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).
- ACME – “Around The World”
I could probably write another 3,000 words on this uber talented up-and-coming group out of D.C., but it’s a lot easier for me to let you know I interviewed them last week in the BYT office after hours and you’ll definitely want to read it tomorrow morning. I can honestly say it was one of the most fun, rewarding experiences of my short music journalism career, and I see nothing but great things for Che and Josh. Even if you’re feeling lazy and/or illiterate and want to skip over my fawning over them, check out their amazing EP released last week, Synths, Beats & Psychedelia. You’ll be glad you did.
- King Krule – “Easy Easy”
Way back in September of last year, I wrote about a song called “Rock Bottom” by an unassuming kid named Archie Manning who went by the name King Krule. The 18 year old looks like he could have been a member of the Weasley family but sounds like what I described as “Joe Strummer-meets-The Kooks” (with, in hindsight, some Morrissey thrown in there too) and has been on a tear since, having been nominated just a few months after that article for the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll and now ready to release his debut album.
It’s going to be called Six Feet Beneath The Moon and will be released August 24th. If the first single, “Easy Easy,” is any indication of what we can look forward to, I’ll be nabbing this album the day it’s released (or whenever it leaks to poaching writers like me).
I’m not going to lie, after falling in love with songs like “Rock Bottom” and “Noose of Jah City,” I was really disappointed in his team-up with Mount Kimbie, another one of my favorite groups, that was recently released. The beat was relatively aimless and without his unique guitar sound, Manning felt awkward and flat to me. It had me a little worried that the easy manipulation that comes with being that young had skewed his path away from where I would like to see him.
But all of those doubts dissipated when I heard “Easy Easy.” The album was produced by Manning himself, but he had assistance from the xx collaborator Rodaidh McDonald, which may explain the expansiveness that the song carries; the slight strings in the chorus are a perfect compliment to the gruff, expressive voice of Manning. His signature slow climaxes and abrupt stops are more relaxed, but his aggressively emotional angst seems less shackled than in his previous efforts. For someone so young, it’s amazing to hear how much he’s matured in such a short time.
This is a great first peek into what I’m guessing will be a breakthrough album for him. Just remember who told you about him almost a year ago. I’m going to go high-five myself in the mirror.
- The Gorgeous Colours – “Bright Ideas”
“Bright Ideas” is the best Gorgeous Colours song yet. For a band that already has one LP, one EP, and a few singles under their belt, that’s a pretty big claim. But it’s true. I’ll admit it was my first introduction to the Dublin band (thank you Sarah and happy birthday!), but after going through a crash course on all things Gorgeous Colours this week, I’m pretty confident in my statement.
Their eponymous debut, released almost five years ago, is a forgettable blend of stale pop-rock (with the exception of “Hunting Something” and possibly “We Are”); The follow up to that, The Creatures Down Here EP, is bookended by a strong opener in “Animal” and solid closer in “Cloakroom,” but like a cheap Easter chocolate bunny, it’s hollow on the inside (I have no idea why that is the first metaphor that popped into my head; just go with it).
Then, with the release of the single “It’s Ok To Be Normal,” they turned a corner. Everything was tighter and more complex. The melodies were stronger and the layers were better built. Stylistically, they seemed to have finally found their natural groove and lead singer Geoffrey McArdle sounded confidently comfortable; it was a settling of sorts into a sonic homeostasis.
Their next single, “Chopped Heart” was more light-hearted but benefited from the same sort of complex craftsmanship that was heard on “It’s Ok To Be Normal.” It turns what could have been a dry pop-rock song into a catchy but fulfilling tune.
And now we have “Bright Ideas”, which borrows elements from both songs but also implements a few new tricks the band had up their sleeve. It borrows a Frightened Rabbit guitar line to swing into what sounds like Justin Vernon meets Jack Johnson and somehow pulls it off. Originally, the Justin Vernon circa his DeYarmond Edison days jumped out at me, but the Jack Johnson tinge creeped up on me, especially towards the song’s end. And, surprisingly, that Jack Johnson-esque levity supports this song well by giving it a pleasantly solacing vibe that makes for easy re-listening.
So, there you go. Best song yet.
THE GUEST WRITER YOU SHOULD FUCKING KNOW: Alex Anderson edition
Alex is a writer for ATG, thinks fish are sweet, and sometimes walks around his office barefoot.
- The Octopus Project – “Sharp Teeth”
The first time I saw The Octopus Project live was in 2009 during Free Press Summer Fest in Houston, TX. I only caught the last few minutes of their set, but I was there long enough to get blown away. I already loved their noisey, experimental indie/electronic music laden with hooks and melodies, but knowing they put on a kick-ass live show was just icing on the cake.
The Austin, TX-based quartet have a penchant for making music that is beautifully weird, extremely fun, and somehow manages to settle into the depths of your brain and refuses to leave. Guitars, bass, keys, and drums are all traded during performances. However, there is one instrument that is not traded: the Theremin—an instrument that you play without actually touching it. I could try my best to explain how the thing works and confuse the shit out of you, but I’d rather let Yvonne Lambert demonstrate.
“Sharp Teeth,” one of the singles off of the band’s fifth LP dubbed Fever Forms (released yesterday on Peek-A-Boo Records), is not only just a great song that you should fucking know, it encapsulates all sorts of quirks from the band: the Theremin, Toto’s ferocious and playful drumming, their tendency to jam out and play around with the melody, the sweet vocals harmonizing in a way that catches your ear off guard, the serious yet care free tone, and so many other things that I would rather let you discover for yourself. BETTER YET, catch them in the flesh on August 14th at DC9.
If you/someone you know is up for the task of writing non-sequitered musical ramblings, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected], tell me I look pretty, and convince me why you should be a Guest Writer We Should Fucking Read.