Adriane Pontecorvo: Some popular bands really do deserve their success, and the Foo Fighters make that list for me. All the best things about the Foos are in one place on “Run”: a strong sense of melody, Dave Grohl screaming his heart out, and, of course, shenanigans, this time featuring the always hilarious Missi Pyle and a lot of over-the-top white hair and fake senior citizens. You can always count on the Foo Fighters for a concept like hard rock retirees on the run and taking on vaping hipsters. Even without the video, though, this is a powerful single with a strong and timely message: seize the day before it’s too late. There’s a tremendous emotional weight to this song, as well as a musical one. Taylor Hawkins’ drumming has never sounded bolder, and the drive in those guitars is serious business. As for Grohl—how is it possible to yell like that for so many years and still sound so good? He’ll be going strong until he really is old enough for that hair. [9/10]
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Adriane Pontecorvo: A cut from back in 2013, reflective Childish Gambino track “Centipede” still holds up, and this new video is a perfect match for it. Clips of the rapper at his most unguarded—behind the scenes, talking candidly about his work, constantly pensive—highlight lyrics about dreams and struggles. Gambino has a perfect rhythm, his flow strong and fast against soulful keys and persistent beats. A refreshing track with great staying power. [8/10]
Jazz singer and composer Meklit Hadero, known by the mononym Meklit, has long been bringing her Ethiopian heritage to the forefront of the jazz she sings. Now, on upcoming album When the People Move, the Music Moves Too, exclusively streaming on PopMatters one week before its June 23 release, the blend is more seamless than ever with deeply personal compositions and appearances by Andrew Bird, the Preservation Hall Horns, and a literal star.
Sweden’s Ye Banished Privateers return with First Night Back in Port on June 30 via Napalm Records. The new LP features the outfit’s unique amalgam of Scandinavian and Irish folk, tastes of bloodied punk energy and a knowledge of sea chanties as well. Other acts walk a similar path of course, but there’s often something forced, an element of put-on about it. Ye Banished Privateers is neither attempting to capture the glory of an era through which none of its members lived nor hitching itself to a niche trend.
Los Angeles’ the Dustbowl Revival has been around for ten years delighting audiences with their upbeat American roots music, and now the group has a new album on tap that sees them expanding their sound into new areas. Previous recordings have seen the ensemble explore New Orleans jazz and old-time folk, but their latest self-titled album releasing June 16th on Signature Sounds sees the Dustbowl Revival adding a serious dose of soul and funk to their wide-ranging music. Bright Stax-style horns now punctuate the songs’ rhythms and add an element that’s likely to bring show audiences to their feet.