Midsummer music to mesmerize
By Eric Davis, Contributor
This summer is going to be a scorcher, so a plethora of new summer jams are needed to combat this swelter. These past and coming months will be full of fantastic new music from Canada and beyond, so let’s dive in.
Salad Days (Mac DeMarco): Mac DeMarco has laid down another set of tracks perfect for solipsistic days spent on your friends’ couches. These two- to three-minute songs will definitely lift your spirits. The album opens with the titular track and enough na-nas to easily summarize the vibe of this reverb-drenched odyssey. The synth hath tolled for DeMarco’s musical evolution, and whisks along with his vocals on the album’s main single, “Passing Out Pieces.” Salad Days encapsulates a lackadaisical and nearly perfected approach to the pop music summer jam, and proves that in this age it’s not yet time to retire the guitar.
Hyperdub 10.1 (various artists): The sun has crept below the horizon and de bass is turning up. Hyperdub Records is a UK label that specializes in underground dance music: future garage, jungle, drum and bass, dubstep, the whole (foot)works. This compilation features budding artists DJ Spinn, Kyle Hall, DVA, Morgan Zarate, Kode9, Kuedo, Mala, Flowdan, and Taso & Djunya. Don’t expect modern EDM stereotypes but an experience that’ll suck you in, with glitchy electronics and a hip hop influence that’ll keep you up all night. Every artist is definitely worth your attention and can be a gateway to the world of Hyperdub.
DSU (Alex G):DSU clocks in at 30 minutes, but it isn’t in a rush to get there. Singer-songwriter Alex G’s unique lo-fi fuzz keeps its perfect pitch, at times echoing indie all-stars pavement with tracks such as “Black Hair,” “Icehead,” and “Boy.” Somber and sentimental, Alex G will take the punches as they come, reflecting on the small victories that must be magnified to find self-worth when the world weighs heavy. “I am not the boy you knew,” Alex sings in the closing track, tempering a hopefulness that comes when accepting change. If you enjoy a somber take on conventional pop music with simple instrumentation, the album can be found at sandy.bandcamp.com.
Busch Hymns (Posture & The Grizzly): Angst, pizza, and Connecticut? Put those three together and you get Posture & The Grizzly, a band that spits furious pop punk. Short and sweet, this 16-minute album might feel more like an EP, but the eight tracks sit you down and demand your attention before blowing up in your face. Twinkly guitar leads and hoarse vocals give Busch Hymns an undeniable charm.
In Conflict (Owen Pallett): Owen Pallett has toiled quietly behind many great acts including Arcade Fire, The Mountain Goats, Grizzly Bear, and even the soundtrack for Her. If you hear a lush string arrangement in indie rock, it’s likely Pallett. In Conflict isn’t his first independent work, but it’s certainly the boldest. Combining his skills with singing and songwriting, his Canadian charm is perfect for a summer’s bike ride. “The Riverbed” is by far the most notable track here, featuring incredible instrumentation from mellow horns, drum machines, stringent strings, and Pallett’s signature croon. In Conflict is very worthy of repeat listens, and should be purchased on vinyl for the best listening experience.