"Snake Eyes” - Mumford & Sons
This is nowhere near as big as when Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival, but it’s still daunting to see Mumford & Sons ditch the Dust Bowl folk. By the way, I’m still not sure if that was a real music movement or a phase like swing music in the 90’s. They’ve proven they have writing chops and composition prowess on Sigh No More and Babel, and Marcus Mumford's work on the Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack and the Bob Dylan Basement Tapes project shows that he is rockstar whether you like it or not.
“Snake Eyes” starts out very subdued like something from The National. The drums start thumping harder, the overdriven guitars get more clever in their movement and their signature harmonies piledrive the listener at the end. We’ll see how Wilder Mind sounds when it drops on May 4th, but I’m down for the electric experiment.
"Night Riders” - Major Lazer ft. Travi$ Scott, 2 Chainz, Pusha T & Mad Cobra
Important hip-hop rule of thumb: never miss out on a posse cut that has Pusha T in it.
More important hip-hop rule of thumb: never miss out on a posse cut that has both Pusha T and 2 Chainz in it. Especially when he raps shit like “Got a guest bedroom filled up with fur coats/ N * * *a, ain't no room in this bitch to even jump rope.”
"Dark Bird Is Home” - The Tallest Man on Earth
Had to switch the style here with some real nice singer-songwriter action. Swedish musician Kristian Matsson uses his classical guitar background to create a surprisingly simple composition. His lyrics are anything but. “Dark Bird Is Home” is told from the perspective of a dying man trying to console his wife on his death bed. It’s sweet and comforting, but the unsure “Oh, Fuck” at the end is what makes the song incredibly strong.
"Me U & Hennessy” - Dej Loaf ft. Lil Wayne
I officially fuck with Dej Loaf. She’s like a hybrid between Akon and Jhené Aiko. Don’t believe me? Listen to her spazz on “Try Me”.
I’m really liking what I’ve heard out of Weezy so far this year. His verse on Tyler, The Creator’s “SMUCKERS” is stupid good. He keeps it going here with a syrupy flow. It’s nice to hear him doing his thing again.
KATAJA PICK OF THE WEEK: “Never Be The Same” - Built to Spill
Doug Martsch’s voice hasn’t changed in, like, 20 years. The overall feel of his music really hasn’t either, which means that playing Built to Spill’s new album Untethered Moon, their first in six years, feels just like you pulled out your dad’s old Built To Spill record from the CD drawer in your parents’ house and stuck it in your stereo.
Ok, I’m projecting a lot of me on to you here. If you didn’t already know about Built To Spill because you never snooped around your father’s CD’s, I can’t really blame you -- they’ve always been a band that other bands and critics seem to like more than the general public. However, their music informed a significant amount of the indie rock that was popular during our collective childhood -- Modest Mouse and Death Cab For Cutie, for example -- and thus deserves attention and appreciation.
PORTER’S PICK OF THE WEEK: “Déjá vu” - Giorgio Moroder ft. Sia
The Father of Modern Electronic Music has had many important collaborations. Donna Summer (RIP), David Bowie, Blondie, and Kylie Minoque have all worshipped at the Church of Giorgio. Daft Punk went as far as having a 10 minute song on their Grammy-winning Random Access Memories dedicated to his life story.
Sia, arguably the most interesting pop star since Lady Gaga, is his latest muse here. His disco background shines through with a heavy bass riff, subtle but tight guitar lifts, and dominating synth runs. It’s summery and glitzy which is a very interesting foil for a singer who usually sings about dark subjects like alcoholism and death. Not to say Moroder is a saint (he did produce the sexiest song ever), but it’s a cool palette from which to work.
Bottom line: Giorgio Moroder can do no wrong, and “Déjá vu” is further proof. It’s almost as if you’ve experienced it before…