Usually around this time of year, great new music comes in droves. Which is good because–well, new music is always a good thing but bad in the sense where it can be extremely overwhelming. That's why we have filtered through and narrowed down 5 tracks we think you should pay attention to. In this week's "5 Songs We Can't Stop Listening To" it would seem that revitalization is an apparent theme among at least three of our selected artists: Joan As Policewoman, The Faint, & Asher Roth. Apart from these spectacular comebacks, we are also grooving to tracks by Mayer Hawthorne and Robert "Nighthawk" Johnson.
Mayer Hawthorne – In A Phantom Mood
Thank God for April 15th's Record Store Day. If not for it, I probably would have never heard Tokyo’s own Shintaro Sakamoto’s groovy record “In A Phantom Mood”. Mayer Hawthorne’s version, which is being released jointly with Sakamoto (with Sakamoto covering Mayer’s “Wine Glass Woman” in Japanese) on a 7” split record. Mayer makes the song unique with his own identifiable vocal phrasing. The factor that made it most stand-out though is that it seemed like a sound that was plucked right from the 1970s yet there are references to videogames and comic books in the lyrics which sounds so atypical but pretty damn cool of that genre. You be the judge yourself though, and be sure to check out Sakamoto’s original as well as his Japanese rendition of Mayer’s “Wine Glass Woman”.
The Faint – Help In The Head
The Faint haven’t been on the scene in quite some time. Fans have been anxiously awaiting a return from the electro-punk group. Their last full length album, Fasciinattion, was released in 2008, and the latest music we heard from The Faint was their four-track EP, Unseen Hand, which was specially released for the attendees of their 2012 tour, in celebration of the release of their remastered 2001 album, Dance Macabre. But, it’s true; they are indeed back at it again, with a brand new LP, via SQE Music, entitled Doom Abuse, which is set for release on April 8th. Also exciting news: the band is about to hit the road again on tour. The first single for their upcoming album is called “Help in the Head.” The song is fast and furious, with a strong chorus and bursts of screeching. A few weeks ago, a video for the song was released. The video, directed by Tim Nackashi, features a man being chased by a laser, which seems pretty fitting for the intense and slightly frightening track. “Help in the Head” is just a preview of Doom Abuse, but decide for yourself if you think The Faint still has it; watch and listen to the new single below—and make sure your volume isn't at full blast…
Asher Roth – Fast Life (feat. Vic Mensa)
Asher Roth has gotten a lot of flack (and for probably good reason) ever since he proclaimed in 2009 that he loved college. In recent years though, he has flown under the radar and started to become more self-realized as an artist. On his latest Blended Babies produced/Vic Mensa assisted single called “Fast Life” he proves why Retro Hash is a release you should look out for in the coming months. With an organic sounding instrumental that could be pictured as a group of friends jamming out in the summertime in their backyard to whoever that is scat-singing in the background (Vic maybe?), we can see that the vibe for Asher’s upcoming album is set. Asher once again proves why he should be taken seriously with average/above average bars while Vic spits a verse that seems like it belongs right on the Innanetape (and that’s a good thing). Check out Ash’s social experiment he did based on the song as well as the actual song below!
Joan As Policewoman – Holy City
Joan As Policewoman is the last person I would have thought to come out with a Soul/Funk album, but with her most recent release The Classic, she did—and she did it very well. Besides the standout track "Shame", there is another very noteworthy track in "Holy City". The production is crisp and in itself makes the track highly infectious with the rise and fall of the melody and the ongoing groove on the keys. It helps the song’s case even more when a surprise feature hits at about 3:16 with oddball favorite comedian/producer/musician extraordinaire, Reggie Watts. Here he gives his signature improv beat-boxing and singing. Check out the music video below. After watching this, with its comedic-like oddity, it wouldn’t seem too far off to gamble that Reggie was involved in helping to make this as well.
Robert "Nighthawk" Johnson – Climbing High Mountains
This is the blues. In 1975, David Evans set out to record a survey of rural black religious music. Like Alan Lomax before him, Evans sought to record the “real” sound of America. Driving into small southern towns that practiced music in the church, he recorded anyone that had a song to sing. Sorrow Come Pass Me Around is the compilation of these recordings. Originally pressed in 1975 and destined immediately for obscurity, it has been resurrected by record label ‘Dust to Digital’ and re-released in 2014.
This song, "Climbing High Mountains", is the most cutting blues song in the batch. “I’ve been drinking tears for water/ trying to make it home/ trying to make it home/ Lord, to my home in the sky” It doesn’t cut any deeper than that.