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 shrugging along to…
“Why Would I Now?”
Earlier this year, The Decemberists put out a pretty alright album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, in which Colin Meloy and the gang moved further away from the semi-ironic suicide songs of their past toward brighter, more autobiographical Americana. While it doesn’t approach the heights of its predecessor, The King is Dead, What a Terrible World… offered a couple catchy and thought-provoking cuts that have stuck with me for the past nine months.
Next month, they’ll be releasing Florasongs, a five-track EP of tracks recorded for the Terrible World sessions that didn’t make the final cut. Whenever outtakes from a so-so album are released, I’m always curious to learn more about the album that might have been, in the hopes that maybe some gem slipped through the cracks, and I can reinsert it in place of a track that doesn’t work for me when I next play a digital copy of the album.
“Why Would I Now?” is, unfortunately, not the song I’m looking for. While certainly not a bad song (I don’t think The Decemberists have ever published an outright bad song), it’s the kind of forgettable track that you chuck off your LP for a reason. Meloy’s songwriting has profited of late from simplifying his lyrics a bit and showing off a bit less, but “Why Would I Now?” feels a bit too effortless, a bit too rote of a love song for married couples. I hold out hope that one of the four remaining outtakes from Florasongs hits me a little harder.
Sam Paxton is shouting along to…
“Young & Alive”
The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us
It’s tough to write a youth anthem that doesn’t sound like it should be scoring a Levi’s commercial, but Beach Slang has made it work several times over. The Philadelphia-based trio is extremely adept at capturing both itchy, restless malaise and unbridled optimism, and their skate-punk-meets-pop-rock style is bristling with energy and infectious as hell. This past week, the band released the second single from their upcoming debut LP, and while “Young & Alive” doesn’t have the sunny disposition of their first single, “Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas,” it does share the same kind of fist-pumping catharsis. “Go barely care with all your might/ Go scare your skull, bring it to life/ Go punch the air with things you write/ We are awake with hearts to riot,” shouts lead singer James Alex, before the song explodes into a sing/shout-along of the song’s mantra: “We are young and alive!” It’s an electrifying track, and with their album due out next month, Beach Slang is set to be one of my favorite new acts of 2015.
Julian Ames is getting electro-sexy to…
Autre Ne Veut
Age of Transparency
Autre Ne Veut is the electronic R&B project of producer Arthur Ashin. His last album, 2013’s Anxiety, was in some ways a “breakout” as widespread critical acclaim got his name out there in the indie community. Autre Ne Veut’s style is similar to other white guy electro-R&B project How To Dress Well, but more emphasis is put on production. Ashin also boasts a pretty remarkable falsetto that he employs often; add to that some left-field musical and production tricks, and what results is some very strange, beautiful and sexy music.
Now, in 2015, Ashin is gearing up for the next Autre Ne Veut record, Age of Transparency. The first single, “World War Pt. 2,” was released last month, and it was not really for me. While it had most of the musical trademarks of a typical Autre Ne Veut song, they were put together in a way that I found grating and a bit unsexy (the video on the other hand….) I was especially let down since the first “World War” was a pretty interesting and beautiful closer to Anxiety. “Panic Room” is way more my style—it’s a bit more straightforward, but still has some twists and turns (watch for the upright bass in the second verse); not to mention the return of the falsetto!
Age of Transparency is out on October 2nd, and if you like “Panic Room,” go back and listen to the Autre Ne Veut back catalogue.