Julien Baker’s Little Oblivions looks poised to rule 2021
Tag: Single Review
Lana Del Rey’s voice and writing as to elevate what could have been merely mediocre into something so inescapably ‘Lana Del Rey.’
Following on from last year’s two singles, ‘It Is What It Is’ and ‘Wheels Roll Home,’ ‘Solstice’ marks the third track to be released from The Antlers’ first album in seven years, Green to Gold, out March 26th. On the surface, it’s a simple track – saccharine sweet instrumentals and falsettos with a simple chorus and sunnily bright images. It feels floaty and carefree, like memories that are filtering in and out without care – images and details sharpen and blur, fade away and blend together. What becomes clear, however, is that the sunshine is somewhat strained and filtered. Peter Silberman is remembering moments of innocence and brightness and simplicity through the filter of difficulty and length and heaviness.
As the song progresses, we get the suggestion of someone scrolling absently through old pictures. They pause from time to time to remember a memory that the picture evokes, then they remember that there’s someone next to them. They turn the image towards the other person, half-smiling, and attempt to tell the story that the image brings to mind, but stop halfway through. It’s suggestive and forlorn, there’s no bitterness, and there isn’t necessarily sadness. But there’s something there, underneath the almost cloying instrumental, that lets itself be known to any listener who has also been reflective and somewhere in between okay and not okay. It’s a fitting track for these pandemic days, whether or not it was written specifically for them, as we sit inside and remember vague memories of what feels like another time. The days pass slowly and quickly all at once, and looking back at the year gone, and the year before, leads us “Winding back down the decade past.”
There’s something sunnily contemplative and delightful on the horizon, with the release of The Antlers’ first album in seven years. And they’re reminding us, without the smug superiority of so many other celebrities who have attempted to distill the idea into a pithy sound-bite, to keep “bright, bright, bright.”
‘Ghosting’ is the fifth single from PINS’ forthcoming album, Hot Slick, due out at the end of May. With it, the Mancunian trio – singer/guitarist Faith Vern, bassist Kyoko Swan, and guitarist Lois MacDonald – cement the band’s movement towards the synth-heavy, disco-esque side of …
‘Hollywood,’ Car Seat Headrest’s latest single from their forthcoming album, Making a Door Less Open, is a curious one. From a purely instrumental standpoint, the track is infectious: guitar riffs and steady drum-beats sit alongside squiggly synth-lines and vocal processing that shudders and shrieks. Tracks sit neatly, serving their purpose in the mix, and the guitar work is just dirty enough for the MIDI sounds to be allowed to wallow in a slightly murkier, dirtier environment. It makes for alarming, yet engaging, listening. Described as a quasi-collaboration between the band and 1 Trait Danger (an electronic side project from Car Seat Headrest bandleader Will Toledo and drummer Andrew Katz), the match-up proves to be jarring in a pretty brilliant way.
The song is ultimately let down, however, by subpar lyrics that don’t quite cohere into a track as effective as the band probably desired. There’s an anger in the song that feels not completely focused or decided upon. A landscape of Hollywood’s sins and errors are presented, but the effect is not as intense as it could be. There are great lines, such as the final verse’s “12 year olds on pills waking up in beds of big producers,” and the first verse’s “the poster’s painted over in a week if it stinks/ So let the people decide/ On a metro ride.” The issue is that these two disparately important topics – Hollywood’s well documented issue with predatory behaviour and paedophilia, and the fleeting nature of fame the fickle tastes of the public – are given equal room in the track. The sins presented never reach a high enough number for the listener to be overwhelmed. Nor is there enough intensity or detail in any of the transgressions for the listener to become truly engaged with any one aspect of Toledo’s condemnation of Hollywood.
For a song that is so clearly intended to be about the lyrics, which are sometimes shockingly blunt, the best aspect of the track is the instrumentation, particularly in how it falls apart and re-assembles itself. The lyrics are disappointingly not shocking enough for the song to drive home Toledo’s point, and too many filler lines that disrupt the song’s impact.
Making a Door Less Open is due to be released on May 1st. Alongside ‘Hollywood’ are two other singles, ‘Can’t Cool Me Down,’ and ‘Martian.’
An edited version of this review can also be found at giglist.com