June: It’s not just a beaver’s mom. Here’s the last chunk of new music for the month.
The Avett Brothers – True Sadness
There was a time when I really enjoyed this group. I was a pretty big fan of some of the alt-country coming out of the middle patch of the last decade, and The Avett Brothers’ early work had an unhinged punkiness to it that I found very charming and fun. As time wore on and I drifted away from the alt-roots scene (just in time for Mumford & Sons to swoop in and ensure that every fucking toilet paper commercial featured some dope plinking a banjo and singing about love), The Avett Brothers drifted into more commercial and sleek territory. In doing so, they’ve become completely uninteresting to me – bordering on unlistenable. “True Sadness” – the song – seems like an incredibly impotent stab at bouncy “Me and Julio”-era Paul Simon pop. I would say that the title is indicative of how this group’s descent into mediocrity makes me feel, but that would be giving them too much credit. More like “True Meh-ness”. Meh.
The Felice Brothers – Life In The Dark
Strange. Another brother group. Another “Americana” group. Doing a better job of it, though. The Felice Brothers actually hew closer to the vibe of the early Avett Brothers material that I found charming. Unpolished but well composed with a willingness to embrace simplicity without relying too heavily on convention. It’s not terrific or earth-shattering, but I find it totally listenable – even rather pleasant. The brothers certainly seem to be comfortable swimming in a pool of their (rather obvious) influences, without coming off like a bunch of success-starved auto-tune abusers. The squeezebox is a really nice touch. This is alright.
DJ Shadow – The Mountain Will Fall
The only thing that I really know about DJ Shadow is that there’s some kind of Radiohead connection there – for better or worse. That said, I’ve no real opinion or expectation of the music. So it’s a pleasant surprise that this track is actually quite interesting. Sonically adventurous and fairly wonky, I’m finding this to be a very off-kilter sort of catchy. It’s pretty rare that something in the EDM vein will wind up feeling compelling to me, so I would consider this a win for ol’ Shaddy. Also, apparently Run The Jewels are on this record, so that’s fun.
Deerhoof – The Magic
I’ve managed to reach this age without paying any attention to Deerhoof. Turns out I should have just continued not paying attention. If this track is indicative of Deerhoof’s standard sound, Deerhoof is totally not for me.
Broods – Conscious
This was made to be purchased and inserted into a sexy shampoo commercial or an ad for a flavoured vodka or something. It’s competent but extremely uninteresting. Wait. No, this is for a car commercial, I think.
Cassius – Ibifornia
If you wanted some new music from Pharrell, and don’t care if it’s actually by Pharrell or if it’s actually any good, get a load of this pile of hot garbage from Cassius.
Marquis Hill – The Way We Play
No matter how old I get, I’ll always consider jazz music to be for adults. Adults who are more adult-er than me. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to make this consideration without it being in some way derisive, either. This sounds like a bunch of incredibly talented and proficient people cranking out incredibly well-crafted music that one would eat a soufflé to. It belongs in a bar that is pretending to be dank and dusky, but in actuality the drinks cost 75% more than average and I wouldn’t get seated because of this t-shirt I’m wearing.
Mick Harvey – Delirium Tremens
Pretty demented opening movement to this track. It may have softened me up for what followed, which seemed to coast along in the classic orchestral pop vein… but there’s something incredibly strange about this number that total appeals to me. It’s got the creepy faux-sexiness of a really lousy melodrama film. It makes me want to smoke cigarettes and nurture a bad attitude. I should probably not listen to it. Cigarettes are super expensive and bad for you.
Comet Control – Center of the Maize
I found out that these people are from Toronto and instantly became furious about their misspelling of the word “centre” in their album title. So I didn’t listen to it.
Kandace Spring – Soul Eyes
See the above paragraph about Marquis Hill’s track, and you’ll get a sense of my feeling about this Kandace Spring track. This is a little bit more interesting, though, as Ms Spring’s voice is extremely strong and quite expressive. This isn’t super exciting music by any means, but it has some heart. Soul Eyes would be a great name for a movie monster, too. I’ll give this a pass based on that.
Cash Cash – Blood Sweat & Three Years
“Sweat” is hyper produced. The meticulous micro-tweaks that pop out over every passing second of this track don’t do much to distract from the fact that it’s fucking terrible. Guest vocalist Jenna Andrews simultaneously doesn’t get much to work with and doesn’t give much to work with in terms of a compelling and interesting performance. The album cover is the only thing about this that holds any interest, and that’s primarily because it would be cool if it were a still from an 80s horror/sci fi film. I’m sure that Cash Cash will make plenty of their namesake, though. So they can survive my criticism of their very lousy work.
The Explorers Club – Together
I was hoping that this would be a concept-band based on The Goonies. Instead it’s a concept-band based on being The Shitty Beach Boys. Terrible.
Oh Pep! – Stadium Cake
“Doctor Doctor” manages to pull off modern pop that doesn’t manage to make me vom vom. It’s bouncy and slightly daffy. Succinct and hits the spot. The vocals are a little bit mumbly for my taste, but that seems to be the way that things are trending. Also, they’re Australian, so let’s give them credit for not just sounding like AC/DC or something.
Alice Bag – Alice Bag
The tune is funny and spunky. This is totally likeable. Apparently Alice Bag is a punk legend? I had no idea. But this poppy stuff is 100% more punk than some of the other limp rubbish that the label gets slapped on. Bag it up.
Riff Raff – Peach Panther
This isn’t a bad song. It’s two or three bad songs. Holy shit, this is unintelligible and infuriating and pointless all at once. Ten years ago, this would have been in a comedy satire film as parody. But nope. This is a real song released by real people. I welcome the flames of our impending doom.
Bat For Lashes – The Bride
Moody. This is okay, though. Strange. Kind of interesting sound palate. Honestly, I’m probably just still clearing the Riff Raff out of my earholes.
Didn’t work. That’s it for today, friends.