“The Physical World” picks up where DFA’79 left off to some degree, and you see that especially in a few tracks including their first single “Trainwreck 1979”. However, the guys are a bit older now, more mature and settled down with families. Plus, now they’re playing on their own terms and have no problems saying “no” to anyone if they don’t feel like playing a show. You can hear this maturity show up on the new album, there are some slower (gasp!) parts and Grainger’s singing has gotten more nuanced and expressive. Instead of operating on just one speed which was barreling straight down the road, they are now playing with multiple gears. Don’t get me wrong, they can still bring it and often sound like 4-5 guys playing instead of just 2. But they are showing more depth in their songwriting now, while still retaining most of the power they displayed on their debut album. DFA’79 are really good at playing heavy music that you can still dance to. In fact, Keeler was part of MSTRKRFT during their hiatus, an EDM band.
DFA’79 hail from Toronto and they released their first album “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine” 10 years ago. Comprised of bass/synth player Jesse Keeler and drummer/vocalist Sebastien Grainger, these guys put out a really unique sound – heavy, but very rhythmic, and always high volume and rushing ahead like they were trying to beat curfew. Their album was easily one of my favorites from that year, they stood out from everyone else in how they sounded. They made a splash on the music scene and were touring with high-profile bands like Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age. However, after only releasing a collection of remixes the following year, the DFA’79 called it quits before they even recorded a second album. Excessive touring, never saying no to any requests and a growing distance between the two led to the break-up. Fast forward to 2011 when the band announced they were reuniting and of course chose Coachella as their “reunion” concert. Over the next few years they continued to play shows together and they finally released their second album “The Physical World” this month.
This new artist an amazing vocalist and has a clear talent for songwriting as well. Her sound is similar to Lana Del Rey but with a more electronic pop styling. This song is her first and was released in November of 2014. The song deals with the strange nature of man as the title implies. The lyrics are powerful and the music is something you would hear on the radio and immediately want to buy it for yourself.
If she keeps releasing songs like this Skylar could become a very popular and successful artist.
This artist is new to the industry but already off to a great start. He released his first song “Adolescent” in December of 2014 and then “Hiy Hiy” in January 2015. He describes his music as a “pop minded vocalist’s dark love affair with the world of modern R and B”. Both songs begin with a slower electronic beat and vocals and builds up until it moves into a more upbeat/faster sound in the chorus. The result is the kind of music you sing and dance to in the car or in your room when nobody’s watching. The lyrics are unique and somehow also very relatable with lines you would print out and put up on the wall or caption a picture with. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of Lostboycrow very soon so be sure to keep up with him.
This song is my favorite off of this Portland native’s newest album. The entire album is an amazing display of his vocal range and his smooth voice makes you never want to stop listening. It is hard to talk about him without comparing him to The Weeknd. Their voices are surprisingly similar but what they do with their voice is quite different. Shy Girls opts for a slower but more electronic sound than The Weeknd and focuses on his range. This song is one of the most simple on the album but its simplicity is what makes it special. The vocals are soulful and are paired with a beat you can bob your head creating a unique sound I’m sure we will be seeing a lot of in the future.
This song has a catchy electronic beat with stunning vocals. Shy Girls comes onto this track and adds an extra dimension of vocal talent. The beat is something that would fare very well at a house party but upon closer listening the song is much deeper than just something played for teens and twenty-something’s to dance to. The newly released music video deals with the very serious subject of drug abuse and addiction and is haunting. Overall, the collaboration of two very talented artists and a meaningful yet danceable song make this a track I’m sure will be on everyone’s playlist within the month.
“Bury Our Friends” features a distorted guitar that almost sounds like fuzzy keyboards being played. The band again has a great chorus on this track which contrasts the more complicated rhythm of the verses with a more straightforward stomp. Brownstein and Tucker sound great singing together on this chorus as well.
“Gimme Love” is a really simple song with a succinct yet effective chorus of “Gimme love, gimme love, NEVER ENOUGH” repeated several times. It showcases the typical Sleater-Kinney vocal attack which is filled with urgency and intensity. There’s a nice guitar solo about midway through by Brownstein, she has a special custom made hollow body guitar she uses on this album and it has a great sound that plays well with their music. The guitar and drums accent the vocals perfectly during the chorus and the track is so short at 2:16 that you want to immediately hit repeat and play it again.
Spoon “Knock Knock Knock” – Back to more drums and acoustic guitar, but with a different flavor on this track. This follows “Do You” very nicely. The bass gets some more focus and space at the beginning of this song as well. This gives the song more of a sinister sound and a completely different mood than on “Do You”. About two minutes in, there’s some great distorted guitar that’s introduced that really helps supplement the sound. There are also some interesting background vocal effects that add to the mood and space of this track. This song is a great example of paying attention to and listening to all of the little flourishes that are added throughout the song. With about a minute left, there are some distorted vocals that come in that help close out the track, along with more background sounds, voices and effects. Included is a live radio station performance and it’s interesting to see how the song is performed live since all of the studio effects cannot be duplicated live. But the track still sounds awesome.
Mastadon “Chimes At Midnight” – This track starts off a bit slower, with an ominous sounding guitar riff (which comes back again at the end), but then after 30 seconds, it kicks into a completely different groove with an awesome noodly guitar riff that propels the song forward. Hinds never sound this good on vocals live, but he does a good job during his parts on this recording. This is a beast of a track on both guitars and vocals. And then you have Dailor going off on the drums, as usual. This song highlights the musical chops all four of these guys can bring to the table.