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Five Songs For The Week, November 25th 2018

Autolux’s Carla Azar drumming for Jack White at Arroyo Seco


These songs actually come from artists I am not too familiar with, but it’s always good to discover new names.

Autolux – ‘Change My Head’: Autolux have been around for a while but I have never had the chance to see them live. You have to know that Thom Yorke asked them to open for his Atom for Peace project a few years ago, and they have also appeared on Unkle’s work, so they obviously have circulated around my familiar territories. This track comes from their 2016 ‘PUSSY’S DEAD’, and when I heard it for the first time, I felt right at home. The chorus is an instant emotional earworm with Carla Azar’s great drumming – she is actually Jack White’s current drummer. I like the devastating dissonance of the beginning, which soon transforms into a cathartic instrumental with sweet vocals harmonies.

Phosphorescent – ‘There From Here’: He (Matthew Houck) is also a name I have seen around without having been really aware of the music. From his 2018 album ‘C’est La Vie’, ‘There From Here’ is a catchy and lovely song with Houck’s vocals which immediately convey both vulnerability and brightness. There’s something comforting in the song, obviously sounding very familiar too, and visibly attached to nature, calm and beauty. It unfolds with great serenity, like a more upbeat and poppier version of Bon Iver, with a Nashville touch.

The War and Treaty – ‘Healing Tide’: The song is a pure soul-charged, old-school Rhythm & Blues, a very upbeat clapping-foot-tapping number working like a classic Joe Cocker tune. The song is the title track of the band’s 2018 album, and it’s so explosive that the married duo (Michael and Tanya Trotter) have received comparisons to Ike and Tina Turner,…minus the domestic violence.

Billie Eilish – ‘When the Party’s Over’: I looked her up when I saw that her tour was practically sold out everywhere, with 3 dates at the Fonda theater around Thanksgiving, and one of them attended by Julia Roberts I have heard! Plus Iman mentioned her a few times in his Top Releases and New Singles columns. The most impressive thing about her is obviously her amazing success at her very young age (she is only 16), and this song is the first one that popped up in my research. It is a delicate tune, slowly burning into a high fever of emotions with Billie’s breathy and high-pitched whisper. Is it really what kids are into these days? The visuals for the video are slightly disturbing and give you another perspective on how to drink that (black) Kool-Aid, but I smell cult-following.

How To Dress Well – Humans Disguised as Animals/ NonKilling 1’: I honestly added this band for two reasons, first because they sort of ride this same Eilish wave, with super slow music, an impressive atmospheric and a powerful Emo vibe, then because they have a show this week at Los Angeles’ Lodge Room. This is the first track of their most recent album, ‘The Anteroom’ just released this year, and if some of their songs are more R&B oriented, this one brings more curious icy electronica and Tom Krell’s Himalayan falsetto. It’s a bit sad too, but this may well be the evolution of R&B.


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