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.
David Lebovitz is backflipping to…
“Brown Sugar” (feat. Eric Clapton)
Sticky Fingers (Reissue)
Long only available on bootlegs, the famed take of “Brown Sugar” with Eric Clapton on guitar and Al Kooper on keys is getting an official release on the reissue of Sticky Fingers. Recorded on Lich King Keith Richards’s birthday in 1970, the song is notably more bombastic than the original—the backing vocals are brought up, and Clapton’s slide guitar adds a bit of a loud country-esque twang. There’s also a minor twist on the iconic opening riff, and an extra layer of production that at once sounds more polished and more chaotic than the original.. It’s not going to replace the original as my favorite, but damn is it fascinating, fun, and fantastic in its own right.
Julian Ames is going from the club to the dive to…
Pagans In Vegas
With the release of “Cascades,” and the announcement of their new album, Pagans In Vegas, Metric seems to be going headfirst into this new synth-heavy direction they embarked on with last month’s single “The Shade.” Unlike that first upbeat and anthemic single, “Cascades” burns cool; the groove is set by a synth arpeggio at an appropriate head-nodding pace, and Emily Haines calmly sings the lyrics, her voice altered to sound more robotic. Synths are not new to Metric’s sound—they are incorporated often along with the standard fare guitar, bass, and drums in the band’s neo-new wave sound. On “Cascades,” however, there’s not a single detectable analog instrument, unless you count the drums, and even with those there’s some doubt. In the song, Haines sings, “Just keep…going strong…with whatever it is…that’s compelling you on,” and it seems like Metric is doing just that.
The Most Lamentable Tragedy
When they’re not playing fast punk anthems like their last single “Dimed Out,” or multi-movement anthems like almost anything from 2010’s The Monitor, Titus Andronicus can also be heard playing fun bar band type singalongs, like this new single, “Fatal Flaw.” The song is bouncy and fun-sounding, complete with saloon piano; the whole band joins in the gang vocals, singing the chorus “let me show you my fatal flaw, it’s the best thing you never saw.” Also, listen for the Thin Lizzy-esque harmonized guitar solo! Of course, as mirthful as this song sounds, it’s still a cut from the the Titus Andronicus novel-in-album-form The Most Lamentable Tragedy, so lyrically it’s going to have an outsider tinge to it. Here, the character shows trepidation about a woman finding out about his flaws—perhaps a personality disorder, as evidenced by the singer calling it “the beast.” Both “Dimed Out” and “Fatal Flaw” have been pretty straightforward tracks, but, with its ninety-minute running time, I expect The Most Lamentable Tragedy to have many more surprises, twists, and turns, and I can’t wait for each and every one of them when it comes out on July 28th.
Mike Duquette is heavily sighing to…
“Capable of Anything”
Ben Folds feat. yMusic
After fifteen years of following piano-playing nerd-rocker Ben Folds, I’d characterize my relationship with his music as that of a consistently duped ex. His late-nineties work with alternative trio Ben Folds Five fueled my adolescence, but I’ve since sat through increasingly middling angry-white-dude albums, college a capella tribute albums, episodes of The Sing-Off, and a too-brief reunion with the Five for one more strong, underrated album, hoping all along that Ben could recapture the stratospheric brilliance of 2001’s solo masterpiece Rockin’ The Suburbs, or even a hint of the smartass Elton John mold he once seemed poised to fill.
His newest album, due in September, features eight songs with the chamber music ensemble yMusic, plus a recently composed piano/orchestra concerto. Roll your eyes at the twee-ness all you want, but Folds is no stranger to strings and flourishing arrangements, ever since arranger John Mark Painter added beautiful orchestral touches to the Ben Folds Five discography. And those touches are the least of the problems with “Capable of Anything,” which, like so many Folds projects before it, has a beautiful, interesting melody marred by Folds’ leaden lyrics and increasingly weakened vocal prowess. So There might be better than the sum of its lead single, but at this rate it’s going to be hard imagining anyone other than giggly high school theater kids getting excited at the prospects.