Editor’s Note: I am happy to welcome Ben Gladman as the new writer of PearShaped’s Listening Post. Ben’s musical taste differs quite a bit from our previous writer Alex so it’ll be great to see the variety he can bring to our ears every fortnight.
1. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy
It seems irreverent to look at the nightmarish events of the past 12 months and think, “At least we’ll get some good art out of it”, especially after listening to Father John Misty’s mid-show rant last year in which he attacks entertainment as “stupid”. Behind the irony, however, is one of his finest songs. The lyrics are moving and often clever, the instrumentation is subtle but apt, and the song builds into a defiant absurdist climax before the hopeful and yet terrifying ending: “I hate to say it, but each other’s all we’ve got.”
2. Dirty Projectors – Up In Hudson
The third single from the upcoming Dirty Projectors release once again tackles the break-up between frontman David Longstreth and ex-bandmate Amber Coffman. Compared to the bitter Keep Your Name and the despairing Little Bubble, however, Up In Hudson is a different beast, and the best advertisement for the LP yet. Seven and a half minutes of experimental effects, luscious brass, and heartfelt lyrics fly by. The chorus is catchy, powerful, and original in equal measure.
3. Spoon – Hot Thoughts
One of rock’s most consistent bands return with another great track. What at first seems to be a fairly simple and underwhelming tune grows over several listens; its secret lies in many small but creative details, such as the creative structuring, wonderfully textured guitar solos, and Britt Daniel’s characteristic gritty vocals. Even funkier than their usual output, and ripe for air-drumming.
4. Real Estate – Darling
Real Estate’s music is always a treat. Their newest release opens with a characteristically chilled and intricate guitar part that gives way to reverb laden vocals and swirling synthesisers. The bass and drums finish off the mixture perfectly, rhythmic, laid-back and promising. The lyrics, like the music, are simple and repetitive, but all the more effective for their minimalism. This is a song to listen to on an early spring walk while the sun shines but doesn’t quite warm yet.
5. Cloud Nothings – Enter Entirely
While the opening guitar starts suspiciously like The Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction, the rest of the song takes a significant enough departure to ignore the similarity. Enter Entirely is dynamic and constantly inventive, with a wonderful guitar solo and energetic vocals. It’s arguably the strongest track on their new album (although Modern Act also warrants consideration), and launches into a perfectly messy ending which is exuberant without straying too far into incoherent territory.
Listen to the PearShaped Listening Post #17 Playlist below.