Every week, there are hundreds of thousands of new songs hitting the airwaves. It’s too much for just your two ears to handle. With all those options, you can’t be wasting your time on tracks worthy of the thumbs down button. Don’t worry, we’re going to save you the hassle. We listen to some of the most hyped and interesting songs each week, and tell you what ones are worth using your bandwidth on.
Young Fathers – Shame
There is easy listening hip hop, the pop radio stuff with thumping bass, bouncy synths, and choruses that get caught in your ear for days at a time until you pick them out with a q-tip. Then there’s the brutally honest, introspective stuff that gets stuck in your head because you can’t stop thinking about it. Young Fathers falls into that category. When the trio from Edinburgh want to say something, they say it in a way that you can’t ignore.
On the group’s second studio album White Men Are Black Men Too, they aren’t looking to give you something that is easy to listen to. Instead, they choose to deal with things that are hard to here. With an European indie rock sensibility in their sound and a fearlessness in their music, the group tackles tough topics — including most prominently, race — head on. Shame may be the most radio-ready joint on the album, but even over a ragged drum beat, there’s weight in what’s being said: “Is this what you’re missing? / The diamonds and the gold / All my dodgy dealings / Just got deadly.”
Waxahatchee – Breathless
After spending years floating around acts in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Katie Crutchfield gave the solo racket a shot in 2012 with some homemade indie-pop recordings. The result was something worth pursuing, and she’s doing just that on her new record Ivy Tripp. On the album’s opening track Breathless, Crutchfield (as Waxahatchee), waits just long enough for an ambient buzzing at the start of the track to get tiresome before knifing through it with a bruised, heartbroken melody that sounds beautiful atop an ugly, grating sound. That’s the power her voice holds.
The Mountain Goats – The Legend of Chavo Guerrero
Indie crowd favorite the Mountain Goats are taking to the ring on their latest record Beat the Champ. The entirely pro wrestling themed record sounds silly and absurd — and, well, it is. But don’t let that keep you away from an entirely enjoyable listen. On the album’s first single The Legend of Chavo Guerrero, Mountain Goats lead singer John Darnielle takes to telling the story of his favorite wrestler, presenting it like an old folk tale.
Bully – Trying
Alicia Bognanno, the frontwoman for Nashville-based band Bully, seems to have no fear. She’s willing to reveal many parts of her life in the name of her art, and on Trying, she lays bare once again with honest introspection. She packs in everything from day-to-day troubles to ongoing existential questions that she’s unsure on how to answer. She does it all while playing guitar and producing the track herself. She has every opportunity to cover herself and hide, but she chooses to share it all.
Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck
Florence and the Machine have a new record set to debut in June, but they keep letting tracks slip. By the time How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful arrives, we’ll have heard most of it. Not that we’re complaining when the songs are as good as Ship to Wreck. The guitar-driven track is highlighted by the trademark powerhouse vocals of Florence Welch as she belts out lyrics dealing with personal struggle and turmoil. “Did I drink too much? Am I losing touch? / Did I build a ship to wreck?” she wonders.
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