Probably a redundant post on my end, as I keep talking up the new Shame record. Perhaps there just isn’t too much on the heavier side of things that I’ve been able to get into this year (Idles sounds like a shitty Hot Snakes/TxisR). So here comes Shame, building in the song with this anxious post-rock for the first minute before the vocals enter the fray; they stick to their own formula in bits, though the release here is tamped down on its first entry, and honestly, an afterthought for me. What I do love is the melodic venture the song takes around the 3 minute mark, almost charming listeners before starting to sputter into discord and noise. I am interested to know why a lot of the band’s videos feature the lot in motorized vehicles, but save that for another time. Check out “Snow Day,” an homage to the 2000 hit movie! Drunk Tank Pink drops the day before my birthday (1/15) on Dead Oceans.
The moment we’ve all been expecting has come to be; Shame, today, announce their brand new LP, Drunk Tank Pink. There have been hints that something was in the air since the release of Songs of Praise…but I’m actually referring to the musical style they’re brandishing on their latest batch of singles. They seem to have discarded the formulaic call and response post-punk that’s become quite the fad, instead favoring a more elaborate approach, often slowing things down to let notes ring out and build that internal tension for the listener. There’s still a solid release, but there’s time to reflect, rather than just be bashed over the head by blunt rock. Drunk Tank Pink will be released the day before my birthday on January 15th via Dead Oceans.
I think every time I hear one of the new Bright Eyes song, I immediately try to rush through his catalogue in my brain to classify what era it seems to fit into best. This latest single seems like a clash between Digital Ash and Fever and Mirrors. It employs that sampled beat at the beginning, building in the nod to Digital Ash, but the vocal tones seem to have that fragility in its warble that made Conor’s voice so distinctive. Of course, the song is spun anew with excellent string arrangements, all for our benefit. I was on the fence, but the more I hear, the more I’m jumping back in that Bright Eyes pool. The new record will be out later this year via Dead Oceans.
It looks and sounds like Bleached are heading for pop stardom, well, if we could transport them back to the late 70s. Today they announce Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough, and the first single has this super retro vibe to its correlating video, all the way down to the hair blowing in the wind. The PR for this references the Damned and Paramore, which definitely fits with the pop vibe of this tune, but I can’t help but to think of a solid Blondie comparison throughout this number; it’s like they’re blending those parallel lines between punk and pop, and doing so perfectly. Dead Oceans will release the new effort on July 12th.
Way back in September I urged everyone to keep an eye on Durand Jones and the Indications as they swept into Austin for ACL. I followed that up by supporting the next single, and now here I am, sharing the album’s opening track. I actually spent yesterday afternoon with my daughter spinning around the living room listening to this tune; it has this natural vibe that makes you want to move your body. It features this bounding piano, with horns that add this subtle melody and the soloing guitar gives just a bit of a punch to the track. But, that doesn’t even go in to consider the message from Durand, which seems to paint a bleak picture of America as it stands. Look for American Love Call on March 1st via Dead Oceans/Colemine Records.
This year’s ACL featured Durand Jones and the Indications; I tried to hype it up as much as I could…though I still feel like folks missed out. Luckily, one of the tracks they played live, featuring drummer Aaron Frazer on lead vocals, is making it onto their next album, American Love Call. This single’s blown up really quickly, so odds are everyone will be on Durand and the band; I think those of you who like the classic R&B sounds will love this more than any other modern act spinning a similar style. Frazer and Jones play off each other so well in this track that its hard not to be taken aback. You can grab the LP next March via Dead Oceans/Colemine.
As this new album from A Place to Bury Strangers begins to take shape before the Interwebs, I’m starting to really be drawn into the goings-on. This track opens up with an emphatic drum march and discordant chords swirling about. Vocals enter in a spoken fashion, with a more prominent role for Lia Simone quite noticeable. The trio let loose on the noise too, but in a much more controlled fashion than we’ve previously heard from the band; it leaves you to focus on the band’s message in this track: “there’s only one of US.” Pinned definitely feels like its that proverbial onion with layers waiting to be peeled; it drops via Dead Oceans on April 13th. They’ll also be part of this year’s SXSW festival…playing near 100 times.
I’ve always been a casual fan of A Place to Bury Strangers; I’ve loved some singles, but never felt truly convinced by the fan. That might change if their new single is any indicator of what’s in store on the group’s fifth album, Pinned. They’ve always had a nod to industrial vibes in their craft, but this round, that comes out in a more ominous way; it’s almost like the group are gasping for their last breath as the central guitar groove drives home the minimalistic percussive element. It’s a striking number, surprising in the limited instrumentation…a sign that this new LP could be something special; look for its release on April 13th via Dead Oceans.
A friend, knowing my affinity for old school soul and R&B, sent me this new Durand Jones tune from his forthcoming self-titled LP with his band the Indications. It’ll only take a few seconds for you to realize the pipes on Jones mean business; think Leon Bridges but with more range. But, while the voice is a powerful instrument, the musicianship has to be present in order to really knock it out of the park; you won’t need to look much further than the first few minutes to see how solid the rhythm section is with these guys. Durand Jones & the Indications will be released by Dead Oceans/Colemine Records on March 16th, with pre-orders offering up a bonus 7″.
For the 8 or so people who read this blog on the regular, you’ll likely be aware of my affection for all things Oceanic, primarily New Zealand and Australia. So, with year end lists in mind, I thought I’d offer up my personal takes on the best tunes to come out of the area in 2017. There’s no particular order, just my sixteen favorites of the year.
There’s even a fun little playlist at the bottom for you to enjoy!