Bryce Rudow is a contributing writer for All Things Go
Overloaded by all the “new music” options you keep hearing about? We’re here to help. Here’s four songs we think you should fucking know (this week). Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments too.
- Autre Ne Veut – Counting
Autre Ne Veut is the stage name of Arthur Ashin, a 30-year-old Brooklynite who, apparently, is set to release his sophomore album (despite the fact that a quick Google search of him barely registers any relevant results). While Pitchfork will officially have posted this before my article goes up, props and snaps to my friend Giselle for finding this gem of “awesome avant-pop”, as she describes it, before most people out there.”Counting” is the first single off said sophomore album, Anxiety, which will be released on February 12th. The name of the album stems from Ashin’s experience with intensive psychoanalysis to battle bouts of depression that were the side effects of (drumroll…) anxiety.Anxiety’s influence on the track is palpable and manifested in the sporadic atonal trumpet blasts that erupt from underneath the surface of an ever-growing declarative plea of a song. Each chorus is a bit more defiant in its chaos and unsureness, creating an intensely personal R&B anthem. Autre Ne Veut has my attention, and I’ll be looking for the next single to be released sometime between now and February.
- Jim James – Know Til Now
Jim James is famous for being the vocalist and primary songwriter of My Morning Jacket, a band whose discography features diverse and impressive jams that seek to unite psychedelic rock with real southern country folk. On the single for his solo debut album, Regions of Light and Sound of God, James blasts into musical landscapes that I didn’t know he had in him.”Know Til Now” sounds like Motown’s take on what music of the future might sound like. James released a statement saying, “I wanted the album to sound like it came from a different place in time. Perhaps as if it were the past of the future.” When you finish wrapping your head around that one, McFly, enjoy the righteous funk lines that dissolve and reappear impeccably throughout the song or the saxophone solo thrown in to close this digital disco track.
James plays every instrument and engineered the album that was inspired by Lynd Ward’s graphic novel God’s Man (in case you aren’t well-versed in 1929 fiction, read up on it here. If “Know Til Now” is any indication of what he has in store, I am ready for the near-future/soon-to-be near-past (see what I did there?) when the entire album is released.
- Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love
I am fully aware that a lot of people who have good music taste really, really like Ra Ra Riot. Unfortunately for them, I listened to Discovery, vocalist Wes Miles’ side project with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmangli (who I just realized has “Batman” in his name), before I heard Ra Ra Riot and was always expecting something more experimental and engaging when I heard that voice.Having said that, I appreciated 2008’s The Rhumb Line*, and I listened to The Orchard enough to feel at least literate when it comes to the band. They were a group that wouldn’t make me want to change the track, but I wasn’t clamoring to hit repeat either.”Beta Love”, their first single off an LP of the same name that is to be released in January, though, might be the song that gets me hooked. Most likely due to the departure of cellist Alexandra Lawn, they have skewed away from their classic baroque pop sound and have ventured into the synth pop territory that Passion Pit has been stalking around in for years. All cries of hypocrisy on my part are warranted, but this less-experimental and enticingly simple song has my head bobbing and foot tapping more than any of their previous works. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a catchy hook and 4-on-the-flooor bass drums.*This is such a nit-picky niche aside that I almost feel compelled not to even write it…almost. On The Rhumb Line there is an ambitious cover of Kate Bush’s “Suspended In Gaffa,” a song that you definitely have to be in the mood for, but whose highlight is a backup-vocaled chant of “I want it all” that repeats throughout the track. It is hands down the best part of the song and something that has been stuck in my head for days at a time before. However, on Ra Ra Riot’s version, they substitute the infatuatingly piercing vocals with a flowery violin. I am not going to say this is the main reason why I am hesitant to get sucked into the Ra Ra Riot fold, but it’s definitely up there. For a version that truly appreciates that vocal line, check out Chrome Canyon’s take featuring Phoebe Oglsebee. And that is your rant on Kate Bush covers for the day…
- The Weeknd – Enemy
This is not the first time, nor will it likely be the last time, that I post about The Weeknd. Ever since Abel Tesfaye’s “High For This” was played during the credits of an Entourage episode (judge away, but that show was brilliant in its ability to keep an audience captivated while accomplishing virtually nothing in terms of plot), I have been mildly obsessed with the Canadian crooner. And if you haven’t made sweet THC-enhanced love to that song yet, your love life is severely lacking in overall sexiness.House of Balloons, the home of “High For This”, was succeeded by Thursday and Echoes of Silence in August and December of 2011, respectively. With each album, Tesfaye became more articulate in expressing his views on sex, love, and what one is like without the other. I believe that most people are more complex than even they give themselves credit for, and The Weeknd’s ability to layer unrequited love over emotional nihilism in the same thought makes those feelings more honest as opposed to less believable.Those three previously-downloadable albums (and obviously still downloadable thanks to Pirate Bay), have been collected for his major record label debut under Universal Republic Records. They’ve been re-mastered and the album is bolstered with three previously unreleased songs, however, for pure promotional shits and giggles, Tesfaye has released the non-album track, “The Enemy”. While nowhere near a departure from his signature sound, the track utilizes his bread-and-butter smooth vocals and haunting instrumentation to create yet another sensual serenade that fits perfectly as track 2 or 3 on your hookup playlist.
- Young Dreams – Fog of War
Norwegian pop ensemble Young Dreams has a debut album titled Between Places that’s being released sometime next year. The upwards of 12 members that make up Young Dreams have certainly done their part to fill out this song with as much musical life as possible. They have captured the casual epicness of Arcade Fire but put their own, more innocent spin on it. It’s everything those Levi adswith people running around holding sparklers on a beach want to be. Young Dreams is doing a nice job of gathering buzz, and Between Places might be a solid indie-pop underdog in early 2013.The video for the song is like that European, indie coming-of-age film you heard from someone was really good but never got a chance to see, only consolidated into a little under 5 minutes. After a few viewings of it, I’m still not sure what exact emotion I should be feeling or if it does a good job of making me feel it, but it’s definitely an interesting cinematic experience.