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Five Songs For The Week, February 3rd 2019

Collapsing Scenery


Pedro The Lion – ‘Yellow Bike’: From the band’s new album ‘Phoenix’ which was just released last month, this song is built around impressionist memories about a yellow bike received for Christmas, when David Bazan was a child. It is as straightforward as it seems to be, ‘I remember what it was like/Astride my yellow bike’, but it’s also a new-found freedom over a strumming guitar and a catchy tune, it’s about a ‘leaving home and never coming back’ story told with a nostalgic tone and yearning in the vocals. I like how the song explodes in repeat, with a blend of upbeat tempo and melancholy.

Billie Eilish  – ‘bury a friend’: I am probably the wrong audience for this very young artist, who is surely getting all the attention of a crowd of sad teenage girls. The numbers are impressive, the single and the video were released a few days ago and the Youtube video has already 23 M views and the song 17 M plays on Spotify!! But it’s difficult not to be impressed by the maturity and the darkness of her cinematic song and that’s why there is a video. The beats are right away captivating, and at times, it could even sound like a Fiona Apple new tune in its wide-eyed strangeness, whereas Billie has actually all-dilated pupils. With a lo-fi electronic production and without vocal excess, the song manages to be atmospheric and minimalist, mysterious and sexy, creepy, vulnerable, wounded and intense.

Mercury Rev – ‘Sermon’ (featuring Margo Price): This is a single released at the end of last year and part of an ambitious project paying tribute to country legend Bobbie Gentry’s 1968 album ‘The Delta Sweete’. Sung by country star Margo Price, it is the opposite of the previous song, a strong female voice over a layered orchestration, floating in suspended majesty while Margo Price’s powerhouse provides all the emotions and gets to the country core of the song. Then, mid-way the music shifts into another level with celestial and glittering keys but this same confidence in the voice.

Moaning – ‘Don’t Go’: A propelling fuzz from their self-titled album, released just last year. The Los Angeles trio cultivates the monochord tone over aggressive and fuzzy soundscapes, making the song tough and sad at the same time, in a post-punk kind of way. Nothing sounds clear and distinct in this less-than-3-minutes song, and if the start is launched like a rocket in the sky, the song never reaches a cathartic stage, as the boredom of Sean Solomon’s vocals tamed the saturated rage of the sound.

Collapsing Scenery – ‘Metaphysical Cops’: I am adding this one because it’s a side project of Mickey Madden aka Reggie Debris (a pseudonym chosen as a homage to French philosopher and writer Regis Debray, so count on political lyrics). Mickey also happens to be Maroon 5’s bassist and since they played this little Super Bowl gig on Sunday… However, Collapsing Scenery’s weird electronic collage soundscapes could not be more different from Maroon 5’s easy-listening pop hits. With his bandmate Don Devore (probably another pseudonym), Reggie Debris/Mickey Madden compose experimental pieces with cold electronic beats, intriguing samples, and vocals which here remind me of Beck in ‘The Information’. Live, they are a sweaty punk riot (I have seen them a few weeks ago), but on records, they are a surprise of noise experimentation and melodic dissonance. Really nothing to do with that band which just played the Super Bowl.


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