Four writers, four new songs you need to know.
Car Seat Head Rest “Something Soon”
“Something Soon” has ‘it’, that intrinsically indefinable quality that separates the ‘worth it’ from the ‘not so’. It sounds like other things you’ve heard, and it’s not perfect, but ‘it’ is most indisputably infused into this recently-released song from 22-year-old heatseeker Will Toledo (the ‘Toledo’ part being a pseudonym), who plays under the name Car Seat Head Rest.
It’s the first single released for his upcoming LP Teens of Style on Merge Records, but it’s actually just the tip of an already illustrious (and cultishly beloved) discography that I’ve only just begun exploring myself. If you’re intrigued enough to join me, I suggest checking out “The End of Dramamine” from his 2014 self-released LP and reading this great Stereogum explainer/interview with Toledo. Car Seat Head Rest will also be playing DC9 on December 7th, a show I will now most definitely be attending. -Bryce Rudow
Miley Cyrus “Slab of Butter”
I still haven’t reconciled Miley Cyrus and her quest for… liberation (?) within the larger conversation of pop culture. I know she’s trying to say something, but is her sensationalist need to destroy any semblance of Hannah Montana clouding what could be a very avant-garde pop career? Or is this sensationalist destruction all there is?
Anyway, I’m putting my half-formed thesis aside because “Slab of Butter” is so goddamn good. The “ft. Sarah Barthel of Phantogram” part is an understatement. The song oozes the sexy experimental groove of Phantogram, while the Flaming Lips influence is evident right from the title. But I honestly don’t know how long these clever and refreshing pop productions can sustain the exhausting antics of her public persona.
While Miley, the celebrity, has all the attention and energy she could ask for, she still seems directionless. Like a botched firework display that erupts and spits out all its sparklers at once. And lyrically, “Slab of Butter” brings her no closer to saying anything beyond “I’m wild and sexed up and you can’t hold me down.” But fortunately for her, the undeniable freshness of her pop music and her eye for killer collaborations is drowning out the haters, including myself.
I’m on your side Nicki Minaj, but to answer your question; this is what’s good. -Lindsay Hogan
Mike Krol “Neighborhood Watch”
We already ran this as a Video of the Day but it deserves further adoration. Like Miley, Krol has also been influenced by The Flaming Lips, specifically the Transmissions from the Satellite Heart era. This is a 2 minute, 16 second quick dose of fuzzy, endearing garage rock that should appear on some year end best of lists. I want to know what pedals he’s using. He’s having some fun with pedals. -Brandon Wetherbee
The Libertines “Gunga Din”
The Libertines are about to release their first new album in over a decade. For various reasons (mostly drugs), the British indie legends spent the better part of that decade on an “indefinite hiatus”. They briefly reformed for a few live shows in 2010, but it wasn’t until last year that troubled co-frontman Pete Doherty was considered sober enough to be in a recording studio with his bandmates. Fans won’t know the full results of Pete’s pending sobriety until next week, when the band’s third album Anthems For Doomed Youth is released–but they were given a taste back in July when the song “Gunga Din” and its video were revealed. Although slightly less rambunctious than the majority of their back catalogue, “Gunga Din” is a return to form. It’s a brilliantly bonkers rock track with a jubilant chorus and jovial, self deprecating lyrics. The Libertines have definitely matured, but their juvenile energy hasn’t waned. -Norm Quarrinton