Sunday, November 26, 2023

Guest Poster Cassidy: Fontaines D.C. - 'Jackie Down the Line' & 'Roman Holiday'

The following post is from Guest Poster, Cassidy.  For more information about Cassidy, click here.

Fontaines D.C. has become one of my new favorite “discovered” bands.  They formed in 2014, so they have been around for quite some time. Even so, I first heard 'Jackie Down the Line' by this Dublin-based band on Sirius XMU in the Spring of 2022. I was going through a tumultuous time and was heavily relying on music to get through – (a shameless SiriusXM plug coming up) – so I resubscribed to SiriusXM, as I love discovering those “newer” bands.  It hits different than Spotify’s “weekly discovery.” The DJ was likely Jenny Elescu.

I have become very fond of the Skinty Fia album, which is the third for Fontaines.  The entire album has a way of inducing an innocence-inspired nostalgia. For me, this album reminds me of my college years, as this would be something that would be on my rotation while studying or walking to class. 

While 'Jackie Down the Line' may sound upbeat, the lyrics suggest the insecurities and potential hurt we can experience in a relationship.

'Roman Holiday'’s psychedelic rock-esque beat and lyrics have a way of reeling you in and making you stay for the entire ride. It reminds me strongly of Jim James or something that a modern-day Zeppelin would produce. 

I sincerely hope that Fontaines D.C continues to move in a direction where they gain more exposure, as they are one of the good ones.

Check out the music videos to  'Jackie Down the Line' and 'Roman Holiday' below:

['Jackie Down the Line']

['Roman Holiday']

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Homeshake - 'Midnight Snack'

Awhile back I wrote a post on how enamored I was with Men I Trust. Since then, I have stumbled across another artist who captures the same diffident spirit.

The project is called Homeshake.  And its architect is another Quebec-based artist named Peter Sagar.  The kicker is that Homeshake recorded almost half a decade before Men I Trust’s Oncle Jazz, yet I only learned of it now.  It’s a shame I am late to the party, because Homeshake perfectly captures the aura of solitary indie rock.

The song I would like to feature today is ‘Midnight Snack,’ which is reminiscent of a Mac DeMarco production.  That is because Peter was Mac’s touring guitarist for some time before his solo breakout. 

The general vibe is flaccid, yet longing.  The instrumentation is thinly layered, with a proper sprinkling of despair.  In other words, it is the perfect jam for a pensive, introspective day.

Check out the video to ‘Midnight Snack’ by Homeshake below:

Wednesday, November 01, 2023

Talk Talk - 'Life's What You Make It'

For many years, the only song by Talk Talk I knew of was ‘It’s My Life,’ the megahit popularized by Gwen Stefani’s dynamic cover decades later.  Recently, though, I encountered the band’s lesser-known single, ‘Life’s What You Make It.” 

The track was released in 1985, but its sound was way ahead of its time.  Lacking a traditional pop hook, its structure is rather unconventional:  a shadowy piano lick repeats itself ad naseum, while Mark Hollis broodingly echoes the title, “Life’s What You Make It.”  Synth and guitar eventually complement the track, but it is otherwise a relatively bare bones production—at least when compared to other records of the time. 

Stream ‘Life’s What you Make It’ below: 

Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Men I Trust - 'Oncle Jazz'

Men I Trust is an indie band from Montreal.  I first came across their seductive sounds while routinely listening to Real Estate Radio on Pandora.   I am a huge fan of Real Estate's abandoned mall rock sound, which emphasizes a sort of collective loneliness. And I find myself gravitating toward the band's music when I am desiring something melodic and chill, without feeling like I am stuck on the endless loop of a monotonous spa playlist.

In the course of listening to hours' worth of Real Estate radio while working or commuting, the algorithm had played Men I Trust's single, 'Show Me How,' several times; and each time I heard it, it resonated deeply:  Slow funky bass, Francophone-accented vocals, and spacey guitar amounted to a sonic smorgasbord this old soul couldn't get enough of.  

'You Deserve This' is another song the station played from time to time.  That track is consistent with the theme of steamy dream pop. 

When I was really lucky, the Pandora algorithm dropped 'Porcelain,' from time to time.  This song is what Failure might sound like if they had a female vocalist, in case you were wondering.

Based on the overwhelming impressiveness of these three tracks, I recently attempted to purchase the vinyl record from which they originate from, and I found many locations were out of stock of the album.  I checked out the secondhand market on Ebay and Discogs, and found the prices were greatly inflated.  So, I ultimately tracked down a record store that could backorder it for me for a decent price, but I would have to wait at least eight weeks for the pressing to complete and be available for pick up.  I easily relented and made the purchase despite the long wait, as this LP is just that good. 

But don't worry; I didn't go to all this trouble of tracking down a pressing of Oncle Jazz--yes, that is the aforementioned album's title--without enacting some due diligence.  I have been able to stream the whole production in Hi-fidelity using Qobuz, and every single track delivers.  In fact, the album is organized somewhat as a faux radio station, similar to what The Weeknd did a few years ago with Dawn FM.  For example, Track 1 is in bumper format, reminding the listener they are hearing "Oncle Jazz."  And Track 24 features a funked out Muzak interlude reminiscent of free form FM broadcasts from decades ago.  In sum, the album is a complete work of art in which each track blends perfectly into the next.  

If my hype on this band has intrigued you, I have included the video for 'Show Me How' in the player below. Enjoy!