On the song “TRY,” from the upcoming album You + I, Brooklyn singer/songwriter Madison McFerrin could be speaking to a significant other, a friend, her listeners, or herself when she sings, “We should fly/Take a leap of faith/It’s time to decide.” Overtop a quietly insistent house beat and some barely-there instrumentation, McFerrin lays down her conflicted emotions, the battle between doubt and empowerment punctuated by the occasional exuberant synth flare. Understated and distilled to the point that it feels almost holy, “TRY” is a hopeful declaration of faith in self and in others.
Article 54-Piece of Cake
Article 54 are a London-based pop music collective that makes breakup anthems for our time. A breakup not between people, but between countries. Or, rather, between one country and 27 others. “Piece of Cake,” from Article 54’s new album The Hustle, is a jauntily campy disco track whose lyrics drip sarcasm and scorn. Some examples: “The deal that we’re going to make/Is gonna be a piece of cake,” “We’re shooting fish in a barrel/There’ll be no need to battle, quarrel, or haggle!” Audio clips of pro-Brexit politicians making absurd promises become soundbites for a satirical sitcom theme when placed overtop the song’s chipper instrumental. The US is implicated in the madness as well; the 1984-lite slogan, “We can assure you that the news is fake,” is tossed in as a shout-out to the toad person currently running our country. By the end of “Piece of Cake,” the Brexiteers have gone full Gob from Arrested Development; the peppy refrain is repeated in the going-to future tense, indicating that things have gone very wrong indeed.
The Screaming Wind-Dreaming Of Realms Familiar Pt. 1
Corvallis, OR’s The Screaming Wind makes “introspective, atmospheric metal” in the vein of artists like Xasthur. The first track from the newly-released Dreaming Of Realms Familiar is actually frightening at first listen; ghastly shrieks and gurgles issue forth from the grainy void, the sounds warping and dissolving as if their source were more wendigo than human. Stick with the song, though, and you’ll notice the desolate beauty contained within the surprisingly melodic guitar riffs and the epic, windswept scale of the music itself. Imagine being sucked into an evil tornado in the middle of some lonesome plain or forest, and you’ve got a decent idea of what “Dreaming of Realms Familiar Pt. 1” sounds and feels like.