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 several songs we think you should fucking know (this week). Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments too.
My job, essentially, is to help sift through the clutter of new music that would overwhelm less-obsessive people. But occasionally, weeks like last week pop up, and there is so much music news that even I get overwhelmed. Since I only write up four songs a week, I figured I would just throw in links to some other essential songs to know this week:
- Local Natives – Heavy Feet
- James Blake – Retrograde
- Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
- Postal Service – A Tattered Line of String
Consider yourself un-overwhelmed now.
- Peace – Follow Baby
“I feel like most people who would want to turn someone onto Peace would play ‘Bloodshake‘, the leadoff track from their EP Delicious. And that makes sense; the catchy, non-threatening guitar riff and the Kooks-esqe snarling drawl make for a great, upbeat rock song that flourishes towards an impressively heavy breakdown and draws comparisons to a more tropical, less math-rocked Minus The Bear. However, I want to talk about the song on Delicious that floored me the most…
‘1998‘ , the albums closer (and somehow a cover of this trance song), is a post-punk euphoric breakdown that explodes just as much as other thematically-named bands that sprung to mind the first time I listened to it. What I never expected, though, is that that growing explosion eventually settles into a funky, heavy disco jam that rises right back intro an instrumental crescendo seamlessly.”
That is what I had sitting in my Evernote for a week or so ready to use as a pretty solid introduction for what I believed at the time was the essential song to know in order to know Peace.
“With their recently released single, “Follow Baby”, I realized I had to delete all that and start over, because the new song reaches another level in their musical ascent.”
That is what I wrote to cover my ass when I thought that I had to write about the more recent single, “Follow Baby”, which is an aggressive, catchy song that one should definitely know.
But then, after some sleuthing, I found out that the “Follow Baby” I heard and wanted to write about is a actually a re-reroceded version of their first single ever, which means I couldn’t use the whole “this is the next step in their musical evolution” angle at all.
So that’s where we’re at, and that’s okay, because this band is immensely talented and you should probably just listen to all their songs. I’m assuming this will be case when their new LP In Love comes out in March as well.
- Chvrches – Recover
Not many people are as efficient with their “material to hype” ratio as Chvrches. With just three songs and one Prince cover, their debut EP, Recover, is on a lot of people’s most-anticiapted list.
Coming out the gate with “Lies“, it’s easy to see why the group was asked to tour with Passion Pit last year, having put together an enticing piece of electro-pop. When “The Mother We Share” dropped, the sky became the limit for Chvrches. The Scottish band’s take on The Knife’s minimalist Swiss-pop sound was a beautiful ear worm of a song that I’m still listening to on repeat.
To follow that up with “Recover”, Chvrches was able to meet incredibly the incredibly high expectations that appear after releasing a song like “The Mother We Share”. But all the ingredients for great synth pop are there and in the exact right proportions; the ebb-and-flow verses, pre-choruses, choruses, and post-choruses are drenched in hooky melodies that burrow pretty deep in the head.
Chvrches has me (and I think most others that have heard of them) wrapped around their finger until their EP Recover is released late next month.
- Freedom Fry – Friends And Enemies
*It’s not often I can’t pull off finding at least some bootleg version of an unreleased song if I decide I want to write about it. However, I have officially given up finding a non-private version of “Friends And Enemies”, and therefore will have to overwhelm you with links to their other songs to make up for it. It’s a shame though, because…
** Nothing like coming up with a solution at the last minute! Enjoy!
Freedom Fry’s new Friends And Enemies EP is very good, and definitely their best release yet.
Their debut EP, Let The Games Begin, was pleasant and fairly unique, but ultimately not that memorable. Their choice for the optimistic lullaby of “Rolling Down” as an album closer is telling of their self-percieved sound at that time.
Their follow-ups, including the vintage pop-organed “Earthquake“, the wild-west themed Outlaws EP (inspired by a visit to the grave of Billy the Kid), and the surf-rock “Summer In The City” showed a strong creative streak in the band and an ability to not take themselves so seriously that they couldn’t latch onto possibly ironic genres in order to make enjoyable songs.
But now, with Friends And Enemies, and especially the eponymous single, they have blended that creative streak with tight songwriting to produce a solid three-song album. “Friends And Enemies” borrows a bass line from Spoon, a guitar riff from Interpol, and a disco drumbeat as background for a sugary sweet vocal melody.
Freedom Fry, consisting of Parisian born Marie Seyrat and New Yorker Bruce Driscoll (and with a funnier name the more you think about it), will be releasing Friends and Enemies digitally on April 2nd. Get it when it comes out, and I promise to throw a link to it up the minute I can find one.
- MMX – Saga
The MMX are a VERY new band, spawned from the ashes of a previous one. So new, in fact, that the Oxford band formerly known as Francesqa played their debut London show last night, and their debut EP is only days old. Yet somehow they have managed to gain tremendous momentum already.
It might be because MMX have an incredible flare for the dramatic. Every song is infused with an amplified sense of emotional energy. Admittedly, you have to be in the mood to be receptive to this Cure-style of brooding emotion, but the same thing can be said about The Cure too, so there we go. A time and place for everything.
Their first release, “Follow”, saw a dark drumline accompany a swooning, semi-formulaic chorus (accompanied by an eery, unblinking music video). It was decent, but didn’t seem to know exactly what kind of song it wanted to be.
With the Child EP, the band seems more focused though, whether it be the hard-hitting but ethereal leadoff track “Ritual” or the refined “Mercy”. However, it’s apparent the real standout track is “Saga”. The tortured vocals have that seductively smooth quality that gives validity to their wailing, and the piercing lead guitar that dances around the chorus gives a particular edge to what could have been a tamer, less appealing song.
This new reincarnation known as MMX may still be developing its sound, but if this is where they’re starting from, I’m excited to hear where they’ll end up.