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.
- FrYars – “In My Arms”
When I was 12, I used to love professional wrestling. My friends and I would watch Raw and Smackdown and then beat the shit out of each other while pretending to be our favorite characters, stomping around in wrestling rings made of couch cushions. Now that I’m older, a favorite procrastination of mine is to check the Wikipedia entries of those wrestling personas and learn about the men behind the masks. Something that originally surprised me during my sleuthing was learning that most of the men behind those famous personas had previously wrestled under different aliases and characters. My mind was blown. How could the audience accept that the devil-spawn Kane had previously wrestled as an evil dentist named Dr. Isaac Yankem? But what I came to realize is that the entertainers behind the personas were just as much actors as they were athletes, taking on a new role every now and then (aka when people realized that while dentists are terrifying, there’s no way you’re getting into a championship match with teeth puns as threats).
What does that have to do with this song? Well…I’m fairly sure Ben Garrett did a character switch on us mid-music career. A few years ago, the north London electronic artist was putting out quirky Bowie impersonations like “The Ides” that weren’t half bad. However, in October, there was new entrance music playing as he entered the ring, the minimalist brooding of “Love So Cold.”
It looks like Garret has embraced the new role of soulful crooner, and he is thriving in it. His second release is just as dark, but skitters across an enchanting piano and drum beat. The vocals are more forceful and confident in their delivery and more impactful as a result. All in all, this is the kind of track that is worth a title shot at Wrestlemania, or at least a Money in the Bank match at Summer Slam.
- Parov Stelar – “The Game”
Parov Stelar’s Princess is an experience. Clocking in at just shy of 2 hours, it blows through a litany of musical genres that I didn’t even know belonged in the same sentence, let alone the same song. Marcus Fureder, the 38-year old Austrian behind Parov Stelar has dubbed his music “electro swing”, which I think not only comes off as kind of douchey (but maybe it’s just because that swing resurgence in the 90’s left a bad taste in my mouth), but also doesn’t give credit to the expansiveness and inclusivity musically that this album encapsulates. There is funk in there, there is soul, there is jazz, there is dub, there is hip-hop, there is folk.
I only recently was turned onto Princess and Parov Stelar, but I did have that ah-ha moment when I found out he was the one behind that Bacardi commercial featuring the, well, electro swing. It was one of those “I’m enjoying this song but never remember to Google it later” kind of things that Shazam was made for. But while that song is catchy, it does nothing to make me believe that an album as complex and ornate as Princess was going to come from the same artist.
I plan on giving this album the attention it deserves in the next few weeks, and I highly suggest you do the same. Until then, listen to the “The Game”, an upbeat track on the album that doesn’t even know which decade it should have been written in.
- Sin Fang – “Young Boys”
I heard this song via the under-appreciated Hype Machine iPhone app while walking to work early enough in the morning that no one was really out yet. I found it incredibly moving, thanks in part to its immediate sincerity and understated anthemic tone. When I got to work and threw it on in the background though, it didn’t do much to make me realize I was listening to a great song. It would come and go without me noticing. Then, much later that same day, I was in my office far too late with a coworker doing our best to finish up reports when this song came on. We both slowed down working enough to really appreciate the song and, when it finished, we both shared in that half-second joy that comes from realizing a song you just heard is really damn good. “Young Boys” is one of those songs that might not scream at you from over the static, but if you give it the attention it deserves, it will be incredibly rewarding.
The song is taken from Sin Fang (born Sindri Mar Sigfusson)’s third solo album Flowers, which is the Icelandic artist’s take on the universally shared experience of late-youth: “I was thinking a lot about pre-teenage and teenage feelings,” he explains. “The exaggerated feelings and dramatic thoughts that most teenagers go through: Love and rejection, the constant ups and downs….”
The album comes out February 19th, and I hope it will be as satisfying as this song is.
- Future Loves Past – “Mercury (Coils of the Snake with the Silver Tongue) [The Snake]”
I’m disappointed with myself. I’m a fan of terrible puns, and when researching this band, I came across a softball of a setup for a bad pun.
I found out that their two latest songs are a radical departure in sound from their previous material. So I decided to check out their older stuff, and I found it entertaining and accessible; a general audience would love a set by them. Their latest double-single (Bi-single? Neither of those sound right…), however, is a rich smothering of lost genres such as 70’s funk and surf rock that are part of a 12-song concept album about space that will undoubtedly be more critically acclaimed, but might lose a few audience demographics in the process. I mean, the title of this song alone seems intentionally overwhelming. With all that in mind, I’m SURE there is a pun to be made about Future Loves Past’s past songs receiving a different kind of love than their future songs will…and I can’t think of it. I’m stumped. I’m doing my best to not think about it and let it just come to me.
Anyway, Our Solar System is being released on the 29th and promises to be a weird, but fascinating album. Thank you Josh from Newdust for finding them.