Favorite New & Old Tracks of the Week

Just Mustard [Press photo]; “Lemon Parade” by Tonic cover art (1996) [PolyGram Records inc.]

After two weeks full of major releases, none of the A-list artists decided to help Lizzy celebrate this week. Good.

There was plenty of good music released by smaller & mid-level artists. Here are my honorable mentions for my favorite new track of the week to kick things off:

The full “Kurrajong Hotel EP” by Butter Bath came out this week, featuring the three great singles that promoted it and two new songs. One, “Please Don’t Be Mad”, is a dud while “You’ll Find Me, Beija Flor” is a sweet, bouncy closer to the EP.

No there is nothing wrong with your streaming service of choice: The new Metric single is really 10 minutes long. Even more surprising – they make it work. “Doomscroller” isn’t as dynamic as it maybe could be, yet it still manages to hold your attention with great production & atmosphere and some social commentary that isn’t quite heavy handed enough to annoy.

Last week I called Harry Styles pop’s version of Logic, and this week I’ve realized Logic might be rap’s Weezer now: polarizing artist with a hyper-dedicated core fanbase that alternates between complete garbage albums and good albums with every release. “Vinyl Days” seems to be the latter. The newest single “Orville” is more of the boom-bap, classic east coast hip-hop Logic made his name with.

“Good Buy My Old Life” is a collab between Deaton Chris Anthony & Benee that I didn’t expect to enjoy so much. It’s a straightforward pop banger with some hyperpop influence, and sneaky clever lyrics. I only wish Deaton didn’t try so hard to sound like Billie Joe Armstrong.

Panic! At the Disco’s new single “Viva Las Vengeance” sounds like a cut from 2008’s “Pretty Odd.” (easily their best record, fight me) played with the instrumental palette of its follow-up “Vices & Virtues”. A great performance from Brendon Urie is enough to overcome the labored songwriting on the hook.

I was disappointed by Jungle’s 2021 album “Loving In Stereo” and their new split single “GOOD TIMES / PROBLEMZ” demonstrates why. “GOOD TIMES” starts out with a lot of energy but that first 30 seconds is pretty much the entire song, with no real groove or melody. “PROBLEMZ” on the other hand has a lot more going on. A great bassline & rhythm guitar, a stronger melody, and some variation across the track with strings and piano eventually coming in towards the end. “Loving In Stereo” (and most of Jungle’s discography) has a lot more “GOOD TIMES” on it than “PROBLEMZ”.

Favorite New Track of the Week: “Early” by Just Mustard

Update to my invasive relationship with Google recommendations: they might know me better than I know myself.

The new Just Mustard (yes, a real band hailing from Dublin) record “Heart Under” was thrown at me via Guardian article this week billed as ‘noise rock’. It’s really more of an industrial flavored shoegaze album.

If that niche is right up your alley, don’t miss this one. The rest of you – give it a shot, it’s more accessible than it probably sounds.

I’m far from a shoegaze aficionado, but splashes of industrial can create some really interesting soundscapes when done well.

That’s probably a better way of framing this album. Expecting a raucous noise rock album will only set your ears up for confusion because this record is much closer to an ambient experience than something like last year’s “Is 4 Lovers” by Death From Above 1979, a much more straightforward industrial noise rock record.

Most of “Heat Under” has an echoey reverb attached to the instrumentation, except for the harsh guitar attacks that come in and out like scratching glass – in the best way – which sound clear.

Add lead singer Katie Ball’s contrastingly girlish vocals to the cavernous palette and the album feels like you’re watching the trailer to a horror movie – a PG-13 one that you know has a happy(ish) ending, nothing too grisly.

“Early” is my favorite track on the album, and my favorite of the week. I’m a sucker for a song with a build-up, and while “Heart Under” has a few songs like that, “Early” does it better than the rest in my opinion, with the most satisfying blend of melody and wall-of-sound at the end.

Like a lot of albums with a shoegaze influence, “Heart Under” is an album you’ll want to listen to in full for the best experience. It’s one of the more unique rock albums of the year so far.

Favorite Old Track of the Week: “If You Could Only See” by Tonic

When I was 4 I thought this was the most hardcore shit ever.

Which makes no sense, seeing as I’d already been exposed to Nirvana, Guns ‘N’ Roses and Metallica on a daily basis by my sister who was 20 years older than me.

I think it was because I could actually make out the lyrics – Kurt Cobain and Axl Rose can be hard to understand to anyone, let alone a 4-year-old still getting a grasp of the English language.

Now, “If You Could Only See” is an almost camp dad-rock song with a couple great riffs and melodramatic lyrics. Lyrics that even four-year-old me was confused by. Why can’t I see the way she loves you? What is it you must do, that you’re assuming I don’t understand? How does this woman change her eye color when she says she loves you?

Bad jokes aside, the chorus is a simp anthem while the verses are Alanis Morisette-esque, venomous takedowns of the same woman being simped over. It makes no sense. Not many modern rock songs did in the late nineties.

And I think that’s what I love about this song. Even though it predates me by a couple years, some of my earliest memories of rock music are of this era, this weird middle child of alt-rock between grunge & pop punk’s peaks. Obsessed with being edgy but not quite grunge because grunge was on its way out. Still making it clear they were for the kids who hated NSYNC, Britney Spears, and dressing well.

In my head “If You Could Only See” carries the flag for this time more than any other song. More than “Closing Time” or “Bittersweet Symphony” or “Flagpole Sitta” or anything else. My head is probably wrong. But it’s a good song and a good musical reminder of rock music’s growing pains.

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