By Tom Reardon, July 2020 issue.
Because so many weddings take place this time of year, I thought it might be a contrarian thing to do to go back to looking at some singles again. It is time to rise up, people, and take our country back. It is time to stop our societal quest for comfort and take on the challenge of being uncomfortable for a while so that we can be reborn. Here are five new songs that may be part of your new soundtrack. Some good, some may not be so good, but you are welcome to, as always, decide if I am right or wrong.
Plastic Handgun — “Curtain Call”
Dark, haunting, yet mildly uplifting, Toronto’s Plastic Handgun starts us off with something new. There is an element of dreaminess to Mark Di Giovanni’s work that harkens itself back to more ethereal ‘80s acts like Coil or even a more electronic Jesus and Mary Chain. I like this. The intro piques the curiosity in the way that every song should. You want to know what will come next, although the vocals are set deep enough into the mix that it is hard to make out exactly what Di Giovanni is singing. Regardless of that, though, the song comes from a really cool new record, Gatekeepers, that should be on your radar. Four out of five facemasks agree.
Flatbush Zombies — “dirty elevator music”
I can totally groove with this style of rap. Flatbush Zombies have a jazzy, laidback musicality that, at times, directly conflicts with their lyrical content, but if you can get past the put downs, swear words, and drug references, you will be fine. The trio has been around for a decade and hail from the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, NY and these songs come from an EP, now, more than ever. The flow here, though, is what really sells this song. Three out of five facemasks, including one with a skull on it.
Mt. Joy — “Bug Eyes”
There is a line from the Cracker song, “Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now)” that says, “What the world needs now is another folk singer like I need a hole in my head,” and it reminds me of this song so much. This song, and I write this completely unapologetically, sucks. I don’t get it and I feel like listening to the song is something akin to self-trepanation because I want a hole in my head so this particular Mt. Joy track can just leak out and hopefully never come back. I listened so you will not have to. Zero out of five facemasks. Zero.
Elvis Costello — “No Flag”
“I got no religion/I got no philosophy/Got a head full of ideas that don’t seem to belong to me” is how this new offering from Elvis Costello, “No Flag,” starts out. It’s noisy and fuzzy and feels a little bit like Costello might have been listening to our friends, Imperial Teen, a little bit, which is a good thing and damn if that opening line doesn’t echo 2020 for a lot of people. Those who listen a little more closely to this one might pick up on the fact that the bass line is amazing in this song and keeps some disparate parts linked up nicely. Five out of five facemasks agree that chewing sugar free gum is good for your teeth and listening to this song is good for your soul.
No Age — “Sandalwood”
Leaning a little towards the east coast indie rock sound a bit here, No Age channels The Strokes as Randy Randall pays tribute to Albert Hammond Jr. with his guitar work, although Dean Spunt sounds nothing like vocalist Julian Casablancas, which is a good thing. No Age rarely, if ever, disappoints, so it was nice to listen to this new song and see them fucking around with The Strokes sound a bit. It is a fun summertime romp and to be honest, if you haven’t gotten hip to No Age just yet, you’ve got some fun ahead of you as you explore their excellent catalog. Four and three quarters out of five vegan facemasks salute this song.