Favorite New & Old Tracks of the Week

“Please Do Not Lean” by Daniel Caesar single artwork [Golden Child Recording]; Post Animal [photo by Kristina Pederson for Atwood Magazine]

Psych influence is (as always, accidentally, I don’t actually know what I’m doing) the theme of the week. A BadBadNotGood produced single is my favorite new track, and another disappointing Post Animal release had me diving back into their psych-rock glory days.

Even this week’s honorable mentions kick off with psych-rockers Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and their latest full-length LP “Night Gnomes”, which was a bit disappointing. Outside of the singles, the record more often sounds like the band’s jam sessions, not a finished major release – which admittedly still makes for a fun listen. The never-ending-fuzz and slick guitar work can only take half-baked songs so far though. Final track “Slinky / Holy Water” was my favorite deep cut.

Logic dropped a split single, and shockingly both songs are decent. “Tetris” is lyrical and bare boom-bap, reminiscent of his Young Sinatra mixtapes. “Decades” has a bit more of a song behind it despite weaker bars from Logic.

There are no weak bars on “Plan B”, Megan Thee Stallion’s new single. It’s hard hitting, double entendre stuffed, classic Megan over a lowkey beat that would’ve fit right in back in the 2000’s.

I’m usually not a big fan of remixes. I just don’t find someone taking a song, completely stripping of it of its original mood & tone and turning it into a by-the-numbers club banger interesting. The new Kaytranada remix of “Out of Time” by The Weeknd doesn’t do that though. It feels like you’re hearing the song from a slightly different angle rather than hearing it get gutted for parts.

They probably hate when people say things like this, but The Smile’s new single “Free In the Knowledge” sounds like a mix between Radiohead’s “Hail to the Thief” and “A Moon Shaped Pool” – leaning more towards the latter. I’m still waiting for Thom Yorke’s newest mistress to set themselves apart from the wife. Maybe it’ll come later this year when their debut album drops.

Butter Bath’s hot streak continues with “Kurrajong Hotel”. Arguably his heaviest release yet, Toby Anagnostis tackles being raised in religion and the conditioning he had to unlearn. His psych-soaked mix of R&B & Pop is as smooth as ever. Really looking forward to the new EP due out soon.

Favorite New Track of the Week: “Please Do Not Lean” by Daniel Caesar featuring BADBADNOTGOOD

“Please Do Not Lean” is the best song Daniel Caesar’s released since his debut album “Freudian” in 2017.

That’s not a dig. He’s had some solid singles in the last five years. “CASE STUDY 01” from 2019 was uneven, but I still go back to songs like “ENTROPY” or “OPEN UP” from time to time. He’s the highlight of “Peaches”. Not saying much, I know, but still.

Caesar’s pairing with BadBadNotGood on “Please Do Not Lean” works way better than I would’ve thought. The alt-jazz quartet’s presence isn’t very obvious in the first half of the track, but some subtle drum and piano work goes a long way to enhance an otherwise typical modern R&B instrumental.

Caesar pens an egotistical but honest song about not being in a place to properly support someone else. Not because he’s falling apart, because he’s just about to figure things out and can’t quite be reliable yet. It’s only a slight twist on the whiny ‘I’m not good enough for you’ R&B staple, but enough of a change to keep you (mostly) on his side.

The 2nd half of the track feels a lot more BadBadNotGood as an acoustic guitar takes center stage along with some ambient woodwinds and a stronger drum beat. Caesar gets the BadBad treatment too, his vocals layered with a dreamy harmony.

Hopefully this is a direction he’s sticking with for his next album, and Caesar’s session with BadBadNotGood produced more than just this track.

Favorite Old Track of the Week: “Eel” by Post Animal

I sadly did some Weezering this week with Post Animal.

Weezering

/wi:z’ur’ing/

verb

  1. Listening to an artist/band’s old music after their new garbage disappoints, in order to remind yourself why you bothered with these people in the first place.


Maybe I should’ve seen the decline coming when some dude from Stranger Things sort of joined the band?

But their first few releases were great. “Post Animal Perform the Most Curious Water Activities” and “The Garden Series” are really fun, dynamic psych-rock EPs. “When I Dream of You In a Castle”, the album that Joe Keery (maybe?) contributed to was pretty solid, even if it was a bit of step-down.

That was 2018. We’re now in 2022. The last four years have not been kind to Post Animal.

Or, to be more accurate, Post Animal have not been kind to us, their listeners, in the last four years. 2019 single “Safe or Not” wasn’t awful, but it was a shocking change in direction and serious dip in musicality for the band. The dense, controlled chaos of songs like “Eel” were long gone, replaced with tinny production and derivative grooves.

More boring singles paved the way to “Forward Motion Godyssey”, a boring, somehow thin and overblown album released in early 2020.

And inexplicably their sound has continued in this trajectory, full of cheap sounding synths and unoriginal riffs.

Latest single “Cancer Moon” came out this week, once again disappointing to the point where I had to remind myself that, yes, this band once had interesting ideas, often packing a bunch into one song like “Eel”. Maybe they should’ve spread them out a bit more.

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