Songs of the Week: 3/13/2020

I only have two goals for this series: 1) Introducing the masses to great new music and 2) Giving myself an excuse to listen to every single new release on the Tidal streaming service so I can stay up with new music. Doing this on a weekly basis means that I have a one week window to get this up before the Tidal feed flips to the next set of records, so by posting song reviews rather than full album reviews, it allows me to get more out there and then if you choose to dig deeper, you can.

So… songs of the week for the release date of 3/13/2020.

  • Artist: Grouplove
  • Song: “The Great Unknown”
  • Album: Healer
  • Genre: Alt. Rock
  • Notes: Man, what a fun group and a fun album at that. Healer is the fourth album from Grouplove, a group that makes fun rock / pop music with an electropop touch, and with alternating male and female vocals. There’s many great songs on the record but “The Great Unknown” got me up and dancing, so that’s the one I’m putting here.
  • Artist: Niall Horan
  • Song: “Heartbreak Weather”
  • Album: Heartbreak Weather
  • Genre: Pop
  • Notes: Holy crap. Never in a million years would have thought I would like anything by a former member of One Direction but here we are. The album itself is slightly long but otherwise an excellent mix of upbeat pop and beautiful ballads. But the title track, surprisingly not released as a single yet, could end up being one of the best pure pop songs of the entire year when all is said and done. It’s that good.
  • Artist: Peter Bjorn and John
  • Song: “Music”
  • Album: Endless Dream
  • Genre: Indie Pop
  • Notes: How PB&J aren’t huge by now, I can’t fathom. But they have a huge cult following at this time because of their crazy catchy pop songs, and energy during their live shows. Endless Dream is their 9th album and it’s a wonderful upbeat pop record with tons of hooks – essentially, everything you’d expect from this great band.
  • Artist: CocoRosie
  • Song: “Restless”
  • Album: Put the Shine On
  • Genre: Freak Folk / New Weird America
  • Notes: So, let’s talk genre here first. Wikipedia labels these ladies as “Freak Folk” and “New Weird America” and I have no fucking clue what those terms mean. But I’m using them because I also don’t know what to call the band. I really don’t hear any folk in this though I do get a lot of pop. It’s a very unique sound, I give them that and from there you just have to listen to figure it out for yourself. This is pretty great but clearly not in my wheelhouse.
  • Artist: Deap Lips
  • Song: “Motherfuckers Got To Go”
  • Album: Deap Lips
  • Genre: Psychedelic Garage Rock
  • Notes: Deap Lips is the long awaited collaboration between the Los Angeles based female duo, Deap Vally and the Flaming Lips. And this is exactly what you’d expect (which actually for the Flaming Lips probably means it’s nothing like you’d expect) but this is garage/indie rock with a psychedelic twist – pretty solid from start to finish. “Motherfuckers Got To Go” isn’t the best song on the album but it’s fun to post.
  • Artist: The Anxiety
  • Song: “Poolside”
  • Album: The Anxiety
  • Genre: Various
  • Notes: The crazy ass musical stylings of the kids of Will Smith continue with The Anxiety. This is the first collaboration between Willow Smith and her boyfriend Tyler Cole. I can’t even define the genre because there are just simply so many on a record that’s less than 30 minutes long – sometimes many on just the same song. In the end, you can expect rock, soul, r&b, weird experimental noises etc… and it’s at least an interesting and challenging listen, if not actually pretty good.
  • Artist: Circa Waves
  • Song: “Wasted On You”
  • Album: Sad Happy
  • Genre: Indie Rock
  • Notes: Back in the early part of January, Circa Waves released the Happy EP, essentially the happy tracks as part of this record. A bit of an odd move considering they didn’t release the Sad part of the disc separately either but here we are – a 14-track cool rock album with contrasting happy and sad songs – divine ballads and hook filled rock tunes.
  • Artist: Jay Electronica
  • Song: “The Blinding”
  • Album: A Written Testimony
  • Genre: Hip-Hop
  • Notes: I had been hearing about Jay Electronica for years, starting with his 15-minute mixtape back in 2007 and then in 2010 he signed with Jay Z’s Roc Nation. Since then, he’s only released a few collaborations and a few songs here and there but this album, ten years later, is his first actual release. And it was well worth the wait. It’s a quick 10 track record with a strong political and religious message as Jay is part of the Nation of Islam. And although uncredited, almost every track features a rap from Jay-Z and honestly, it almost feels like a Jay-Z record since Jay Electronica is more of a producer than a rapper.
  • Artist: Huntsmen
  • Song: “Atomic Storms”
  • Album: Mandala of Fear
  • Genre: Doom / Stoner / Post-Metal
  • Notes: This is the second album from these dudes out of Chicago, IL – hard hitting, progressive, stoner metal, mixed with a bunch of low end doom and shoegazy passes. But the heaviness is what shines through.
  • Artist: Chika
  • Song: “Designer”
  • Album: Industry Games EP
  • Genre: Hip-Hop / R&B
  • Notes: Don’t sweat on this rapper from Alabama. There’s a mix of hip-hop and R&B on this EP and this lady can spit some rhymes. The beats are fresh, there’s no mumbling and she can also sing when she wants. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her blow up in the next year or two.
  • Artist: HARLOE
  • Song: “We’re All Gonna Lose”
  • Album: Rivers Run Dry
  • Genre: Pop / R&B
  • Notes: For years, Jessica Karpov has been writing pop songs that have been recorded by Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Charli XCX and more superstars. For her own five song EP, she’s going by the name HARLOE and creating a combo of pop songs that can be on the radio today and classic 90s R&B.
  • Artist: Soleima
  • Song: “Roses”
  • Album: Powerslide
  • Genre: Electropop / R&B
  • Notes: Somewhere between electropop and R&B, Soleima’s first solo record is a pretty fun and unique mix of styles. “Roses” is the most on the electropop side, which as you know by now, is what I’m really into right now. She kind of looks like Jodi Foster too, doesn’t she?
  • Artist: Dogleg
  • Song: “Fox”
  • Album: Melee
  • Genre: Emo / Post-Hardcore
  • Notes: The debut LP from Detroit’s Dogleg has quite a few moments that help me recall my first moments hearing At the Drive In. This is a loud, emo, post-hardcore trip back to the early 2000’s, so much so that it doesn’t even feel like a new record.
  • Artist: 070 Phi
  • Song: “No Resources”
  • Album: My Father’s Gun
  • Genre: Hip-Hop
  • Notes: 070 Phi is apparently part of the 070 Collective out of New Jersey, which means very little to me but from what I read, is made up of a bunch of rappers that went to the same high-school together. This seems to be 070 Phi’s first release and it’s stellar. The collective and especially 070 Shake got a boost in the past year from Kanye West featuring her on a couple of tracks he was making, so you may be hearing more of 070 soon.
  • Artist: The Wants
  • Song: “Container”
  • Album: Container
  • Genre: Post-Punk
  • Notes: The Wants are like fun post-punk. I don’t know that I ever thought I’d put “fun” in front of “post-punk” but that’s what we have here. Like a dancey techno trip over top of minimal post-punk. Fascinating sound and record.
  • Artist: Gotthard
  • Song: “Every Time I Die”
  • Album: #13
  • Genre: Hard Rock
  • Notes: The 13th album from Swedish hard rock band Gotthard is like many before it, solid, hard rockin’ and catchy rock tunes. Nothing groundbreaking but super fun.
  • Artist: The Shires
  • Song: “Good Years”
  • Album: Good Years
  • Genre: Country Crossover
  • Notes: The Shires are a British country duo that make very American sounding country crossover tunes. As I’m thinking about this – how many British country music acts are there? I could be wrong but I don’t hear that very often. This is their fourth album in five years and while I’ve never heard the others, if this doesn’t break them in the US, I don’t know what will. And not to be “that guy” but dang, lead singer Crissie Rhodes could be the most beautiful singer in country music. That doesn’t affect my opinion on the music at all, but dang.

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