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.
David Lebovitz is going hand in hand through his parklife to…
The Magic Whip
Next month, Blur is set to release their first album since 2003 (and no, Gorillaz doesn’t count as Blur, I don’t care how adept you are at splitting hairs), and our first taste of it is “Lonesome Street.” Not much has changed in the twelve-year gap—they’re still the same Blur we’ve known since the nineties. (And yes, I mean more than “Song 2.”) It’s particularly British, uses heavy guitar riffs, and I can’t understand half of what Damon Albarn’s singing but get the gist of it just the same. When it comes to new Blur, everything old is new again. PARKLIFE.
Sam Paxton is playing it cool to…
“Step Brother City”
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
The High Country
Missouri indie rockers Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have made a career out of pivoting their style in unexpected directions. Their first album, recorded in the attic of one of the band members’ houses, was twangy, midwest-tinged lo-fi, but by the time they reached their arguable peak (2010’s Let It Sway) they were working with Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla and producing glossy, poppy rock songs. When lead singer/songwriter John Robert Cardwell left the group in 2013, they decided to get back to the basics, returning to the Missouri attic and churning out Fly By Wire, a fuzzy, warm album that re-embraced their lo-fi roots.
If the first single is any indication, SSLYBY has decided to split the difference on their upcoming album The High Country. Working again at Walla’s studio, the band appears to have fused the grungy guitars and reverby drums of their attic recordings with the cleaner bass and vocals of their big budget studio albums. “Step Brother City” is a solid, sub-three-minute rock gem, with chunky guitar riffs and an infectious sing-along chorus. “All the good songs and poems are all about you / And all the bad ones, too / I just get confused,” sings Will Knauer, his airy, murmuring vocals sounding cleaner and more confident than ever. As a longtime fan of the band, I’m really excited to hear what the rest of the album will sound like.
Julian Ames is feeling the highs and the lows with…
“Call It Off”
My first introduction to the dance-pop singer-songwriter sensation Shamir was his video for “On The Regular,” released back in October. After a listen or two, I determined that it wasn’t really for me; the bubbly delivery and sassy attitude was a little too much. Maybe that’s a “get off my lawn you kids” moment, but I didn’t get it. It didn’t seem real. I decided to give Shamir another shot, and surprisingly “Call It Off,” the newest single from his upcoming album, Ratchet, catches my ear pretty well. In this dancefloor ode to ending a relationship, Shamir sings over a house beat, putting his high-pitched voice to good use. Apparently that quazi-rapping that I hated from”On The Regular” is actually good in small doses – he breaks it out at the bridge to declare that you “just can’t make a thot a wife / no more basic ratchet guys / listen up I’m saving you from all the hell that you’ll go through.” “Call it Off” really embraces the empowering feeling of getting out of a bad relationship, and it’s very catchy to boot.
On the other end of the spectrum is Jamie xx’s new track, called “Loud Places.” In it we hear from someone who got dumped and is now looking back on her relationship mournfully. This song uses the term “places” to mean both locations as well as, I guess, emotional states; so we get some lyrics like “You go to loud places to find someone who will take you higher than I took you / Didn’t I take you to higher places you can’t reach without me?” The next verse begins “I went to those places where we used to go / they seem so quiet now, I’m here all alone,” a lyric which really got me because that’s exactly how I think of stuff like that, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Jamie xx is probably most famous for being a member of The xx, and on “Loud Places” he enlists his bandmate Romy Madley Croft to handle the singing. For a while in the beginning, when the music is at its most sparse, it actually sounds like an xx song, but that thought vanishes once Jamie, an accomplished producer in his own right, adds more instrumentation. Auxiliary percussion clang away, pianos and synths ring out, hand claps…clap, and once the soulful male vocal harmonies come in at the hook, all you can do is sit back, vibe, and hope you either aren’t listening to this in the dark drunk at three in the morning, or at least have deleted your ex’s phone number.