Merchandise – “Anxiety’s Door”

ImageFlorida’s pop-noise makers and SPIN darlings Merchandise have released a new single, “Anxiety’s Door,” from their upcoming five-song EP/LP Totale Night, due this spring. The track is a swirling, seven-minute blast from the past, heavily laced in a mid-80s gothy post-punk sound. Lead singer Carson Cox does his best The Queen is Dead era Morrissey impersonation over an Echo and the Bunnymen/Jesus and Mary Chain groove, punctuated by a drum machine working overtime. Cox even manages to successfully mimic the ambiguous, pseudo-romantic, somewhat melancholic lyrics that infected the English post-punk sound: “Some things are really never there / I walk the street at night, yeah / I drink the perfumed air.” Things must be real dark in Tampa?

If it was 1985, I’d be more excited about Merchandise’s forthcoming EP/LP. Let’s hope that the rest of Totale Night isn’t lost in the 80s, and let’s give this Tampa trio (and their drum machine) a chance to live up to their SPIN “Breaking Out” stars status.

January 11, 2013. Songs. Leave a comment.

Atoms For Peace – “Judge, Jury and Executioner”

Image“Judge, Jury and Executioner” is the first single from Atoms For Peace’s (AFP) upcoming debut album, Amok. AFP is an experimental supergroup composed of Thom Yorke, Flea, Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and Mauro Refosco. Yeah, you’re only probably familiar with three out of the five.

AFP came together in 2009 and did a brief nine date tour of the U.S. in 2010. “Judge, Jury and Executioner” was a part of the setlist for most of the tour. The live versions of the track groove with a more convincing sound—there is a darker, heavier feel that the album version seems to be missing. At the same time, the single version showcases Yorke’s vocals; his voice becomes a playful instrument that weaves and bounces above the bass and percussions. The ghostly quality of Yorke’s voice creates its own space and gives the listener room to navigate through the musically mathematical melody.

The problem at this point with “Judge, Jury and Executioner” is that it sounds like we’ve heard this song a few times before. As Yorke lyrically informs us on the track, “I went for my usual walk.” Creatively, AFP is the usual walk. The single plays out like it is stuck somewhere between Radiohead’s In Rainbows and Yorke’s 2006 solo album, The Eraser. This isn’t really a negative thing. It just seems like a supergroup like AFP would kick off their debut album with something less pedestrian and familiar. I’m looking forward to seeing how the single flows within the rest of Amok. For all you true Radiohead fans, does the single’s title have some sort of rhetorical connection with “Myxomatosis”?

January 8, 2013. Tags: , , , . Songs. 1 comment.

Public Image Limited – “One Drop”

The first new Public Image Limited song in twenty years – a dub heavy track titled “One Drop” has hit the Internet this week. “One Drop” develops around a Metal Box-like guitar riff combined with 9 era lyrical approach. At times, the lyrical pattern mimics “Like That,” a track from the previously mentioned 9 album. Lydon talked about recording tracks for a new album in between PiL’s various tour dates, and one can hear the strain in Lydon’s vocals. There is certain tiredness, a passionate scratch in his voice that ultimate captures the slightly somber mood of the song.

In the past few tears or so, Lydon has been vocal about his pride and love for England. It seems as though “One Drop” is a reflection of his memories of growing up and around Finsbury Park. The track opens with the introduction, “I am John / And I was born in London / I am no vulture / This is my culture.” One wonders if the other tracks from the forthcoming album, This is PiL, is going to build around the theme of pride in country.

It’s great to see Lydon creating new material with PiL rather than rehashing Sex Pistols songs in stuffy arenas across the world. “One Drop” isn’t perfect. It feels as though Lydon didn’t truly utilize the talent he has with Smith, Edmonds and Firth, one of the strongest PiL lineups in decades. Also, Lydon’s trademark repetition of certain lyrics makes the song feel redundant and even boring. Sometimes silence in a song can be just as powerful as a lyric. This is something Lydon understood in his earlier years. Regardless, “One Drop” is a good start for PiL in 2012. God knows the track is better than anything one would hear on popular radio.

February 16, 2012. Songs. Leave a comment.