Another week, another inbox jam-packed with new releases. In this week’s edition of The Singles we have some chat about Drake’s beef, some love for Ezra Furman, Low, Traams and yer man from The National’s new side-project, plus a bunch more bits and bobs including a former star of True Grit.
First up, it’s single of the week time...
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
by GIRL BAND
Kate Solomon: “Kids these days” are never going to experience the unsettling feeling of their walkman running out of battery, the tape slowing down and down until even the most upbeat bubblegum pop song becomes a nightmarish imitation of itself. It’s an effect that Girl Band have recreated flawlessly with a bassline that meanders in and out of tune and leaves you feeling as sweaty and boxed in as a man in a pig costume. Really good noise.
Gemma Samways: The Dublin quartet return with a blast of noise-rock so serrated, it makes last year's Blawan cover seem like a lullaby. Bonus points for the sinister, "C Beebies gone bad" video.
Sean Adams: People really really like The Fall, don’t they?
BEEF OF THE WEEK
A brief history of this Drake/Meek Mill beef in gifs & tweets.
Tom Fenwick: Once upon a time in the rap game there were two pals.
One of them was everyone's favourite Canadian.
The other was Nicki Minaj's boyfriend.
But unlike that gif. suggests, Meek Mill couldn't follow his Mum's advice to not be a tattle tale. And - after a perceived lack of twitter support for his most recent album - decided he’d spill the beans on Drake allegedly using a ghostwriter.
Stop comparing drake to me too.... He don't write his own raps! That's why he ain't tweet my album because we found out! 😁— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) July 22, 2015
In response Drake releases 'Charged Up'. Less a diss than a wet fish to the face, the aural equivalent of 'shots fired' if they were fired from a nerf gun.
The world waits for Meek's response and conjures up a beef in the grand tradition of Tupac vs Biggie or at the very least Vanilla Ice Vs Snow. But what the world gets is something rather less considered.
Here it gooooooooo lets get it 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/eWdMOXZrPh— Meek Mill (@MeekMill) July 28, 2015
And we all think...
A day after that tweet, Drake drops 'Back To Back'. And while it doesn't have anything near the same power as a classic rap diss, it's a satisfying mic drop conclusion. Drake throws everything in the pot and makes it seem easy; bringing up the validity of Meek's 'world tour', calling out previous nemesis Charlamagne Tha God, and offering words of advice to old ally Nicki Minaj ("Make sure you hit him with the prenup"). And then there are lines which make it all worthwhile like this - "Yeah, trigger fingers turn to twitter fingers/Yeah, you gettin' bodied by a singin' nigga". Which pretty much sum up the entire situation.
Of course, in the grand history of rap beefs - just see Nas' ’Ether’ if you want to get schooled - this squabble is all rather weak sauce. But it's been fun for a week; producing some fire rhymes from Drake, and showing Meek Mill up for the joke we sorta knew he was.
’Back to Back Freestyle’
Kate Solomon: In the grand scheme of things I care about, Drake v Meek Mill is just below what happened in your dream last night. That said, I quite like angry Drake and this track is fine to listen to a couple of times and then forget about forever - but some of his disses fall flat if you think about them too much. I don’t see the problem with Meek Mill opening for his girlfriend because it is 2015 and to say that the man should be “the successful one” in a relationship is a bit 1955 even for the rap game. And let’s not forget that Meek Mill’s girlfriend is Nicki fucking Minaj. Opening for Nicki Minaj is not particularly emasculating even if you are the woman-hating cry baby that I sort of suspect Drake is deep down. “You’re on tour with your girlfriend, you get to watch each other kill it every night, you’re probably having a lovely time together on the road.” Yeah, sick burn bro. Still. The song is fine.
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
What is a “release” any more? Is it when a song goes on YouTube/Soundcloud, the first time it’s on the radio or when it’s released on Fridays to stream on Apple/Spotify/RDIO/Deezer/etc?! Some people release songs on Tuesdays too. So these are “some songs that went online at some point in the past week”.
’Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo)’
by EL VY
Kate Solomon: This is a wonderful pop song. It’s like listening to The National through a kaleidoscope, which I’m aware doesn’t really make sense but then neither does this song. At all. It’s such joyous nonsense, it can only be a coded message to a secret agent who is so deep undercover that they have to be reached through the medium of slightly sad upbeat pop music. It’s also cool that they put their name at the beginning so you know how to pronounce it.
Sean Adams: Maybe it’s because I listened to something really loud before putting it on but this is very 'pleasant'. It sort of reminds me of when The Shins got content with life, so went all soppy - verging on smug and boring (The Shins were my favourite band in the whole of emo-indie before that). I’m glad The National chap is not always miserable tho.
Ride or Die’
by THE ICARUS LINE
Kate Solomon: I tried playing my dad some Kanye West once and he got quite angry trying to get his head around why anyone would want to listen to it. I think what I hear when I listen to The Icarus Line is what my dad hears when I put on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Sean Adams: Ha! And yet what I hear is guitars melting beneath an apocalyptic sun, as rock n’ roll - music’s own cockroach - squeals for its life, sheltering beneath a wall of noise. Like Metal Machine Music, it’s magnificent in its not giving a jot how listenable it is. It’s raw, it’s powerful, but it isn’t harking back to Raw Power. It makes me feel all the parts of me that are dead inside that it’s like meditation to help me feel ruly alive. That’s what I want from rock n’ roll (not to be confused with ye olde rock & roll). Please play this to your Dad, Kate.
’What Part Of Me’
Kate Solomon: Low get more and more uptempo with every passing song. This is almost perky! I’m into it.
’World War Pt 2’
by AUTRE NE VEUT
Kate Solomon: When you do yoga (which I do, sort of, using YouTube videos made by a woman in Austin), you’re always being told to try to open yourself up and find space - space between your shoulders and your ears, for example. No one finds spaces between beats like Autre Ne Veut does. This song, which is a part two of the last song on 2013’s absolutely killer sex-anthem compendium Anxiety, weaves samples and vocals through gaps you’d never even know were there. It’s still sultry, but World War Pt 2 makes me blush less to listen in public than anything on Anxiety did. Wouldn’t recommend sticking the video on when you’re working in a cafe surrounded by kids though.
’Succulent Thunder Anthem’
Gemma Samways: “You’re not my friend, you’re not my friend / You are so strange, you are so strange / GET OUT!” Good to see you again too, Traams. No, really – ‘Succulent Thunder Anthem’ is a speeding freight train (traain?) of a comeback single from the Brighton-based trio. Imagine an angrier, scuzzier ‘Caught By The Fuzz’, howled rather than sung, and peppered with brilliant, barely-contained threats like, “Please don’t slip and break your neck, you know there’s ice on the road...” Actually, don’t imagine it – just listen.
Kate Solomon: I’ve only been in a mosh pit once. I was 14, watching some terrible rock band playing to a half empty Wulfrun Hall, a tiny 5ft waif who hates people and being near people but it was a rock gig and that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? It was horrible. I lasted about a song until some guy came over with his male privilege, picked me up and moved me to the side of the crowd - which was obviously totally unacceptable and deeply embarrassing but also, sort of, kind of, a huge relief. So yeah. Now I save the patriarchy a job and just stand at the side near the back or, if it’s a particularly sedate European crowd, at the side near the front. That first experience cured me of any real desire to go into a crowd and get feisty, but some songs flick that switch inside me. Some Cloud Nothings songs. Japandroids. A couple of Metz tracks. This one from Traams.
’I Can Change (LCD Soundsystem Cover)’
by EZRA FURMAN
Gemma Samways: Suspend your disbelief for a moment, and imagine a world where Radio 1’s Live Lounge isn’t a safe space for Alex Turner to shit on Girls Aloud’s greatest hits, or for Slaves to feign cultural relevance by piggybacking on Skepta’s (vastly) superior talent. In this parallel lounge-iverse, you’ll find one of the most charismatic songwriters of the past few years covering one of the greatest bands of the 21st century. Except, this isn’t a fantasy – it actually happened, just not in the plush surrounds of Broadcasting House. Swapping the kitsch synth sounds and programmed beats of LCD Soundsystem’s original for roughly-strummed acoustic guitar and typically world-weary vocals, Ezra Furman succeeds in exposing the very human heartbreak beneath ‘I Can Change’s metallic sheen. Never change, Ezra.
Tom Fenwick: Ezra Furman x LCD Soundsystem = Awesome Loveliness
by NOVA TWINS
Sean Adams: If Royal Blood were “girls”? The “female” Slaves? Recently hyped rock no marks reign supreme in the press release from the (somewhat unrelenting) PR who chose to highlight this track. Sadly, they nearly as bad as the requirement to include a gender caveat. Can you imagine people calling Kate Bush the female David Bowie? Or someone calling Marilyn Manson the male Lady Gaga? Whatever. The tune is nearly as bad as the press gumph. “YEAH? YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!” You can keep yelling it all you like but no. Just no. Thank you.
In this section members of the DiS team recommend personal favourites from recent weeks.
by HAILEE STEINFELD
Chosen by Kate Solomon: Hey! I am so into all the gang vocals in pop at the moment. I was originally going to start by saying “Who knew the girl from True Grit had this amazing pop banger in her?” but she’s the girl from True Grit, in which she is the only character with True Actual Grit and this is a song that is basically about having True Grit and being amazing without needing anyone else around so, really, we should all have known it all along. Memo to Mattman and Robin who produced this (as well as producing All You Had To Do Was Stay which is excellent and Run Away With Me which is even more excellent) that they could think about maybe easing off on the echo effects but well done on including lots of good loud bits and quiet bits. It’s very last-act-of-a-teen-movie when the main character realises she actually doesn’t need a boyfriend after all even though she will end up with one at prom because that’s how teen movies work. In short: it is great. I can almost forgive Hailee Steinfeld for being in the Bad Blood video after this. Almost.
'Together We're Pstereo'
Chosen by Sean Adams: I’m off to Oya festival next week. After listening to a hundred(s) of so Norweigan bands I thought the playlist had reverted back to my record collection. Drape’s mix of Mew, Flaming Lips and something wonderfully ‘other’ hooked me right in. I'll probably be the one in the front row mouthing all the words to 'Together We're Pstereo'.
To send us your track drop an email to singles [AT] drownedinsound [dot] com.
You can follow this week's contributor's on Twitter: @katiesol, @gemtriesharder, @tomdefeat and @seaninsound.