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ICYMI vol 9: Karen O, Deerhunter, Grim Streaker

ICYMI is a series featuring new and notable releases you (and we) may have missed

“Woman” – Karen O, Danger Mouse

A lot of particularly pointed political commentary falls flat — it’s sterile, unimpassioned, cliché, clickbait. Ever since it became en vogue to be “woke” a lot of false feminism has been promoted for capitalist gains, not societal change. “Woman” is a different story. The song feels like you’re standing in the center of a vortex of fire as Karen O hiccups and slides into her warrior chant “I’m a woman/what you see”. A representation of tumultuous times, “Woman” is facing the fire head on and isn’t afraid of a battle.

“Big Funny” – Vundabar

Vundabar’s Smell Smoke might be in my top ten records of all time, so anything related to it, is definitely worth checking out. “Big Funny” perfectly encapsulates Vundabar’s deeply dark humor and the Jekyll and Hyde way in which they pair that with clownish antics. A stop-motion, fish-eyed, street team/tour diary of sorts, the video manages to make a song about death feel playful.

“High Dive” – PINK MEXICO

The first single off PINK MEXICO’s upcoming album DUMP, has me tagging the town with “More surf punk 2019”. I’m a sucker for a beach-y melody (especially one that’s scuzzed out), the propelling percussion, and the salty, sweet breakdown at the end.

“A.D.D.” – Grim Streaker

Grim Streaker has been on my radar for a while, but this latest release is particularly impressive. Amelia Bushell’s vocals sound the best they ever had as she’s struggling to count to three — littered with howls and growls and grit. Super catchy melody, scuzzy guitars, and a solid two minutes for those of us who have limited attention spans.

Harmony Hall/2021 – Vampire Weekend

We waited SIX YEARS for this, but we finally have new Vampire Weekend music. Whether or not you’re a fan of Vampire Weekend, I think it’s relevant to acknowledge their cultural significance. They were at the forefront of this indie-pop/rock era that swept the early 2010s. Their return is marked with the folky “Harmony Hall” and the short synth spurt that is “2021”. The first two songs off their upcoming record, Father of the Bride, aren’t the same ear-worm-y tunes that infiltrated the mainstream airwaves however many years ago, but they have merit nonetheless. They continue to succeed in their simplicity and clarity, even if they aren’t pushing boundaries or doing anything groundbreaking.

Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? – Deerhunter

Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? sounds like it was made many years ago when music was a more precious commodity and albums were cherished in their entirety from start to finish. It’s not stylistically similar to early Bright Eyes albums in any way, shape, or form, but I’m left with the same feeling I had when I first listened to I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and LIFTED… Rejecting the hazy nostalgia of their youth and delving more into poppy nihilism, the album plays with the juxtaposition of vastness and claustrophobia and being disconnected from reality, with no concern of relevancy or general appeal. If you wanted another Microcastle or Halycon Digest this isn’t it, but it’s pretty damn good.

“More Than Physical” – The Dumes

“More Than Physical” is a bit of slow burner. Starting off it has a typical singer/songwriter circa 2008 kind of vibe (like RIPE for a Grey’s Anatomy episode), but it builds with a solid, steady beat into something a bit more impactful. Rough around the edges vocals keep things interesting. The song really kicks into high gear at the bridge, musically launching the listener into the space of emotional release lead singer Elodie Tomlinson has found herself in.

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