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 through old texts to…
Kanye West must’ve made his New Year’s resolution to not be so AWOL from music, because the first week of 2016 has been all Ye. On New Years Eve, he dropped “FACTS,” on which he called out Nike, and bragged about his 2015 success in the sneaker business. The track itself was forgettable and not received all that well on the internet, but hallelujah, at least there was new Yeezy.
Kanye’s name showed up again a few days later, this time attached to Sia’s “Reaper” in a production capacity. Friday, though, was the big day; first, in the morning Kim Kardashian West alerted Twitter to expect new music every Friday in the leadup to SWISH (similar to the GOOD Fridays releases in the lead-up to MBDTF); then, West was announced as a headliner for the Governor’s Ball music festival in New York City; finally, in a bit of a false start, Kanye delivered on Kim’s new music promise, releasing “Real Friends & No More Parties in LA (Snippet).”
The snippet of “No More Parties in LA” is very promising; It’s vintage Kanye, returning to the well of old soul samples, and enlisting the help of Kendrick Lamar. Unfortunately the clip, added on to the end of “Real Friends,” only lasts a brief 1:10 before it’s cut off. While it is very good, and great to hear Kanye revisit his roots, “No More Parties” is just the dessert to the “Real Friends” entree.
“Real Friends” is a somber reflection on how success and his drive for more gets in the way of extended family and old friends; there are some real poignant lines here, like when West calls himself a “deadbeat cousin” or muses “when was the last time I remembered a birthday? When was the last time I wasn’t in a hurry?” Backed by only a beat and a piano loop, the song isn’t terribly hook-y (there’s some back and forth between West and Ty Dolla $ign that’s almost a refrain), the real power is in the song’s emotion.
To cap off his productive week, Kanye announced that the long awaited SWISH would be out on Febuary 11, 2016 (that’s a Thursday, going against the national release date and his own promise of new music Fridays). That means there are four fridays in between now and then, which hopefully means at least 4 new Kanye tracks to whet our appetite. If they’re as good as “Real Friends” I expect Kanye West to be a regular on this column.
Mike Duquette is looking up to…
“All the Ways”
“I never wanna leave you / I never wanna be alone again / but everytime I see you / I think of all the ways that this could end…”
If there’s a better four lines to describe how I think 2016 is going to play out, I’d like to read them. We’re only ten days into this wretched year and I’d happily trade every El Chapo, electoral candidate, and #WheresRey for…let me think…literally anything else. There are just times and moments where, your best intentions and highest hopes aside, a net loss seems guaranteed, and “All the Ways,” from Massachusetts-by-way-of-Brooklyn trio Wet’s forthcoming debut LP, taps into that insecurity pretty well.
Miserablism aside, Wet sound like an act to beat this year. Anchored by the delicate yet confident vocals of singer Kelly Zutrau and gossamer neo-R&B production that causes your heart to flutter and wow along to the backing tracks, Wet earned early applause for an EP in 2014 and quickly gained the respect of major music trades like Billboard and The Fader.
“And I don’t wanna give up what we have…” the chorus of “All the Ways” continues with a twinge of hope. And in spite of how ably Wet’s reflecting the desolation I’m feeling about 2016, it turns out I agree with them.
David Lebovitz is snapping along to…
“Hello” (Adele cover)
Here’s an Adele cover you probably haven’t heard yet from an artist you probably haven’t heard yet.
KOLAJ is an upcoming artist, known for a cover of “Can’t Feel My Face.” Here, she points her talents towards Adele’s mega-monster-can’t-overstate-how-pervasive-it-is-and-how-well-it-sold hit “Hello” and takes the whole thing in a new direction. KOLAJ replaces Adele’s simple arrangement and heavy vocals with an intricate dance-heavy backing with strings and light beats aplenty. It strips away the pure emotion of the original, but it exemplifies KOLAJ’s versatile and strong voice, which is the big selling point.
It’s not groundbreaking, and probably not career making, but it’s interesting nonetheless. If nothing else, it’s a fun cover – almost closer to a remix – that puts a different spin on a new-ish yet oft-covered song. Shout out to my pal Arlyn for sending me this.