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 begrudgingly getting nostalgic to:
“Back to the Shack”
Everything Will Be Alright in the End
Ask most self-described Weezer fans how long it’s been since the band put out an album they liked, and a huge proportion of them will say “1996.” Personally, I don’t jump off of the train until after 2005’s underappreciated Make Believe, but even a Weezer apologist like me will admit that their last three albums have been unworthy of a second playthrough. To me, they’ve been boring, uninventive, and occasionally really really dumb. But I’ve never begrudged them attempting to do new or different things.
Last week, the band unveiled the first single from their upcoming album Everything Will Be Alright in the End, “Back to the Shack,” which is a mission statement of sorts for the band going forward. The mission, in short, is: “We get it, you want another Pinkerton, here you go. And sorry for all that stuff we did you didn’t like. Please take us back.”
Okay, the actual opening lyrics are:
“Sorry guys I didn’t realize that I needed you so much
I thought I’d get a new audience, I forgot that disco sucks
I ended up with nobody and I started feeling dumb
Maybe I should play the lead guitar and Pat should play the drums”
The song goes on to explain that songwriter Rivers Cuomo has gotten his life together and is ready to get back to doing what he was meant to do: rocking out for fun. I just hope he’s really doing it for himself, not because he feels he owes us, his jaded fans, an apology, because he doesn’t. Artists have no obligation to bow to the demands of their audience; they should make what they want, and fans and critics get to either enjoy or dislike it. I like this track, but if the next one sucks, I can be disappointed. I’m not allowed to be pissed.
Mike Duquette is absent-mindedly staring out the window to…
“Crying Our Hearts Out”
The wounded voice and heart-tugging pen of Alex Dezen has hardly let up since 2003, when his band The Damnwells were lifted up as one of rock’s Next Big Things in the post-Ryan Adams alt-country revival world. Dezen, who’s gone on to write for Court Yard Hounds and Justin Bieber (seriously), has had a busy 2014, prepping The Damnwells’ fifth album (and first since 2006 to feature the original band lineup) and issuing a series of four stripped-down EPs. ¾, released last week, is a snack-sized offering of Dezen at his best: catchy acoustic riffs and perky melodies fused to wistful, romantic lyrics.
Lead track “Crying Our Hearts Out” packs a wistful punch in four minutes, inviting a lover to “listen to records way too loud/like we did when we were full of shit and doubt.” Dezen’s been turning out profanely beautiful lines like this since Myspace was a thing–maybe now’s the time to check him out.
Dominic Griffin is laying in bed to…
Kitty Cash’s Love The Free II
Kitty Cash is putting out the second installment of her Love The Free compilation series, featuring exciting, indelible work from many of her contemporaries, all heart-on-sleeve provocateurs stretching the boundaries of the R&B genre. Lo and behold, the real life princess who gave us “Whip My Hair” pops up with a wilting, beauteous little song, far too wizened and lived-in for Willow Smith’s thirteen years on this Earth. Her brother is ruining his dad’s movies, dressing up like Batman at weddings, and confusing the shit out of people on Twitter, meanwhile the Lisa to Jaden’s Bart is cooling over here, evoking early Erykah Badu and melting hearts with her earnest, tender balladry. It’s going to be insane when she grows up.
“Recognize (Featuring Drake)”
Currently the hottest of Aubrey Graham’s coterie of crooning cohorts, PARTYNEXTDOOR may sound more like a Tumblr URL than a musician’s handle, but his Led Zeppelin-ly titled sophomore album released this week displays an artist confidently coming into his own. Perfectly exemplifying the trademark “OVO Sound” (a nerdy affection for early 90s R&B expertly bulked up by the hulking sonics of post-regional hip-hop, ie, skittering trap drums and unconventional sampling), “Recognize” isn’t even the best track on the LP, but it might be its catchiest, largely owing to a distorted hook and a characteristically saccharine guest verse from label boss Drake. PND avails himself impressively, morphing his timely appropriation of the Migos flow into something urgent and pleading, a bandwagon move hijacked for maximum emotional impact.
The real standout is when Drake shows up, promising one of his many loves celibacy (“…until you get this one on one shit like your name Katie Couric…”), a practical gift (“…I’ve gotta get you those snow tires for your Mercedes, I’m glad you reminded me, baby…”), and bashful glee at a sex tape they’ve produced (“…you a freak and your cover’s blown…”). Those Toronto kids never run out of ways to woo and lament, in equal measure.