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.
Sam Paxton is sticking around for…
Grimes (feat. Blood Diamonds)
This week, Claire Boucher, better known by her stage name Grimes, released a new song in collaboration with Blood Diamonds. In a press release, she explained “It’s our summer jam so we figured we should put it out cuz I am very bored of waiting to finish my album b4 releasing new music haha.” The track, entitled “Go”, was teased earlier this month and was originally written for her labelmate Rihanna, but was ultimately rejected. Rihanna’s loss is almost certainly our gain – the glacial, upbeat track is surprisingly different from Grimes’ usual aesthetic, but retains the sensually haunting, echoey beauty that is intrinsic to her music; you can practically trace the sonic lineage from early works like “World ♡ Princess” to more recent cuts like “Be a Body (侘寂)” to here. The song’s more straightforward pop sensibilities, married with a trippy dance beat and a dubsteppy breakdown, are a good look on her.
The accompanying press photo (shot by her brother Mac) is amazing, and Boucher describes the look as “an anime elf assassin who is a big fan of Dolly Parton and Patsy Cline” on her tumblr. As per usual, Boucher refuses to be defined or boxed in by her past work or by expectation, which is part of what makes her so exciting. With her as-yet-untitled fourth studio album on the horizon, “Go” marks yet another new direction for the supremely talented and inventive musician, and I’m very excited to see where the otherworldly Grimes takes us to next.
David Lebovitz is duck-walking to…
Rockabilly Riot: All Original
Despite the adage that “(insert form of music here) is dead,” no musical style is truly dead as long as people are still performing it, and Brian Setzer has been keeping rockabilly alive for upwards of thirty years now. Though he’s been spending most of his time over the past few decades playing big band music, “Let’s Shake” is an indication that Setzer’s upcoming album, Rockabilly Riot: All Original, may have far more in common with the Stray Cats than with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.
“Let’s Shake” is classic Setzer – loud, fun, easy to decipher, danceable, and honky-tonkin’, complete with echoing vocals and a piano solo reminiscent of Jerry Lee Lewis. The guitar riffs continue to sound like a fusion of Sun Records-era playing and modern virtuoso. It’s hard to think of any musician who has done more for Gretsch guitars than Setzer, and he plays them better than anyone. With any luck, “Let’s Shake” forecasts that Setzer’s next album will be exactly what we expect from him – a good ol’ rocking time.
Julian Ames is space-age stylin’ to…
“A Place Called Space”
The Juan MacLean
In A Dream
Typically, when a song or album comes out on DFA Records, I know that it’s going to be quality. The live dance music sound their artists cultivate can range anywhere from straight up dance-rock to the more underground areas of electronic music. Not all of their catalogue is for me, being a more traditional pop song kinda guy, and I usually stick to the more accessible bands on the label. The Juan MacLean was one of DFA’s first artists and I kind of avoided them because I felt their music was a little too much on the clubby side for my tastes. But on Wednesday, The Juan MacLean released a new track that made me rethink my position.
“A Place Called Space” is almost eight and a half minutes of disco beats and kaleidoscopic synths. It’s a song that would be just as at home in the discotheques of the ’70s and ’80s as it would be in clubs today. Aside from the space-age synth sounds, the song also boasts some surprising guitar work, with an actual riff as part of the hook, which you don’t always hear in dance songs. I’m not totally sure how the song was recorded, but it has a live feel to it that The Juan MacLean’s music sometimes lacks, which is what drew me to this track. Plus the vocals by Nancy Whang, especially in the chorus, are very disco, which is pretty cool.
Along with the release of “A Place Called Space,” The Juan MacLean announced a new album, In A Dream, out September 16. This would their first album since 2009, and the press release promises that the album will be “the Nancy show,” meaning that collaborator Whang, a former member of LCD Soundsystem, had more of a say in the production. If that means that the 9 songs on In A Dream will sound closer to “A Place Called Space” then I will be keeping close watch on The Juan MacLean in the coming months.
Dylan Roth is having flashbacks to…
“Rollin’ & Tumblin’”
The Gaslight Anthem
New Jersey rock heroes The Gaslight Anthem will return this summer with a new album, as they have every two years like clockwork since 2008. Arguably the most successful band to emerge from the New Brunswick, NJ scene since Streetlight Manifesto, Gaslight consistently delivers energetic, thoughtful, punk-infused rock that satisfies both the DIY-credibility-obsessed basement scenester and the nostalgic classic rocker from the Tom Petty generation. Listeners know what to expect from the band, whose sound has mutated very little over the course of their four (soon to be five) studio albums, and if the first taste of their new effort Get Hurt is any indication, they’re unlikely to be disappointed, or surprised.
“Rollin’ and Tumblin’” has all the hallmarks of a Gaslight Anthem song: a driving beat to jump around to, lyrics about a frustrated, broken-hearted romantic, a roving lead guitar line during the chorus, even a name-drop of a song from a previous generation (“Rollin’ and Tumblin’” is the name of an 85-year-old blues tune). The track has reclaimed a bit of the edge from their early days that they’d sanded down for their last album, but little else has changed; the bones of the song are immediately familiar to longtime listeners. The rhythm of the vocals, the movement of the guitar line, the background vocals at the end, they all feel like they could have been pulled right off of previous TGA tracks. (“The Patient Ferris Wheel” and “Boxer” come to mind.)
Frontman and songwriter Brian Fallon has been eager to describe the upcoming album as something altogether new and different from their previous work, and while that newness doesn’t seem present here, it does whet the appetite to hear the rest of the album, out August 19th.