she can REALLY hit them, both well AND consistently. This…this is amazing. This may be the best thing Clarkson’s been a part of in years. I know she’s a pop star, but she should seriously consider taking a turn as a stage actress or a voice actor, From Justin To Kelly be damned. It’s amazing to hear her like this, pop vocal effects finally stripped away, and Groban is phenomenal as always. Let’s see what else is on this album…wow! I… I think I need the new Groban album. Am I becoming my mom circa 2007?
For years, scientists have wondered if David Hasslhoff is, well, in on his own joke. His semi-recent spat of self-parodying film appearances has nearly confirmed as much, but whether or not his music career is part of the gag has long been a mystery. He seemed to be serious during “Hooked On A Feeling,” and “Jump In My Car” straddled the line. With the release of “True Survivor,” the theme of upcoming Preemptively Declared Best Film Of 2015 Kung Fury, it finally seems pretty clear: he’s in on it, and he’s having more fun than us with it.
It’s hammy faux-eighties lyrics over hammy faux-eighties music featuring a hammy real-eighties actor. The video features scenes from Kung Fury, a movie where a 1980s kung fu aficionado cop goes back in time to fight kung fu Hitler. Seriously, why are you still reading this? WATCH AND LISTEN RIGHT NOW