New Music Mondays | 10.9.17

Take the day off with some of WRBB’s favorite tunes at the moment! #NMM

‘Perspective’ – Kamasi Washington

“After his contributions to Kendrick’s To Pimp a Butterfly launched him to the top of the saxophone player A-list, Kamasi Washington released The Epic, a sprawling three-hour opus of interplanetary proportions definitively declaring the return of jazz as a commercially successful genre. On ‘Perspective’, off his latest EP Harmony of Difference, the song begins with the same cosmic gravity that defined his major-label debut. Kamasi’s sax slides through a shapeless mist of slippery piano runs and rippling cymbals, intriguing yet mysterious like the moment the smoke machine turns at the beginning of a magic show. The curtain falls, revealing a lounging funk riff that would sound at home as a hold tone for a customer service hotline. That is until Kamasi unchains his saxophone and launches into a rousing solo that carries through the end of the song. But with only 3 minutes to spare, Kamasi has little room to run. On The Epic, where songs regularly exceeded ten minutes, Kamasi thrived on his bands ability to ratchet up the energy of any song in a constant incline no matter its duration. The groove underlying ‘Perspective’ could also be stretched out to include a few more solos from his talented cast of collaborators, but is instead tightened to radio-sized proportions perfect for short attention spans. Luckily, Kamasi expertly paces his solo to deliver his signature crescendo of intensity in the limited time he does have. His climax returns the song to the head, injecting it with a propulsive adrenaline it was missing before.” – Robert Kerstens

‘Weekend Woman’ – Weezer

“It’s hard to explain the feeling of relief that washed over me after finishing my first listen of ‘Weekend Woman.’ Certainly it’s not Weezer’s best release, but it is significantly better than the previous two singles for their upcoming album, Pacific Daydream. ‘Weekend Woman’ loses the cringy lyrics and ridiculous synths of ‘Feels Like Summer’ and ‘Mexican Fender’ for a simple, guitar and chorus driven track, which is exactly what fans of Weezer have been wanting for years. Funny enough, all this comes together to make ‘Weekend Woman’ a better tribute to the Beach Boys than the previous single for Pacific Daydream entitled ‘Beach Boys.’ Over the years, Weezer has suffered from the great tragedy of a fantastic debut album without ever backing it up with their other releases. Weezer (the blue one) was loved critically and did well commercially for its nerdy garage rock sound and hits like ‘Say It Ain’t So.’ Then the band released their sophomore record Pinkerton and everything fell apart. The album flopped critically and commercially and drove lead singer Rivers Cuomo down what amounts to a self-destructive spiral towards pop music. Slowly but steadily the banned descended to the release of ‘Beverly Hills’ and albums Raditude and Make Believe. Among die-hard fans, this was the lowest of the low for Weezer, but then, suddenly, everything started to get better. Albums Everything Will Be Alright in the End and Weezer (the white one) were considered a return to form for the group. Rivers even promised to move back to Weezer’s original sound on the song ‘Back to the Shack.’ Then came the release of ‘Feels Like Summer.’ On the track, the band reached a level of sickeningly sweet power-pop that killed many hopes that Weezer would ever be Weezer again. But ‘Weekend Woman’ tells me different. Weezer clearly has it in them to create another fantastic record. That likely won’t be Pacific Daydream, but Rivers has already hinted at the release of another album in 2018. According to him, Weezer (the black one?) will be the band’s closest follow-up to the absolute masterpiece that is Pinkerton. In the meantime, we get the peace of mind that is ‘Weekend Woman,’ a slightly generic Weezer-esque (the green one) track that should give any fan hope for the future.” – Grant Foskett

‘Black Moon’ – Screaming Females

“On their newest single, ‘Black Moon,’ New Jersey punk rockers Screaming Females pick up right where they left off with their 2015 LP Rose Mountain. Despite the name, the group is only comprised of one ‘screaming female,’ vocalist and guitarist Marissa Paternoster. While Paternoster is often noted for her talent as a guitarist– she was named 77th greatest guitarist of all time by Spin Magazine– Paternoster’s voice, often compared to that of Sleater-Kinney vocalist Corin Tucker, is really the star of this track. Her incredible vocal control is both impressive and stunning to listen to — it’s not often a punk singer is able to maintain punk influence while also not compromising technical control of their voice, and Paternoster pulls it off flawlessly. The guitar on the track and the instrumentation in general are fairly unexciting compared to their other songs, being comparable to a lot of riot grrl tracks of the past as well as modern punk, but the main power of ‘Black Moon’ comes from being uptempo and consistently high energy. Another interesting thing to note about this track is its initial release, which was on just twenty-four 7’’ vinyls released at one record store in the band’s hometown of New Brunswick. Overall, this is a track that knows what it is: a straight-forward punk track a little less complex than it could be, but thoroughly entertaining nonetheless.” – Caroline Smith

‘Blue Pill’ – Metro Boomin feat. Travis Scott

“If you’re a Travis Scott fan that loved Rodeo, but was a little disappointed with Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, you’re going to want to check out this new Metro Boomin single. It’s no surprise that this track harkens back to Rodeo more than Birds, seeing as Metro had more than a few producer credits on the former while contributing nothing to the latter. Metro proves that he still has his finger on the pulse, providing a catchy trap ballad without falling into the unexciting cliches that plague so much of modern hip-hop. The track is dark, spacey, and mesmerizing, but still delivers a hard hitting beat, combining the best elements of Metro and Scott’s production. In my opinion, Travis Scott’s previous singles like ‘Butterfly Effect’ and his Major Lazer collab ‘Know No Better’ saw the artist departing from the sound that made fans fall in love with him on his early work. Metro Boomin also seemed like he might be losing his touch after releasing the luke-warm single ‘No Complaints.’ Thankfully, it now looks like neither of these artists are done yet. Perhaps they needed this collaboration to return their roots and remind themselves of what got them both to where they are today. I hope they continue to work closely with each other as their careers continue, as I truly feel both of these artists do some of their best work when they team up.” – Isaac Shur

‘Keep It Up’ – Chase Atlantic

“When you first hear this track, I know what you are going to think. No, I didn’t review a smooth jazz track this week. Give it a few seconds and you will find an Alt-Rock infused, ’80s inspired, R&B track is currently my jam. Chase Atlantic are a male R&B trio from Australia, and the song ‘Keep It Up’ seems to be the leading single off their self-titled album. The track opens with an emotional saxophone solo that just oozes ’80s Kenny G cheese, but it doesn’t prepare you for the new-wave dance beat that comes in led by the bass guitar. The classic indie rock guitar scratch helps the verse grow before bursting into a fun and funky chorus. The chorus boasts the catchy and sexy hook ‘Well keep it up, keep it up, keep riding the wave’ with the saxophone lick returning in all its glory. This time around, the saxophone part acts more as a response to the vocal hook, which makes for a very dance-able tune. The track reminds me of late ’80s groups like Go West, particularly the song ‘King of Wishful Thinking’, where the Big ’80s horns clashed with the boy bands that would later come to take over the ’90s. I know the track is kind of cheesy, but after hearing nothing but edge-lord trap and ambient indie all week, I’ve really just been aching for something new and fun.” – Matt Wikstrom

‘This Was a Home Once’ – Bad Suns

“Bad Sun’s new song ‘This Was a Home Once’ comes about one year after their last album release, although the band didn’t state if this song was a one-off release or part of something bigger later to be announced. Regardless, fans should be incredibly grateful, because what they released is a touching track that progresses from their ’80s vibe on their previous album. In exchange, the band has a more modern sound, while keeping the characteristics that make them unique, such as guitar effects alongside driven vocals. The song itself is a bit simple, but its real strength are the lyrics. Bad Suns’ singer’s introspection about the desperation paired with acceptance that comes from your home life from when you were younger changing in ways that you have no control over is a theme that anyone in their 20s and beyond comes to experience. The desperation comes along in the form of pleading for things to stay the same, while accepting that ‘one thing will always be true / this was a home once.’ and finding a bittersweet comfort in that. The title echoes through the track, forcing you to either look at your own life in the same perspective or appreciate the honesty within the song. And then the song fades out, leaving you with that. Overall, the effect of the song is lasting and made for a great single for a band about to go on a US tour. Hopefully the song will be followed by more new music from the LA-based group.” – Jillian Fliedner

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