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 in the comfort zone with…
Happy Damage EP
This time three years ago I was dreading my impending move to Miami, Florida, for grad school. Besides the obvious leaving all my friends and family in the New York/New Jersey area, I was also leaving behind a music scene that I was comfortable in. I was very much a rock kid and accustomed to being a stone’s throw away from the New Brunswick basement scene, Asbury Park, and both New York and Philly markets to get my fix; but Miami is very much an electronic music kind of town, and I was worried there would be nothing for me (of course in any major American city you can find pretty much any kind of music if you look hard enough, but how was I supposed to know that back then?). I was able to adapt and expand my taste and was turned on to a bunch of new music, but I thank God for the Jacuzzi Boys for giving me something familiar to come back to.
Jacuzzi Boys play the kind of lo-fi garage rock you might expect from the likes of King Tuff, Black Lips, or Jay Reatard; their new song, “Happy Damage,” is fun, high-octane rock and roll—the kind of music that does the opposite of soothe. It’s impossible to listen to this song without bobbing your head, bouncing in your seat or jumping up and down as the band plays this song about going crazy; it’s okay though, because like the incredibly catchy chorus says, “I dig happy damage.” The band’s last album (self-titled) found them experimenting with their sound, and the result was a significantly less catchy or memorable album, so it’s great to hear them going back to a classic sound. Look out for the Happy Damage EP this fall.
“Leave A Trace”
Every Open Eye
Speaking of music I got into when I was in Miami, synthpop stars CHVRCHES are back at it. The band is gearing up for the release of their sophomore album, Every Open Eye, on September 25th, and this week gave us a little taste in the form of “Leave A Trace.” The song has all the hallmarks of a CHVRCHES song: impeccable production; a catchy, anthemic melody; and Lauren Mayberry’s Scottish accent peeking through. As much as I love CHVRCHES, I can’t shake the feeling that this song is lacking something, It’s not as dynamic as the songs that made The Bones Of What You Believe great, or even “Dead Air,” the band’s contribution to last fall’s Hunger Games: Mockingjay soundtrack. Perhaps I’m wrong, the song will grow on me, and it’ll be my absolute favorite in a couple months; either way, to me, a CHVRCHES song is a lot like pizza, even when it’s bad pizza, it’s still good. With that in mind, I am still very optimistic about Every Open Eye.
Dominic Griffin is wearing Gucci flip flops to…
“I Serve The Base”
Beyond the #FutureHive memes, the expertly curated mini-documentary and the Ciara/Russell Wilson jokes, there’s something palpable about Future’s current streak of momentum. His last three mixtapes (Monster, Beast Mode, and 56 Nights) form an undeniable trilogy of recent rap profile reassertion, so the plaudits for Dirty Sprite 2 should come as no surprise. It isn’t even that Future has significantly upped his game or reinvented the wheel with his recent output, but that he understands his audience better than any other artist working in music today. In an era when Kanye West constantly zigs when we’d all prefer he just fucking zag, Future makes the decision to give the people what they want, not what they need, even if it’s potentially detrimental to them. In that regard, DS2 is something of an Anti-Yeezus. Trap Jesus provides.
Standout cut “I Serve The Base,” though ostensibly about selling drugs, is literally about serving your constituents and providing the base that has supported you with what they want. After Honest, Future knew people wanted to hear him indulge in his darker side and embrace the monster within, so that’s what he does here. Whether or not it’s okay to portray such prolonged villainy with as charismatic a bent as Future possesses is beside the point. He’s not a role model, and he’s not telling anyone to emulate his exploits. “Future” is as much a persona as anything else. Rick Ross talks about moving cocaine, but we all know he owns Wingstops. Likewise, Future presents a hardened, savage impression of his fans’ wish fulfillment bad guy aspirations, turning their concerns into a cracked mirror motivator to get through the day. As Vince Vaughn’s Frank Semyon says in this season of True Detective, “sometimes your worst self is your best self.” For this chapter of his career, Future needs to play the heel, and it’s working too well for any arguments to the contrary to drown out the infectious din of the crowd’s howls.
“Trouble Knows Me”
Trouble Knows Me (Samuel T. Herring & Madlib)
Trouble Knows Me EP
Sam Herring, the extraordinarily likable frontman from Future Islands, can do no wrong in my eyes, so having him rap over Madlib beats for the length of an EP is very, very much “my shit.” The project’s aesthetic, at least based off of this titular debut cut, sounds like an earnest reboot of that time Joaquin Phoenix pretended to be a rapper. Herring has an affable, smooth flow and spits competently, if unsurprisingly. There’s not a whole helluva lot to grab hold to, in terms of substance, but it’s highly replayable, in a charming sort of way. Madlib’s reliably dusty boom bap is always welcome, and here he transforms Herring’s lyricism into hi-def Adult Swim bump fodder, which might sound like a criticism, but it’s that airy, interstitial feel that gives the track its legs. It’s exactly the kind of niche side project you want to cop on limited edition and vinyl, but it also sounds more like a casual conversation piece than a serious endeavor. To me, at least, it mostly just feels like Mackelmore if he finally figured out how to Mackel less. I would listen to this at least thirty more times and perhaps purchase an associated T-shirt.
David Lebovitz is getting in trouble to…
“Boy, Keith went over the edge years ago. He went over the fucking edge, right, and everyone thought, that’s it, Keith’s gone. And they looked over the edge, and there was a fucking ledge, and he had hit and landed on it. There’s a ledge beyond the edge! Keith was like, ‘I hit a fucking ledge, I’m alright. Throw down me a guitar, I got a song.’” – Bill Hicks
That quote is from about two decades ago and it could just as easily apply today.
Keef Richards is releasing his first solo album in twenty-three years, and this week he released his new single—“Trouble”—as an iHeartRadio exclusive. My car radio is pretty much permanently set to Q104.3, New York’s classic rock station, and they’ve been playing this every few hours for the last few days, and it’s not hard to see why. “Trouble” is a pure and simple rock song where Richards talks about someone constantly getting in trouble or something because he’s Keith Richards, and he does what he wants. It’s not exactly an earworm, but it will probably get stuck in your head for at least an hour or so. From the first few chords alone, it sounds so much like a Stones song that it’s a bit surprising to hear Richards on lead vocals.
It doesn’t sound new, but it doesn’t have to; Keith pinpointed what sold years ago, and it still works. The Rolling Stones are nothing if not consistent (never mind their brief foray into disco), and it sounds like Richards is bringing that consistency into his return to solo work as well.