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.
Dylan Roth is abdicating the throne to…
“King of the World”
Weezer (The White Album)
Weezer, I wish I knew how to quit you.
Actually, that’s unfair; after a long string of forgettable-to-unlistenable albums from 2008 to 2013, I’d completely stopped paying attention to Weezer, and felt just fine doing so. (For those of you who have done the math, yes, I like Make Believe.) But then, in 2014, Weezer returned with Everything Will Be Alright in the End, which I honestly rank up there with their first two classic LPs. Now, for the first time since I was in high school, I’m actually looking forward to a new Weezer release.
“King of the World” is the third song to be revealed from Weezer’s fourth self-titled, color-coded full-length, nicknamed “The White Album.” First was the single “Thank God for Girls,” which is one of Rivers Cuomo’s dumber songs, but that’s always been part of his charm. Then came the bassy “Do You Wanna Get High,” which genuinely sounds like a Pinkerton outtake—never an unwelcome comparison to Weezer fans.
“King of the World,” on the other hand, most closely resembles a track from “Green” or Make Believe, which is sure to turn off a lot of the listeners Weezer reclaimed with their last record. “King of the World” is a song about managing your own attempts to be happy against the incalculable suffering that humanity at large experiences on a daily basis, which sounds deep, but this is still Rivers Cuomo we’re talking about, so it still sounds like an eighth grader trying to express feelings he doesn’t entirely understand. This isn’t a condemnation—as always, Cuomo’s appeal is his ability to top a decadently dumb KISS smoothie with whipped Elvis Costello topping—but it does feel like some momentum’s been lost since EWBAITE. Could their 2014 comeback be a fluke? Is this Raditude all over again?
God, this was easier when I didn’t care.
Sam Paxton is vibing to…
Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij is slowly becoming one of my favorite working producers. In addition to producing every VW album, he’s also worked extensively with some of my favorite artists, writing and producing singles for Ra Ra Riot, Charli XCX, and Carly Rae Jepsen. This past week, he released a new solo single, “EOS,” though it doesn’t appear that the song is in advance of a solo album.
Conceptually, the track is much closer to Rostam’s work with electronica group Discovery than with Vampire Weekend’s SoHo afrobeat, though “EOS” shares the same cavernous sound that he’s been honing since 2008. It’s a calming, minimalist track, with woozy synth lines and some seriously warm and fuzzy-evoking vocals. Rostam’s greatest strength as a producer is taking relatively simple instrumentation and blowing it up to sound as if it’s filling a concert hall—turning simple pop into some sort of cosmic message. In interviews, Rostam and other band members have said that it will be a while longer before we get another Vampire Weekend album, though it’s in the works, and “EOS” is just a tiny, if enjoyable, morsel that has done little more than whet my appetite.
Steph is feeling PUMPED for…
The Great Detachment
Oh, Canada! I had never heard of Wintersleep until this week, even though they have been together since 2001, but they are Doing Things for me. They hail from Nova Scotia, where they have had some pretty remarkable success for an indie band that hasn’t seemed to find their footing in the mainstream just yet. But hey, they opened for Paul McCartney, so I’m pretty sure that means they are actually good and it’s not just me.
“Amerika” is a driving, crashing, powerful indie rock track with a lot of heart and soul behind it. There are so many textures and layers to it, it’s almost like Mom’s lasagna. An incredible amount of effort clearly went into the engineering of this track, which is particularly evident when you focus in on the vocals. Paul Murphy, the vocalist, sort of reminds me of Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes) but with a little more “oomph” behind it. The drums are all encompassing. They don’t just move the song, they make the song.
The lyrics remind me of how I feel sometimes when I’m watching the non-stop deluge of political debates that have been on lately:
“What am I gonna do? I can’t survive on my Amerika.”
By the end of the song, it feels almost like the band is chanting. It feels like I’m at a rally. It feels like I wanna overthrow the patriarchy or something. Well, I always feel that way, but this would be a particularly good soundtrack to my ascension. I think it’s interesting that a band from Canada should nail the feeling of wanting more for America than what we currently have better than any other American indie bands have recently. “The Great Detachment” is out March 4 on Dine Alone Records.