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.
Mike Duquette is sitting in open-mouthed shock, then getting the f**k DOWN, to…
Three hundred and sixty-six days ago, I was sitting in the office of my eye doctor, barely able to comprehend through dilated pupils a storm of tweets about a Beyoncé record that materialized onto iTunes with no advance warning. It was a game changer—the world’s biggest pop star throwing the rule book out the window and not particularly caring who’d be there to pick up the pieces.
A year later, the question still remains: Who else could pull this kind of stunt off? My dear Deadshirt compatriots (chiefly Julian Ames, Dominic Griffin, and Sam Paxton) and I have speculated that it would surely be the likes of, say, Kanye West who’d next drop an album with no warning. Instead, word leaked out late last Friday that D’Angelo, the neo-soul legend whose last album, Voodoo, hit shelves in 2000, would issue his long-awaited follow-up, Black Messiah, at midnight (so it’s out now, oh ho ho!).
It may have taken D’Angelo nearly fifteen years to sort things out, but Black Messiah’s lead single “Sugah Daddy” is a hell of a reintroduction (or introduction, if you’ve been missing out) to the man: five minutes of laid-back funk, with a killer horn section and multitracked vocals that are probably making Prince super jealous as we speak. As of press time, it’s unclear if the album is going to be as chill as its lead single, but one thing’s for sure: it already sounds worth the wait.
Madie Coe is believing in possibility with…
Marina & the Diamonds
The second single released from Marina & the Diamonds’ upcoming album Froot harkens back to the confessional piano ballads of her first album, The Family Jewels. The track is stripped down with a simple arrangement and nearly acapella introduction over sparse piano. Unfortunately, this also means we miss out on her intricate vocal phrasing, which results in a song that sounds like it could be written for anyone; it’s not a distinctively Marina-esque song. Still, the hooks are strong and the chorus remains hopeful as the backing vocals and drums pick up. It’s not the strongest single, but luckily it’s not the only one as Marina & the Diamonds is dropping one a month to count down to the album release in April 2015.
Dominic Griffin is looking cool to…
“Turn Me Up”
After the haunted, Prince-ly new wave introspection of Forget and the swaggering, Springsteen-influenced motorcycle ride of Confess, we were all curious as to where the third Twin Shadow LP was heading. Judging off new single “Turn Me Up,” George Lewis Jr. is still astonishingly adept at conveying a certain nakedness, both in terms of emotive lyricism and artistic intent. He’s always sung like someone’s diary being filtered through an 80s radio, but with each passing release he grows more confident as a musician, sharpening the edges of his pained wailing, transforming melancholy turns of phrase into passive-aggressive daggers through the heart.
The music supports this edginess at every turn. On Confess, everything had a late night drive feel that gave his thoughts and feelings heft and propulsion. Here, explosive pockets of guitar reverb detonate like landmines, undercut by little black hole synthesizers straight out of something The Knife would release. It’s all held together by a bit of a hip-hop influence in the drum programming that seems at odds with the otherwise anthemic tenor of the hook, but it’s Twin Shadow, so genre cross-pollination is the name of the game. Leave it to Lewis to write a song ostensibly about getting support from a close friend and making it sound so slinky, sexual, and expansive.