Nine Great Songs: Apr 2018

Foreword: I listened to more new music in April than I did in March! Plus I did a better job of jotting down when I found a song worth writing about. As a result, I have a lot more new-to-me songs I want to write about now! Funny how a little effort can go a long way~

Tracy Chapman – “Fast Car”

I was first introduced to this song in high school when I went through a big Xiu Xiu phase. Xiu Xiu did a not-bad cover of the song on one of their early albums, and it was one I recall listening to often enough back in the day. I had no idea the song was a cover at the time. I finally discovered the Tracy Chapman original this month–April 1st, in fact–and I was instantly smitten. The song is truly incredible. The narrative Tracy weaves is stellar, and the earnestness of it is especially refreshing in our post-meaning era. (Though it’s pretty telling that this song’s story of poor women being boxed into lives they can’t escape could/does happen today, 30 years later.)

PONY – “DIY”

I get a very Charly Bliss vibe from this song. I really love Charly Bliss, so any kind of facsimile will appeal to me; thusly I really enjoy this song! I’d describe it as something like bubblegum pop punk. Or something. Anyway I love how the sentence “I do it to myself” is broken down into two-syllable bites in the chorus.

Mount Eerie – “Now Only”

Poor Phil Elverum continues to make great music while reflecting on the passing of his wife. “Now Only” is definitely the stand-out song from the follow-up album to the masterful A Crow Looked at Me from last year. I really like the nearly-upbeat little breakdown when he sings, “people get cancer and die, people get hit by trucks and die.” I’m also enjoying the self-reflective message about how surreal it is to be so successful on the back of a bunch of death songs. Definitely a strong Sun Kil Moon vibe too with all the talksinging. Great stuff.

Iceage – “Against the Moon”

I’ve tried and tried to get into Iceage over the years, but it never really clicked with me. It’s one of those cases where a band receives consistently rapturous praise but I don’t even begin to get why. In the wake of my ardent love for that Marching Churches song last year, I decided to give Iceage another try. Once again, I bounced pretty hard from all of the songs I slapped on the playlist except for this one. “Against the Moon” is incredible. I love the sneery, almost rageful way the singer spits out, “pissing against the moon.” The backing piano and horns work well together with the slow, downtrodden vibe the whole song puts out. If I keep returning to Iceage once every few years and come away with a song I enjoy as much as this one it’ll all be worth it.

Bad Gyal – “Fiebre”

I lovelovelove this song. It’s vaguely reminiscent of PC Music, but different enough that I enjoy “Fiebre” on its own merits as well. (Sometimes with the super-PC Musicy tracks I come across, I wonder if my enjoyment comes from having such warm feelings towards PC Music that the actual quality of the track in question is negligible…) The bridge partway through where “cuando yo te bailo” repeats with that echo gets me every time!!!

Lexie – “It’s Nothing”

So I’ll first say that Lexie’s singer’s voice and the band’s musical style is sooooo Frankie Cosmos-esque that it’s distracting. Like, I keep thinking it’s a Frankie Cosmos song when Lexie comes up on shuffle. (Doesn’t help that I also have the new Frankie Cosmos singles on the same playlist.) That said, Lexie is not at all an objectionable band and I really like this song just because of that line, “I want to watch you kiss someone else… I just think it would be hot.”

TOMMY HOTLINE – “I Don’t Kno Wut 2 Say”

Ooh, look at this, a song I couldn’t find on YouTube! How indie. This is a song I first heard about 6 months ago when it was first posted to Soundcloud (god bless the PC Music channels I follow) and it finally came to Spotify this month, along with the rest of TOMMY HOTLINE’s first album. “I Don’t Kno” is quite a banger. I really, really, really love it–it’s been on repeat a few times in the past week. The final half of the song after the bridge is heavenly when those digital strings (?) come in. The rest of the album is pretty good, although this was definitely my clear standout.

The Books – “Free Translator”

Another song I’m following up on after a previously-posted love: Paul De Jong’s “You Fucken Sucker” inspired me to go back and listen to some of The Books. I’ve been aware of The Books for a long while, but every time I’ve tried their music I’ve bounced pretty hard. This time was more or less the same experience… except for this song! I really, really love the looped guitar refrain and what I think is a bass guitar when the singing starts is so great. I also really like the silly lyric, “count your dollar, only one, count it again: one one one.”

worlds greatest dad – “Laughing (While You’re Smiling)”

Welp, worlds greatest dad is already a new favorite of mine. I apparently love female-fronted pop emo lately! (See also: awakebutstillinbed.) This is one of the more recent singles, but a couple pass-throughs of the band’s 2015 EP Boredom Blues confirms that I needed to have listened to this band back then, not just now in 2018. Nevertheless, I’m grateful to be hearing it now. The final breakdown/guitar riff of this song is transcendent.

Afterword: I did better on my goal of listening to new music this month! I should really try harder to hear more interesting tunes because it’s really all just a net positive for me. New music and indulgent writing about my oh-so-cool taste! It’s solipsism at its finest! Ahh, what relief to experience twice by through writing. I am nothing without my hobbies–this blog is a testament to that.