Bryce Rudow likes music. You can send all hatemail to [email protected] and tweet vitriol at him @btr0218 (or follow him to make him feel more popular while getting access to random new music he doesn’t have the time to write about).
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).
Hi guys and galls! One quick housekeeping thing…
BYT contributor Farrah Skeiky works with an organization called Skateistan that is having a benefit concert Saturday night that I feel obliged to plug for multiple reasons. It’s featuring local acts like Beyond Modern and Uno Hype and helps a pretty rad organization. You can learn more about the benefit show and get tickets here, but essentially Skateistan began as a Kabul-based Afghan NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) and is now an International non-profit charity providing skateboarding and educational programming in Afghanistan and Cambodia. It’s non-political, independent, and inclusive of all ethnicities, religions and social backgrounds and a pretty worthy cause to shell out $10 for in order to see some good local music.
So now that we’re all feeling karmically positive, on to the music…
- Postiljonen (who don’t believe in embeddable Soundcloud links) – Skyer
I have a really sexist, generalizing theory that I’m only sharing with you because I think it’s the only way I can explain my feelings on dreampop: For the most part, I don’t find the average goth/hardcore girl attractive, but when I do come across a conventionally pretty girl that happens to be of the goth persuasion, it makes them infinitely more attractive to me.
By its baseline “alternative” definitions, goths are meant to be a bit jarring to normalized standards of beauty, and based off purely anecdotal evidence, I can say that most goths don’t do it for me. However, I know I’m not alone in thinking that when already “conventionally” attractive girls don themselves in tattoos and piercings and heavy makeup, there’s just something about it that is really hot; the popularity of “alternative” pornography sites like Suicide Girls proves that. But it’s just rare to come across that diamond in the gothic rough…
And I think of dreampop the same way.
By its genre’s standards, it’s fairly limited in scope in terms of what it can be sonically before it’s not dreampop anymore; it can’t get too raucous, but it can’t slip into shoegaze either. But when a group takes the same dreampop toolkit that everyone else is playing with and makes something really beautiful with it, it’s infinitely that much more appealing to me. It’s really easy to make generic listenable dreampop, but it’s hard to make it great. So even when it sounds a little too similar to M83 at times, which Postiljonen is somewhat guilty of during parts of their album Skyer, it’s absolutely pleasant to hear and sticks out like a hot goth at a rock show.
Fortunately, Postiljonen aren’t afraid to be a bit varied in terms of what style of dreampop they dabble with, fluctuating between the syrupy lush “We Raise Our Hearts” to the subdued disco lullaby “Plastic Panorama” to the sweeping, saxalicious “Atlantis” (a personal favorite and a mortal lock for my college roommate Patrick’s ongoing “Let’s Get Saxy” playlist which aggregates all the sexiest saxophone lines in music).
Unsurprisingly, this album of well-written pop comes from three Swedes, the land of beautiful people making beautiful music (check their Instagram for proof; singer Mia Brox Bøe has me reeling and both Daniel Sjörs and Joel Nyström Holm look like guys that could steal my girlfriend and leave me nodding understandingly). It was only released a few weeks ago, but I see it picking up some serious traction soon, which will hopefully lead to them touring outside of Europe and draping their hot-gothic-girl dreampop over Black Cat or U Hall’s dancefloor. Fingers crossed…
- Superfood – “Superfood”
I’m officially all in on the Birmingham scene. While researching my blurb about the Pixies-esque Dumb who hail from the middle-of-England city, I stumbled across the one single released from fellow Birminghammers Superfood.
That single, also named “Superfood,” is a testament to the emerging ’90s sound that I already patted myself on the back for calling at the beginning of the year. It makes me nostalgic for Blur, The Eels, and even El Scorcho-era Weezer. It’s hooky Brit-pop that is both grungy and fun, and honestly I just really fucking enjoy listening to it. Its quirkiness is part of its charm, but it’s its pop backbone keeps it feeling ultimately pleasant throughout.
They’ll be on a UK tour supporting the uber-talented Peace, who themselves are a Tunes You Should Fucking Know alum, for the near-future, but with this kind of buzz, a trending B-Town scene, and a live show that is apparently not to be missed, I expect and hope to hear a lot more from them soon.
- Wolf Alice – “She”
I don’t know who Wolf Alice are anymore, but I’m okay with that.
When I first wrote about them last February, it was for their soft-spoken, heartbreaking song “White Leather,” but I mentioned that their previous material was all over the place, from funk to grunge to psychadelia to straight up rock (some highlights include “Fluffy,” “Leaving You,” and the unlinkable “Destroy Me”).
Since then, they’ve released the jaunting “Bros” and its dreamy B-side “Every Cloud,” which did nothing to help codify their sound but continued to suck me in as a fan. And now, with “She” they’re throwing me for a loop again.
Simply put, “She” rocks.
It’s fierce and channeling a hybrid of Heart and Yeah Yeah Yeahs with its strong female vocals over one badass guitar riff. It’s both sultry and aggressive, and in the second verse, lead-singer Ellie Rowsell finds as much swagger as old-school Gwen Stefani used to pull off (God I miss No Doubt’s potential. Stefani is the So-Cal Penny Hardaway).
And while this song shreds, and it definitely does, it’s the cooing breakdown’s eventual shattering that really makes for the one great, truly memorable rock and roll moment in this song. I’m man enough to admit I jump a bit every time that shriek bursts in just as I’m getting lulled into vulnerability, and it’s an adrenaline rush every time. Moments like that which have me vocally cheering for not only Wolf Alice’s past, but their future as well.
This most certainly includes their debut EP Blush which “She” is the first single off of and which will be released October 7th. I’ll be curious to see if having to force a few songs on the same record will bring some sort of clarity to Wolf Alice’s true sound, but either way, I’m too busy enjoying everything they’re putting out to really care.
And now, it’s time for an actually special edition of…
THE GUEST WRITER YOU SHOULD FUCKING KNOW: Doug Walters Edition
Editor’s Note: Until 24 hours before this article was due, Doug didn’t know he was going to be a guest writer, but after a confusing Sunday night and Monday morning in which I tried to digest all the post-VMAs blowback, it was Doug’s status on Facebook which really resonated me. As a devourer of news both important and not, I feel like I’ve seen the gamut of responses towards the VMA’s and specifically Miley Cyrus. I get why some people want to draw attention to the “slut-shaming” and racial problems with her performance, and I get why some people are mad we’re even having these discussions when there are much better debates going on (like what the fuck are we going to do with Syria), but the truth of the matter is that Miley’s performance was a significant moment in pop-culture (which is exactly what she wanted).
It resonated (poorly) with a lot of people for a variety of reasons, but throughout all of the responses, the underlying feelings behind them weren’t doused in anger or hazed with confusion, they were soaked in disappointment. They were your parents telling you they weren’t mad, they were just disappointed. They were people feeling old compared to today’s youth, out of touch with what society should consider acceptable, and resigned to their own beliefs in what the bare minimum of humanity should be. And those reactions, much like my own, deserve the right to be shared. So I’m going to just copy and paste Greg’s spur of the moment feelings because I think they get at what we we’re all feeling:
“miley cyrus at the VMAs…. I must be getting old to feel this disturbed by pop culture. I feel conservative. Thinking thoughts like, ‘no wonder nobody knows how to behave like rational kind reliable people. there is no social framework. there are no rules. we are a bunch of insane mutants. everything is blind self-indulgent over-sexed chaos. the primates have broken out of the zoo and they are running amok – humping, and texting, and believing their own excuses.’
This message is brought to you by General and Profound Disappointment in People, Crippling Relativism, and Confusion.
-grumpy grandpa doug.”
Kind of hits home, right?
Anyway, speaking of Doug, he is one of the bookers for a new venue called The Lot at Union Kitchen, which is featuring FREE open-air concerts every Saturday from 5-10om and $5 beer, wine, and food from 50ish businesses that operate out of Union Kitchen. This weekend they have local darlings Brett playing, and it looks like they have a pretty solid lineup coming up, so enjoy the beer garden meets bazaar meets concert-in-the-park venue. Learn more about it here and be thankful Doug was feeling crotchety enough to rant on Facebook so that I felt extra compelled to plug The Lot in order to use his words without my journalistic guilt doing somersaults.
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 Know.