It’s official: Manny Fresh is venturing into new waters. I’ve traditionally only done Weekly Magic for the 70’s, a truly diverse time period for music which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring. From here on out, though, I will be hopping around all time periods to provide y’all with the tracks that I’ve been enjoying lately.
Since Ana Tame introduced me to Mitski’s “Bury Me at Makeout Creek”, I haven’t been able to go too long without listening all the way through it. I know I am a little late to Mitski’s bandwagon, but better late than never right? It has easily been one of my favorite albums I’ve listened to this year and I wish I would’ve been introduced to it sooner.
Although it’s been a solid listen through and through, the one song that I’ve really enjoyed every time I listen to the album is “I Will”. Right from the jump, the bass line slaps you in the face grabs and keeps you engaged throughout the track. The passion in Mitski’s voice is dripping all over this track, which is what stuck out to me most when I initially heard this record. As the track progresses, there’s a desperation in her voice to the subject of the track that looms larger the deeper you get into the track. The tone of the track swerves into a more positive vibe as Mitski hums her way to close the curtain on this song and a sense of resolution sweeps over the listener as the track finishes up.
Respectfully yours, Manny Fresh
PSA, if you have not already, please go listen through “Bury Me at Makeout Creek”. You are doing yourself a massive disservice if you have not listened to this album.
I’ve been waiting to be taken along the j-pop and k-pop wave, and I think I’ve found my gateway: fellas and lady fellas CHAI, an amazing pop punk all female band from Nagoya, Japan. I can’t stop listening to their track N.E.O., a song that celebrates individuality and body positivity. The song oozes of happiness, and every time I listen to it, I feel like Remy, the rat from Ratatouille when he shows his brother, Emile, how amazing food can actually be.
There’s just so many good elements that work so nicely together. There’s powerful emotion behind the vocals; it feels like someone is yelling at me to love myself but in the kindest way. The chunky bass and drums pair so well together, while the guitar and synth add an airy, brightness which is the rhythm section's perfect counterpart, creating an amazing balance that has made me listen to this track 5 times today.
This song is also so empowering and embodies the spirit of punk rock. Chai is a group of debasers who are re-writing what “kawaii” or cute means in Japanese culture. Their mantra is neo-kawaii and it's simply: “everybody’s complexities should be called kawaii, because there’s real beauty in each individual.” “You are beautiful, you are kawaii, because everybody has a different kawaii-ness.”I love what Chai stands for, and their music makes me so incredibly happy. I’ve been listening to an exhausting amount of 80s/90s moody, dark wave. So, this song feels like the sunshine that I desperately needed.
Hello fellow music nerds. This week I luckily came across such an amazing track titled “Take” by Le Montro, which I can only really describe as an explosion of psychedelia. The song is a desert mirage that makes me feel like I’m floating, and I don’t care what you’re doing; I guarantee you’ll stop whatever you’re doing and think “What the fuck is this amazing song?”, as I did while riding the bus. Their self-described “positive darkness” is a euphoric ratio of light and dark elements that make me feel like I’m in a daze.
The elements to the song aren’t complex, but there’s a certain intricacy to how perfectly everything works together. The chunky, heavy bassline is the perfect counterpart to the airy guitar, which basically glitters throughout the track. And it seems like the vocals sort of mimic the same relationship that the guitar and bass have. While Radi Pina’s vocals seem warm and lethargic (in the best way possible), Clarissa Kelley’s vocals have a certain inviting brightness to them. Together, and in combination with all other elements, it forms this magnetic track that I can’t seem to stop listening to.
A shoutout to the other members of Le Montro I didn’t mention: Juanes Pulido (drums and percussion) and Cori Franks (bass). You’re all amazing, and I’m so excited to hear more from you guys.
Make sure to show Le Montro some love on their Instagram and Facebook pages under lemontro!
So, I’m sitting in Starbucks, while my mind wonders aimlessly as I play some music in my headphones. I’ve spent the last couple of days delving into 80s hardcore punk; my brain is overflowing with loud, fast, and tumultuous tracks. I needed a break. So, I turned to BandCamp, and that, is where stumbled across Skirts, the brainchild of Alex Montenegro. I’m not sure what about her music caught my attention. Maybe it was the softness and doziness of her voice. Maybe it was the simplistic instrumentation, and its ability to easily captivate me. Maybe it was just the fact that I had been listening to abrasive music, and Skirts was the perfect counter balance.
Either way, I luckily came across this track from her called “Don’t Let Me Go” off her newest release, Almost Touching. I can’t seem to stop listening to it. I think there’s something really addictive and magnetic about the production of the track. Sometimes I’ll find myself staring at no particular thing for a long period of time, and I know I should probably look at something else for the fear I’ll look crazy for staring at the ground or a trash can for too long, but it feels too good, especially with this song playing in the background. It’s like, when you’re past the point of tired and you just find yourself staring at the ground, and you don’t want to shift your gaze; THIS is what this song does to me. The track has simple, core elements: having a simple yet effective chord progression that loops and winds perfectly around Montenegro’s voice, which in itself has a lure that keeps me coming back to this track.
Feel free to show Alex some love at her BandCamp account linked below. You can check out this track and the digital album its featured on, Almost Touching, as well as, pins, cassette tapes and some other dope stuff.
Xx Ana Tame Xx
I feel like I’m going really fast in a never ending dark tunnel, and then all of a sudden I see a brightness approaching from a distance as I get closer and closer to the exit. Then guitar triplets kicks in, and I am enveloped in literal sunshine. That, my friends, in unnecessary detail is how the first five seconds of this song feels like. Can we just take one moment and get completely sidetracked on the fact that guitar triplets are so underrated?! I mean, I love this track beginning to end, but let’s not get it twisted. I came for the triplets, and I stayed for Femme Fatale in the hopes the intro triplets would come up again. The energy and brightness they add rhythmically was still represented throughout the song, though, in many different elements which made me just as happy.
For example, the surf rock guitar, which tone embodies the most beautiful purple, orange, pink sunrise you would ever see brings a hint of brightness after every chorus. The drums have a really cool triplet rhythm as well that adds some nice energy throughout the chorus which is dominated by a growling bass that has a very punk "chug along" attitude. The guitar mimics the bass in the chorus, creating a competition between the dark, lethargic guitars vs. the bright, triplet spewing drums. I feel like the bass is the glue that holds the identity of this band together in this track. Sure, when I hear this song, I get patches of intense brightness, where I can almost feel the bright sun and feel hot pavement as I imagine walking on the cement path that leads to the beach. But the sticky bass doesn’t let the listener forget who Iguana Death Cult is: a kick ass garage rock band from the Netherlands.
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Xx Ana Tame Xx
This song starts out with a lo-fi humming that builds anticipation, but it's quickly met with Rico Nasty who sets the aggressive tone the song takes on. Shortly after she starts rapping, Rico’s hellish screams are added to the beat adding another layer of aggression to the song. If this is the first time you’re going to be hearing this, you need to be watching the music video as you listen to it; the grungy lo-fi production of the track is complemented by the video, which features animated skulls, chains, flames, and Rico Nasty whose fierce and savage performance filled with head banging and vicious screaming brings to life the grunge roots of the track.
This song is so different than anything I’ve heard in the hip hop scene lately, and quite honestly it’s been harder for me these days to find a hip hop album/song that doesn’t seem like a redundant copy-cat. I appreciate Rico Nasty’s ability to channel her assertive and bold attitude into her music; this attitude stems from a history of being an outcast, whether it be for being labeled as “emo” for being into slipknot at the age of 13 or making a rap song as bold and self-assured as “Rage” at the age of 21**. Rico isn’t afraid to be different; in fact, she prides herself on dressing and making music that’s not like anything that’s already being done. I admire this track for so brilliantly combining two genres and sounding rad as hell.
**CREDITS: FADER magazine interview with Rico Nasty
This song is such a beautiful escape. I could be having the worst day ever, but as soon as I go to my favorite park, gaze up at the gaps of sunlight, and listen to this song, I’m in heaven. The song, as most Beach House songs, seems to last for an eternity in the best way possible; I always lose track of time being forever lost in their dream pop magic.
The song itself is comprised of half written thoughts that together form a beautiful song about heartbreak. The last portion of the song ends with a loop of the lyrics “Fall back into place”, which in the context of this song represents the crash of reality that’s often felt when someone we really care about is gone. In a way we have to fall back into place, go back into our daily routine, and somehow move on from someone that was incredibly important to us.
Instrumentally there are essentially four elements that are repeated throughout the song. The synth sets the tone with what feels like a ray of sunshine, percussion then comes in with a simple snare beat that’s constant, a slide guitar that sounds too euphoric to be real joins in, and lastly the keyboard glitters throughout the song adding variation rhythmically with its pitter-patter like playing that feels like a sunshower.
The song has an ability to make everything around me come in and out of focus. It’s almost mimicking the internal struggle of having to come out of a hazy dream, which plays into the lyrics of the song. Falling back into place and getting back to “our usual self” doesn’t come at a flip of a switch. It’s a slow and groggy process that sucks, but with songs that heal like this it seems a lot easier to manage.
I’ve listened to a lot of albums start to finish, and it’s always interesting to see what song the artist chooses as the first thing the listener hears; it sets the tone and decides the attitude towards the rest of the album. I also feel like when listening to an album, especially from an artist I’ve never heard before, there’s a point where I realize either “wow, I love this band.” or “okay, maybe this just isn’t for me.”
30 seconds into “Dead Alien” I thought to myself “Wow, I love this band”. This song made me so excited to hear what the rest of the album, SLUSH, had to offer. The song perfectly mixes punk themes, lo fi rock, and beach vibes. It starts off with this really nasty bass line that sets the tone for the chord progression that’s later played by the lead guitar. I love how thick the sound is in the beginning of the song, and as each instrument makes their appearance, the song picks up in energy, while the bass continuously contributes heavy, warm tones. Amongst the dense sound, the vocals and guitar cut through nicely with short, staccato like singing and a grunge guitar sound that easily sticks out. I’m also a huge fan of the drum part in this song. I think the addition of the double strokes on the bass drum during the chorus was genius, and I love that you can almost not hear it; it’s so subtle and great.
Overall, this song has great energy, and it just makes me so happy! Please check out the rest of the album, SLUSH, by the Naked Giants for some other great tunes.
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DEAD ALIEN(2018): NAKED GIANTS.
I’m walking down this paved road in the park, and surrounding me with every step are these giant trees with branches that stretch over the paved road. As I walk I feel little patches of sunlight hitting, and I can’t help but think how beautiful this whole scene is. Playing in the background is “For You Too” by Yo La Tengo, and every single thing seems so much more beautiful than 20 seconds ago when this song wasn’t playing. I promise that I never thought I could appreciate a blue sky more than I did today; I could’ve stared at it for hours, while listening to this song. There are no gimmicks in the song, no intricate guitar solo or complicated drum fill, but there’s this layered echo that’s constant throughout the song. The sound is created by what sounds like a loop of guitars interweaving this beautiful melody and Ira Kaplan’s magnetic singing; it feels like a lullaby, but instead of falling asleep I want to look at every person, flower, tree, [insert inanimate object] and just admire it. I can’t even think while listening to this song; it feels like meditation, and all I can do is smile like an idiot as I walk through the park.
If you have the chance please head outside and listen to Yo La Tengo’s latest album, “There’s a Riot Going On”.
“I lay awake at four, staring at the wall
Counting all the cracks backwards in my best French
Reminds me of a book I skim-read in a surgery
All about palmistry, I wonder what's in store for me
I pretend the plaster is the skin on my palms
And the cracks are representative of what is going on
I lose a breath, my love-line seems intertwined with death
How awesome are those lyrics?! Courtney Barnett in “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” compares her cracked walls to palmistry as a way to explain how unsure she is about her future, while ending the verse on talking about how shitty her love life is. Her ultra-descriptive lyrics don’t always add up to some beautiful meaning. Rather they add up to a very relatable experience. In the second verse for example:
“I lay awake at three, staring at the ceiling
It's a kind of off-white, maybe it's a cream
There's oily residue zipping from the kitchen
It's art-deco necromantic chic, all the dinner plates are kitsch with
Irish Wolf Hounds, French baguettes wrapped loose around their necks
I think I'm hungry, I'm thinking of you too”
This verse oozes with descriptions of her kitchen, and then she ends not so subtly with “I think I’m hungry.” The fact that she’s hungry while in her kitchen isn’t so mind blowing, but the way she so effortlessly jumps from one subject to the next might be. I mean, we do it in our everyday life right? Picture this: “I’m walking to my car. The stars above me are so bright, and I’m jamming to “Fat Old Sun” by Pink Floyd. I’m about to walk up the stairs, and I see an armadillo next to a bush. I immediately think of you. I miss you”. See? I just went from Pink Floyd to some guy that looks like an armadillo. I mean obviously Courtney Burnett’s verses are 1000x better, but the point is that she so awesomely paints her life in songs. It’s great to hear a song about heartbreak, first love, anxiety, etc. without ever actually hearing those words. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy listening to her music and visualizing her thoughts; it feels like I’m hearing an audio book.
Stay tuned for her second album, “Tell me How You Really Feel” coming out May 18th!