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Last night, a Tuesday night mind you, Paperhaus and Spirit Animal played a packed Black Cat sidestage and then one of my best friends, Josh Stewart of Newdust, celebrated his birthday at Marx Cafe’s ‘OUTLAWS’ DJ night until about 2AM.
Long story short, instead of writing an introduction that needs actual brain thoughts, I’m going to get straight to the Certified Hangover Friendly music after telling you all about this competition NPR’s Tiny Desk has going on in which you and your band, tragically undiscovered as you may be, could play an official Tiny Desk show at NPR’s snazzy new headquarters!
Click right here to find out more, but you should probably start sucking up to Bobby Boilen ASAP.
Onto the music!
- Young Fathers – “Soon Come Soon”
Almost 11 months ago to the day, I wrote about an up-and-coming Scottish hip-hop trio called Young Fathers and their single, “Low.” I was really intrigued at their interesting take on hip-hop and I even spent a good 45 minutes shooting the shit with them after their set at UHall opening up for Baths last April. Unsurprisingly, they were intelligent, charming, and had that kind of creative hunger that you love to see in a group.
But none of that prepared me for finding out earlier this week that they WON THE MERCURY PRIZE THIS YEAR!
Now for those unaware, the Mercury Prize is a well-respected award given each year to the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland (past winners include Alt-J, James Blake, and the xx). Basically, this is a big freaking deal. Their album Dead beat out the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, FKA Twigs, and Damon Albarn, and while there might be a bit of Emperor’s New Favorite Album going on here — Dead is good but it’s not even great, let alone the best album of the year — it couldn’t have happened to a group of nicer, genuine guys.
And on the heels of that victory, they’ve now released a new single, “Soon Come Soon,” which plays up their strengths well. It’s got a good beat, it’s edgy but not intimidating, and it’s a nice song to point new fans to since Dead only really has 2 singles on it (“Low” and “Get Up”).
Who the hell knows what’s in store for these guys now, but here’s hoping when they come back in town they remember the writer they chilled with backstage at UHall last Spring and we can get a good interview out of them or something.
- Devon Baldwin – Don’t Leave Me
It’s not often BYT Mama Bear Svetlana sends me music stuff but the other day she forwarded me along an email conversation she was having with Devon Baldwin’s PR person, meaning Svetlana…
A) really likes this song and wants me to write about it
B) is friends with said PR person and wants me to do a favor for said friend
C) was just ditching this onto my plate because life is too short to deal with dumb music PR people.
Honestly though, I don’t care which it is because all I needed to see was “cover of Blink 182’s ‘Don’t Leave Me’” and I was sold.
Sure almost anyone who thought to do a synthy female-vocaled cover of this song would probably do a serviceable job and leave me just as satisfied but, like life in general, a lot of people might think to do this, but only Devon Baldwin actually did it, so now she’s the one that gets the ‘check this cool cover‘ promo bump and the residual Soundcloud plays from curious listeners.
I can’t tell if this proves that Blink 182 was writing deep emotional lyrics all along (see: “Apple Shampoo“) or if this just proves that anything sounds emotionally convincing when sung in a breathy, sexy female voice, but again, honestly, I don’t care because this is a legitimately enjoyable cover of the lead-off song off an album called Take Off Your Pants And Jacket.
Here’s hoping BANKS goes after “Stay Together For The Kids” next.
- Pacino Amadi – “Slowly Drifiting”
Cards on the table, Pacino Amadi only came across my radar because he somehow stumbled onto the ‘cool music’ Facebook group I poach a lot of my song choices for this column from and when I went to ‘vet’ him before accepting his request to join, I found his Soundcloud page and gave it a listen.
As I’ve told him already, the thing is a jumbled mess of demos and freestyles from three years ago interjected between fleshed out, pretty solid hip-hop songs and he needs to trim the proverbial fat on it, but once you boil it down to his 6 or 7 best songs, you should be able to connect the dots and see that this unknown out of Sterling, Virginia at the very least has potential.
He’s told me he’s going to clean his Soundcloud page up by the new year, but I’m worried that when he does someone other than me will find him and write about him first and then I’m left with zero social clout to leverage, so I’m going to just tease his catalogue a bit with his (in my opinion) best song, “Slowly Drifting.” It’s perfect hangover hip-hop.
Just wait for 2015 though, when I can post this amazing song he did about Jordans. You’ll love it, I swear.
- JMSN – JMSN (The Blue Album)
Previous guest-writer for the column and continued friend of mine Christopher Miller asked me the other day if I was a fan of JMSN. When I admitted that I was uncool and didn’t even know who he was, Chris sent me along his new album and I checked it out.
I think musically it’s okay, but including it in the column this week gives me a chance to copy-and-paste our subsequent GChat conversation, in which we came up with a brilliant scheme that I think we need to make happen pronto:
me: This sounds like what we wish Justin Timberlake did with 20/20
Christopher: Right? I would’ve killed to have a dark, moody R&B album by JT
me: He needs his heart broken “Cry Me A River” style one more time
Jessica Biel cheats on him with Andy Samberg
and he flops on SNL the next time he hosts
me: and then we find out he got some floozy pregnant
and we get his Confessions
Christopher: subsequently locks himself in the studio with Drake’s production team, makes a classic
me: Surprises us with a performance on Fallon
Plays the whole album straight through live
Christopher: I would love a JT album completely produced by 40
me: We just shattered JT’s life but got him a critically acclaimed record
Christopher: Just think how Robin Thicke would’ve been able to bounce back if had has us on his team