This was a pretty big week for us here at the ol’ Noisey office. We had a big-ass party to celebrate our Noisey Atlanta series. Then like, five hours later, Vice President Joe Biden took a tour of our office and we were instructed to remove anything incriminating from our desks. The Secret Service guys were pretty chill though. We also had some more surprise visitors the next day (see above). And somewhere in between, we listened to some music. Here’s what we were listening to. Oh, and also William Friedkin, who directed The Exorcist, which is a great movie to watch if you’re looking for Valentine’s Day plans next week.
Frank Sinatra with Nelson Riddle Orchestra - "I've Got You Under My Skin"
There’s a song I keep listening to in various versions, but it’s the Sinatra and Nelson Riddle version of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.” To me, it is classical music. The arrangement is so interesting and complex. What Nelson Riddle did was create a beautiful frame for these lyrics and Sinatra’s voice. I continually marvel at his performance of it because of the complexity; the fascination, the suspense, and the dynamic of the arrangement. It’s so compelling for me to listen to that over and over. I learn from it, and hear different things every time. There’s only a handful of movies that have that effect on me, like Citizen Kane and All About Eve and Paths of Glory. I watched these films over and over again and pick up new things at every turn.
G.L.O.S.S. – Demo
As much as I liked Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues, and as full of raw angst as it was, it was also a hand holding through the personal journey of transgender dysphoria. G.L.O.S.S. do not want to hold your fucking hand. They want to give you the finger with it or ball it up and land it hard on the side of your face. This demo is the biggest fuck you to societal gender norms of all time. G.L.O.S.S. are from the future. The freaks are coming.
Billy Idol - "White Wedding"
I saw Billy Idol in concert this week. I didn't expect to enjoy it or know any of the songs so I got there an hour late, which amounts to a large chunk of performance time missed, considering he's old and can only play for 90 minutes. The crowd was looking like my favorite type of cheddar (aged, white) and was mostly made up of people who seemed like they would be very tired for their role in middle management the next day. If anything, the most overwhelming thing about the audience was just how "normal" they looked, which made their reaction to Billy Idol all the more jarring. People went fucking BATSHIT CRAZY for this guy. I know he's a a legend and everything, but you don't really understand the scope of what that word means until you see a balding soccer bands dancing like Carleton Banks to a song you've only heard in a skateboarding video game. I only knew two songs in full: "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding" which were both conveniently played as the last two songs, ensuring that even the late arrivals would see these songs performed as they were meant to: by an aging old man with surprisingly taut skin before 11 PM on a Wednesday.
City High - "What Would You Do"
True fact: I had no idea this song existed until Monday night, when my girlfriend referenced it over dinner and then FREAKED the fuck out when I told her I had no idea what she was talking about. She then immediately played the song for me, and it's so good that I've been playing it on a loop ever since. Shouts out to Lina, shouts out to City High, shouts out to everyone on the internet blogs who will shame me for not knowing this song until Monday.
Say Lou Lou – “Nothing But a Heatbeat”
The moment is almost nigh! Say Lou Lou—the Scandi-Aussie identical twins who look like 70s film heroines in a never-ending movie directed by Guy Bourdin—will release their album Lucid Dreaming on 4.6. I've been eyeing up these girls for over two years, since the peerless "Maybe You," and I've been getting blue balls. A teasing song here, a playful video there, ugh! But I can say with some conviction, because I read the publicist's email: the album is finally coming out and "Nothing But a Heartbeat," a song that's sweet like an unexpected kiss on your nape, will (probably) be the last track dropped before this momentous event occurs. Amen.
Future - "Fuck Up Some Commas"
Future has been one of my absolute favorite rappers for a few years, but toward the end of last year he started stumbling. He and Ciara split, putting a rift in what should have been rap's greatest love story (no disrespect to Jay Z, but Future has a dozen songs that are more romantic than anything Jay has ever made). His initial response to that was putting up a couple of serious bricks in the form of "Monster" and "Pussy Overrated" (as opposed to putting up serious bricks in a cocaine sense like on Karate Chop, which would have been acceptable). As radio and clubs seemed to abandon Future in favor of his stylistic successors Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan and he gave little for us to argue in his favor, it seemed safe to maybe not pay eagle-eyed attention to him. But of course Future is amazing and talented, and even the rote moments on Monster and especially Beast Mode, his two recent mixtapes, are fun to listen to (check out "No Basic" and "Just Like Bruddas" on the latter). And "Fuck Up Some Commas" may not be a hit on the level of classic Future, but it's just as good as any of them. Future warbles his heart out and raps a verse that's pretty much just syllables, not words, until it ends with him saying "throw that money in the air / watch it fall to the floor" and talking about "Katy Perry, yeah / serving Katy Perry yeah." I had a pretty awesome week, and this is the perfect song for that—if you're feeling yourself, there are few things more suited to your mood than walking down the street telling yourself there's a milli on you, "let's have a money shower," even if it's actually, like, 80 bucks on you instead of a million. Plus, I love imagining how much Katy Perry's personal chef must be feeling his or herself listening to this song. This is for all of us to feel awesome, but it is especially for you, Katy Perry's chef.
Dorthia Cottrell – “Gold”
I can't stop listening to Dorthia Cottrell's new solo record. Like really, I can't. I keep trying to turn it off and devote some more time to Goat Semen and Death Karma, but somehow, Dorthia's dusky, moonlit country-folk ballads always pull me back in. Her voice… good lord, her voice. Anyone who's heard her wail in Windhand knows that the woman is in possession of a monumental set of pipes, but I daresay she's at her best when she unplugs, turns down, and looks inward. The whole album is perfection, but I'm especially partial to "Gold"—we streamed it here.
Phil Collins - "Doesn't Anybody Stay Together Anymore"
Does anyone want to do karaoke this weekend?
Vessel - "Drowned in Water and Light"
This video hits that sweet spot where I am both simultaneously enthralled and uncomfortable. What an amazing track too.