New Music Mondays | 9.18.17

Happy Monday! Take a break from the Back 2 School Blues and listen to some of WRBB’s current faves.


‘Lift’ – Radiohead

There is an unspoken fear amongst Radiohead fans that the band is coming to its end, and while this is indeed a sad thought to have, it isn’t necessarily a negative one. Coming off of the critically acclaimed ‘A Moon Shaped Pool,’ Thom Yorke and Co. are silently doing some cleanup. Particularly, there is the thirst quenching re-release of ‘OK Computer,’ which comes with three previously unreleased tracks, each with its own new music video. This past week, the band released its video for the ‘new’ song ‘Lift’, a gorgeous and solemn ballad that plays as a coming of age / full circle movie credit song. The track may have been written more than a decade ago, but it sounds like Yorke is reflecting on his career and saying goodbye once again. Radiohead is one of the most unpredictable music groups this world has seen, and so nobody truly knows what may be coming next, but what we do know is what Thom tells us in ‘Lift’: ‘The fish are belly up / Empty all your pockets / Because it’s time to come home.'” – Christian Triunfo

 


‘The Last of the Real Ones’ – Fall Out Boy

“Fall Out Boy’s third release, ‘The Last of The Real Ones’, off their upcoming album MANIA (releasing January 19th) is a positive step forward for the band when they took quite a few steps back with the previous single release ‘Champion’. This new track has lyrics reminiscent of pre-hiatus Fall Out Boy with lines like ‘I wonder if your therapist knows everything about me’, while the sound compliments the band’s evolution. Although heavily produced in a way that takes away from the authenticity of the song, the presence of clever piano, emotive drumming, and signature vocals from Patrick Stump makes this new release a beacon of hope for the new album. Although repetitive at times, the song is one of the best releases since their return from hiatus so far. It is a good indicator that the album will have some weak points, but will be a cohesive album that the band has always wanted to release. The strength in the lyrics of the verses and bridges keeps the song from leaving too little of an effect. However, the song does sound very similar to so many other songs Fall Out Boy has released over the last few years, especially if you compare it to songs on Save Rock and Roll. Despite this, the song incites a sigh of relief, because Fall Out Boy has not disappointed with this one. Hopefully this is a good sign for the rest of the album.” – Jillian Fliedner

 


‘Season High’ – Avey Tare

“Avey Tare is best known for his work as one of the key players in the spectacular experimental pop group Animal Collective, a group that seamlessly blends everything from freak-folk, to harsh noise, to absolute pop bangers, and more. On July 21st of this year, he released his new solo record Eucalyptus on Domino Records. Avey begins this record by showing how well he manages to blend his haunting soft vocals with beautiful ambient textures, samples, and instrumentals through the song ‘Season High’. The song starts with distant radio static and voices, followed by melancholy piano which immediately catches the listener’s attention. The moment that his vocals kick in, followed by soft acoustic guitar playing, one is then launched into this beautifully spacey track. With vocals stacked on top of each other, the song slowly builds as more instrumental layers are added and the softness in the background grows louder and louder. However, just as quickly as it builds, it returns to the simple and beautiful combination of Tare’s vocals and soft ambience. Even before the rest of the record starts, Season High cements Eucalyptus as one of my favorite releases of 2017. Avey Tare is coming to the ONCE Ballroom in Somerville on his Eucalyptus tour on October 2nd and if you like what you hear, I can’t recommend checking him out enough.” – Jack Madden


‘Los Ageless’ – St. Vincent

With an intro resembling the sound of electricity powering up that progresses into thumping synths and a gritty guitar riff, ‘Los Ageless’ effectively throws the listener into the cruel, heartless city of Los Angeles— a place that remains allusive to artists of all disciplines, Annie Clark included. The sound is the complete opposite of her recently released single ‘New York,’ which serves as a longing ballad of her love of New York City (her home since the mid-2000s). It is clear which city Clark feels she belongs in; her vocals in ‘Los Ageless’ begin quietly and fill with paranoia as she sings that in the ageless city of LA, ‘the winter never comes,’ but she ‘can keep running’ as pages of ‘unwritten memoirs’ are being burned. As the chorus emerges, the tone of her voice increases from cautious to boldly questioning as she asks, ‘how can anyone have you?’ without also losing their mind. Even though St. Vincent is describing the city as a place filled with broken artists, she also questions ‘but how can I leave?’ For individuals living in Los Angeles, it is a place that is truly ageless (as the title of the song suggests), something about it keeps people there for what seems like eternity. With continuing layered synths, the complexity of the city is further revealed as Clark refers to herself in the bridge of the song as both a ‘monster,’ presumably full of power, but also a ‘scared cow,’ a feeling many artists have expressed living in LA—the opportunities are endless but it is a horrifyingly merciless place for those who do not achieve success. As soon as it appears the song to be winding down, Clark whispers a barely-audible last verse, defeated by Los Angeles, but still hopelessly in love and desperate for its approval. The song overall has more pop beats than heard in previous albums by St. Vincent, but she still makes it just funky enough to be a catchy alternative tune. Her new album, Masseducation, set to be released on October 13, should be filled with a range of emotions and varying sounds, from the calm ballad of ‘New York,’ to the hopeless terror and ’80s New Wave sound of ‘Los Ageless.’ Ultimately, there is no other female artist I’d love to take me on an emotional roller coaster with than St. Vincent.” – Kathryn Garcia


‘JUNKY’ – BROCKHAMPTON

“‘JUNKY’ is the third single off of fifteen-member rap collective BROCKHAMPTON’s second album, SATURATION II. The group met on a Kanye West fan forum and ended up moving to South Central Los Angeles together to make music. ‘JUNKY’ tells us how each member suffered before deciding to follow their dreams, a common topic for BROCKHAMPTON. On ‘JUNKY’, each member confronts their own inner demons and the problems they have with today’s society. Kevin Abstract kicks off the track with a killer verse where he answers the question, ‘Why do you always rap about being gay?’ Next, Ameer Vann discusses his trouble with drug addiction, Merlyn Wood talks about his own dreams compared to the dreams his family has for him, and Matt Champion raps about the lack of gender equality in today’s society. The track is wrapped up by Dom McLennon’s outro where he recommends moving away from the past that haunts us and following our inspiration. This ideal is one of the main tenets of BROCKHAMPTON. And besides the excellent, moving lyrics, ‘JUNKY’ is one hell of a banger. SATURATION II is out now, and the group has recently revealed that their third album of the year, SATURATION III, will be released before the end of 2017. Even if you are not a huge hip-hop fan, I highly recommend you give BROCKHAMPTON a listen because they are just that good.” – Grant Foskett


‘Memory of a Cut Off Head’ – OCS

“Prolific psych-rock band OCS (formerly known as Oh Sees/Thee Oh Sees), led by John Dwyer, has gone through a second name change this year in order to mark a rather dramatic transition to a new sound for their second album of 2017. The single was dropped just three days after the release of their latest album, Orc. Instead of continuing along their trend of fast-paced, boundary pushing noisy garage rock that was executed so well with Orc, Dwyer decided to pay a homage to the project’s earlier days as OCS (hence the name change) and go back to an acoustic folk-inspired sound with ‘Memory of a Cut Off Head.’ The title itself doesn’t seem like that of a folk song, but don’t be fooled – the backbone of the song is a simple, fingerpicked chord progressions layered with string and brass arrangements. It’s an airy, intricate, and beautiful song that still manages to play with the conventions of the genre. The brief tempo changes serve as a reminder that the energy the band is famous for hasn’t been lost, even in a folk song. The new album, also titled Memory of a Cut Off Head is due in November and if it’s anything like the lead single, long-term fans will be in for a pleasant and nostalgic change of pace.” – Ingrid Angulo


‘Firefly’ – BANNERS

“While I’ve been waiting for Coldplay to get their act together, I’ve found a way to fill the void by listening to BANNERS, a British Alt-Pop artist. The young pop singer has been trying for a much more epic sound on his newest singles compared to the held-back and introspective sound of his first EP, a change I think is paying off tremendously. ‘Firefly’, his latest of two singles, is a blissful and optimistic pop tune about a person who is your ‘light in the dark’. The single before ‘Firefly’, called ‘Someone to You’, is in the same vein of acoustic-guitar pounding, synthesizer-wailing, chorus-shouting Stadium Alternative. Both tracks have romantic lyrics that play with the idea of the apocalypse as an escape to be with his lover, such as ‘And if you feel the great dividing, I wanna be the one you’re guiding’ in ‘Someone to You’ and ‘Worlds apart, when it went dark, you we’re always on my mind’ in ‘Firefly’. What I think makes ‘Firefly’ stand out is how much build the song has, as opposed to ‘Someone to You’ which pretty much starts at 100% intensity. The track starts with atmospheric electric guitars and then backs off to start the verse with simple keys and vocals. As the verse builds into the chorus, we get the addition of bigger guitars, more synths and a choir to add more atmosphere to the track before flaring into a shimmering sing-along chorus. The chorus is a series of high-pitched, melodic oohs doubled by guitar and the lyrical hook ‘You make me light up, like a Firefly’. To me, this track’s biggest strength is its ability to pull back so the listener can really appreciate this explosive and catchy hook. BANNERS has always had good choruses on his songs, but the hook on ‘Firefly’ soars like nothing he has ever done before. Overall, shiny production and all, the track reminds me of a cross between ‘Charlie Brown’ by Coldplay and ‘Lights’ by Ellie Goulding. For some, I understand that sounds like your worst nightmare. However, for me at least, it is a blissfully cathartic pop song that I will definitely be listening to on repeat this week and for weeks to come.” – Matt Wikstrom


‘the gate’ – Björk

“In advance of her tenth studio album Utopia, set to be released in November, Icelandic musician Björk has released single ‘The Gate.’ In her single, as well as in her upcoming album, Björk collaborates with experimental electronic producer Arca. Working with Arca is not new to Björk; he is credited as co-writer on two and co-producer on seven of the tracks from Björk’s last release, Vulnicura. While Vulnicura showcased the pain and raw emotion of the dissolution of Björk’s long-term relationship with artist Matthew Barney, Björk has told Dazed Magazine that Utopia will be ‘about a love that’s even greater [than the personal loss represented on Vulnicura]. It’s about rediscovering love—but in a spiritual way.’ This sentiment is expressed through Björk’s typical eloquence on ‘The Gate,’ where she opens with the lyrics, ‘My healed chest wound/ Transformed into a gate/ Where I receive love from/ Where I give love from.’ Quite literally, these lines depict the end of a healing process and the beginning of a new era. Arca’s rich, crisp sound design paired with Björk’s haunting, almost alien-sounding vocals develop into a gorgeous and untraditional love song sung over ambient noise and synthesizers. While the lyrics are repetitive for a song that is near 7 minutes long, ‘The Gate’ is able to rely on Arca’s skillful and slow-building production of bubbling, granular synth riffs and his lush layering of Björk’s ethereal vocals to work. And work it does. At its heart, ‘The Gate’ is a beautiful meditation on love that makes such a commonly explored subject feel brand new.” – Caroline Smith


‘Beach Boys’ – Weezer

“Los Angeles-based rock band, Weezer, just dropped ‘Beach Boys,’ a new track off of their upcoming album, Pacific Daydream. Like the song’s title suggests, ‘Beach Boys,’ is a tribute to the famous surf-inspired band. The track opens up with scattered guitar riffs filled with reverb, and some low key drumming. Weezer takes the familiar california-sound, and puts their own twist on it by making it relevant to 2017. The layered harmonic vocals mimic Brian Wilson’s signature concept in a modern way. Frontman Rivers Cuomo’s distinct pop-rock voice reminisces about when he was a ‘west side kid,’ and how he just wants to turn up the music, because the Beach Boys are on. The new track was released along with a super colorful animated lyric video that will make you crave the summer months again, check it out here.” – Emily Grinberg