Oh hey. Welcome to Staff Picks, the place where the Noisey editors gather every week to tell you about the music they’ve been listening to in order to drown out the horrendous nature of the world’s worst news stories. So anyway, here’s what we’ve got.
Blur - "Tender"
Let's just say I've never been much of a "Blur guy"—I can talk about the hits but can't really get deeper than that—but tonight I'm seeing them in a small venue in Brooklyn for their first show in New York in like a decade. This is just one of those things that is important—a seminal band that represents a significant time in the history releases a new album (that's pretty good!) and returns to conquer the world. Or, well, something maybe a little bit less grandiose but this still does feel like it's on the level of a big development in the storyline of Game of Thrones, and not just because they have accents. Here's them performing "Tender" for like ten minutes in 2009 at Glastonbury. You've heard this song before. I've heard this song before. But who cares? "Oh my baby, oh my baby," I say to you. "Oh why, oh my."
Strawberry Switchblade - "Since Yesterday"
This week, Tamaryn finally released new music- which is exciting because I love her and was really in the mood to listen to more airy, dark shoegazey shit since I am bored of everything else as of late. Her new song "Hands All Over Me" sounds nothing like her previous albums, but is still insanely good, and sounds like a straight Madonna cut from the early 80s. A friend of mine compared it to Strawberry Switchblade, who I haven't thought about in years–so now I'm stuck in a black hole of Strawberry Switchblade that I won't be coming out of anytime soon. "Since Yesterday" is one of those songs that I would want to immediately start playing every time I walked into a party where I would start maniacally laughing, waving, and pointing at people while eating candy. Just listen to the song and you'll get it.
Kerbivore - All Dressed
Some dudes I know in a band teamed up with some other dude I know who started a record label and together, said dudes dropped this wonderful little EP on the world. Parts Hüsker Dü, parts Ted Leo/Rx. Delight in its catchiness.
Billy Bragg - "There Is Power In A Union"
Happy International Workers Day.
Fugazi - “Waiting Room” Live
Last night’s Salad Days screening left a gaping hole in me that could only be filled with a round of Fugazi tracks on the ride home. Just like virtually everyone in the world, my introduction to Fugazi was with “Waiting Room,” the first track on the 13 Songs compilation that I bought after seeing the insane and infamous headstand photograph at my local Olsen’s in 1990. The film used a lot, a LOT, of archival. One of the shots was this absolutely incendiary video of the band playing the classic track. Whether you’re a fan or not, it captures a moment that will send chills down your spine.
Jelleestone - "Money Can't Buy Me Happiness"
Money is dope. It shouldn't be, since it's just colored plastic polymer, but it's literally able to do anything for you. For the right amount of colorful plastic polymer, you can make any person on earth do anything you want. That's crazy, and it's also the reason I don't believe in the message that Jelleestone preaches in this song. Sure, money can't buy you a feeling, but money can buy you literally anything else you want. You can buy someone else's happiness from them. For example, one year ago there was an old man on my block who would wake up every morning to feed the pigeons with stale breadcrumbs. He wasn't rapidly aging, but clearly this ritual of throwing bread to the birds made him happy. That's why I started buying a fresh loaf of bread and waking up earlier during the week. I would distribute the superior breadcrumbs on my lawn, and the pigeons soon found their way over to my lawn instead of his. So yeah, maybe money can't buy happiness, but for a $3 loaf of bread I was able to rob that old man of his.
Fetty Wap - Zoo Style
Now that Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen" is a certified hit to end all hits, let's take a moment to appreciate Fetty's enormous depth. His tape, Zoo Style, which I guess came out earlier this year (maybe? I kind of ignored it?), is awesome. It is the best kind of rap mixtape, a throwback to the days when rap mixtapes meant something, man: On one hand, it's a completely scattered mess of freestyles over popular beats with a lot of stray ideas and random guest appearances. On the other, it's full of inventive snippets that showcase Fetty's immense creativity and emotional depth, as well as the fact that he can really—no, really—sing. Listen to "ZooWap" and the way that he just starts belting at the end. Fetty Wap is full of good ideas, but above all he has a fascinating voice, and he uses it in fascinating ways, like how he chops up his vocals on "No Dayz Off." I woke up to someone playing that song outside my window this morning at 7:30 AM, which seemed like as good a way as any to start the day (and ironically, to send me on my way for a few days off next week). This tape is a glorious, fascinating mess, and I can't stop listening to it.
LA Priest - "Party Zute / Learning to Love"
You will dig this if you like the basslines of Kindness, or early Metronomy, or music that sounds like it's partially submerged in water. I like all three of these things, so this new track by Domino Records newbie has really been floating my boat for the past 12 hours. It's just the kind of track that'll bounce you straight into the weekend. A weekend I've been praying for since Monday. People are really into pitch-shifting their vocals RN. Rudi Zygadlo's new stuff—which is effing amazing and not out yet—is all about that. But anyway, who is LA Priest? Well that'll be Sam Dust, ex-Late of the Pier, and this is his new project. Hit Sam!