Bryce Rudow is a contributing writer for All Things Go
Overloaded by all the “new music” options you keep hearing about? We’re here to help. Here’s four songs we think you should fucking know (this week). Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments too.
- Ofei – “London”
I want to give credit where credit is due on this one. All Things Go editor Zack Friendly posted this song today, while admitting one of the more shallow, but satisfying, guilty pleasures of music writing: there is no better feeling than finding a really, really great song that no one else has heard of. Around after maybe the third listen, when you have that gut instinct that this is going to be one of those songs people not just like, but love, you can’t help but have a shit-eating grin on your face as you share it with your friends. Zack gets to own that feeling with this song, and I can’t take that away from him.
The intimately raw start to “London” is almost startlingly captivating. It’s one of those songs that you immediately recognize as something special. When the nostalgic, soul-fueled introduction is complimented with that haunting-but-harsh autotuned vocal track, that “song I not just like, but love” gut feeling starts surfacing. Finally, the launch of the jazz-hop drums into the song is that unexpected, but perfect addition, that confirms it.
As Zach pointed out, there isn’t much known about Ofei and even after I did my best attempt at Google stalking, all I could find out is that he doesn’t own a phone, is quoted by We Are S.M.E. as spouting a bunch of cryptic gibberish , and he has an upcoming EP release that will be announced via his website which has a few snippets of other songs very much worth listening to.
Also, can we talk about that video sometime?
- Kendrick Lamar – “The Heart Pt. 3 (Will You Let Me Die)”
I first heard of Kendrick Lamar when D.C. future-guru Modele Oyewole pulled off the improbable and had the emerging artist sell out the 9:30 Club last September. Since then, it has been amazing watching the Compton-born Lamar skyrocket to near-messiah status. Now that good kid, m.A.A.d city has dropped and been proclaimed an instant classic (with exception to all the inevitable backlash attached to an album with universal acclaim), it makes the song “The Heart Pt. 3”, a non-album track recorded and released only a few days before the record drop, such a great introspection into the psyche of Kendrick Lamar at that moment.
It starts off with Kendrick recognizing that he has already been dubbed the next Tupac and that that title comes with very high expectations. However, recognition aside, the song is a journey though his own personal hip-hop scrapbook, citing the days of listening to DMX’s It’s Dark and Hell is Hot or pretending to be “Jay and Dame” in his garage. Having seen where South Central’s favorite son has come from, and knowing where he’s most likely going to end up, it’s a powerful admission to then hear his biggest fear “is not feeling accomplished.”
This latest entry in a series of songs that dates back to 2012 does a great job capturing the honest mix of anxiety and excitement that I’m sure was swilling around inside Kendrick as he awaited his album release. Now that the band-aid has been ripped off and the positive reviews are flooding in, I hope he’s breathing a sigh of relief and knowing that, for now, his biggest fears have been averted.
- Metz – “Wet Blanket”
Back in late middle school/early high school, I loved to think I had a huge punk streak in me. In reality, I was a lanky 15 year old wearing a coat and tie to school. I did, however, make myself stumble upon some great punk music that’s still reflected in some of my music taste today. Metz, the buzz-band in the making, has definitely tapped that vein with their eponymous EP. Having just been heralded as one of the top acts of CMJ last weekend, I think it’s safe to say that Metz will start being lumped in with bands like Japandroids as a talented group who have found a way to capture a vintage feel with a modern sound.
The Toronto trio’s songs seem to live for the musical eruptions of energy that punk is all about. The thunderous drums and the buzzing screech of a guitar run wild, but the songs themselves are tightly crafted, giving a professional yet authentic feel to them. “Wet Blanket” is a perfect example of this somehow-polished chaos, and their 29 minute self-titled album, is a must-listen. Expect to start hearing the name Metz a lot more soon.
- P.O.S. – “How We Land”
A few weeks ago, I posted “Bumper”, my first encounter with Minneapolis-native P.O.S. and the first song off his incredible album that dropped this week, We Don’t Even Live Here. It’s a step above his previous releases in terms of the song writing as well as the production, with the infamous Andrew Dawson contributing his resume and talents. “How We Land” is the song his marketing team is quick to announce includes Justin Vernon (you know…from Bon Iver…who everyone loves…and gives immediate cred to any project he’s a part of…). However, while Justin shouldn’t go unappreciated, it’s the complex wordplay delivered so casually that I find myself really enjoying about this song.
While I could write a few hundred words more about why I think this album is a breakthrough for the genre, the reason I felt compelled to repost about P.O.S. is because he, Stef Alexander, recently had to cancel his national tour (including a stopover at Rock and Roll Hotel in a few weeks) because he needs a kidney transplant (I know, I was surprised when I first read that to). A Paypal account has been set up where you can donate to Stef, which can be found here. Let’s get this guy healthy so he can get back to perform here sometime soon.
- Misun – “Coffee”
I love discovering a good new band and then finding out that their D.C. natives. Self-described “aqua pop”/”aqua wave”/”emo-pop” group Misun is comrpsied of Misun Wojcik, William DeVon and Nouveau Riche’s own Nacey, who come together to craft diverse, but catchy pop jams that while perfect for summer, feel just as good as the soundtrack for a sunny fall day. “Coffee”, especially, has been one of my “I’m walking to work and only sort of awake” jams with it’s raspy vocal track and invigoratingly chill instrumentation.