The following three songs I’ve posted differ vastly from each other. As long as you enjoy one of them, then I have accomplished my mission of showing you a new group/sub-genre that you may not have heard before. Let’s get into it!
This first song is classic shoe-gaze; not classic in that it’s old, more that it has a vintage shoe-gaze sound that enthusiasts of that type of music have come to appreciate. It’s called “Lunar Phobia” off No Joy’s recent album Wait To Pleasure. If you’re not familiar with No Joy and like music that has an ambient feel to it, you need to change that. There’s just a duo of Canadian ladies who write good music and put on a hell of a show. “Lunar Phobia” is a trip, no doubt. I mostly like the song for the vocals (completely lax but they sound amazing) but everything else that compromises it helps to give it that complete chill feel. My only beef with that song is that I wish they’d drop that twangy effect that occurs @0:16 and many times after. I can see how it complements the song but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! This band kicks ass, give them a look.
Watch out for these girls…bonus track here
Now onto one of my favorite bands of ALL TIME…Deerhunter. Their latest album, Monomania, just came out last month. I’ve listened to it a couple of times; they definitely accomplished their goal of creating a gritty, post-punk sound for most of the album, assuming that was what they were going for. Some of it isn’t as listenable as their previous work. This album is meant to be listened to in its entirety and the complete body of work is what should be focused on when critiquing it. Unfortunately, I can’t do that here in this post so I’m just gonna pick the song I like best, “Back to the Middle”. All kidding aside, it’s a great song to ease you into the album. The title track “Monomania” is also a wonderful track but takes a few listens and isn’t as approachable. What makes “Back to the Middle” a winner is the choppy guitar that kicks it off and the subsequent guitar solo that occurs @1:15. Bradford Cox’s lyrics about getting shafted by love are well done also. Although, I typically wouldn’t expect him to sing about heartbreak. Usually he goes for the more thought provoking material. Maybe it’s a gag. The excellent 60’s-esque keyboard that occurs during the bridge is also noteworthy (@0:31).
The next song is “The Mess” by Kid Astray, the first Norwegian band I have highlighted on here. They have a hip new song called “The Mess” which is about some dude giving a chick the slip. I really like the bass that you get to here during the verses (@0:25 & 0:57) . It meshes well with the other instrumentals. The vocals in this song are pretty good but nothing to write home about. All in all, it’s a trendy new song unlike a lot of what is out there right now. I’ve listened to a few other songs by them and they’re pretty poppy but they still stick to their indie roots. Give them a shot and see what you think.
The loked-out expression this gentleman is showing gives you an idea of what you’re in store for with gloomy surrealism that Deerhunter creates
One thing I always look for in a great band is variation. The ability to consistently modify their sound while still maintaining their identity. An album gets old quickly when you hear a song that reminds you of another that you heard just a few tracks earlier. It’s even worse when a band comes out with the same album twice. This is where experimental bands come in. Their system of writing songs makes being repetitive utterly impossible. And one of my favorite experimental bands will always be Deerhunter.
Deerhunter originate from Atlanta. They have been around for much longer than I was aware. As soon as I heard “Desire Lines” for the first time, I was hooked. They could be listed as several different genres but it is their indie roots that I most know them for. Their ability to craft such great music with more basic features including acoustic guitars and scratchy vocals always amazes me. Throw in a little shoe-gaze and you got a recipe for success. “Desire Lines” is a great chill-out and reflect on everything kind of song. Very simplistic lyrics, more there as a reason to showcase the fine vocals of Bradford Cox rather than to have much meaning. What I think makes the song great is the backing vocals that compliment Cox’s perfectly. I’m sure you’ll notice them (they start during the verses @ 0:34). Once the lyrics are done, the song goes on for some time with the guitar leading the way. Although the execution of it is exceptional, it goes on for about a minute too long. It is quite enjoyable, though. See what you think…
This next track is a downer. But it has to be included because of what a great song it truly is. If you read the lyrics you can tell that Cox put a lot of pain in them to describe an horrible, inhumane experience. He doesn’t get too graphic, though. It’s mostly open for interpretation. The song doesn’t really build up to anything, its purpose is to send a message. Once again, not a feel-good song but it hooked me the first time I heard it and if you listen to it with an open mind you may be able to appreciate it for the great work of art it is.
And for the last Deerhunter track, I have posted “Nothing Ever Happened.” I felt it was necessary to feature one of their more upbeat offerings. Most of their work is slower but they can put together a quick, catchy tune like Nothing Ever Happened with the best of them. The guitar is the highlight off this song along with some base-lines. The lyrics do not have much meaning in this song either and that could be the singer’s goal. He knows that the music alone on this track is enough and there’s no reason to let attention seeking lyrics or overbearing singing get in the way. This is a smart yet just great song to rock out to…it also features a lengthy guitar solo for the last half of the song or so for those not overly interested in vocals, much like myself. It’s necessary to not read into the lyrics too much with Deerhunter. It could make for a pretty depressing listening session if you over think their music. Enjoy it for what it is.
Experimenting with all sorts of line-ups/instruments has been their bread and butter.