05-lorde-green-light-screenshot-billboard-1548

Spinning Singles: Lorde, “Green Light”

Lorde is an icon. She’s the voice of our generation, and old folks are jealous for it. David Brooks and the rest of the fake news media don’t actually think of millennials as hopelessly privileged social media zombies. Instead, they resent that we had Pure Heroine, Lorde’s 2013 opus, where they had disco or whatever your parents promote as “real music.” With Heroine, Lorde delivered an album-length testament to teenage glory, told not by an aged folk singer nostalgic for his pink carnations and his pickup truck, but rather by one of our peers – a precocious 17 year-old already wise about her formative years. https://open.spotify.com/track/3FQ26GroLnhQEja48FKYqT

Lorde’s age at the time suggested something akin to a child prodigy, but it also proved an essential component to her songwriting.

Carolina

The Purest Form of Adulation: “Carolina”

The Mexican music scene is highly underrated, especially when it comes to anything that isn’t bachata, reggaeton, cumbia or other mainstream genres. Right now, one type of music that truly represents art is a hybrid of acoustic and indie with a splash an indescribable psychedelic element, which not many Mexican artists have mastered. It’s the type of music that you don’t have to understand in order to sway along to it or have it end up stuck in your head like a sweet daydream playing over and over again. I’m talking about music by artists like Siddhartha, León Larregui, Zoé and now Salvador y el Unicornio. However, if you do understand the lyrics, the experience is much more lucid and indulging.

87483_joycemanor

Spinning Singles: Joyce Manor, “Last You Heard Of Me”

Nine days remain until Joyce Manor release their fourth LP, Cody. In the six years since their 2010 Split with Summer Vacation, the pop-punk/emo quartet has matured in a familiar trajectory. The group toned down the blunt twenty-something angst of their 2011 self-titled debut, added in power-pop motifs and continued putting out unpretentious vignettes through 2012’s Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired and 2014’s Never Hungover Again. “Fake I.D.,” the first single off of Cody (slated for an October 7 release), resembled the Brit pop-inspired “Heated Swimming Pool” far more than any of the group’s latchkey SoCal musings. I freaked a little when I first heard it, to be honest.

COURTESY OF REPRISE RECORDS

Spinning Singles: Green Day, “Still Breathing”

No one is going to blame you if you spaced out for Green Day’s 2012 three-album, 37-song outpouring ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! The trilogy called into clear relief the inherent contradiction in the trio’s 2009 21st Century Breakdown. Green Day’s broad brush, lite manifesto take on politics was both far too milquetoast to seriously listen to as political punk, but too sincere and ideologically weighty to reward casual listening like fellow aging punks Descendents. The band kept 21st Century Breakdown and American Idiot’s big budget production and streamlined production for ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!

-

Spinning Singles: PWR BTTM, NAO

“New Hampshire” — PWR BTTM 

PWR BTTM is a pretty unilateral band. A great and unashamedly unilateral band, but one-sided all the same. Frankly, there are only so many types of sounds a guitar-drum rock duo can concoct, and it’s not like PWR BTTM, even at their best, have been bounding through any boundaries, sonically. Ugly Cherries was remarkable more for what it was (a thrashing, vulnerable paean to queerness and what it can mean in all its iterations) than for how it sounded (pwr chords and pwr vocals that both, in turn, skidded from blared to whimpered with the click of a distortion pedal). As I heard it, their last album’s noises were auxiliary, secondary to and supporting the inescapable choruses, bleeding confessionals and brash, almost gaudy humor that stood at the top of the soundpile.

COURTESY OF EPITAPH RECORDS

Joyce Manor — “Fake I.D.”

Before getting to “Fake I.D.,” let’s lay down some background on Joyce Manor. The California four-piece works in a grey area between emo and punk. Their lyrics skew far more often towards crypticness than the melodrama in their emo and pop-punk contemporaries’ work. Their songs are complicated, throbbing with raw energy and short: their four LPs all clock in at fewer than 20 minutes. The band’s 2011 self-titled debut posed a commitment to bile and pettiness that continued throughout their later releases.

a0571397198_10

Spinning Singles: Mitski, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alicia Keys, Steve Gunn

CORRECTION APPENDED

“Happy” — Mitski

“Happy came to visit me, he brought cookies on the way.” Mitski softly spills out the words in a ghostly, vibrating mumble, over a quick, blasting automatic weapon-esque drum machine pulse on her single “Happy” — the second pre-released track from her forthcoming, sophomore sum, Puberty 2. The track is a beautiful mystery: a queer, sad, riddle of a song. The track recounts the memory of a visit from Happiness (who goes by male pronouns) who laid her down, told her it would all be okay, then vanishes while she’s in the bathroom, leaving a mess and reminders of the visit in his wake for the singer to clean up. In the song’s three brief verses, Mitski crystallizes the intoxication of happiness — the everythingness of small moments, the sun-filled room, cookies and tea with a lover — and the violent hangover of the come-down, the desperation to get it back. However, the most haunting emotion on the track, is Mitski’s apathy about the whole affair: that she is not heartbroken, screaming or crying: just a little bit sad, as she quietly cleans up the debris: “And I turned around to see/All the cookie wrappers/And the empty cups of tea/Well I signed and mumbled to myself/Again I have to clean.”

As it turns out, ambivalence about heartbreak is much sadder than heartbreak by itself.

0c56831212b92ec8e10d835970740bec.960x960x1

Spinning Singles: Blink-182, “Bored To Death”

As the number of members in a given band decreases, the worries of a “Ship of Theseus” transformation increase if band members join on or drop out. As such, Blink-182’s decision to slot in Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba in place of former vocalist and guitarist Tom DeLonge 14 years into their career must have elicited trepidation amongst many long-time fans. In “Bored To Death,” the first single off of Blink-182’s California, which is slated for a July 1 release, fans get a glimpse of Skiba’s contributions to the trio. The new collaborators have seemingly decided to pass on delving into radically new material in their first public debut, instead offering up a song that could easily slot into any of Blink-182’s most middle-of-the-road, polished releases (Enema of the State, Take Off Your Pants and Jacket). “Bored To Death,” however, evidences the darker, more mature tone that Blink-182 has started moving towards as its band members near their mid-40s.

COURTESY OF JOYFUL NOISE

Spinning Singles: Beyoncé, Yoni & Geti, Brian Eno

Yoni & Geti — “Wassup (Uh Huh)”
Every indie geek whose taste has ever skewed eclectic and depressive should consider it a true-blue blessing that Yoni Wolf (WHY?, Clouddead) and David Cohn aka Serengeti transformed their friendship into musical collaboration. True, Serengeti’s 2011 Family & Friends saw Wolf take the production reigns, and his influence could be heard on Serengeti tracks like “Goddamnit” that channel his kitsch-as-loneliness approach. A nagging feeling, however, remained that Serengeti and Wolf still hadn’t truly pushed their collaboration into exciting territory that maximized each wordsmith’s staggering potential. The time has come. The duo has a match-matchy name (Yoni & Geti), an album title (Testarossa) and a release date (May 6).