Overloaded by all the “new music” options you keep hearing about? We’re here to help. Here are four songs we think you should fucking know (this week).
- Everything Everything – “Don’t Try”
On the same road trip back from the beach where Smallpools sparked revelations involving the cyclical nature of teenage rebellion, All Things Go-editor Adrian threw on “My Kz, Ur Bf” by the British indie-rockers Everything Everything. I hadn’t heard the song in years, but the second the beat kicked in, I remembered how much I liked it and asked Adrian to remind me who it was. While I first thought he said Anything Anything and began wondering if they were Dramarama fans, I was quickly corrected and made a note to myself about following up on the band (PS: Something Corporate does a pretty heartwarming cover of Dramarama’s “Anything Anything” if your life needs more Andrew MacMahon in it).
A quick Google search turned up “Don’t Try,” the latest single, and album-closer, off of the band’s January-released album Arc. As an avid mix-CD maker back in the day, I’m obsessed with track placement on albums, so I’m forever intrigued that an album-closer is also a single, but that’s a nerdly niche discussion for a rainy day. What’s more important is that this was my introduction to everything awesome about Everything Everything.
You see, in college, I was a HUGE Bloc Party fan, and I would find excuses to play them at any given opportunity; their signature sound was malleable enough to fit a diverse range of scenarios and emotions, and I took advantage of this to the fullest. However, even I admit to falling off the bandwagon around the Intimacy era (even if Four is actually a little undervalued). Unfortunately for me, their sound had evolved into something that just wasn’t resonating with me.
However, it seems like Everything Everything comes from a parallel universe that, like a Bizarro Superman, zigged every time Bloc Party zagged during their musical evolution; the result being a band and sound that rekindled the flame that used to burn for my old favorite British indie-rockers and used it to light a bonfire all their own.
While they do seem to be strongly influenced by Kele Okereke and company, they’ve most certainly put their own spin on that sound, incorporating a few tricks and treats all their own and bringing in new elements of creativity to shirk off any coattail-riding allegations. With Arc, they have a masterfully written album that has gotten better with every re-play.
It features a murderers’ row of singles, including the frenetically catchy “Cough Cough,” the piping “Kemosabe,” and the could-have-been-written-by-Frightened-Rabbit ballad of “Duet“, but its deep-cuts like “Armourland,” which borrow sounds from Passion Pit, and “House Of Dust,” which sounds like it was based off stolen James Blake sheet music, are equally enjoyable and show just what kind of range they have at their disposal. Sonically, they aren’t afraid to throw anything and everything into their songs, whether that be an overly-distorted guitar, a swelling string line, or a machine-gun snare line, and when it comes to energy output, they know when to be bombastic and they know when to restrain themselves.
The single “Don’t Try” is a perfect example; it’s simultaneously soothing and igniting, as lead-singer Jonathan Higgs’ lightning-quick lyrics bounce then chant over instrumentation whose mood can’t be justly qualified. The infectious but epic song accomplishes the rare feat of being able to close out an album and be an excellent first (re)introduction to the band.
The Bloc Party may be over, but Everything Everything is one hell of an after-party, so go listen to Arc. Do it.
- Diarrhea Planet – “Ice Age”
Let’s get this out of the way…
Diarrhea Planet is officially the dumbest name for a band ever. Ever.
Good, now that that’s settled, I can begin talking about how much I love their album Loose Jewels.
As a harmlessly rebellious teenager, I dabbled with bands like Rancid, Operation Ivy, and the like, who had the rage of punk but delivered it with pop sensibilities. To this day, when it’s a warm summer afternoon and I’m feeling particularly energetic, I’ll throw on …And Out Come The Wolves or How I Spent My Summer Vacation and bask in the raw fun of those bands.
Now I know that I have aged a bit out of that scene, but, after spending some time looking at the Warped Tour lineup a few weeks ago, it seems like “punk” has branched into either screamo or pop-punk, with not much in between for us casual bystanders, so when I came across the heartfelt, unabashed energy of Diarrhea Planet, I was taken aback. It even took a bit of prodding from fellow All Things Go writer Nathan Scott to get me to listen to them enough to “get it”.
But now that I get it (and I do, I really do), I want to share it with everyone.
The six-piece band out of Nashville boasts four guitarists who all seem to have a penchant for cranking it up to 11, but throughout the noise, there is one thing that cuts through every song on their album: an unmistakable element of fun. And not the stylized fun of fun., but a more delightfully unrestrained fun that only punk (and its cousin ska) can really harness. “Warm Ride” carries the warm angst of “Olympia, WA“, “Raft Nasty” could have been pilfered from Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon, and “Steven Fauser” reminds me of any Bouncing Souls song (especially the skateboarding with friends reference).
While there are bands like Fang Island and We Are The Union out there who still remind me to smile when rocking out, Diarrhea Planet is in a different…universe, so forget their idiotic name and enjoy.
- Dreamboat – Boy
It’s a huge day for the Tunes You Should Fucking Know column, as I’m proud to present our first ever exclusive album debut! Coming to you via Canadian label Hybridity, here is Boy, from British Columbia-based artist Aaron Bergunder, aka Dreamboat.
Bergunder has a pretty fascinating musical background that includes comedically remixing his own rock band, Colourbook’s, songs under the moniker KaraokeMF and a few smaller releases under his belt, but I was pleasantly introduced to Dreamboat with Boy.
In the Rolling Stone interview with Daft Punk I mentioned a few weeks ago, Thomas Bangalter says, “There’s no signature [in electronic music]. Everyone making [it] has the same tool kits and templates,” and sadly I couldn’t agree more. While on the hunt for songs to write about each week, I come across a lot of stuff that sounds so similar that I have a hard time distinguishing it at all; but with Boy, Bergunder adds a refreshing originality to this pared-down style of synth pop (whose closest relative is probably new wave) that makes him immediately noticable.
His lower-registered voice blends nicely with the throwback beats he croons over, with a lot of his songs almost feeling like seduction set to melody. “Paris“, my personal favorite on the record, is a great example, with its alluring wail falling over a piano-based beat that would make James Murphy proud. “Expansion” takes a Cure-esque approach to its flirtation and “Out Of Town” hints at a bit of humor and Mika-lite flamboyance.
Tracks like the album lead-off “Neopan“ demonstrate a capability in terms of instrumentation as well that endorse Bergunder as a fairly well-rounded talent when it comes to song-writing. But while musically it does definitely qualify itself as a dance record, it’s not immediately danceable, which has me selfishly hoping that eventually some capable remixers get their hands on it and really blow some of these tracks out.
Overall, it’s an album that I’m very happy popped our album-debut cherry, and I expect nothing but good things for Dreamboat in the future. I just hope when he’s, to paraphrase Wayne’s World, an incredibly humangoid giant star, he remembers the little people who knew him when.
- The Colourist – “Little Games” / “Yes Yes” (Magic Man Remix)
Speaking of album releases, All Things Go just put out their fifth release on ATG Records, a limited edition 7″ from Los Angeles quartet The Colourist. They fittingly describe themselves as “majestic rock” and “math rock,” yet there’s an unspoken strong element of pop in their sound. The A-side, “Little Games” is almost frustratingly catchy and, while the B-Side “Yes Yes” is a strong enough second track, the Magic Man remix elevates it to angelic levels of synth-pop heaven.
To not sound like a used-car salesman, even if this wasn’t put out by ATG, I’d be quick to tout this group as one to pay attention to, and one listen to them proves why. Having said that, the 7″ is available here at ATG Records.