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.
- Mesita – Hostages
I am breaking a huge self-imposed rule writing about this song. You see, I try to never post about the same artist twice, no matter how good I believe they are; there is just too much music out there to go repeating myself. To create a sort of loophole for my own conscience, I’ve decided that if I’m going to do it, I’m going to go overboard when doing it. With that said, I now introduce the new, (possibly) recurring segment: Mesita Watch.
When I wrote about the first new track of their upcoming LP Future Proof, “XYXY,” I went on ad nauseum about my previous love affair with this group and how the song marked an exciting shift sonically for James Cooley, the man behind the music. For me, Future Proof couldn’t come fast enough.
Then “Hostages”, the second single, was released and the album became not just heavily anticipated, but officially loophole-worthy. So, in honor of Mesita Watch, I will be keeping a close eye out for any and all material from this album that might find its way onto the interweb.
The electro-soul that Cooley delivers on this track contains powerful movements and an intense display of emotion. According to the Colorado artist, “Hostages” is “about feeling frozen, paranoid, and absolutely scared of yourself.” The lyrical content translates beautifully into the music, as the lead piano line is interrupted by static and sporadic percussion that all swells up into a curbing chorus that becomes a mantra by the end of the song.
Until next time, this has been Mesita Watch.
- STRFKR – While I’m Alive
Portland-based STRFKR (they sold the vowels to make their name more marketable) garnered a lot of attention for their 2011 album, Reptilians. It fell under the broad category of electronica/synth pop, but depending on the track, comparisons could be made to anyone from Passion Pit to Friendly Fires to MGMT. While I have unfortunately missed them every time they’ve come to town, I’ve heard they also put on a pretty great live show as well.
2013 will seem them following Reptillians up with an LP to be titled Miracle Mile, and “While I’m Alive” is the first single off of it. With it, the band has taken the methodic repetition present on songs like Reptilian‘s “The White of Noon” and added a Ratatat-like swagger to it. The result is a funk-based electronic jam that is doing a great job of charming me into dancing around my room like an idiot.
Miracle Mile will be released February 19th, and they’ll be at 9:30 Club in March with support from Blackbird Blackbird.
- Lydia Burrell – Like We’re Animals
Last week, during my rant on how 90’s “college rock” is becoming an influence on modern music, I slipped in a link to Lydia Burrell’s Bandcamp page while trying to describe the band Win Win. I know that most people don’t feel the need to compulsively procrastinate by clicking every inane hyperlinked word, but apparently Lydia Burrell struck a chord with an OCD-yet-bored minority, as a few friends told me they liked the band’s stuff more than the song I originally posted about. That slight encouragement was all I needed to gush about this band more.
I came across “Ring” by Lydia Burrell because I was trying to stalk whatever song Purity Ring had just released on Hype Machine. Immediately, the bouncy, repetitive piano line and simple electronic production had me curious. This was no Purity Ring, but I couldn’t have cared less. Singer Alex Smith’s earnest vocals cooing even more earnest lyrics were a breath of musical fresh air.
The folk-reminiscent sincerity might be a less of a surprise when you find out the band is signed to the record label co-founded by My Morning Jacketer’s Jim James and Johnny Quaid. On their most recent release, The Animals EP, the single “Like We’re Animals” takes that folk sincerity and infuses it with a healthy dose of angsty optimism. The joyous drums and keyboard (or is that a guitar?) help keep up the levity of the song, even as Smith declares, “Just let them try to tear us apart, we’ll rip out the bastards’ hearts.”
Lydia Burrell is able to capture diverse and complex feelings in their simplistic, but orchestral style of electronic rock, leaving the listener to determine what they themselves got out of a particular song. As a semi-bonus track to the album, there is an acoustic version of Like We’re Animals floating around that evokes such a different set of emotions that it’s hard to believe it’s the same song and artist as the original.
The Animals EP is only a few months old, but I’m hoping for a longer release (or maybe even a tour) from them soon.
- Chrome Sparks – Send The Pain On
I was SO ready to be the first person to show the world Chrome Sparks’ new single. Having previously written about Stepdad a few months ago after seeing them at DC9, I had been casually stalking the talented “8 bit pop” group. When they announced that their drummer had released a song from his solo side project, I was downright giddy. And then I saw that Pitchfork found it…
I have to swallow my pride, though, and just be happy that a band/one member of a band I enjoy is getting some well deserved recognition. Jeremy Malvin is able to capture the same electronic lushness that is present in most Stepdad songs, but adds a decadence to it that oozes soul. As it goes along, it slinks into a darker electronic territory that even M83 would be jealous of.
Apparently, Malvin is officially on his way to becoming a buzz band, but I have no doubts he will live up to the hype when the next single off his upcoming EP is released.
- Watch The Duck – Poppin Off
First things first: Poppin’ Off by Atlanta’s Watch The Duck is a great song. It is a solid mix of nostalgic soul, Atlanta hip-hop, and (I can’t believe I’m saying this in almost-2013) wobbly dubstep. However, this song is a prime example of a musical debate that I have with others (and sometimes just myself) constantly. Side rant approaching…
Would this song be as enjoyable if I told you it was done by some scrawny white producer sampling old funk and throwing in wobbles, as opposed to the product of three Atlanta DJs (one of which is in a ridiculously talented hip-hop dance crew called Dragon House Crew)? I’ve heard many people argue that it’s irrelevant as to who creates a great song, but I just can’t get behind that stance. Music, and all art for that matter, does not exist in a vacuum. We can choose to not learn about the artists behind the art, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. The knowledge of an artist, or the lack of it, will always tint the way we appreciate their art. In this case, the genre-bending trio help bring an air of legitimacy to the funk and soul roots that make up the song.
There are rumblings of a “New Atlanta” scene (Rembert Browne, can I get confirmation on this?), and if this is the kind of stuff coming out of it, I might have to take a trip to the ATL soon. Until then, I’ll be doing my best to emulate their pop-and-locking in front of the mirror when my roommate isn’t home.