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.
Mike Duquette is scratching his head to…
“Adventure of a Lifetime”
A Head Full of Dreams
This weekend, I realized there are a lot of mysteries I’ll never understand. What was in the sky over Los Angeles on Saturday? Were the writers of Saturday Night Live feeding terrible sketches to Donald Trump to sink his political chances? And why do I own copies of all of Coldplay’s studio works? Seriously, six studio albums and an EP—two of which are minor early-’00s alt-rock masterpieces and all of which have at least three good or at least recognizable songs apiece—all sit on my shelf.
Coldplay is a band I (and, I’d bet, many other millennials) have spent the most amount of inconsequential time with. I’ve seen their videos on The Box (remember The Box?) and VH1, I’ve bought shampoo and Band-Aids while they blared for yearning love, I saw movie and iPod ads under their baton. They’ve made some of my favorite songs I don’t care all that much about, from the Travis (remember Travis?)-esque “Yellow” and the Kraftwerk-biting “Talk” to the happy bastard rock of “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” and the sad bastard rock of “Magic,” the only song that makes breaking up with Gwyneth Paltrow seem like a loss.
The band’s seventh (and possibly final) album, A Head Full of Dreams, will be released next month with a bizarre spread that includes production by Stargate (the duo behind a bevy of hits for Rihanna) and a looney guest list (Beyoncé, Noel Gallagher, and “Gimme Shelter” vocalist Merry Clayton are just three notable names). Lead single “Adventure of a Lifetime” possesses no lyrics I can remember and an unironic disco riff embellished by stuttery vocal samples. As has been the case for fifteen years, Coldplay’s either the smartest dumb band in the world, the dumbest smart band, or…wait, what was I talking about?
David Lebovitz is gonna set it straight to…
“Sabotage” (Beastie Boys Cover)
Steve ‘N’ Seagulls
A.V. Undercover really is the gift that keeps on giving. This year alone, we’ve already had Screaming Females solid take on “Shake It Off,” TMBG’s so-good-it-produced-an-actual-single version of “Bills Bills Bills,” the Remaining-Members-Of-BNL riffing on Phil Collins, and Gwar’s annual face melting rendition of whatever they damn well feel like.
This week brought us Finnish bluegrass cover band (which is a Thing, apparently) Steve ‘N’ Seagulls in to cover the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” An odd pick for the band in theory, especially since bluegrass doesn’t go with awesome Star Trek chase scenes, but then again, it doesn’t go well with AC/DC either and they dominated that one.
The biggest strike against this cover is that it’s hard to be funnier than the original. A big part of the charm of A.V. Undercover is the humor that comes with bands playing songs outside their comfort zones, and that’s certainly present here, but the original video for “Sabotage” is one of the best things ever put to film. It’s hard to top that, and as funny as Finnish men in overalls is in and of itself, it’s not as funny as throwing an obviously fake dummy off a bridge.
Despite that, it’s a fun cover. There’s some especially solid bass work here, including a pretty nifty solo. The accordion feels right at home, and the banjo just completes it. Perhaps most importantly, Steve ‘N’ Seagulls are clearly having fun with it, and the fun is infectious.
I’m still waiting for someone to finally cover “any Gwar song.”
Julian Ames is birthday chilling to…
“La Fat Fur”
Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin
Dev Hynes made a career out of being everywhere and doing everything; I don’t think there’s any artist in music right now who can match his productivity. Best known for his Blood Orange project, Hynes had previously been a part of Test Icicles and had his own project, Lightspeed Champion. On top of that, he recently scored the motion picture Palo Alto, and has written and produced for a whole bunch of artists including Sky Ferreira, Carly Rae Jepsen,The Chemical Brothers, and Florence & The Machine. More impressive than the quantity of his work is the breadth of styles that it covers. Test Icicles were a dance-punk band, Lightspeed Champion was indie rock, Blood Orange is funky synthpop, and each of the artists he’s worked with are their own thing; he has amazing range and everything he works on turns out sounding great.
Speaking to his crazy output, just two weeks ago Dev Hynes released the song “Sandra’s Smile” as Blood Orange and then released an EP collaboration with psychedelic pop musician Connan Mockasin called Myths 001. The EP is three tracks long and, just like with Hynes’ musical background, the songs on Myths 001 are each a different stylistically. The first track, “Le Fat Fur,” is a slick, driving new wave number. Hynes sings the verses with his trademark breathy vocals, and Mockasin comes in for the choruses, his vocals enhanced by reverb and other effects; they actually make a pretty natural compliment for one another. The second track is “Feelin’ Lovely,” a chill but funky song song mostly by Mockasin. With the organ and sax embellishments, it sounds like it’s right out of the 70’s. The last track, “Big Distant Crush” I’m not too fond of; it lacks any drums or percussion so it feels kind of formless, reminiscent of Hynes’ more jazzy and experimental stuff. Still, it sounds very beautiful so is definitely worth the listen.
With the wide range of styles it covers and overall quality of the music, Myths 001 is a nice little surprise release. I guess we’ll have to see if this was a one-off collaboration or if the 001 implies that there is more coming from the duo of Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin.