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).
- Match – “Violet” and “Dying Kings”
The mysterious Parisian has been on fire in terms of sending me great bands/songs to check out, but the recent highlight of them all is up-and-coming French group Match. They harness the same kind of rhythmically-conscious swagger that groups like Dirty Projectors, Alt-J, STRFKR, or even first-album Miike Snow boast, but with a penchant for melody that usually gets lost with similar-sounding bands. And that’s not even taking into account the lead-singer’s eerily striking voice; at a baseline he’s intriguing, but when he goes into his falsetto register, he’s haunting.
With “Violet”, Match has their go-to single. It’s captivating from the get-go; familiar enough in style that it’s approachable but different enough in execution that it sets itself apart. It pulses along through warped, slinking verses to swelling choruses that are deceptively powerful, and it ends with an amalgamation of all its sounds which brings this song to a close much sooner than I wish it did.
On “Dying Kings”, they get a bit funkier, with a disco-influenced beat and a vocal line that I can only describe as seductive near-rap. The minute and a half breakdown in the middle of the song is a bold choice, pushing the track to a 6-minute playtime and out of contention for any serious radio play (whatever that means anymore), but it pays off well with a recapitulation that blows the ending out of the water.
With only two songs under their belt, my expectations are high for whatever they have for us next. Merci, mon silure. Merci.
- Betty Who – The Movement EP
In anticipation of some big developments (that are currently top secret), All Things Go has beefed up its writing staff, and during the process, the head honchos asked us lowly writers if we had any recommendations. I nominated a co-worker of mine at iStrategyLabs, Margot, who had previously been killing it in the new music Facebook group I pilfer from.
Well, it looks like I created a monster, as she has been pumping out tons of good content for ATG and has already name-dropped about a baker’s dozen of bands to me in the past two weeks that I have never heard of. So the other day, when I walked past her desk and saw her, headphones on and bobbing her head, typing furiously on her keyboard, I asked her who she was writing about now. She responded with, “The Soundmen’s remix of this girl Betty Who, who sounds like Katy Perry over 80’s beats.”
Now I wish I could come up with a better description of the Sydney-born, Boston-living pop singer, but Margot killed it. Betty Who’s debut album, The Movement EP, is a wonderful concoction of lush instrumentation and Orbit Sweet Mint levels of bubblegum vocals (the best type of gum there is). It’s simply meant for summer pool sessions and top-40 radio station playlists.
What you might not expect, though, is that Jess Newham, the betty (shameless Clueless slang right there) behind the Who, is a classically trained cellist who studied at Interlochen (a smart arts school that boasts alums like Norah Jones and Rufus Wainwright) and Berklee. But while in Boston, she met her writing partner, producer Peter Thomas, who inspired the 80’s behind her 80’s-pop sound, and the two spent the next few years crafting her new musical style.
The result is the infectious Movement EP, featuring the dance-floor jam “Somebody Loves You” and the syrupy “High Society” which flaunts lyrics like “We’ll be high society/We’ll drink Chardonnay through the day/Cause we say so,” and somehow pulls it off.
Betty Who’s star is on the rise, and word is she is currently writing new material for a future release, so expect to hear much more from this young pop princess this summer and in the very near future.
- !llmind – Beats For Kanye West
I’d never understood the point of fan fiction until this week. I used to think that it was a fruitless, semi-narcistic endeavor that never gave justice to the source material. While of course there were some exceptions (like Patton Oswalt’s Dirty Dozen-esque take on Batman that I want to see turn into a printed story), I just couldn’t get behind the concept.
But then I listened to !llmind’s Beats For Kanye West.
!llmind is most known for putting together the beat for “The Morning” off the Kanye-led Cruel Summer album, but apparently he wanted to work with Yeezus a bit more. The result of that desire are nine near-instrumental tracks grouped into a mixtape that show an impressive talent and range from the New Jersey producer. They’re so enjoyable, in fact, that now all I can do is think about what it would be like to hear Kanye on them.
I want to hear him get militant on “Bitche$”, I want to hear him wyle out on “Straight Ahead”, I want to hear him prophesy the apocalypse on “Rapture”, and I want to hear him dismiss the world on “Jokers”. I want to hear him rhyme “Kardashian” with “Baratheon”, and I want to hear him tell me about French designers I’ve never heard of so badly that I caught myself imagining what he would be saying over the beats as I listened and re-listened to them. I was writing my own music-based Kanye West fan fiction, and I couldn’t help it.
Obviously, I’m one of the millions counting down the days for Yeezus to leak, but until then, I’ll be crafting a story in my head about all the fictional boasts, disses, and socio-economic obersvations that Ye would drop over this mixtape, taking pleasure in living in this fake musical reality. !llmatic released it saying, “I had so much fun creating this stuff, and I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do,” and I do. I really, really do.
For those of you like me that still believing in “owning” your music files, you can download the mixtape for free here
- The Dig – Tired Hearts EP
Sometimes, the hardest part of writing about music all the time is that when there’s a band you really, really love, it’s hard to get anyone to listen, as they’ve been desensitized to your hype like a Pitchforkian version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. But I know that there are some bands (Tiny Victories, Mesita, Yellow Ostrich, etc) that if I had the world’s largest bullhorn, I would scream about from the top of my lungs to get people to listen to them.
So when Chis Naoum of Listen Local First continued to post about The Dig’s new EP, Tired Hearts, and their album-release party, I knew there was something special about these guys. It turns out this praise didn’t have anything to do with LLF either, but instead they’re a group that he knew from his days in NY back when they were, to quote him, “a total startup.”
I unfortunately missed their EP-release party due to The National blowing me away at Merriweather*, but Chris tells me that “they fucking rocked it [and] put on one of the more excited live shows [he has] seen.” That’s a bold claim from a guy that I see at almost every show I end up going to, so I made sure to give Tired Hearts a good listen, and I immediately regretted that I didn’t have some sort of device that allows me to be in two places at once like Hermoine in Prisoner of Azkaban.
The EP is an eclectic mix of solid alternative/indie rock that flirts with everything from folk to blues to dance-rock to psychedelia. My personal favorite track is the In Rainbows-sounding “Over You Again”, but the trudging, bluesy “Permanent Night” gives it a run for its money. As a whole, it’s definitely worth checking out, and I completely understand why Chris feels the need to promote this band as hard he did.
Hopefully they’ll be back in town sometime soon so we can see just what kind of magic they’ve got for us live.
*Side-Rant/Life-Advice: I signed up for 9:30 Club’s Friend With Benefits program when they launched it, but I had kind of forgotten about it until a few days before the show when I received a random email thanking me for being a FWB with a VIP pass and +1 for The National’s show. My decent seats immediately became great seats (plus some drink deals); all for free 99. I highly suggest everyone do this. Besides this one girl in college who lived next door to me, it’s the best Friends With Benefits situation I’ve ever been a part of.