Sunday, September 11, 2016

Click (Music): Donuts, Gryffin, Stranger Things, and Where Eagles Dare

Fresh off another trip to Dun-Well Doughnuts in Brooklyn, I've got vegan donuts on the brain. I apologize in advance for any fried dough references which may be forthcoming.

"All I Need" by Cape Cub

One of the "sweetest treats on the high streets" is the spongy, sugary, UK yum yum. Seeing as this doughy dessert calls the same nation home as Cape Cub (aka Chad Male), it would be easy to assume that his new single, "All I Need," is about his affinity for a nice warm yum yum. I've written, what I think are, the lyrics over and over in my journal. I've read them from the perspective of a relationship and a love of yum yums. I'm not convinced one way or the other. Even the press release which has a quote from Chad saying that "All I Need" is about "saying 'things don't feel too good right now, I don't even know what's going on, but without you it'd be so much worse'" does nothing but heighten my confusion. Lover of human? Lover of doughy desserts? I guess you'll just have to decide.

"Where Eagles Dare" by Greta Morgan & Katy Goodman (the Misfits Cover)

Glen Danzing, the man who originally wrote "Where Eagles Dare" showed up in an episode of Portlandia last year. He said, about the experience, that show writers Fred (Armisen) and Carrie (Brownstein) along with the rest of their crew give him a third reason to visit Portland. The first two? Voodoo Doughnut and Powell's bookstore. In their new cover of the Misfits single, Greta Morgan (of Springtime Carnivore) and Katy Goodman (of La Sera) tone down the raw aggressiveness of the original and up the sugary harmonizing. Their version is, as the press release suggests, a full circle return to the girl group and '50s rock & roll sound that initially inspired Danzig while he was penning the track.

"Whole Heart" by Gryffin featuring Bipolar Sunshine

Aside from being a fabulous dance track, "Whole Heart" has actually performed quite a service for society. Before hearing the song I was a somewhat reluctant organ donor. I was totally cool with passing on my lungs, liver, kidneys and even my stomach. When it came to the heart, I was cool giving up my aorta, left ventricle and left atrium but I insisted on holding on to the right ventricle and atrium (I considered them my "lucky" heart parts). But hearing Bipolar Sunshine say over and over "you've got to got to got to go whole heart" convinced me that I was being selfish holding on to my "lucky" heart parts. So how exactly can this be labelled "quite a service for society?" Well, considering I have heard from upwards of a hundred people who have said they "want a piece of me" I've now fully committed to their having just that.

"Eternity" by Communions

It has been a bunch of Stranger Things this and Stranger Things that this week as all my co-workers seem to be going down that path. I hear there are trapper keepers in the show as well as many other fabulous things that made the 80's such a sh***y time. You know what the 80's needed? "Eternity" by Communions. I mean these guys know how to summon the hypothetical 80's pop monster, collar it  and tame it into ET like obedience. How much better would the 80's have been had these guys dropped this track then? Of course, that would mean 2016 would be a lot less nostalgic. I'm not sure I'm willing to trade one for the other. My lingering thought with this track is the line, "I wonder why eternity won't end, here we go again." Replace eternity with the 80's or donuts or the long term effects of lyme disease, it doesn't really matter. The power of constant questioning remains the same. That's when you know you've penned a stellar line.

As a bit of a side note, I'd love for Communions to teach a class on lyric writing to Judah & the Lion. Man, I just feel like that mandolin and banjo are completely wasted because of their do-nothing-for-me lyrics.

"Somebody Else" by Verite (the 1975 cover)

On my last visit to Dun-well Donuts, I ordered a blueberry donut sundae. The vegan ice cream choices were strawberry and peanut butter. The lady checking me out said that a combination of the two would be like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She suggested I go that route. I thought about what she recommended, briefly, and then decided to do my own thing. In short, I let Dun-well and 3 Little Birds (the ice cream maker) do most of the work, but then I put my own twist on the final product. This is very similar to how Verite approaches cover songs. While overall she is not "too keen" on covering songs, every once in a while "things just fall into place" and a cover song happens. With her version of "Somebody Else" by the 1975, Verite tried to embrace the aesthetic (it is simple and relatable) and effective writing of the original. She then took it into her world and reinterpreted it a bit.

"Last Call" by Louis Vivet featuring Mister Blonde

Louis Vivet is a new member of the Liftoff family, a label run by the Disco Fries. Consider him the tiny baby. Only this tiny baby doesn't have to go through the same learning process as everyone else. Nope, the Louis Vivet version of a tiny baby can already make a fabulous dance track. That's something that my toddler still can't do. "Last Call" may not have much in common with J. Dilla, I have to admit that when I hear it, especially in a donut frame of mind, I can't help but think about this.


"333" by Against Me!

Natasha, is that you? It took me until halfway through "333" for me to realize that the reason the actress looked so familiar is because it is Natasha Lyonne from Orange is the New Black. I'd have to say she's a pretty good pick when it comes to illuminating the push/pull relationship between repression and free sexuality. I mean isn't that what her character on OITNB deals with a large portion of the time?

"It's Just Us Now" by Sleigh Bells 

"It's Just Us Now" is almost like two songs in one. You've got the Sleigh Bells of old putting their mark all over the verses, I'm talking combining sonic elements, pushing sounds to and past their limits until they sound like an aural chainsaw. Then there is the new Sleigh Bells, the one that has stopped and started the writing of their new album, Jessica Rabbit, over and over during the last three years as they have tried to push free of the box that their previous releases have put them in. Jessica Rabbit found the band trying out new instrumentation and time signatures, swapping guitars for a synth pad, and even inviting in an outsider (Mike Elizondo who has worked with Dr. Dre and Fiona Apple among others) for the first time. The new Sleigh Bells features melodies that zig-zag in different directions, sort of like playing a game of flirtatious tag with those sonic elements. Both song and album are beautiful, ever-modulated, exercises in controlled chaos.

 Get All of 2016's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist: