fresh fresh very fresh [single reviews]
Hayley Williams [featured photo credit – Lindsey Byrnes] – “Simmer”: I know that dark pop is really in vogue right now, but you’ll have to make room for one more artist on your playlist – none other than Paramore’s Hayley Williams. “Simmer” is a bit of a different take on the genre, showing her coming into her own. “Simmer” is basically the antithesis of Paramore’s lead single from After Laughter, “Hard Times.” Williams is a bit more reserved in her vocal delivery here, yet there’s an undertone that meanders back and forth between trepidation and fierceness.
Pearl Jam – “Dance of the Clairvoyants”: For a band that I know for megahits like “Jeremy,” “Last Kiss,” and other emotional rollercoasters, the last thing I was expecting was a danceable number loosely inspired by Tame Impala. Eddie Vedder’s signature vocals are an odd contrast against this sound, yet it strangely works. One comment on Stereogum’s write up of this single notes “This sounds like the Talking Heads.” I can agree with that. I’m a little skeptical about Vedder’s ability to transform into a dance rock frontman live – his almost possessed expression in “Jeremy” is hard to get out of my head.
The Worn Flints – “Tonight”: The Worn Flints have taken the midpoint of psych and blues rock and become really adept at penning anthems in that space. I mean, when you hear “Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-hoo!” as the intro, you know you’re in for a good time. While this is The Worn Flints first release since the full length Gloria Avenue last year, some fans might recognize it as the music video dropped for it late last summer. A bit of an unorthodox promotion strategy, for sure, but we really dig the song. A big chorus, big riffs, and the trademark bigger than life sound of the band ought to bring this song some notoriety.
Secret Treehouse – “At Sunrise”: If you wanted the sunnier parts of CHVRCHES to intersect with a vaguely post-punk act, Secret Treehouse is what would result. “The Big Rewind” was one of my favorite singles from last year, and this song continues the band’s signature sound of poignant optimism with a song that will pierce the darkness of wherever the listener is. Secret Treehouse certainly has the drive to potentially be the next Highasakite. Actually, can Highasakite bring Secret Treehouse on their next US tour, please? I’d attend that show.
Vita and the Woolf – “Mess Up”: The mood of this song kinda feels like the weather outside the porch I’m currently sitting on. Sunny and cool, but there’s been a sudden cloudburst of rain. You can think of it as either unwelcome or refreshing, but likely you’ll appreciate it in a way that is something other than outright joy. “Mess Up” is a raw journey that follows roughly the path of emotion I just articulated. There’s certainly more depth here in production when it comes to production of an indie pop track than you might be used to seeing.
Something Else – “All My Fault”: Something Else are setting out to be the champions of the midtempo pop rock sound, from what I’ve heard so far. “All My Fault” is earwormiest thing they’ve released thus far in their career. Aiden Hall takes a song that on paper is fairly straightforward and adds his own version of attitude and flair, which comes out in his vocals. After watching the music video, you’ll be hard pressed to picture him singing this song without being expressive. I’m here for this new, bright era of Something Else.
Idle Achiever – “What You Need”: Lyricist Noah Reineke says that this song wasn’t so much one that he wrote, as much was it was given to him by the Guy Above. This is a bop of an alt-pop track, straying into twenty one pilots territory without being a rip-off. You could say the same thing about Idle Achiever and Two Door Cinema Club, actually. “What You Need” feels like Two Door’s “What You Know” mixed with TOP’s “Migraine,” and not in a bad way. I could definitely see this getting traction on the alt charts.
Dens – “Even”: Dens dropped one of my top ten singles of 2018 in “Deadrise,” and they seem primed to do it again in 2020 with this, a burner of a lead single from their debut full length on Facedown Records. “Even” hits hard, and sounds like it could be placed on a blockbuster soundtrack alongside some nu-metal jams (even though it’s definitely not nu-metal in sound). Raw and anthemic is the name of the game here, which Dens is out to win in spades. I’m very intrigued by their forthcoming release.
Find all of the above tunes and more on our “New and Nifty” playlist: