Dog Party‘s “I Don’t Need You” is the definition of a driving song- something to keep you company on a long fast night of leaving things behind. The Sacramento duo is like a Bikini Kill from the seventies; it’s punk and all, but there’s something classic keeping it together. This particular track is a barebones anthem, and you can hear each and every word spelled out for you in candied venom. Catch Dog Party on their latest tour, which is now underway to support their fifth record, Til You’re Mine.
For a song about unrequited love and stalking an ex through Paris’ dimly lit streets, Alphabetic‘s “French Boyfriend” is surprisingly upbeat. The funky guitar, horns, and fast-paced tempo make you want to get up and dance, and that’s when you hear the refrain, sung by Walter Heale as the heartbroken stalker: “what’s so great about French boys anyway?” Fellow vocalist Rebecca Lever more than holds her own, her soft and distant delivery a perfect foil to Heale’s desperation. Paris is always a good idea, except maybe when you’re bitter about your ex and waiting outside her window.
When he’s aggressive and quick, Marco Pavé is at his best. With “Gangsta Party”, he finds a way to do that AND combine it with a hook we can sing along with and bounce to. There’s plenty of heat and sunlight left out there so go somewhere and get this into your summer music playlist.
Despite Fore being overshadowed by the release of their latest LP, the unexpected album held some of 18+‘s best work to date, namely this standout. “Headinmyway” teeters between sensitivity and brashness, between sexiness and languidness. In the same breath, a hushed chorus about having “so much to say, and yet so much malaise” becomes a rap-refrain about 12-inch dicks. It’s off-kilter, but that’s what makes this odd, dynamic pair so mesmerizing to listen to—the fact that the song has a killer beat doesn’t hurt, either.
“Ghost,” by New York group VHS Collection is a perfect summing up of the trio’s musical identity. It’s synth pop all right, but lead vocalist James Bohannon, backed by reverberating instrumental keeps it from fading into background music at a wealthy Park Slope kid’s house party. At one point, the track winds down and takes us into Bohannon’s musings on a city night, pulsing underneath his words like this place pulses underneath our shoes, our wheels and our brains all day and all of the night. Stay tuned for VHS Collection’s upcoming full length album (the first of its kind), scheduled for release in December.
I’ve been looking forward to the chance to review another proverbial hidden gem, and Clint Norway being one of those great artists, I feel proud to present the young Clint Norway to our readers. Clint Norway the Greensboro NC product taking care of business this summer, earning the coveted hip-hop heat on the “Summer Moon Mondays” the hypest music playlist of summer jams courtesy of the talented men and women of Highlark. Clint Norway’s latest song “No Friend” has what I’ve been looking for in a summer song, me being more active nowadays in the heart of Minnesota. Norway’s LP ‘Nore’s World’ is a project project worth the time it takes to listen, one that I’ve heard and approve of strongly. He speaks about the divide between himself and his peers, addressing what he feels are ‘industry fads’ whilst making a hit track that I can bump to with my friends on humid nights. Norway is quickly becoming a must-watch for those who want to jump on the bandwagon before their isn’t anymore room left.
“Something to Believe,” by west coast band Young the Giant falls right in step with today’s sound- the wealth of vocal capacity and content washing over intentionally gritty instrumentals cuts clean. The California five-piece starts the track off with a back and forth to get the rhythm going, and goes on to expand into something strong, steadfast, and rich. It’s actually sort of reminiscent of the way Dave Grohl tends to unfurl a song, opening it up in the middle till his voice coincides with the musical climax. You can’t go wrong with a self- proclaimed songbird at the mic. Young the Giant have a brand new album coming out next month, and you can catch them at Radio City this September.
Irish musician James Vincent McMorrow‘s track “Rising Water,” is smooth, fine, and easy to move to, with the artist’s signature shy-but-soulful vocals and a quirky bass intro springing it all into action. “You make me feel alive in spite of rising water,” goes the chorus, dipping in and out of question and answer. As he “abandons his car a mile from nowhere,” there’s the initial desperation, which progressively gives way to a quiet sort of promise, the romance amplified by backing harmony and the mental image of the big empty, and its eventual fulfillment.