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).
- Typhoon – “Hunger and Thirst”
Before I actually start talking about “Hunger and Thirst,” I want to break the fourth wall a bit (even more than I usually do).
There is literally nothing I love more than talking about a band I like with someone who enjoys that band equally. It always feels like I’ve found a slightly kindred soul, and it’s one of the best feelings ever. Conversely, there is nothing shittier than when someone asks me about a band that I have to admit I have never heard of only to hear, “Are you fucking kidding me? How is that even possible? They have like four records and have been around forever!”
It is possible because there are millions of songs out there in the world and only a precious few waking hours in the day. Right now, 99.9 percent of the world doesn’t know about some fantastic garage-rock band from Prague, but that’s life (I would love for a garage-rock band from Prague to make it big in the next year and make me look like a genius).
However, to counter this issue, I am going to tackle it head-on and attempt to “discover” some bands that have been around but have slipped past my admittedly shitty radar. I want to ease into this before taking on some of the “legendary” bands that I know I need to invest some time in (Wilco, Fleet Foxes, Belle and Sebastian, Massive Attack, The Antlers are all on the to-do list), so this week, I started taking on the Portland-based and cult-followed Typhoon, beginning with “Hunger and Thirst,” a song off their recently released album White Tiger and named for their 2010, apparently awesome, LP, and a track my friend Neil specifically suggested. So without further ado, I present the first edition of Tunes Bryce Should Have Fucking Known:
A slight confession: I heard “Hunger and Thirst,” for the first time while sitting on my neatly-made bed around midnight, my bedroom screen-door open to let in the newly-cool September air and a wave of thorough contentment washing over me.
I also happened to be completely and utterly stoned.
So while I don’t know if the combination of a great day and good weed would have made any random song I happened to put on feel so monumentally fantastic, I do know that for those almost 5 1/2 minutes, I was blown the fuck away. I couldn’t believe I had ever let this band pass me by. Where were my friends who should have sat me down, buckled my seat belt, and let me listen to it in the surround sound of their car speakers?
My high self made the note that it, “felt like a literal typhoon of noise,” which is both incredibly dumb and aptly perceptive. Each layer of sound builds from the previous one, whether it be the intro hypnotic horn wail being paired with the strings or the drums that eventually assert themselves into shaking the whole song into a steady groove. In fact, with such enjoyable instrumentation already in place, I assumed the song was going to be entirely instrumental, so those unexpectedly-emotional vocals hit me especially hard.
Lead-singer Kyle Morton’s voice is so unique that I began to briefly wonder what it sounded like over the groups’ other songs, but the track’s grippingly impressive instrumentation brought me back to the moment almost instantaneously. The flamboyant arrangement and increasingly intense vocals then swelled to such a quick fury that its bluesy dissipation was a bit disorienting at first listen, and that’s before the fairy female vocals were sprinkled in, making the song feel incredibly delicate, if for just a few moments*. But in near-Sufjan fashion, that second swell arises out of almost nowhere to create an even more epic wall of sound than before, leaving me pretty dumbfounded by the song’s end (Somewhere, Jimmy Rhodes of Black Clouds is drooling while listening to the final drum outro).
Suffice to say, that first listen was enough to have me pirate, I mean completely legally, procure their entire discography, which I have been burning through ever since.
I will 100% be checking them out when their tour stops at Rock and Roll Hotel on October 2nd and wholeheartedly suggest you do the same, high or not.
* Yes, this was a carryover from the notes of Stoned Bryce
- Twin Shadow – “Old Love/New Love”
I have to admit that I only occasionally dabble with George Lewis Jr., aka Twin Shadow. I appreciate the new wave/R&B hybrid he’s mastered, and I think he made a real leap from 2010’s Forget to 2012’s Confess, but it’s not often that I find myself overwhelmed with the urge to hear his stuff unless he’s playing it live at Black Cat. At least, that had been the case until ATG Editor Zack Friendly showed me “Old Love/New Love.” Interestingly though, the track, which has been on repeat for me since Zack let me know about it, isn’t on an upcoming Twin Shadow album, but instead it lives on the Grand Theft Auto V soundtrack that is getting almost as much press as the video game itself.
It’s been confirmed that Flying Lotus, Pam Grier, Bootsy Collins, and even Kenny Freaking Loggins will host radio stations in the game, which will contain 240 licensed songs and, according to the game’s soundtrack supervisor Ivan Pavlovich, “somewhere in the proximity of 20 movies worth of score” courtesy of Tangerine Dream, The Alchemist and Oh No, and Woody Jackson. With an apparently ridiculously expansive world for the user to discover in GTA V, one has to appreciate that they took the time to make the auditory experience just as expansive.
“Old Love/New Love,” like Wavves’ “Nine Is God,” was created specifically for the soundtrack, and it’s a pretty nifty bit of electro-soul. His signature basement-deep bass lines are buoyed by a bright piano riff, enticing “oooh’s,” and a toe-tapping drumbeat that The Knocks are probably itching to remix. However, it doesn’t settle for just being a great dance song, as its a cappella breakdown and ending bring such emotional gravitas to the whole track that it makes hitting the replay button an inescapable inevitability. I think I’m on listen number 17 as we speak, and after talking to some friends, I know I’m not the only one infected by this earworm. After “Old Love/New Love”, Twin Shadow may be seeing more iTunes play-count love than I ever thought I’d give him.
PS: Rockstar Games has always had great taste with this franchises’ soundtrack, and you can find them all on Spotify. Have fun getting lost in that bin of great music, and may I suggest checking out Toto’s underrated “Hold The Line” from San Andreas’ K-DST radio station?
- Twin Forks – “Cross My Mind”
The other day, my friend told me he had just seen “The Butler,” and because I’m polite, I asked him how it was. He said he enjoyed it, but that it was hard to see Oprah as anyone other than “Oprah playing a character in a movie,” even though she did a great job acting in it. I thought that was a pretty interesting takeaway, and it got me thinking about the Too Oprah To Not Be Oprah Club (people that are too innately recognized by their real identity to be seen as anything but) and who would be in it (i.e. Lindsay Lohan, Michael Jordan, etc).
I bring this up because as you’re reading this, you’re probably just now recognizing the voice behind Twin Forks or remembering whose face that is singing in the music video. Right as you get to generically-catchy folk song’s chorus, it’s just hitting you.
Yes. That is Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional fame.
Twin Forks is his newest project and they plan to release their self-titled EP September 17th. Now, the song itself is fine. I could easily hear it on the radio in the same slot where Mumford or The Lumineers might be played. It’s cute, it’s unassuming, and it’s harmless. But it will always be “the song by the guy from Dashboard’s new band.” Optimistically, it might be an advantage, as there are plenty of 20-somethings out there that probably remember singing their emo hearts out at Dashboard concerts like I will admit to doing, but it might also be a huge hurdle in terms of the band’s legitimacy, whether that be fair or not.
I mean, Carrabba’s take on emo, especially in his later years definitely incorporated more folk-esque arrangements, and the hard-to-find/I-hate-myself-for-knowing-Dashboard-so-well-that-I-know-this song, “Tonight I’ll Take What I Can Get,” which was released at least 10 years ago, could easily be the skeleton to any of the neo-folk songs out right now. Say what you want about Carrabba and his brand of acoustic emo, but the man knows how to write a song.
So yes, I will always have a soft spot in my teenage emo heart for Chris, and while I can’t say I’ll be listening to this song more than the three to four times I did while writing this, I do hope that some people feel nostalgic for his nice-guy vocals and jubilant melodies and/or he’s able to capture a new era of teenage fans with this new project. I mean, Hands Down, some of his songs were So Beautiful that I can still taste The Sharp Hint Of New Tears that almost Went Unnoticed Again*.
*I know I forced that last one, but come on, how often are you going to see four Dashboard Confessional puns squeezed into one sentence on BYT?
And now, it’s time for a very special edition of…
THE GUEST WRITER YOU SHOULD FUCKING KNOW: Jay Nemeyer Edition
Editor’s Note: Jay Nemeyer is best known as the lead singer and songwriter for the DC-based band The Silver Liners, but he’s also a pretty face, a huge fan of wearing blazers onstage, and a pretty stellar basketball player.
- Sleigh Bells – “You Don’t Get Me Twice”
Sleigh Bells is a band that truly has a “signature sound” (aggressive guitars, distorted drums, pristine female voice, etc); it is a sound that, if you looked at the individual components and past history, you wouldn’t necessarily think would fit. Derek Miller played in a trash metal band before teaming up with Alexis Krauss; Alexis has a background in TV and theater, was part of a teen pop group signed to a major label at one point, and was apparently pursuing a Rhodes Scholarship during the time that Sleigh Bells started to take off. But, it works.
In the Pitchfork-pushed, electro-pop world that indie rock is increasingly becoming associated with, Sleigh Bells provides a swift kick in the ass. Full disclosure – I am a big fan of bands like CHVCHES, and MNDR – but it seems as though the music blogosphere has become flooded with the same synths, drum racks, reverb-drenched vocals, and 808 drops. Nothing wrong with it, but there is a lot of monotony – sometimes listening to a band like Sleigh Bells is like a breath of fresh air.
This week, they released a new track entitled “You Don’t Get Me Twice” — there’s electric guitars, acoustic guitars, hip hop production, thunder claps, vocal harmonies, and what appears to be restraint to go all “arena rock” on us like they did for most of “Reign of Terror.” The main guitar riff during the verses is reminiscent of one of my favorite Sleigh Bells track, “Infinity Guitars.” Alexis Krauss sounds great as always. Derek Miller slays. If that sounds appealing, I’d encourage you to check out their new tune, and definitely try to see them live.
Sleigh Bells released their debut album (“Treats”) in May of 2010 [Editor’s Note: This album is awesome] , and their second album (“Reign of Terror”) in February of 2012 [Editor’s Note: This album is terrible], and they’re slated to release their third album, “Bitter Rivals”, on October 8 [Editor’s note: I think they realized “Reign of Terror” was a misfire and are itching for a re-do, so I’m going to give it a chance].
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.