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.
- Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”
I’m fairly certain The Knife’s Silent Shout is the musical bible when it coms to any rising Swedish pop outfit, and up-and-comer Kate Boy is no exception. However, while I had to force repeated listens of Silent Shout onto myself so that I “got it” (and I get it), Kate Boy and their debut single, “Northern Lights”, are immediately approachable. The electro-pop group has found a niche in between the overt catchiness of Icona Pop and the appealing weirdness of Purity Ring to put together a song that is a few short weeks away from inevitably invading either your radio or your favorite mobile phone commercial.
The video, directed by Sikow and animator Oskar Gullstrand is as bizarrely hypnotizing as the song, with near-humans molding into shapes and blending with rich ambient colors. It helps enhance the grandiose aura that the song relays, with its assertive “Everything we touch turns to gold; never, ever let go” chorus fading away into a stark pop outro.
- Flight Facilities featuring Christine Hoberg – “Clair De Lune”
Whenever I write about a song, I always try to link to a music video when possible. It’s an easy way to share a song with my esteemed editor Logan, and it usually gives a face to the name/voice I’m talking about. However, even I am guilty of clicking on the Play button and then going to another window to read whatever list Buzzfeed has tricked me into scrolling through that day. For this song, though, I beg of you. Watch the video. Watch it. Don’t listen to the song first and keep the tab open and tell yourself you’re going to come back to it later once you click HuffPo’s Twitter post on the difference between sweet potatoes and yams (Answer: apparently a lot, and what we call yams aren’t really yams). Just take an 8 minute break and listen to this song while watching this video.
Flight Facilities caught my attention a while back with their breakout single “Crave You,” a sexy, percussive seduction of a song featuring Giselle Rosalie. I enjoyed the song for what it was, but never thought that the Australian production duo had the kind of artistic merit displayed in “Clair De Lune”. The luscious dance-pop is replaced with a haunting back-looped synth that lays the foundation for a heavy, cyclical lullaby whose occasional skitters shake up beautifully. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a wonderful music video that celebrates the highs and lows of caring about nothing and everything at the same time.
- You Won’t – “Who Knew”
If the Flight Facilities video was a little too heavy for you, the cure is the video for “Who Knew” by You Won’t. In a world where The New York Times has to remind us how to live without irony because we’re all such jaded assholes, simplistic honesty really stands out. “Who Knew” (and its charming video) strips away pretense and successfully goes for unabashed sweetness.
My friend Sarah just recently turned me onto the Cambridge duo’s quirky brand of folk-pop, but I think this unpretentious love song sits near “First Day of My Life” in terms of heartwarming sincerity being delivered eloquently. A ukulele accordion, and very muted drumbeat are all they need to craft a simple but powerful song. Their debut album, Saying Goodbye, was released in February and well worth the $10 I paid last week to download it from their Bandcamp page.
While they have been touring with Pearl and the Beard recently, they are mysteriously not on the bill for Pearl and the Beard’s Rock and Roll Hotel stop November 29th, which kind of sucks. Until they decide to come back here, enjoy the music video which perfectly captures the folksy naiveté of the song well, in a Cambridge’d tongue-in-cheek way.
- Big Boi featuring A$AP Rocky and Phantogram – “Lines”
While it’s unfortunate to hear that the Big Boi/Andre 3000 relationship is so frayed that Andre3K is choosing finely-trimmed facial hair over collaborations with his former partner, Big Boi has certainly found some impressive replacements for his new single, “Lines”, in A$AP Rocky and Phantogram’s Sarah Barthel. The upcoming album it’s on, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, also boasts guest spots that range from T.I. to Little Dragon.
The funky track finds a nice way to balance the skittery breakbeat with Phantogram’s signature psych-pop style. A$AP delivers a mediocre-but-acceptable first verse, Big Boi contributes a better-than-average verse, and Barthel’s chorus helps elevate the song, but it’s really the production of the track, with it’s evolving tones, that makes this so enjoyable.
Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is scheduled for a December 11th release, but it’s been pushed back a few times before so don’t get your hopes up just yet.
- Jamie Lidell – “What A Shame”
Englishman Jamie Lidell currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee. I think that’s a relevant fact when trying to encapsulate what his musical style is. The southern soul that he mixes with an English penchant for well-layered musical production can sometimes be hard to describe. Try comparing a song that has him wailing over beat-boxed samples and loops with one in which he whispers introspections over the chillest of chillwave.
With “What A Shame”, the first single from his self-titled follow up to Compass, Lidell chooses to go big this time in terms of sonic power. The thunderous bass almost seems like it’s physically pushing along the disjointed, but skillfully layered vocal and synth melodies that fall on top of each other, creating a mountainous crescendo of a climax for the song.
Good soul is hard to find, and I’m hoping that “What A Shame” is just a sign of things to come in terms of the upcoming album, which will be released February 18th.