Arcade Fire, Baio and More Music Discoveries
"The verses whip along so quickly you almost don’t notice, you are propelled with the manic energy of the band into the relief of the chorus and everything feels euphoric for a second."
This week on the WERS 7 o’clock news we heard a new single from the indie darlings Arcade Fire, jammed out to the garage rock perfection that is The Fresh & Onlys, swayed to the melodic synth-pop of Baio, and jammed out to a single from together PANGEA that rocked hard enough to get some tectonic plates moving. Below you can hear what the WERS Music staff has to say about the songs you just heard and be sure to turn in next week for more music discovery on the 7 o’clock news!
Is it a Bowie reference? The title of this song is almost certainly a reference to “Sound and Vision.” Bowie was an early supporter of Arcade Fire: he covered “Wake Up” in live shows when Arcade Fire were unknown, and would later contribute vocals to “Reflektor.” “Electric Blue,” with its mournful refrain “cover my eyes” is something of a farewell. The lack of a chorus makes the song feel like a meditation, and sudden loss of direction with the passing of a musical mentor. On a different note; Regine Chassagne’s vocals are some of her best yet, as she pushes herself to an almost impossible height in falsetto. The album Everything Now arrives July 28th.
The Fresh & Onlys
The San Francisco natives The Fresh & Onlys are prepping to release their first album in three years, Wolf Lie Down, next month through Sinderlyn Records. The House of Spirits follow-up was recorded at the home studio of the band’s own Wymond Miles and produced by garage/psych rock stalwarts Kelley Stoltz (Electric Duck) and Greg Ashley (Creamery). Based on Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man”, “Impossible Man” takes much inspiration from the classic novel but offers listeners a touch that is personal to the Fresh & Onlys. As put beautifully by Consequence of Sound “At the heart of the steadily simmering garage rock cut is a reflection on 'the eventuality of life,' specifically the way in which Cohen’s parents not only gave him life, but also helped him sustain it after a harrowing near-death experience in his early years”. Wolf Lie Down arrives August 25th.
Chris Baio, otherwise known as just Baio has had a diverse musical palette since birth. As a kid, Baio often jammed out to Doolittle by the Pixies, but also dabbled in country music. Even though he is best known as the bassist for Vampire Weekend, he has has steadily been producing his own music and curating his own sound.
Baio’s biggest inspiration for his new album Man of the World was his thoughts and feelings about the turbulent political and social climate of America. Major talking points of his new politically-charged album include David Bowie, Brexit, Trump and climate change. Baio juxtapositions these heavy topics with funky beats and smooth synthpop. He sings with an upbeat yet sardonic tone, which can especially be heard on “PHILOSOPHY!” It was released on June 30th. Although Man of the World is politically charged, Baio acknowledges his perspective of the current events unfolding - that of a rich, White American living abroad and addresses that through his album. Nonetheless, “PHILOSOPHY!” as sarcastic as it is, proves a great summer jam to usher in hopefully cooler and less humid days.
BETTER FIND OUT
together PANGEA is a band that might be alienating to the many people who aren’t young, middle class kids in their late teens to mid 20s. Their songs are sometimes silly, or about problems that don’t really amount to much in the grand scheme of things (and it doesn’t help that they often talk about genitals). As an LA-based band, they came up in a scene rife with house shows and rowdy punk-adjacent bands, including much of Burger Records roster, and had to stand out among the many bands attempting to do their same schtick. Despite all that could be stacked against them, they have succeeded by making genuinely fun songs that are all examples of what a really good garage rock band can sound like.
Their new single from their upcoming album proves that they have been able to continue tapping into this sound while growing as a band. The song is typical for together PANGEA; at a runtime of 1 minute 43 seconds it’s a short slice of punk rock fun with a solidly catchy chorus you could easily imagine screaming along to at one of their rowdy shows. The lyrics follow the trend of their other offerings as well, as this track was described by lead singer William Keegan as being frustrated with touring but confused at being home and that people “shouldn’t look to entertainers for answers.” One of the best things about pop-punk or garage-rock done right is no song is longer than it has to be. As the verses whip along so quickly you almost don’t notice, you are propelled with the manic energy of the band into the relief of the chorus and everything feels euphoric for a second. together PANGEA have managed to tap into this energy and know just when to call it quits so the listener feels perfectly satisfied.
Their third album, Bulls and Roosters, comes out August 25th and you can catch them playing (a probably wild show) in Cambridge at the Sonia Live Music Venue on October 1st.