Adriane Pontecorvo: This is about as grimy a throwback as anyone could ask for, from the piles of hot dogs to the chainsaw interlude, and that’s exactly what it’s meant to be: a grungy, messy song so inspired by the Beastie Boys that even without Mike D. making a cameo, it wouldn’t be a leap from one group of loud, snot-nosed kids to the other. It’s not the kind of song you can really dance to or send home to mother, but it’s good and cathartic—the first couple of times. Too much of it, and you’ll end up with something like a post-caffeine headache. [6/10]
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Brooklyn’s Dinowalrus recently released their fourth album, Fairweather, which extends the psychedelic rock band’s palette into the mesmerizing, trippy, dancey vibes of late ‘80s/early ‘90s Manchester and the more dreamy side of Britpop. The band’s latest single is “Tides”, a song that wraps you up inside its swirling textures. The video honors the music beautifully with its inventive use of color and shifting tones. This is some seriously great psych music that proves Dinowalrus are very much masters of their psychedelic domain.
Adriane Pontecorvo: Retro, fun, and unabashedly sexy. Kimbra sings, squeals, and shouts, possessed by the spirit of a low-key disco diva. She’s all over the place in the best way, as strange as she is sultry on this electric downtempo track. Whether whispering or growling, Kimbra’s voice is always powerful, and here, it may even be at its strongest, a warm blend of soul, jazz, and pop. Everything from handclaps to oohs melts together, and it’s a hedonistic kind of heavenly. [10/10]
Andrew Paschal: The Weeknd returns with one of his tightest pop singles yet. “Starboy” eschews the bouncy R&B of “Can’t Feel My Face” for something more nocturnal and tormented. Daft Punk show surprising reserve in their production efforts, pulling back from their maximalist impulses to engage with the track’s brooding ambience. The noirish combination of sensuality and melancholy is oddly reminiscent of Madonna’s 1992 classic “Erotica”, and the tightly coiled, looping beats are like candy for the brain. My first exposure to this song was during the Weeknd’s recent performance on Saturday Night Live, which was propulsive and almost euphoric. The studio track, however, features the blue-hued keyboards more prominently, making for a more somber, but no less engaging, listen. [9/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: Trains in the dark, actual, concrete trains in the dark, always seem to carry passengers filled with a gnawing emptiness. There’s something strange in the transit, evocative and full of ghosts. Liima has perfectly translated this feeling into music, creating sizzling, echoing electronic rock music with a dark ‘80s vibe. Steady bass and pulsing rhythms drive the track forward, and the video’s glitchy, flashing imagery enhances that surreal quality, elusive and distressing. “Trains in the Dark” is an intriguing, seductive taste, one that leaves me wanting more not because anything is lacking, but because the song urges the listener to follow it down the rabbit hole. [8/10]
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