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 hoarse to …
“Have You Seen My Son?”
Benjamin Booker is a name you might want to get familiar with. A debut album out in August and a stint supporting Jack White has him poised for success right out of the gate. “Have You Seen My Son?” is the second song released from his upcoming self-titled album. The song highlights Booker’s style: high-energy garage rock steeped in southern blues. His bluesy shout/wail style of singing lends urgency to the tale of woe in the song. The lyrics and singing aren’t the only things giving this song its power though; Booker is a more than capable guitarist and the band he surrounds himself with is top notch. The drummer, a highlight of Booker’s live show, sets the pace with a driving beat and bold cymbal work–he’s even given a chance to show off after the meat of the song is over. The second half of the song is an instrumental section that includes a drum break, a freakout, and a heavy jam where Booker demonstrates some of his guitar shredding chops. “Violent Shiver” was Booker’s first single, but I think “Have You Seen My Son?” is a better introduction to him and his band because it shows off more of their arsenal. Either way, it’s worth it to check out both, and to get excited about this hot new songwriter.
“Stranded (On My Own)”
On July 1st, the indie punk band Titus Andronicus live streamed a “press conference” on their website. The almost two-hour-long event, which consisted of frontman Patrick Stickles sitting on a couch talking into a microphone and playing songs off his iPod, was to announce a series of seven split 7-inch singles with the group and various other bands they know. The first of these singles will include the new song “Stranded (On My Own).”
For anyone not already familiar with Titus Andronicus, I’ll be the first to admit that they are a hard band to love. Even on a good day Stickles’ vocals are abrasive, and on “Stranded” he’s singing so ferociously that the words are basically unintelligible–even after a fourth of fifth listen I couldn’t really tell you what this song is about. Even though their lyrics, when they can be understood, are often powerful and provocative, that’s not what initially drew me to the band; it was their penchant for writing catchy, kick-ass tunes, and “Stranded (On My Own)” is no different. The guitar playing has always been my favorite part of TA’s music. It doesn’t involve too much shredding, it’s more hook-based. The guitar work here is on point as usual, including catchy riffs and a fun solo. The other elements, the drums and the vocals (well, the melody anyway) are great as well, making this a pretty excellent addition to the Titus Andronicus catalogue.
Dominic Griffin is caking to…
Virginia native Tremaine Songsworth opens his new album Trigga with a sumptuous appetizer of shameless, confectionary sexual metaphors. Hopscotching through the forced triple-entendre at the base of the track’s premise (ie, cake as money, cake as ass and cake as, well, cake) he perfectly serves up a portent of come-ons to come, all within Trey’s very specific wheelhouse: illicitly courting taken women utilizing a liberal application of swagger and boldness, with the occasional garnish of timely regret or the occasional unrequited lust.
Producer Dun Deal (the man behind Young Thug’s “Stoner”) laces the track with a light touch, an instrumental whose skittering drums stay out of Trey’s way, existing largely to provide snappy punctuation to his impassioned cooing. It helps a lot when Trey veers into “light skins girls = red velvet” racial flavoring territory. His strength has always been a malleable voice and a shocking level of sincerity, both of which come in handy on a sex song built on a fundamental misreading of the “you can’t have cake and eat it, too” maxim. It’s about as catchy as cake is delicious, though. Good luck NOT singing this to yourself all week.
Dylan Roth is aging gracefully to…
“Gimme Something Good”
It’s weird how long singer-songwriter Ryan Adams has been around. While blessed with a youthful punk rock appearance (and cursed with a teenager’s temperament), Adams will actually turn 40 this year, and mark 20 years since his start in the business with alt-country darlings Whiskeytown. He’s got a reputation as a “songwriter’s songwriter,” and despite the long stretch of time since his last really stellar album (which I’d argue is 2007’s Easy Tiger) any new release from Ryan Adams still attracts a lot of attention. And with good reason: Ryan Adams is still one of the best singer-songwriters around.
“Gimme Something Good” is our first taste of Ryan Adams’ new self-titled album. For those familiar with his work, it should be immediately recognizable as a Ryan Adams song, both in structure and in production. Adams has a knack for mashing together the effective but fairly rigid sensibilities of his ‘70s influences with the earnestness of his contemporaries in the ‘90s and 2000s. That mixture is on full display here, and it’s a prime example of why he and his work have survived to appeal to two generations of fans.