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 stepping and strutting to…
“Pressure Off (feat. Janelle Monáe and Nile Rodgers)”
Only in their fourth decade of performing have the world’s favorite New Romantics, Duran Duran, moved into a comfort zone. Their dark-wave, CHIC-meets-Roxy Music songs (and colorful, groundbreaking MTV videos) made them one of the definitive groups of the 1980s; they’ve enjoyed comebacks in every decade since, offering acoustic cool in the nineties and “we made The Killers possible” retro-statesmanship in the 2000s (and even a bold misfire in working with Timbaland just as his hot streak was starting to cool off in 2007). Their last album, 2011’s All You Need is Now, safely harkened back to their early sound with the help of producer Mark Ronson, well known for appropriating retro sounds for chart dominance.
Ronson is one of four listed producers on the band’s 14th album, Paper Gods, due this fall, along with another familiar elder statesman: CHIC mastermind/Daft Punk sidepiece Nile Rodgers, who remixed Duran’s 1984 smash “The Reflex” and produced the band’s underrated noir-funk masterpiece Notorious (1986). Rodgers’ instantly-recognizable picking is all over the track, a safely slinky strutter that ironically offers lyrics of progress (“the past is another country/the present will never last”) while forcefully retreading the classic Duran sound. It may lack the drama of “Hungry Like the Wolf” or even “Skin Trade,” but the Brummie boys know to stay the course just enough (an impassioned guest vocal from Janelle Monáe notwithstanding) to appeal their decades-loyal fan base.
Mike Pfeiffer is Versace Flexing to…
“Who Wants To Rock (Feat. Riff Raff)”
WHAT iF i WROTE THE WHOLE REViEW LiKE THiS? iS THiS THE PROPER AMOUNT OF RESPECT TO SHOW THE NEON iCON iN THiS BREAKDOWN OF HiS MONSTROUS FEATURE ON THIS FLUX PAViLiON SONG?
Maybe, but that’s still annoying to do. Last year, who-knows-if-he’s-joking rapper and Diplo pal RiFF RAFF dropped his first real album with Mad Decent, the nonstop-insane and expectation-defying Neon Icon. Feelings on the Neonardo DiCaprio, Jody Highroller, etc, are about as high-contrast and loud as his shorts. You either think he’s an untalented white dude doing a big joke, or you respect a guy who has committed himself to his persona of the world’s biggest self-assured candy-colored show boat that it worked. Neon Icon was scattershot but a flawless execution of everything Riff wanted (Dom said it better than I did) but for me, it was all a comedown from the dizzying heights of the first track, iNTRODUCiNG THE iCON. “Introducing” was one of my picks for the best songs of last year, but most of the singles and features I’ve heard since then have left me wishing for one jam to make me flex as hard as “Introducing” or “How to Be the Man.” And here it is.
When I saw this track was by British Dubstep nice boy Flux Pavilion I almost didn’t click, despite the fact that Flux remixed the theme to Star Wars: Rebels. As a general rule, I don’t like EDM. Sorry! It’s the most curmudgeonly of my music opinions, but the only time I like dupstep and EDM is when it’s being used to ironically underline something dumb that Channing Tatum is doing. Then this song had “Rock” in the title and the Marshall-Stacking David Lee Roth in me had to check it out and then I checked it out 60 consecutive times that day. The hook, that chopped up “i CAN WRECK A MiC,” twisted open the NOS cannister next to my heart. The way RiFF mixes up the most absurd boasts always speaks to me, and the stream-of-consciousness at work here had a barrel of cotton candy manic panic spilled in it. Calling himself the white Serena Williams, asking for his dog, referencing the insane circumference of his biceps since he started lifting weights, it’s all the best Riff Stuff. It’s a tight track, the instrumental synth hook is this dirty pseudo-guitar lick that makes you think Protoman recorded it on a doublenecked SG, and it gives you just enough time to let you catch your breath and pour kamikaze shots in slow motion between RiFF RAFF essentially reading every Twitter screed against his haters at light speed. Can’t recommend “Who Wants To Rock” highly enough once it’s officially released for download, and Flux Pavilion may have just converted a nonbeliever.
Tesla is available on September 4th from circus records.
Joe Stando is getting the girl and everyone’s cheering to…
Unsurprisingly, I’m a guy who likes to think of his life as an awesome movie. I’m also a guy who primarily listens to new music blasting out of his car radio on the way home from work after midnight. Nero’s new single passes both these tests with flying colors. Their new sound is even more synthy and produced than it has been, but it totally works. The first few bars, especially, have a big, cinematic sound to them that feels like the perfect opportunity to cut to credits after a big moment in a show or movie. This might sound snarky from someone else, but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m someone who relates to music less in the abstract and more in the context of other media, so I’m giving it high praise. Nero’s light EDM sound (no jarring drops, lots of catchy vocals) is perfect for the kind of fast-driving, ass-kicking lifestyle I like to think of myself as living.