5 writers, 5 songs you need to know.
Thee Tsunamis “Saturday Night Sweetheart”
This a “double word score” music recommendation; an energetic, surf-punk, retro-rock trio and the impending opportunity to see them in one of D.C.’s coziest living rooms. Thee Tsunamis (who sound nothing like they’re from Indiana, but what do I know?) released their trashy fun album, Saturday Night Sweetheart, a little over a month ago and will be stopping at Petworth house-venue, The Beehive, this Friday. The title track “Saturday Night Sweetheart” pretty much guarantees a crazy show. Girly and aggressive, fuzzy, but engaging, this track packs a relatable punch. It’s the kind of tune I expect to soundtrack the next great character establishment scene in a Tarantino movie. And you can watch them wreck havoc on Friday with just a short jaunt to Petworth.
Get to know them before they become big. For real this time. -Lindsay Hogan
Diddy featuring Pharrell “Finna Get Loose”
Diddy is a joke. He may not know it, even if the post-BET Awards fallout on Twitter mostly involved discussing how much fun it was seeing him fall down a trap door (as well as seeing every other Bad Boys roster member; LOX for life), and even though he’s currently most well-known for using a kettle bell as a potential weapon. But the thing about Diddy is that it doesn’t matter. He’s always been kind of a joke. He’s the guy that is also very well known for having a show on MTV in which he made people walk miles to get him a cupcake. And yet he continues to thrive.
It may have not had the greatest premiere unto the world last Sunday, but “Finna Get Loose” is the best Diddy song in years. Sure it’s mostly on the back of Pharrell essentially mashing up parts from all his other past gems, but who cares. I’m fitting to get loose this weekend. -Bryce Rudow
Katy Perry “Unconditionally (Holy Ghost! Balearic Dub)”
It’s me again, Phil. Sorry to keep bugging you, but I need another favor. (Thanks for nudging along that Meek Mill record for me BTW! So huge!) I know your time is precious$, so let me cut to the chase: How do we make an entire Katy Perry and Holy Ghost! record happen? Can you put a call into Katy’s people? Or are Katy’s people also your people? I had trouble decrypting the latest org chart. Anyway, Katy Perry + Holy Ghost = G.O.L.D. (And we know how you feel about G.O.L.D.) Evidence A: Last summer’s “Birthday” remix. Evidence B: The sorta-recently released “Unconditionally” remix. Or, um, Baleric dub. Whatever! These songs are magic. At first, it’s a little disappointing how little Katy Perry they actually contain, but once your brain adjusts to how Holy Ghost! essentially relegates her to a selectively deployed sample, those moments of where she breaks through the clouds feel like huffing pixy stix. And it’s really the perfect marriage. Vocals have never been Holy Ghost!’s strong suit. Everything but vocals has never been Katy Perry’s strong suit. Together, they make a royal flush. I’ll even settle for an EP of more of this. OK, just one more song. Please. Have mercy.
When I first listened to Bilal’s latest album (In Another Life), I was super excited about it. There were at least ten O’s in “so” when I texted a friend to describe how good it was. Upon subsequent listening I’ve removed some, but not all O’s. I love the soul/R&B flavor (which is solid throughout) but the lyrics can tend toward cheesy and unoriginal; in its best moments it sounds like D’Angelo meets early John Legend meets NERD (and maybe a little Prince here and there). One of its best moments is “Satellites,” which is kind of a lament about the current state of society/break up song. The track is beautiful vocally, and the lyrics are genuine. Musically it’s low tempo, drum and organ heavy, with horns showing up subtly in the chorus. It also marks the halfway point on the record, kicking off a much more interesting second half. “Satellites” is a great summertime track, slow, mellow, easy. Like dozing off on a hot afternoon, not from boredom but from the heaviness of the atmosphere. Like it knows it’s sooooo good, but it’s saying, “hey, chill, you don’t need all those O’s.” -Melissa Groth
Media Jeweler “Autopilot”
I’m a sucker for a good trumpet line. I would say that’s half the reason I’ve been enamored with Belle & Sebastian since I was a wistful acne-clad miscreant; trumpets have always contained this exciting musical quality. Unfortunately, their vivacity has been restrained to several niche subgeneres as of late (namely chamber pop and ska), but I’ve eagerly awaited an energetic foray back into rock and roll. This is why Santa Ana’s own Media Jeweler really slay on the recently dropped single “Autopilot.” A seriously kickass brass melody is peppered alongside stadium rock drums and jangly, twee guitars, and manipulated into a more modern surf rock groove. And just when “Autopilot” begins to get stale in repetition, Jeweler switches up the tempo, aggressively stumbling forward from a triumphant melodic instrumental chorus into minor discordant frenzy that remains on beat like a math-rock hurricane. By the track’s end, the quartet’s craziness collapses inwards in dramatic segue, saved only by the allure of future insanity on their August release, $99 R/T Hawaii. -Connor McInerney