New Music Friday: March 3, 2017

Grandaddy - Last PlaceIf you are a music geek like me, you probably know Friday is music’s Global Release Day which means we always get a bunch of new albums before the weekend! To celebrate our favorite day of the week, every Friday I will share a Spotify playlist with singles from some of the week’s new albums.

The artists and albums featured on this week’s playlist are: Grandaddy (Last Place), Blanck Mass (World Eater), Sleaford Mods (English Tapes), Temples (Volcano) and WHY? (Moh Lhean).

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New Music Friday: February 24, 2017

Vagabon - Infinite WorldsIf you are a music geek like me, you probably know Friday is music’s Global Release Day which means we always get a bunch of new albums before the weekend! To celebrate our favorite day of the week, every Friday I will share a Spotify playlist with singles from some of the week’s new albums.

The artists and albums featured on this week’s playlist are: Vagabon (Infinite Worlds), Dirty Projectors (self-titled album), Los Campesinos! (Sick Scenes), Thundercat (Drunk) and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (Flying Microtonal Banana).

Grammys ’17 Recap

Grammy AwardsIt’s that time of the year! After all the hard work, it’s time for the artists to get some deserved recognition. That would be an irrefutable truth if we weren’t talking about the Gramophone Award. Oh, the sweet Grammys… The Recording Academy always manage to find some new ways to piss me off and this year was certainly no exception. I don’t even know where to start…

Firstly, let’s congratulate Adele for winning the most important awards of the ceremony (including the Grammy for Album of the Year). Her third album, 25, was a huge hit and managed to sell more than 20 million copies which is an incredible feat in the streaming era. Having in mind that this ceremony celebrated the music released between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, it’s safe to say that 25 was the most successful album from that period. But wait a second! Are the Grammys celebrating popularity or honoring quality? Because this year I genuinely start to wonder which one of them was their primary criterion. So, after some quick research, I found this on their official website:

The GRAMMYs are the only peer-presented award to honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position.

Holy fucking shit! Please tell me you read the same words I just did. Are they telling us that 25 was “the” excellent album/greatest artistic achievement in the music industry between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016? It surely was, if you only listen to FM radio and Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits. Let’s be honest here: we all know it wasn’t. This isn’t even one of those times where you can play the subjectivity card because there were just so many great records release during those 365 days, that it’s almost impossible to deny it. Listen, 25 is a solid album and will certainly be viewed as one of the decade’s landmarks in pop music but when you have the artist herself stating that her own record isn’t the album of the year, that’s the type of stuff that completely validates the point.

It was a beautiful and humble gesture from Adele to recognize that Beyoncé should have won the award. If there’s an album that was both a huge critical and commercial success is Lemonade. Sure, the Academy’s choice didn’t end up being a total disaster (thank God, we don’t have to watch the alternative reality where Views is considered the best album of the year by some random group of people) but the problem was already in their nominations. Let’s analyze them: we already discussed 25‘s case and its nomination is totally acceptable; Lemonade was one of 2016’s best albums and, like 25, was also a commercial success. Then we have A Sailor’s Guide to Earth from Sturgill Simpson, a pick that came completely out of nowhere. The album is pretty okay (not really my cup of tea) and was also quite praised but the only reason I can come up for why they chose it is because the Academy not only wanted some country record for consideration but they also wanted an “underdog” candidate so the logical solution they ended up with was using an alternative country album. The remaining candidates didn’t even deserve to be there, period. An Academy that is driven by artistic excellence cannot nominate Views or Purpose as possible winners of the Album of the Year. I mean, Views is just flat out boring and is also probably Drake’s worst music, so far. What really pisses me off is that there was a ton of great albums to pick from. Shouldn’t they use this whole ceremony to congratulate quality work from artists that are less-known to the general public? Solely in the United States, the live ceremony was watched by more than 20 million people and I’m not even counting the millions of people that followed the Grammys through social media and YouTube. Besides the Super Bowl halftime show, this is surely one of the most watched music events of the year which means there are a lot (and I mean, a fucking lot) of casual music fans following all of this. Shouldn’t The Recording Academy use the Grammy Awards to encourage people to buy more records? Why the fuck are you giving all the important distinctions to someone who has the best selling album of the decade? Everyone knows Adele and everyone knows 25 and Hello. That stuff is everywhere. This is equivalent to the Academy Awards giving the Oscar for Best Picture to Furious 7 because it is one of the highest-grossing films ever. If they don’t have the courage to give the award to an unknown act, please just give it to Beyoncé. Even if she’s one of music’s biggest celebrities, I personally know some music fans that, until a couple of months ago, didn’t even know Knowles had released a new album. Lemonade was a huge hit between the music medium (critics, hardcore fans, fellow artists) but it wasn’t the biggest album of her career in termBeck at the 2015 Grammy Awardss of general awareness and popularity. The album’s best single, Formation, “only” reached the number 10 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and Lemonade itself didn’t reached the 2 million sold copies in the United States. Alongside her 2013 self-titled record, this album represents Beyoncé at her artistic peak showcasing great musical and lyrical maturity that her 2000’s work simply couldn’t do. Both of those records will certainly be viewed as two of the best pop albums of the decade, some years from now. And what amazes me is that neither one of them get their deserved recognition at their respective award ceremony. The self-titled album even lost to Pharrell Williams’ G I R L on the Best Urban Contemporary Album category and the Album of the Year award went to Beck’s Morning Phase, which is a good record but I’m not even sure if it’s among Beck’s top 3 albums (and I still remember Kanye’s lovely rant after the show about how Beck should “respect artistry” and give the award to Beyoncé… classic Kanye). Maybe they felt the need to award Beck’s incredible career with that Grammy but you just can’t neglect other amazing albums just to correct the Academy’s past mistakes and give the distinction to someone who should have won a long time ago. Still better than giving the award to Sam Smith’s mediocre piece of work, I guess (he won Record of the Year, though). I’m moving away from the original point but this just proves how their annual selections are a complete mess.

The winner’s choices weren’t the only thing that managed to upset me. Even if now I’m on Beyoncé’s side, when the Academy first revealed this year’s nominations, I have to say that I was pretty shocked by one particular choice in the Best Rock Performance nominations. Why the hell would you propose Don’t Hurt Yourself as one of the best rock songs (or performances, whatever) from the whole fucking year? What’s next? Daddy Lessons as Country Song of the Year? I mean, Lemonade is really diverse. The album explores numerous musical textures and genres and the whole record ends up to be pretty cohesive and inspirational. That’s what makes it one of 2016’s best albums. But that isn’t enough justification for them to grab the only rock song from the record and name it one of the genre’s best performances from the last 365 days. It’s fucking unbelievable and a tremendous lack of respect for the dozens of great (and young) rock bands releasing music every month. No wonder we have to face new long-pieces about the end of rock and roll every goddamn week. Weezer, Touché Amoré, Mitski, Car Seat Headrest, Swans, Parquet Courts, Radiohead all released great rock albums/songs in 2016. If you want some names associated with the more “classic” rock sound, please have some of them: Deftones, Alter Bridge and Iggy Pop also released solid albums last year. The Academy doesn’t have any excuses. Don’t Hurt Yourself is okay but isn’t extraordinary enough to deserve its own nomination. Some more thoughts about the rock categories: 1) who thought that Sound of Silence cover by Disturbed was good enough to be mentioned? Again, with so many good new songs, the fact they picked a cover (an awful one) as one of the year’s best performances is just beyond my understanding; 2) if someone out there thinks Death of a Bachelor is a rock record, please comment on the post to tell me so (and as I’ve mentioned a couple of times, my own definition of “rock music” is very fluid, but there has to be some kind of frontier). The same could also apply to the Twenty One Pilots, but I kinda have a soft spot for the duo; 3) having The Chainsmokers presenting the Best Rock Song category was a really bad decision and one of the most what-the-fuck moments of the cerimony; 4) speaking of what-the-fuck moments, someone please give James Hetfield a well-functioning microphone (I found the whole scene hilarious, though).

Chance The Rapper at the 2017 Grammy AwardsBecause I don’t just want to talk about the negative stuff, here goes some positive takes: really liked to see Solange getting some love with her win in the Best R&B Performance category with the excellent Cranes in the Sky (didn’t understand why she wasn’t nominated for Best Urban Contemporary or Best R&B Album, though); happy that Chance The Rapper won some awards, not only in the Hip-Hop/Rap categories but also by getting the Best New Artist distinction (is he really a new artist?); I would like to give a shout-out to the Academy for giving David Bowie some deserve recognition: Blackstar (the song) won the Grammys for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance and Blackstar (the album) got the Best Alternative Music Album and Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical) distinctions. But after some words of praise, please let me go back to my original mission because I have to mention two major points about Blackstar in this year’s Grammys. The first one is trying to understand why did the Academy had to wait more than 40 years to award Bowie with some major recognition (the only Grammy award he won in his lifetime was the Best Music Video for Blue Jean). When I was researching about the history of the Grammys, this was one of the facts that shocked me the most, since Bowie released so many iconic albums throughout his eclectic and long career. (Side note: as I was researching some stats, I was shocked to know that Björk has been nominated 14 times for a Grammy Award and she didn’t get the award on every one of those occasions. She was literally nominated every time she released an album since Post in 1995. Every album since that one was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album. She’s the fifth most nominated artist to have never won in Grammy Awards history. That’s crazy). The second one is about how the album wasn’t able to crack into the general categories (Album/Record/Song of the Year). This one hurts even more, because if we really think about it, their dumb logic says that Purpose and Views were better albums than Blackstar. Following that line of thought, we can also state the Academy thinks both 7 Years by Lukas Graham and I Took a Pill in Ibiza by Mike Posner are better songs than Blackstar or Lazarus or any other of the album’s tracks. Anyone with minimal popular musical knowledge (or someone with, I don’t know… common sense?) would disagree with that statement. Something just isn’t right with the people who vote in these categories. For an Academy that supposedly privileges “artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence”, they shouldn’t exclude Blackstar from what essentially was their top 5 albums of the year. It’s completely understandable that everyone has a different view and opinion, but my guess is that they have (or, at least, should have) a varied panel of judges and the average of their decisions should have some similarities with the rest of the music industry’s opinions. My own opinion is that the Recording Academy should stop for a minute and take a look at themselves. Reflect about recent years’ choices. Reflect about how you can award a beautiful album like The Suburbs in 2011 and then award a mediocre Arcade Fire copycat like Mumford and Sons’ Babel in 2013. Reflect about how Adele and Taylor Swift both have two Album of the Year awards and iconic artists like Bowie and Beyoncé can’t even win in the general categories. Reflect about the lack of diversity in those general categories and about why artists like Frank Ocean refuse to even submit their own work to the Academy’s consideration. Let’s hope they do that and come back with some better judgement next year.

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New Music Friday: February 17, 2017

The Courtneys - The Courtneys IIIf you are a music geek like me, you probably know Friday is music’s Global Release Day which means we always get a bunch of new albums before the weekend! To celebrate our favorite day of the week, every Friday I will share a Spotify playlist with singles from some of the week’s new albums.

The artists and albums featured on this week’s playlist are: The Courtneys (The Courtneys II), Ryan Adams (Prisoner), regular Kendrick Lamar collaborator Anna Wise (The Feminine: Act II), Meat Wave (The Incessant) and Ought frontman Tim Darcy (Saturday Night).

New Music Friday: February 10, 2017

Paul White & Danny Brown - AcceleratorIf you are a music geek like me, you probably know Friday is music’s Global Release Day which means we always get a bunch of new albums before the weekend! To celebrate our favorite day of the week, every Friday I will share a Spotify playlist with singles from some of the week’s new albums.

The artists and albums featured on this week’s playlist are: Paul White & Danny Brown (Accelerator EP), Teen Daze (Themes for Dying Earth), The Sadies (Northern Passages), Meatbodies (Alice) and Lupe Fiasco (DROGAS Light).

Priests – “Nothing Feels Natural”

Priests - Nothing Feels NaturalMany times, when I think of the words “post” and “punk”, the first thing that pops into my mind is the post-punk revivalism period of the early 2000’s (unfortunately). There’s not much music from that era that I can enjoy nowadays (not that I could appreciate it back in the day, because I couldn’t). I mean, “Is This It” is great and I like some of the era’s landmark albums but the majority of the bands were just drawing from a specific style and aesthetic that was essentially a fusion of the post-punk movement, that exploded between the late 70s and early 80s, with pre-80s garage rock. And I’m not simply talking about the sound, I’m also referring to their behavior and fashion style (exhibit A: take a look at this picture… This looks like a photograph of some of Lou Reed’s friends taken at a random NYC pub in the mid 70’s, right? Wrong! It’s just The Strokes around 2000). There wasn’t much innovation during that revival and if a certain band had their name started with “The” (like The Hives, The Libertines, The Vines, etc.) there was a high probability that I would not stand their music. It’s really nothing personal against those groups, many of them were immensely popular back in the day and there were some really talented musicians involved. I just find most of the music pretty bland and uninspired. So, even though there have been some interesting and creative output from some young post-punk bands, like Viet Cong (now Preoccupations), Savages or Ought, it’s only natural that when I’m confronted with a new “post-punk” labeled group, I’ll take their hype with a grain of salt. Fortunately, this band from Washington, D.C. seems like the real deal.

Priests have been making exciting music since 2012. They released their excellent EP Bodies and Control and Money and Power almost three years ago and they have followed that with their debut album, Nothing Feels Natural. The record kicks off in great fashion with Appropriate, that’s easily one of their best songs from their catalog. It starts with this addictive drumming pattern and with Katie Alice Greer shouting really loud about tasting maggots. Greer has a quite eccentric vocal style and the way her vocals can take over their songs remind me of Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, specially because both of them can be great soul singers. Although she displays great vocal range/skills, her singing doesn’t necessarily overshadows the band’s diverse instrumentation. In Appropriate, after its aggressive and fast first half, the song slows down and transforms into a chaotic climax in the form of a free-jazz experimentation. Immediately after that, we are presented with this beautiful surf-rock riff in JJ which also features Greer summing up the struggles in a past relationship as she uses the pair’s different choice of cigarettes as an analogy to those differences/difficulties.

One funny thing is that, contrary to the album’s title, their songs can sound pretty natural to the listener. The album sounds urgent and all the members aren’t afraid of naturally displaying their current anxiety through their respective means. Of course, at the end of the day, they are a “punk” band who originally are from the US capital. Last Inauguration Day, they successfully organized an alternative music event, very different to the one that featured beloved American acts like Toby Keith and 3 Doors Down (yikes), called “NO THANKS: A Night of Anti-Fascist Sound Resistance in the Capital of the USA”. It was held at D.C.’s Black Cat and featured artists like Sadie Dupois (from Speedy Ortiz) and Waxahatchee with all profits going to the Casa Ruby LGBT Community Center and ONE DC (Organizing Neighborhood Equity). As Greer explain it in an interview with the Observer, they feel the duty of being politically proactive after the country’s latest events and they were happy that the event could actually happen :

I’m really happy that everything came together. As much as it’s scary to be outside in our city right now, it’s been really reassuring to be at community events, see so many faces and feel like we all have each other’s backs. There was a benefit for the D.C. Abortion Fund on Thursday night that also sold out, and some bands on the record label that we run, Sister Polygon, were playing. So it’s been really nice to psychically hug one another and be together in such a catastrophic time.

But even though Priests is a political band (Greer actually thinks that all art is political and she explains it one excellent The Creative Independent interview), they were able to achieve a nice level of subtlety in their lyrical work. Their lyrics are intelligent enough to not being simply reduced to a “fuck this and screw that” dynamic. The album’s third track, Nicki, is a good example of that. Greer has a great moment of self-assurance in this, as she angrily sings:

Keep your copper keep your pearls I’m the stubbornest girl in the world
You’ll never drive a harder bargain than me
Yes, it’s true, I want more
I want more and more and more
Got more appetite than a bear or a forest full of mouths to feed
So save your paltry dowry
I’m gonna buy you before you buy me

The way Greer doesn’t give in to anyone’s desires/instructions and how she can’t settle for less (“I want more and more and more”) can be (and probably is) related to the fact that this track was previously called “Donald Trump” (for the sake of that subtlety, I’m glad they change it). And in the surreal narrative of Pink White House she’s more than ready to shoot down the expensive and way too much materialistic American dream. These are probably my favorite lines from the record:

Come on palm trees, come on soft seas, come on vacation, come on SUV
Oooh baby my American dream oooh baby my American dream
Come on sitcom, come on streaming, come on nostalgia, nineties TV
Oooh baby my American dream oooh baby my American dream
Come on nothing, come on surface meaning, come on cash grab, safety masturbating
Oooh baby my American dream oooh baby my American dream
“I am not done fundraising, I am anticipating, appreciation, new age painting”

What I love about this record isn’t just their lyrical statements, though. Priests managed to mature their sound even further since their 2014 EP. They already had shown some signs of promise as Bodies and Control and Money and Power displayed the band’s multiple punk facets. There were fuzz-centered tracks like Right Wing and more “by-the-book” punk songs like Doctor (they surely must be Sleater-Kinney fans).

This time is no different, it’s like each one of the songs offers us a different musical landscape to go along with their constant ideals. In the track No Big Bang, Greer takes a step back and drummer Daniele Daniele is in charge of the vocals. She delivers a great 3-minute piece of spoken word about existentialism and the style of this song remind me of Kim Gordon-led Sonic Youth tunes. There’s actually no track on the record that better transpires anxiety than this song. You don’t even need to listen to it to realize that, just take a look at these lines:

Those times when your mind is a rocket propelling you through space so fast but it can flip all at once
Suddenly I realize the rocket is just a prison
A small contained space with no real food, no companionship, no time passing, no gravity

Then, we also have the title track, Nothing Feels Natural, which sees Priests flirting with shoegaze territory with their dreamy guitar riffs. Greer shows great versatility as she adapts her eccentric vocal style into a more low-key approach that seems more appropriate to the song’s atmosphere.

The album ends up to be more cohesive than one could thought if we consider all the different styles they end up using. Nothing Feels Natural is an amazing punk record, even if this doesn’t sound like the prototypical punk album. That’s totally okay because this album, in my honest opinion, represents what the so-called “post-punk” should be all about. It’s all about embracing punk’s spirit/attitude into an always-evolving varied group of sound textures. We shouldn’t be limited to 2 and a half minutes’ songs with three-chord guitar structures or listen to a whole album of bass-centered songs. If you pay attention to this album’s sound, Priests manage to almost always escape from those “punk clichés” as many of the tracks run for more than 3 minutes and most of the songs privilege more complex music structures than the simpler and usual guitar chords/bass-leading lines. Nothing Feels Natural displays punk’s artsy fluidity in the same way Fugazi and NoMeansNo did a couple of decades ago and bands like Priests make the type of punk music that is desperately needed in 2017.

Nothing Feels Natural is out now on Sister Polygon Records:

Uncensored Sounds #2: Pure Comedy

Father John MistyNot long ago, I joked/seriously-questioned Father John Misty‘s placement on the latest Coachella poster. I mean, I Love You, Honeybear was put out almost two years ago and Joshua Tillman has toured relentlessly since then, so was there a real necessity to have an artist that made the festival’s line-up in 2013 and 2015? In my view, every musical act should take a break from the circuit every once in a while in order to reinvent themselves and create an heavier demand/expectation from the fans. If your band makes the festival’s line-up every two years, that probably means one of two things: you release albums almost every year or you play the same setlist over and over again. Neither of the two are good options. If you release albums all the time, unless your name is Ty Garrett Segall, there’s an high probability that the quality of your work eventually starts to thin out. And if you’re all over the festival circuit performing the same songs every couple of years (hello Pixies), they start not feeling so special, even to hardcore fans. But, after all, Father John Misty’s appearance in the Valley this upcoming April has the potential to be very special. This past week, Tillman announced his third album in his FJM persona and shared the record’s title track, Pure Comedy. And, unlike most of the songs I listen to for the very first time, this one immediately hit me hard. This song just felt different.

Until three or four years ago, I only knew Joshua Tillman was the drummer for that hip indie folk group that had an absurd amount of hype which I couldn’t really understand at the time (yeah, I’m talking about Fleet Foxes). They never really grabbed my attention, and I only saw them as an ‘alright’ band. Then, in late 2014, Tillman went to David Letterman’s late-night show to play a track featured on his then yet-to-be-released album, I Love You, Honeybear. That performance instantly blew my mind and is now one of my favorite TV’s performances ever. If you hadn’t heard or watch it, please take 5 minutes off your busy day to witness Tillman’s amazing rendition of Bored in the USA. Although the majority of ILYHB is semi-biographical and centered around his life and personality (sometimes in a bit too much Kanye-esque fashion), many people can relate to this specific song since it describes the always ongoing struggles of the middle-class Western lives.

This performance also perfectly describes Father John Misty’s style in his usual live act. I firstly saw him in concert last summer and even if I wasn’t able to watch the whole show (unfortunately), that sample was enough to realize how theatrical he can be while playing his excellent catalog. Tillman often pointed to the sky in despair, gloriously extended his arms wide open and even let himself fall to the floor of the stage in dramatic fashion. Well, to put it simply, he’s just an overly-dramatic performer. Sometimes, I can’t distinguish if he’s being himself or if some of his actions are just a reflection of his artistic persona. What happens most of the time is probably a mix of both. Tillman certainly writes/sings about events happening in his own personal life but he also can’t separate his work from what’s happening in today’s society and give his personal take on the world’s latest series of actions and behaviors.

I personally like the way Tillman uses his various artistic gimmicks: the way he seems bored in the middle of the song, how he climbs to the top of the piano and yells “Save me white Jesus”, the laughing track he inserted during the “Oh, they gave me a useless education / And a subprime loan / On a craftsman home / Keep my prescriptions filled / And now I can’t get off” lines. But I mean, this is not for everyone’s taste. After he wraps up this performance, it’s clearly visible how the crowd is absolutely stunned by that point. Immediately after he finishes the song, there’s this couple of seconds of awkward silence that, to me, just scream: “Did he just fucking do that???”. I bet there were a dozen people from that crowd that instantly became Father John Misty fans but I also believe there were people there that felt some kind of discomfort with his performance. Not that this Late Show appearance was that controversial, because it really wasn’t (the award for most controversial performance in late night television still goes for Sinéad O’Connor‘s stunningly uncomfortable Saturday Night Live performance in 1992). It’s just that he can be a bit too much preachy and I completely understand those who can’t enjoy his songs because of that reason. I understand that many people aren’t always in the mood of listening to a thirty-something white dude yelling in their headphones about the rise and fall of the modern society. For example, me and my brother regularly record personalized CDs for car travels, because FM radio surely can be boring. Our CDs normally have 20 tracks: each one chooses half of the track list. For one of these, I stupidly made the mistake of having Bored in the USA as the closing track. I don’t think we ever listened to the whole song in the car. My brother always insists in skipping the song (I think, emphasis on the think, he just can’t stand the guy) but I have to be honest here: what the fuck was I thinking anyway? Father John Misty isn’t exactly a dude who has happy and fun songs to singalong in the middle of an hundred mile ride (and even if we consider some of them to be like that, Bored in the USA is not in that group).

Anyway, even if one can’t stand his obnoxious style, there’s no denying that Tillman is a natural-born performer and was destined to be more than just a drummer and secondary voice to an indie folk band. He’s way more popular in 2017 than I would have thought he could be back in 2015, when he launched I Love You, Honeybear. There’s probably people who just dig his attractive voice and grandiose showing without thinking too much into his lyrical themes. Tillman often shows great musical sensibility and that’s present in the excellent covers he played throughout the last couple of years: I really enjoy his covers of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs (watch below) and Nirvana’s Heart-Shaped Box but he has also covered songs from  The Flaming Lips, Leonard Cohen and Nine Inch Nails, to name a few examples (the NIN cover is probably the most unexpected/strange one, but it’s great nonetheless).

But as time goes on, it seems his lyrical interests are converging to a more political field than to an auto-reflection of his daily misadventures. And he’s getting into an even more serious tone. As the title track for his upcoming new album, Pure Comedy, showcases, Tillman isn’t just fucking around anymore. Contradicting the new song’s title, he’s done using laughing tracks between lines to lighten the track’s mood. Before I start to talk about the details of this new song/album, just a friendly warning: if you didn’t enjoy his preachy tone from the previous work, don’t even bother listening to this one.

When I first listened to it, I got similar vibes to the ones I received while watching the Bored in the USA performance for the first time. Like the previous one, Pure Comedy starts as a melancholic piano rock ballad and with Tillman singing about how one’s life (the comedy) starts as a fragile, half-formed being and how each one of them are dependent of external factors (mainly their educators). Actually, he explains it in a long essay he wrote about his inspirations while making the album:

Pure Comedy is the story of a species born with a half-formed brain. The species’ only hope for survival, finding itself on a cruel, unpredictable rock surrounded by other species who seem far more adept at this whole thing (and to whom they are delicious), is the reliance on other, slightly older, half-formed brains. This reliance takes on a few different names as their story unfolds, like “love,” “culture,” “family,” etc. Over time, and as their brains prove to be remarkably good at inventing meaning where there is none, the species becomes the purveyor of increasingly bizarre and sophisticated ironies. These ironies are designed to help cope with the species’ loathsome vulnerability and to try and reconcile how disproportionate their imagination is to the monotony of their existence.

Holy shit, he’s getting this to a whole new level. I miss the times when he just wrote about spending all night drunk and totally wasted while realizing that he was just ready to become the ideal husband. As the song progresses, Tillman continues his cynical ride through the controversial themes of religion and politics, for example. All this with the visual aid of the song’s official video that is filled with all kinds of modern society representations you can think off the top of your head (sure, you can count with footage from the last US election cycle). Even Pepe the fucking Frog is there. The album’s original artwork, that is also featured in the video, is pretty damn awesome though. I also really dig the instrumental climax around the 4 minute mark (the horns are great but they can unlock a whole new level of Tillman-sponsored dramatics too).

The thing with this is: I’m not even sure what to think about the track yet. I like the song, but at the same time I reflect upon it (and his previous work) and I don’t know if Tillman just likes to be dramatic only for the sake of it. Sure, there’s been an huge amount of turmoil recently but we’re all gonna be alright at the end. Is there a limit to his ultra-preachy behavior? Are his songs just a big recipient of fresh irony? Are lines like “I hate to say it / but each other’s all we got” a bit too much? I don’t know, that’s for everyone of you to judge and answer. His album is expected to drop this next April (4/7) but he has been releasing songs every three days since last week, so maybe we can expect the record to drop even sooner than the original release date. For now, I’ve said enough about the man. Maybe after we can hear all the tracks meshed together, I can tell what I really feel about this. Let’s wait and see.

Anyway, here’s a playlist featuring some of the stuff that I’ve been shuffling lately. Take care!