DIG ME OUT
AN UPDATE + JUNE TRACKS! 11.06.20
Yeah. It's been a hot second since I've been on here. I've felt so empowered by the BLM protests and the anti-racism efforts led by myself and some of my peers. My institution has finally acknowledged the intolerable levels of racism, and are making an active change. I can feel a revolution. It needs to start with people from the top, because the social hierarchy at the moment is so unequal that the elite class have almost all the power to change things.
I think I'll make a more refined post about this. I am very angry about the way mass media is sympathizing with cops. I need to really dig deep into my thoughts and do more research. For now though, here is what I have been listening to. I am now so acutely aware of the whiteness of the artists that I listen to - this speaks more about the sheer whiteness of the indie rock scene in general.
1. Sight of You by Pale Saints
This is going to sound really weird but sometimes I imagine that I was living the life of a shoegazer in the south of England. This is because my childhood home is actually right near Reading, the town where the band Slowdive are from. If I existed 30 years ago, I know for a fact that I would be a full-time shoegazer. This song by Pale Saints is absolutely what I would listen to on a bike ride on a summer day after a terrible breakup. It's a beautiful song about pain.
2. Company by Fran
You see, whenever I do think about time travelto live my '90s shoegaze dreams, I remember that I would never be able to listen to amazing bands like Chicago-based Fran. This track demonstrates a uniqueness that highlights just how talented the band is - the melody is haunting, the guitars are dissonant, and the attitude is a snarky one. It's been stuck in my head since I heard it by chance on its day of release in 2019. However, I can't help but think that this band would have been much, much bigger if they existed in the early '90s.
3. Violent by Grapetooth
Let's not kid ourselves here, this song by Chicago-based Grapetooth sounds like a mashup between ABBA's Dancing Queen and New Order's Age of Consent. This song is painfully simple - the guitar part is playing two chords and the synths aren't playing anything too fancy. Even the lyrics are simple. Hell, this song doesn't even have a chorus. It is thanks to lyrics like these that make this song my go-to bedroom bop:
Are you violent? Oh are you Are you violent? Oh are you Are you violent?
I kid you not, this section repeated over and over again is what makes the third verse. Maybe keeping things simple is the key to creating bangers that I dance to in my bedroom while my mum looks at me, confused.
4. You Make No Sense by ESG
This song is what I want to play whenever boys at my school want to justify using racial slurs. They make no sense. They just end up sounding stupid, if anything. This also goes out to the racist kid in my year who listens to post-punk and indie rock. I'm sorry, but you have to thank black people who were in bands like late-70s South Bronx post-punk band ESG for your music. This song is extremely catchy, and this is due to its repeated bassline that follows the vocal melody.
I'm writing this during my lunch recess, online school is weird because it gives me a lot of time for lunch but very little time for anything else. Here are some post-punk songs I've been digging.
1. Horses by Dehd
Dehd are a Chicago post-punk band who have made an impression on the Chicago scene by playing events like the Pitchfork Festival. All three of the members are not new to the Chicago indie scene. In the song Horses, Jason Balla sings with drawn out, reverb-heavy vocals. In all honesty, I don't know what they're singing about, but they just manage to put so much emotion distilled in a 3-minute track. The formless track makes effective use of layers and the spacey drums, the punchy bass, and the reverb soaked high-pitched guitars more depth to it.
2. Made in Mexico by Post-Pink
The thing that initially attracted me to this track was the album cover. It reminds me of those '90s patterns with its use of textures and its bold use of colour. Post Pink are a Baltimore-based band that manage to pack as much of a punch as possible in a very short time period. In Made in Mexico, the group create a call-and-response dynamic accompanied with explosive and catchy guitar riffs, with the song ending with a bang. They're really underrated, and are worth checking out.
3. The Conversation by SACRED PAWS
SACRED PAWS are a sunny post-punk-pop band based in Glasgow, guitarist Rachel Aggs is a post-punk prodigy, her other musical project Shopping, has gained widespread notoriety and fans of the band include Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney. In SACRED PAWS' The Conversation, no one takes the limelight and every instrument has its own time to shine. Speaking of shine, this is a summery and poppy track that gives us a beam of light in these uncertain times, even if the lyrics might not reflect that:
You're all wrong, you're walking away Why would we even try to have this conversation? It can take a while But we're walking the same way Reach above the river below When will I learn? You know it goes on and on
Either way, the main driving force of this track are the strong melodies conjured up between the interplays between the guitars and basses. It's a catchy gem.
4. Goodnight for Real by Beauty Pill
Beauty Pill are veterans of the D.C. experimental scene. In Goodnight for Real vocalist Chad Clark creates an image of indifference through his pessimistic lyrics and monotonous vocals. The instrumentation is almost hypnotic and we're left feeling like we're being sucked into a depressing void. A highlight of this track is the almost Neo-Malthusian chorus where he repeats the phrase "there's only so much oxygen". The instrumentals are almost menacing and it gives the song a very dystopian feel, which is also due to the disjointed and near-chaotic piano ending. It might remind me of 1984, but it's one hell of an earworm.
Here are some songs that have been getting me through quarantine! All these songs are by smaller bands you should definitely check out.
1. Lunch Poems by Cadderwall
Cadderwall is the solo project of Boston-based, “not-quite studio” project of Clem Cahill. In this track, Cahill uses Frank O’Hara’s beautiful poem Having A Coke With You as a canvas for her floaty synth instrumentals and melancholy vocal melodies. The lyricism on this track is just as beautiful as the poem it draws inspiration from and its intricate production always makes it a worthwhile listen each time. This one has been a regular on my monthly playlists since it was released in February 2020.
2. Rut by Squitch
Squitch is a Boston-based post-punk band (I know, another one!). Their music is disjointed, yet it feels whole at the same time. In the song Rut, Em Spooner, the frontperson of the band guides us through an unconventional vocal melody that is layered over chaotic instrumentation through their use of lyrics that really hit home (at least, for my angsty teenage self).
you walk the line between satisfying my every need and trapping me in the same rut I've been in for years you're wasting time smothering me while I'm deciding if it's worth the guts to break out of this rut I've been in for years
3. Kanagawa by Florry
This track just reminds me of that cusp between spring and summer (the weather has been reminding me of that time recently) and it reminds me of that carelessness and optimism that goes along with that time. Now, I’m not sure if the lyrics are even vaguely about the aforementioned themes, but they are incredibly catchy. Another thing that really stands out in this track is the instrumentation: teenage frontwoman Francie Medosch creates a super cool jangly guitar tone reminiscent of ‘90s indie bands like Pavement. The solo is also incredible, and adds a whole new feeling to the track.
4. 2012 by Adult Mom
Stevie Knipe’s lyricism is what makes this song stand out to me. They evoke a poignant image through their masterful descriptions:
Erect a shrine of my selfless life You cut out my insides and I will hide the knife All I want is to be loved so nice You hurt me the same every day and I’ll apologize
Their vocal melody is interesting, it keeps us hooked, and it stays etched in our heads for a long time. I mean, this is like my #1 crying song because it is so beautifully crafted and the lyrics and the melodies just make me feel like they understand what I’m feeling right now.
APRIL PLAYLIST - 10.04.20
To start things off, here is my April playlist. Here's where I'm going to be posting my general music recommendations and more blogg-y type stuff.
This playlist draws heavy inspiration from this WBAR (Barnard College's radio) session. It was a really eclectic mix that focused on diversity within the indie rock scene.