what i’m doing instead of going to the state fair [single reviews]
The Chainsmokers & Illenium: “Takeaway (feat. Lennon Stella)”: The critical thinker in me says I shouldn’t like this track because it’s about as formulaic is they come. If you watch this video explaining how to write a Chainsmokers song, the cliches hold true. Yet, I’ll be darned if this isn’t infectious and really enjoyable. There’s a reason that artists are formulaic. Why would The Chainsmokers change at this point? This is a sweeping, cinematic breakup song that will likely turn Illenium into a household name. I might even call it the new “Closer.” Also, this video serves as a great marketing piece for the Hudson Yards project in NYC. The structure is a neat visual for how estranged lovers can be in a tangled web of emotion.
Coyote Kid – “Femme Fatale”: Last year, I experienced live a band called Marah in the Mainsail on a rooftop bar at SXSW. Later, I would run into them again at my favorite festival, Audiofeed. The band has a unique dark flair mixed with southern, bluesy rock. They recently rebranded as Coyote Kid—a name that’s a little less of a mouthful. This will undoubtedly serve them well. “Femme Fatale” is the debut single and is as macabre and fun as you would expect. It’s the sort of thing that feels steampunk and rock n roll all the same. How can you not be intrigued by a tale of a women serving her vampiric car, luring unsuspecting men to a grisly demise? Muahahahaha.
The Astronots – “Wandering Eyes”: My immediate impression when listening to this is that this song is a happy medium between sock hop and psychedelia. You know that scene in Back to the Future where Michael J. Fox is rocking out with that guitar and confusing the crap out of the audience? Imagine if he took a bunch of LSD beforehand. The Astronots have already afforded some placements in TV and film from this unique sound, which is refreshing given all the pop rock cinematic placements happening these days (no shade to the folks I know in that world). A press release describes this music as being for fans of Kings of Leon, Led Zeppelin, and Alabama Shakes, and I concur. I might add the Beach Boys to that list.
Liv Margaret – “Oasis”: When this singer messaged me and recommended this as a summery tune for Tuned Up, the sound wasn’t exactly what I expected. It’s more of a summer-nights-under-the-city-lights tune, and less of a sipping-a-margarita-by-the-water tune. The production is reserved enough that it almost seems muffled. I’m actually fine with this; not every electronic driven track needs to be a big club-ready banger. This certainly isn’t any less of a banger, though. Nor is it a ballad. The singer’s aesthetic goes with the sound too; classic (classy?) with a touch of edgy polish.
Frames – “Stay”: I could always use more pensive rock in my life. Even as I sit here sweating in the heat on my front porch, this song takes my mind to a place where the days are rainier. I don’t really yearn for those days around here, but I sure do like that feeling. Her voice comes across in a way that is neither sultry, emotive, nor deadpan. It’s genuine. This Richmond, VA artist is further evidence that market is underrated. Frames is the latest signing to Philadelphia’s Know Hope Records.
Find all of the tracks above and more below on “Tuned Up’s New and Nifty” playlist: