August has arrived. There’s been a lull in good music lately, but there are some promising albums on the horizon. I still managed to cobble together five new songs and a classic video for your Friday enjoyment.
“Rocket Fuel” – DJ Shadow feat. De La Soul. This song is a bit of a throwback. Not necessarily to the second-wave hip hop of De La Soul’s first act. But rather to some of the genre-bending music that was around at the turn of the millennium. A fun little track.
“Skin Game” – DIIV. DIIV is one of many bands that have taken the 1990s shoegaze sound and added modern elements to create an updated take on the genre. On this track they seem to be perfecting that sound.
“Love Is Everywhere (Beware)” – Wilco. My Wilco phase ended about 14 years ago. Since that golden age in the middle of their career, the band has morphed, Jeff Tweedy got sober, and their sound drifted to what I’ve thought to be a safer, more boring direction. I’ve liked a few of their songs, but I haven’t given any of their albums more than a couple listens since A Ghost Is Born. This is the first one of their songs I’ve really liked in a long, long time. I may have to give those old albums a listen this weekend.
“Summer Girl” – Haim. Not what I was expecting when I saw Haim had a new track dropping this week. Why I was surprised, I’m not sure. The Haim sisters have proven they are willing to go about any direction in their music. So this breezy, jazzy track, that owes a ton to Lou Reed’s “Walk On the Wild Side” shouldn’t be that big of a shock. Still, I was expecting something more aimed at pop radio than this. That said, this is a delightful song that has a hidden weight. Danielle Haim wrote it for her boyfriend after he was diagnosed with cancer a couple years back.
“Be Still Moon” – Steve Gunn. Gunn makes music well-suited to summer. This seems like the perfect song to take us into the final month of the season.
“Jive Talkin’” – Bee Gees. Tom Breihan is up to mid-1975 in his The Number Ones series, and just came across the first moment in the Bee Gees’ takeover of music. His writeup, as always, is tremendous, with tons of great tidbits about the song. The band not knowing what “jive” meant is the best. Also interesting to note that the bass that Maurice plays in this video is not what was played on the studio track. And could Robin not play an instrument? He’s left just standing, waiting for the choruses. I think Breihan also makes a solid argument on how we should assess the manner in which the Bee Gees mined Black and gay culture for their monster run in the late 1970s.