Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!
Another week, another snow, and another wish for just a little bit warmer weather. Just because I’m used to it doesn’t mean I’m a fan of snow until May…but I think these songs are more fit for spring or summer. At least the colors are.
Enjoy this week’s songs!
SUNDAY SONGS: 2/19/23
“Fancy Dance” – Black Belt Eagle Scout
I talked about The Land, The Water, The Sky more in depth in my album review a few days ago, but out of the newest songs, “Fancy Dance” was an immediate standout. As short as it was—one of the shortest tracks on the album, in fact—it immediately snagged my by the shirt collar on the first listen, so much so that I didn’t notice that my water bottle that I’d been filling had started to overflow. This song is what I’ve been wanting from Black Belt Eagle Scout for so long—Katherine Paul letting loose, unleashing a bite-sized package of driving, alternative rock joy. Paul’s air-light voice juxtaposes with their lightly-fuzzed guitars, making for a summery, upbeat, and carefree hit that instantly makes me want to get up on my feet. The whole album was fantastic, but this was one of the best songs I’ve seen her do in recent years.
Back with another lovely, upbeat tune, here’s one from an artist who I’ll never stop describing as criminally underrated. “Meet the Parents” comes from Jim Noir’s debut EP, A Bird Sings in Wool, and man, all I can think is that if I publish something as good as this right off the bat, I could honestly die happy. The whole EP is nothing short of brilliant, but this song always pops back out at me. “Delightful” really is the best word to describe it—as I hear the lines “If I had to meet your parents/I would probably lose my head/And my legs would fall off/And my eyes would fall out,” “delightful” isn’t exactly the word I’d use right off the bat, but the whimsical, Britpop delivery of it gives me a more cartoonish image of little googly eyes tumbling out of flat, 2-D sockets and bouncing around like rubber balls. There’s a consistently lighthearted feel to it all; A Bird Sings in Wool is the musical equivalent of a light spring rain—not the kind that ruins your day and makes you gloomy, but the kind that makes you want to run out on the lawn and spin around in the dewy grass.
+ if you have the means, I’d highly recommend supporting the wonderful Jim Noir on Patreon! He’s been putting out several EPs over the past few months which will eventually grow into an album, so if you want to hear new music from him firsthand, look no further!
The fates (read: that list randomizer website) picked Blur’s debut album, Leisure, for my listen this week, and for the most part, it was a good album; I wouldn’t say that there are any bad songs on it, but it did tend to err on the side of repetitiveness (they even had a song called “Repetition,” funnily enough). It’s the clear product of a monumental band first trying to find their feet and create a signature sound, but only dipping their toes in the pool water where the album cover’s swim cap lady is resting beside. I’d only heard “She’s So High” and “There’s No Other Way” before listening, and now I can add “Bang” and “Wear Me Down” to some of my album favorites, but musically, “Sing” is the most unique of them all. Clocking in at just over six minutes long, “Sing” is like drifting through a haze, windmilling your arms around as you try and fan away the fog. Over the droning melodies, the harmonies of Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon create a dizzying, proto-shoegaze atmosphere that envelops you until the final grinding of the last 10 seconds. It’s so radically different than anything else on the album, and even here, at the very start of their career, you can already hear the forebears of some of the more experimental tracks on Blur, 13, or even Think Tank, a magnifying-glass glimpse into what Blur would eventually become. It’s comforting to know that they were always a little weird from the start.
A chance encounter on an old friend’s Instagram story led me to this bright and summery song, and it’s been on repeat ever since. It has all of the sweet simplicity of a 50’s love song, translated into modern terms with punctuated record scratches and woozy vocals. Everything about “Shy” seems bright—the tones of the barely-faded electric guitars, the hazy cloud of electronic background noise, and the acoustic guitar strums—the clearest thing to come through in this song, like a lighthouse beacon in the middle of a misty sea. The bright, lime green of the cover of the Hether Who? EP only increases the feeling of carefree summertime that this song emanates in waves. Right down to the last distorted notes, it’s a perfect example of the persistence of a simple, 3-minute pop song, just barely translated into indie. It’s a time-tested formula. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
After hearing about Wednesday on NPR and listening to “Cody’s Only,” I ended up snagging a few other songs of theirs from Apple Music on a whim. “Fate Is…” immediately stood out, coming in strong like a punch in the face with a tidal wave of grungy guitars and percussion and Karly Hartzman’s relentless, persistent voice. It’s a song that grabs you by the shirt collar and never lets go, especially when Hartzman’s voice rises past the point of cracking along with the edges of the instrumentation. Even when the momentum dips down in the chorus, it’s brought back up screaming, never letting go until every instrument seems to vanish into thin air in the last seconds in the song, winking out of existence in a smoky cloud, leaving only remnants of the fuzz behind. This is only one of my first few Wednesday songs, but I hope they don’t lose their guitar-heavy sound. Maybe I need to give I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone a listen too.
Since this post consists entirely of songs, consider all of them to be today’s song.
That’s it for this week’s Sunday Songs! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
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