My STRONG ADAMANT OPINIONS got the best of me and I wrote a lot below, so let’s just jump into it — after the inevitable shameless plug for the Tunes You Should Know in 2014 Spotify playlist.
- Typefighter – The End of Everything
Stream the full album here (until the link goes public later today)
Let me just start off by saying how excited I am to write about this album.
Thanks to a fortuitous series of events, I’ve had this album since sometime around last September, and it’s been one of my favorite secrets of the past few months. With The End of Everything, the DC garage pop band has put together an album that’s not only rewarding after multiple listens but one that feels destined to be appreciated live. Though I do have one bone to pick with the band and the album…
The song order is all wrong.
While the album itself is consistently listenable — it feels like it was born to be put on during a road trip — the real meat of the album is all in the flank.
If you’re feeling crazy/trust me with all your heart, try listening to the record from personal favorite “Know It’s Wrong” at track 7 and go from there.
You’ll miss hearing lead single “Much” until later than the band might like and “Split Intent” might not get the attention it deservedly gets now, but you’ll skip over the skippable tracks and get to experience songs like the applicably-named “Happy,” the expansive, post-punky “Spaces,” and the rightful album-closer “Dock the Boats” with fresher ears, and they’re all really worth it.
And yes I realize these are odd strong, adamant opinions to have, but when it comes to a band that has at least a puncher’s chance to be one of those “capture the hearts and ears of all DCers,” I feel like it’s necessary. And I know me bringing up DC’s less-than-united music scene is nothing new, but eventually we’re going to have to find that band that we all go “YES! That is the kind of thing we want representing us a city!” and really throw it all behind them. GEMS has clawed their way to near-universal appeal, but that kind of sprawling synth pop they do isn’t anything to rally behind.
Typefighter, the scrappy band comprised of scene-approved characters who play a rambunctious style of well-thought-out power pop, on the other hand, they could be the band that brings us all together.
Enjoy The End of Everything and pick it up when it hits physical and digital shelves next week (4/22) courtesy of DC label Huge Witch Records. And go to their album release party on May 3rd at Rock and Roll Hotel; other DC talent like Shark Week and Teen Mom are on the bill too.
- Phox – “Slow Motion”
To peel back the curtain a bit, I get at least 1/2 of the music I write about from hard-working underpaid PR people that work at labels and PR agencies, all hoping to get some punny named blog to post about their newest synth pop/Scottish folk/nu-R&B group.
It’s impossible to keep up with all of it, but there are some PR people out there who go above and beyond to filter out crap before they email me or make sure to get my attention with something personal when they really believe in one of their acts. I in turn make sure to pay attention to their emails, therefore I’m more likely to write about said synth pop/Scottish folk/nu-R&B group, and the music blogging world is in harmony.
And all that was a nice way of explaining that Shira Knishkowy of Partisan Records is personally responsible for getting Phox in the column this week. She’s one of those publicists who I trust, and last month she sent me an email telling me that I had to go see this band Phox. In fact, she was so confident in them her exact words were, “Not asking for any preview/feature ink, I simply want you to see their live show before they blow up!”
Thank you, Shira. You were right.
Phox is about to blow up. They’re too talented not to.
The humble, charming six-piece out of Baraboo, Wisconsin (which they describe on a live album as a “a circus town…and then there’s a Walmart…and then that’s it”) is one of those groups that just oozes talent and showmanship. Plus leading this folk-inspired multi-instrumenting pop group is the unfairly gifted Monica Martin, who is so captivating that it’s more sexist to not address it than to let it go unmentioned.
And while their first single “Slow Motion” is a smooth, almost jazzy bit of soulful pop and a phenomenal introduction to the band, it only hints at the eclectically wonderful sounds and styles they have in their arsenal.
However, it also probably a solid indication of where the band is heading with their upcoming album, as a more bare-bones version of “Slow Motion” was on their previously released Confetti EP (which you can find it over at Hilly Dilly, whom I have to give credit to for supporting this band from the start). With the new version though, they’ve fleshed out the more standard folk-pop song into something a bit headier, as Martin’s malleable voice spars with flutes, piano lines, and near-big band guitar riffs while flourishes like saxophone lines or electric arpeggios pop in and out of nowhere.
And with that kind of impressive instrumentation at their disposal, Monica Martin’s innate star quality, and a sound that’s as immediately gripping as it is unique, it’s only a matter of time before Shira’s prediction comes true.
Phox’s self-titled debut comes out on June 24th on Partisan Records, but until then, check out this session they did with Yours Truly (and watch until the awesome trumpet part comes in around 5:20).
- The/Das – “Parallel Worlds”
I know, I already wrote a lot and words are hard, so let’s let the music do the talking for the rest. Cool? Cool.
This is a song called “Parallel Worlds” that found its way to my inbox courtesy of A Badge of Friendship, another really well-run music PR agency out of Glasgow (shoutz to Clair and Paul). It’s by a band called The/Das, who according to their press release are from Berlin and have an album called Freezer coming out in August.
And now, it’s time for a very special edition of…
GETTING YOUR FIX!
With festival season upon us, there are some great full-set performances getting put up on YouTube, so now you can enjoy the “Holy Shit I Didn’t Expect That” highs (AFI!?) and “Keep Gettin’ Them Checks” lows (Outkast?!)* from the comfort of your own bed instead of having to deal with all the Coachella that makes Coachella so Coachellish.
I’d start with Coachella’s main YouTube page since they’re uploading videos constantly, but if you know how to poke around the darker corners of Google, you should also be able to find some pirated sets ripped from the Coachella web stream.
And while you’re doing that, get your festival fix with this video of Disclosure bringing out Mary J. Blige for “F For You”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UxwMZ7rI2I
or Trombone Shorty being his awesome self:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xdxtsd88nV0
or The Naked and Famous reminding you that they own one of the best pop songs of the past 5 years:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaqvNUo4rpc
*If you’re a fan of Outkast/Nas/good writing in general, check out Rembert Browne’s piece on their Coachella performance over at Grantland.