Seven Fresh Songs #107
FEZ — Black Dogs
FEZ are a highly intriguing new band based in London, East London to be precise. I loved their new double-single from the spot and decided to feature the more lively “Black Dogs.” However, this should not stop you form also listening to the more pensive “Counter Culture,” which can perhaps be seen as a bit of a summary of the band’s agenda. Yes, they do have an agenda which we’ll include here too. While “Black Dogs” enchants with a woozy melody, drenched in psychedelia and hard-strumming guitars, with a rad little guitar solo, its lyrical context goes deeper. The band says:
Lyrically “Black Dogs” is a criticism of the ease of access to antidepressant medication in the UK. Friends of ours who sought support from their GP for mental health difficulties were prescribed antidepressants without accompanying social or psychological support. Some said that the medication improved their mood slightly, others felt calmer in social situations, but the actual thoughts, behaviours or social circumstances that kept the problem going remained unchanged. We’re incredibly lucky to have access to mental health support, but unfortunately, underfunded services and long waiting lists can make it too easy to apply short-term solutions to complex problems.
This is unfortunately not just a British problem but an almost global dilemma. I’ve seen more and more artists picking up the topic in one way or the other. I believe that drug abuse and the shortcomings of us as a society can only be changed when we actively and often talk about it. Playing a brilliant song like “Black Dogs” on repeat sweetens the deal.
The band further says:
“We have an Agenda.
Since the explosion of Popular music there has always been a rocky symbiosis between the Art of creating music and the Business of getting it into people’s homes and onto their radios. When the dial shifts too far in either direction we end up with either unconstrained Art, with no thought of accessibility in sight, or hollow products, devoid of meaningful content. Arguably, the most influential albums of all time have played the game in conforming to Business’ constraints whilst also pushing the boundaries of their Art form creatively.
In recent years, however, the dial seems to have shifted too far in Business’ favour. In other words, the Industry has become so good at selling media to people that it no longer requires bold and progressive Art to turn a profit.
Frustration at the lack of creativity and ingenuity across all Art forms now populates daily discourse. How often have you heard frustration expressed at the number of remakes, reboots and remasters in the Film, Music and Video Game industries? How often have you heard discussion of the number of celebrity biographies and cookie cutter thrillers populating the literary charts? It is only natural that given the lack of Artistry represented in main stream culture that a pushback from Creatives is overdue.
The Musicians Call to Arms?
Our purpose is to be part of the movement that restores the equilibrium between Art and Business — to both strive ourselves and to encourage and support as many of our contemporaries as possible to push the boundaries of Music by making bold and radical Art that disregards current Industry trends. Only by moving Art forward can we all, together, hope to gain the attention of a cold, detached Business and shift current trends towards advancement and innovation over the retrospective stagnation which plagues our present culture. The DIY revolution is here.
I am excited to learn what FEZ will do next, and can’t wait to listen to more of their songs. For now, listen to “Black Dogs,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with FEZ here.
Anna Sun — What a Shame
Anna Sun, the Brooklyn-based trio around songwriter Samantha Aneson, does melodic, atmospheric indie rock. Our Song Pick of the Day, “What a Shame,” is a reminder when things don’t work out, you have to accept it — grudgingly, maybe — and move on.
“What A Shame,” is the third single off Anna Sun’s upcoming self-titled EP, out next Friday. Listen to the song below:
Social Order — Never Again
A big dose of passion and life experience went into Social Order’s new single, and we undoubtedly believe Mason Musso when he chants “Never Again.” Sounds like the Los Angeles-based four-piece has written the perfect anthem for all of us who want to change things for good without falling back into old habits or whatnot. We asked Social Order for some background to their new track and frontman Mason Musso says:
“Never Again” is about the final chapter of a relationship. The chorus talks about the constant back and forth of fighting and then making up but the hook comes through the whole song with the emotional scream of “never again.” The production by Anthony Improgo (the band’s drummer) really shined on this one. When we started working on it, all we had were the chords and gang vocals of “never again” for the chorus. We eventually built the story around those two parts and created something we are all very proud of.
And rightfully so, because “Never Again” is a song for the ages with its timeless lyricism and super catchy production. Listen to “Never Again,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Social Order here.
Cate Le Bon — Remembering Me
Welsh musician Cate Le Bon is about to release her sixth album “Pompeii” on February 4. The third and last single “Remembering Me,” is not an easy listen at first, but it grows on you the more you dig into it.
Cate says about the song:
“‘Remembering Me’ is a neurotic diary entry that questions notions of legacy and warped sentimentalism in the desperate need to self-mythologise.”
Cate Le Bon goes on tour in the U.S. starting February 6 with a show at Colony in Woodstock, NY. The equally brilliant Mega Bog supports her, so don’t miss it if you can.
Watch the colorful video to “Remembering Me,” directed by Juliana and Nicola Giraffe here:
William Ryan Key — Brighton
William Ryan Key delights with the beautifully atmospheric “Brighton,” the second taste from his upcoming EP Everything Except Desire. The five-track album drops on February 11, 2022, via Equal Vision Records. Asked about “Brighton,” Key says:
I think this song is a manifestation of my desire to set myself free from the constraints of what I’ve created in the past.
This is when I wondered what he might have possibly done in the past. Turns out, William Ryan Key is -allow me the pun- the key person, the singer and rhythm guitarist of Yellowcard! No wonder that I instantly loved the familiar and cozy vibe of “Brighton.” I don’t want to lie and claim to have recognized the vocals because I didn’t. But they immediately resonated with me and with or without the Yellowcard knowledge, other old (?) fans should dig the new sound too. Heck, new fans should be made along the way as well because Key left his rock days behind with Everything Except Desire and shows a beautifully soft, synthy side, with a sweeping cinematic vibe.
About his solo project, Key says further:
I wondered if it was too far removed from the music people expect to hear from me. The more I pondered it, the more I realized that it might be, and that it was ok if it was.
Creating art should never be about meeting expectations but what resonates and what feels real. Luckily, Key followed his heart (desire?) and put together a record we cannot wait to hear in its entirety and share with everybody!
Listen to “Brighton,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with William Ryan Key here.
talker — Don’t Want You to Love Me
“Don’t Want You to Love Me.” Or does she? There is more to a relationship than love and in her new song Celeste Tauchar aka talker explores the crazy thought loop one can get into when a difficult decision is on the plate. But in talker’s typical fashion, she lets it all out with power and fiery energy.
Celeste says about the song:
When your past shows up to haunt you, you have to decide if you’re going to open the door. And when someone comes back, you have to weigh the options and use your best judgment to see if you’re willing to put yourself through the ringer again for them. In my experience, it’s easy to say you don’t want someone to love you. It’s easy to just block anything that knocks you off your course. It’s a lot of he loves me/he loves me not/will they/won’t they — but sometimes you have to silence your rational thoughts and trust your emotions. This song is me doing exactly that.
Watch the video here:
Methyl Ethel — Proof feat. Stella Donnelly
Methyl Ethel came a long way from their first EPs and albums to releasing their fourth studio album Are You Haunted, on February 14, 2022, via Future Classics. I am a Methyl Ethel aka Jake Webb fan before we even started glamglare, since the artist’s early SoundCloud and Bandcamp days. Utterly mesmerizing from the beginning, and only improving, Methyl Ethel’s music is not always easy to digest but is certainly always fascinating.
For the first time ever, singer, songwriter, and producer Jake Webb enlists an additional singer and turns to a fellow Australian, the lovely and also stunningly talented songwriter and singer Stella Donnelly, who once played guitar in Jake’s band.
Jake directed and edited the black and white music video, evoking German Expressionist movies, and says:
Proof has a lot of direct references to movies. I was watching a lot of foreign films at night on mute with the sound down. It was US election time in 2020 and COVID was everywhere in the media and there was a maelstrom of information and I like the idea of asking “What is proof?” One person’s truth is another person’s gossip. It’s a surreal little painting of those bits and pieces.
Choosing Donnelly for “Proof” seems to be not only the perfect choice bound to happen eventually, because Jake says:
Stella is one of the most truth-telling artists I’ve ever heard. It made for a perfect match.
And Stella adds:
Working on “Proof” with Jake felt like being invited to the set of your favourite movie, such an insightful and wonderful experience.
The track is hypnotic in its flow and the re-assuringly ushered “what can you see” brings out the allure in both their styles. “Proof” might very well be Methyl Ethyl’s inescapably catchiest song to date and should find its way on plenty of playlists. Watch the video and check out “Proof,” our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Methyl Ethel here.