A Few Songs for the Weekend

Wavves – Sail to the Sun

The opening track and lead single off Wavves’ second album Afraid of Heights opens with a beautiful dreamy instrumental section before descending into a cathartic, raucous guitar pop jam.  John Lennon once mentioned that one of the keys to his early songwriting efforts was using lyrically depressing topics in happy melodies, resulting in such songs as ‘I’m Down’ and ‘Help!’ ‘Sail to the Sun’ has a similar vibe, a youthful proclamation of YOLO, loneliness and self destruction that you just can’t help sing along as it crescendos into a refrain of “in a grave”.

The National – Don’t Swallow the Cap

This week provided our first samples of The National’s follow up to their 2010 smash hit High Violet. The new LP Trouble Will Find Me is only a few weeks away now and ‘Don’t Swallow the Cap’ is the first single. The National have built there reputation on slow burning rock songs that, rather than featuring abrupt chord or tempo changes, rattle along at a consistent rhythm and pace. ‘Don’t Swallow the Cap’ is straight out of this mould, although Matt Berninger also is singing in a slightly higher register than we have become accustomed too.  An appealing first taste that promises great things to come.

Major Lazer ft. Ezra Koenig – Jessica

I heard this a few weeks ago but have found it incredibly hard to get a hold of. Designated to appear on Major Lazer’s forthcoming LP Free The Universe, released next week, this collaboration with Vampire Weekend’s front man Ezra Koenig is a sprawling dub jam. Diplo provides an assorted range of noises oscillating around while Ezra’s distorted and modulated vocals provide a beautiful yet disconcerting melodic hook.

Major-Lazer-Jessica

Justin Timberlake – That Girl

A real gem off JT’s recent 20/20 Experience featuring the Tennessee Kids and reminiscent of his early hit ‘Senorita’.  The production on this song is a real stand out for me. Relatively restrained in terms of instrumentation it has fantastic interplay between the bass and guitar lines while supplemented with a dose of horns and clicking rhythms. While the lyrics are relatively simplistic (I’m in love with that girl/ and she’s in love with me) the depth and range is supplied by a multitude of vocal overdubs and harmonies.

James Blake – I Am Sold

I’m finding James Blake’s new album Overgrown a real slow burner. None of the songs to my ears have the surefire immediacy as “Limit to Your Love’ or ‘The Wilhelm Scream’ had off his debut, but the new album is revealing stunning new layers upon each new listen. ‘I Am Sold’ features a beautiful falsetto melody upon Blake’s trademark sparse dub-step production techniques.

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