Nutty rock and glitchy pop are the two main flavours this week. Artists featured include Tantrum Zentrum, The Hives, Lost Cousins, James Blake, 8485 and Grimes.
‘Don’t Be A Fascist’ – Tantrum Zentrum
This is one of the most deranged vocal performances I’ve
heard in a post punk song since that deranged 'Pure Misery' track I featured last year. 'Don't Be A Fascist' is a war time love story inspired by Yugoslavian 80s pop hit ‘Fa Fa Fasista’. The band’s vocalist
Vaat Dafuq wails, barks and whisper’s his way through the track like he’s performing
from a padded cell, and it’s utterly captivating. In fact, I was so locked
into the vocals on my first listen that I barely even acknowledged the incredibly
fun guitar work going on in the background.
‘The Bomb’ - The Hives
Maybe it’s because I saw Oppenheimer at the weekend, but
there’s clearly a theme going on this week. ‘The Bomb’ is one of two new tracks from Swedish
rock band The Hives – a band that I’d completely forgotten existed despite playing
the shit out of ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ back in the day. It’s a pretty erratic song with some very silly
lyrics, but overall it’s still the same in-your-face speaker-busting garage
rock I loved as a teen. Make sure to also check out barely-one-minute-long
accompanying single ‘Trapdoor Solution’.
‘Dreamer’ – Lost Cousins
‘Dreamer’ is a suitably dreamy track with shoegaze-inspired
guitars, vocals and synths that wrap you up like a warm blanket. A steady drum
beat and driving bassline propel it along (it definitely feels like road trip
playlist material, although the music video may have influenced those
thoughts). The song was allegedly written at a lakeside cottage and recorded in a mountain
top chalet, so it’s not wonder it sounds so bloody beautiful.
‘Loading’ – James Blake
James Blake is planning to release a new album titled Playing Robots Into Heaven later this year, and it’s believed to be a return to his
more experimental electronic roots. ‘Loading’ is our second glimpse of the
album. The first glimpse was a loopy instrumental titled ‘Big Hammer’, whereas
this track features some vocals – although they seem to be heavily manipulated
with effects. I’ve always loved when Blake plays with vocal effects and here
they feel very apt given the robotic subject matter. The crackle when he sings ‘loading’
is particularly cool, as if his vocals are indeed still loading as he’s singing
‘Same Tasks’ – 8485’
It’s kinda funny how we’ve got to a point where AI vocals now sounds like humans, and humans now sound like robots.
Point in case being 8485, one of the
many hyperpop artists currently singing in an auto-tuned pitched-up voice. This
track is a lot better than some of the 100-Gecs-lite I’ve heard recently – that speedy DnB-flavoured beat is so cool and the lyrics about using rituals to overcome depression are deeper than I expected.
‘I Wanna Be Software’ – Grimes
Like the two tracks above, this one is deliberately trying
to sound robotic. But the lyrics are so direct and shallow that is feels frustratingly
basic in comparison. It’s the same synthetic sex slave fetishism that ‘Barbie
Girl’ was going for in the 90s, but done worse. Compared to Grimes' earlier work, this is a massive downgrade.