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 dancing his way into obsolescence to…
“Where Does This Disco?”
YACHT describes this new song “Where Does This Disco?” as being about the end of both love, the concept, and Compact Discs, the format. “They’re both on the edge of becoming obsolete, and they both get scratched if you play them too hard. They’re both mirrors, but one is still the best medium we have for connecting with each other.” While the idea of love becoming obsolete sounds like something Time Magazine would write in an article about Millennials, I’m not really going to judge too harshly since the song sounds great.
YACHT’s last two records came out on the alt dance-friendly DFA label; and while the band has since moved on to a new label, Downtown Records, their sound on this new song is still heavily influenced by classic new wave synthpop groups like New Order and Depeche Mode. The opening synth bass line even sounds similar to the one from “Blue Monday.” “Don’t you wanna make me move?” lead singer Claire L. Evans asks in the lyrics, the answer apparently being “yes,” as more and more synths pile on top of the thumping dance rhythm. Punny name aside, this song is just the right amount of fun and weird to definitely be a YACHT song.
The US Open Sessions
Speaking of The DFA, one of the label’s founders, James Murphy, is at it again, this time with a pretty interesting project. In the past couple weeks that the US Open had been going on, IBM has been taking data from tennis matches and making these sound collages. I say “sound collage” instead of song because the matches I listened to weren’t quite cohesive enough to really be considered music. Although this opens up the debate of what is considered music and what isn’t, let’s just say they weren’t anything most people would listen to, just some electronic bleeps and bloops in sort of a pattern, but not enough of one to make an established rhythm.
But, James Murphy released a couple remixes of matches that do sound like songs, pretty good songs as a matter of fact. Match 104 is my favorite of the ones he released. Murphy threw a house beat behind the generated sounds; he probably also had to mess with the sounds a little bit to make the tempo more consistent. The result is a really cool track that could easily find a home in some underground club somewhere. Just another cool music experiment from the guy trying to make the New York subway more musical.
Sam Paxton is putting on his red shoes for…
Let’s Dance (Single)
Covering an artist as monolithic as David Bowie is the musical equivalent of daring to touch the face of God: bold and probably foolish. Brooklyn pop trio Little Daylight doesn’t let that stop them though, churning out a fist-pumping version of the classic track. The result is surprisingly great. Gone are the original’s horns and chorused guitar, supplanted by grinding bass and thundering drums. Lead singer Nikki Taylor’s innocent vocals contrast perfectly with the instrumentals, and it’s impossible to not find yourself grooving to the electric impetus of the song. All too soon, the band lets the upbeat track dissolve into a brooding, rhythmic coda. Like the original, “Let’s Dance” is very much a song of its time, and expertly exudes the simultaneous joy and foreboding attitude of the original. Bowie purists might be put off here, but as a fan of covers that attempt to creatively reinterpret the source rather than slavishly recreate it, I think the track captures the spirit of “Let’s Dance” rather well, so much so that the Thin White Duke himself would probably approve.
David Lebovitz is preparing to cry because…
“It Will End In Tears”
Radiohead is supposedly meeting this month to prep for their new album. While it will likely be months, or knowing Thom Yorke, years, before we hear anything from it, a non-Yorke member has a solo project in the pipeline: drummer Phil Selway’s album Weatherhouse is due out next month. In typical Radiohead fashion, this track, “It Will End In Tears,” is a beautiful, dark song about sadness. It gets sadder and darker the closer you listen to the otherwise simple lyrics. The chorus alone says “it will end in tears and I won’t be sorry.”
Easy melodic comparisons to Radiohead–particularly The King of Limbs and Kid A–aside, Selway has a sound somewhere between solo John Lennon and Sea Change-era Beck. It’s a tightly constructed sound with a certain sense of spaciousness. His voice is gentle and conveys sadness while still maintaining a sense of control. While he’s not going to replace Yorke anytime soon, it’s nice to hear Selway solo and to know that Yorke’s not the only good singer in the band.
This track should help tide Radiohead fans over until the next album, not to mention stir up interest in Weatherhouse on its own merits.
Mike Duquette is staring toward the sunset to…
“You and Me”
With apologies to U2’s iTunes takeover, the past week’s best surprise album announcement was that of You+Me, a new collaboration between the unlikely pairing of Dallas Green, the Canadian singer-songwriter better known as City and Colour, and Alecia Moore, the hearty-voiced pop singer better known as P!nk. The duo’s first single, “You and Me,” combines the best of both artists in equal measure: Green’s warm, weighty folk sensibility and P!nk’s pop jackhammer of a voice, tempered considerably from her usual solo fare but as recognizable and full of life as you’ve come to expect. The huddled, wounded romance of “You and Me” might not burn up the charts like P!nk’s maniacally long run of hits (coasting into its fifteenth year or so), nor might it garner the Starbucks-crowd nods that come easy to City and Colour. But as happy mediums and crossover-worthy efforts go, this is pretty great.
Dominic Griffin is winding down to…
As much as I love couplets about buying expensive cargo pants with TV writing money, I tend to enjoy Donald Glover’s plaintive singing over his still occasionally clunky raps. This new salvo from his soon to be released mixtape rests safely in that lane, a chorus of sugary, reassuring synths stacked on top of a vamping piano and some layered, Stevie Wondrous vocals from Glover himself. “Sober” reminds you that the breezy spirit of Chillwave is alive and well when Donny G feels like stepping away from the mic, and he’s as adept at setting a mood musically as he purports to be at spitting rhymes. His growth as a rapper has been impressive, but I don’t think he gets his due as a crooner, despite some serious chops, inventive songwriting and a soulful presence. More like this please.
At the top of the year, freshly removed from dropping a solid sophomore album completely overshadowed by one thinkpiece-launching guest verse from a track that didn’t even make the final cut, “Medium” Sean dropped a song called “1st Quarter” in the vein of the Drake State Of The Union song rappers make in between albums to remind you of their continued existence. Here, he’s released a sequel to celebrate signing to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. There’s not a whole lot to say about Sean as a rapper. He’s always been enjoyable in terms of flow, delivery and cadence while simultaneously left wanting in terms of meaty content, but he’s largely harmless, a charming Jason Segel misfire in a world full of Kevin James movies.
The real MVP here is producer Key Wane, Sean’s in-house beatmaker who is always at his best quietly and carefully laying down soundscapes that best complement his partner in crime. Even their best work together on Sean’s Detroit mixtape don’t quite put them on the Aubrey Graham/Noah Shebib campeones de parejas tier, but here, the low key menacing instrumental Wane crafts slowly builds in vastness and intensity, a muted and understated vocal sample slowly rising out of murky water like Excalibur from the Lady in The Lake. Unfortunately, it crescendos to usher in a truly awful Power Rangers punchline from Sean, but he delivers the line with such self satisfaction, you can really picture Kanye putting it under a magnet on the fridge to say “A for effort.”