Directed by Danny Perez. From Reset, out August 12 on Domino.
Not sure what I was expecting when I heard that Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom was teaming up with Animal Collective’s Panda Bear, but it certainly wasn’t jaunty bubblegum pop like “Edge Of The Edge.” Don’t get me wrong: It’s great. It’s super fun and it’ll make you happy.
One taste to break the fall
One way to take us all to the shore
Can’t say it’s what you bargained for
It’s forever at the push of a button…
Glad it’s not too heavy. Who needs that right now?
Directed by Wet Leg. From Wet Leg, out April 8 on Domino.
Rhian Teasdale says, “It’s been a pretty wild ride for us these past few months, we never really thought much past actually making music and playing gigs. It’s quite an odd thing to suddenly open yourself to so much criticism and praise alike. The comments that complete strangers will leave on our videos are so funny and range wildly in sentiment. Although we know it is bad for us to read them and we try to avoid it, sometimes it’s irresistible when you’re on your own; the 3am doom scroll really gets you. For this video, we have obsessively selected our favourite bits from the comments sections across our socials, the good, the bad, the ugly and have repurposed them to make something new – it has been quite cathartic actually.”
Teasdale adds, “The video was shot on the Isle of Wight at the bottom of a chairlift that you can take from the top of the cliff. The rope costume – made by costume designer Kate Tabor – weighed an absolute tonne and it took three of us to carry it down the cliff to shoot. We’d each grab onto a limb, and after 20 minutes of heavy lifting managed to get it down the steep steps leading to the beach. We’re thinking of starting it up as a work-out class for alternative types.”
Directed by Fred Rowson. From Wet Leg, out April 8 on Domino.
It sucks when you’ve got tickets to see a band in a small place but then the band gets so big they upgrade to a bigger venue. I mean, I’m sure it’s great for the artist and I suppose it’s nice for the johnny-come-latelies who missed out on the first round. This happened to a pal a couple years ago when he was taking his teenage daughter to see Billie Eilish at the Aragon Ballroom but it got moved to the United Center. And now it’s happening for friends who were amped to see Wet Leg at the tiny Empty Bottle but just got bumped up to the roomier Thalia Hall. So it goes. I’m sure it’ll still be a fun show.
Who can blame them? Wet Leg is on fire right now. With appearances on Seth Meyers and NPR’s Tiny Desk, they’re taking over America.
“Too Late Now” proves that Wet Leg isn’t just a one-joke pony. “Chaise Longue” and “Wet Dream” grabbed you immediately but “Too Late Now” reveals a little more depth and songcraft. And sadness. It’s good. I can’t wait to hear the whole album. And I’m super jealous of everybody who is getting to see them on this December tour of New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. They’re coming back to the States in March, and I’m guessing that’s going to be your last chance to see them in a smallish venue.
Nobody covers a song like Chan Marshall. And she knows it. Covers will be the third Cat Power collection of cover songs after The Covers Record (2000) and Jukebox (2008). Having two albums in your discography named The Covers Record and Covers may suggest a lack of creativity or imagination, but the originality of the performances and the eclecticism of the song selections more than make up for it.
This time around she’s taking on a tune by an Oscar-nominated actor’s side project band. “Pa Pa Power” was originally written by Ryan Gosling and his pal Zach Shields and recorded with a children’s choir. As laughable as this concept sounds in theory, it received good reviews and is actually pretty cool sounding. Way better than Johnny Depp’s band.
Marshall says: “I started playing this solo in 2012 (originally more dissonant and trance-y), when the Occupy Wall street protests were going on. Occupy was bunkering down and saying, ‘This shit’s fucking fucked up.’ And helping citizens be a voice in their local government. They got a lot of good things done, but the American media killed the movement. I felt like this song was relative to that. The American media has always penalized any sort of social progressiveness and is always the first to express conservative rhetoric against something that is beneficial to the nation. I’d open with this song on the 2013 China tour. ‘Burn the streets, burn the cars.’”
This is Wet Leg’s second single. I missed the first one but apparently it got a lot of attention in the U.K. when it was released on Domino in June. That one was called “Chaise Longue” and it’s awesome and features amazing deadpan lyrics like, “Hey you in the front row, are you coming backstage after the show? Because I’ve got a chaise longue in my dressing room and a pack of warm beer that we can consume.” Awesome, right?
Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers are from the Isle Wight and have been friends for almost a decade, according to an NMEprofile. The NME, never known to do much fact checking, says Teasdale learned to play guitar during quarantine but there is plenty of youtube evidence that she was playing guitar long before the SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected in Wuhan. Regardless, while locked down together the duo honed what we now know as the Wet Leg sound. They “wanted to have more fun than every other single band”. By the sounds of the two songs they’ve released so far, it seems like they are accomplishing that mission.
“Wet Dream” is not as silly as “Chaise Longue” but it’s equally memorable and far more melodic. Standout lyrics include:
• “You said, ‘Baby do you want to come home with me? I’ve got Buffalo 66 on DVD.'”
• “What makes you think you’re good enough to think about me when you’re touching yourself?”
• “You climb onto the bonnet and you’re licking the windscreen. I’ve never seen anything so obscene. It’s enough to make a girl blush.”
Directed by Greg Hunt. From Wanderer, out now on Domino.
Chan Marshall is back with another single from Wanderer. “Horizon” can be seen as something of a Mother’s Day message, all about the power of the close family unit. Even when — or maybe especially when — you’re not all together.
Mother, I wanna hold your hand
Father, I need you to be a man
Sister, if there’s any help in me, I’m always on my way
Take care of your family, everybody. Even when — or maybe especially when — they’re driving you crazy. They’re not going to be around forever.
Directed by Greg Hunt. From Wanderer, due October 5 on Domino Record Co.
Chan Marshall is a badass. This is her first new music since 2012’s Sun and it was worth the wait. “Woman” features everything we love about Cat Power: spooky instrumentation, moody vocals, intimidating lyrics.
The doctor said I was better than ever
Man, you should have seen me
Doctor said I was not my past
He said I was finally free
What more could you ask for? Backing vocals by Lana Del Rey? You got it!
Always and always and always ascending
The Shepard misleads so you think you’re transcending
A Shepard tone, according to Wikipedia, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves, creating the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher.
Acoustic covers of pop songs, on the other hand, can strip away the glossy production to reveal the solid bones of the songwriting underneath. I still like Travis’ earnest cover of “Baby One More Time” which made me realize how sad that song really is (“my loneliness is killing me”).
This Rihanna cover is somewhere in between. It’s not jokey at all, but it doesn’t really shed any additional light on the original. It sounds cool, and Alison Mosshart’s voice is smoky and menacing as ever. Which is good enough for an acoustic b-side.