It’s been a while since the last instalment of this series, but here’s finally some now good music for 2017! Before that, two announcements:
- Tonight there will be a Beautiful Freaks radio show at 8 pm – listen via our website.
- On Thursday, we are putting on an amazing gig in Oxford – see here for more info.
The first song I want to share isn’t really new – indeed, it was on our Beautiful 2015 playlist – but it remains one of the most powerful pieces of music of the century. This is more important than anything else.
Fred Thomas – Mallwalkers
This is like The Goon Sax, or even Ought, but way more depressed. It’s the juxtaposition of spoken word – calm, but we can hear the effort it takes to have it that way – with snarky music, building and building until the screen goes black. Because that’s what life is, sometimes: staying afloat while deadlines are piling up. I’m reminded of that standout part of Car Seat Headrest’s ‘The Ballad of the Costa Concordia’, too’, but I take Fred Thomas more serious than Will Toledo. Luckily there are violins at the end.
Fred Thomas’ album Changer is out this Friday (27 January), via Polyvinyl Records.
Viewfinder – Born Ticking
Another not altogether happy song, brought to us by the monsters at Memorials of Distinction. How different from Porridge Radio this is. More like Bill Callahan, early in the morning. I’m hesitant to call this ‘sad’. Tired, maybe. Old, but not bored (do old people get bored?). Defenseless. Yes, I know what this sounds like. It sounds like some 70s prog-rock musician – Greg Lake, perhaps, or Rick Wright – performing an acoustic version of their song today, and how surprisingly beautiful it turns out to be.
The album Born Ticking is out 20 March on cassette via MoD.
Allison Crutchfield – I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California
Here’s something more up-tempo for you then. The Kinks’ influence has once again been underappreciated. I keep hearing them more and more in everything, in fact. ‘I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California’ is nice and simple (like California itself?) and more difficult to forget than you’d think at first.
Allison Crutchfield’s album Tourist in This Town is out January 27 on Merge Records.
Pearl Crush – Semiprecious Stone
Shit, this sounds like something too. I know exactly what it sounds like, but I forgot. I forgot because ‘Semiprecious Stone’ sounds so urgent. This is a sound I want to hear way, way more of. It doesn’t matter it’s slightly 2011. It’s musical and clean and you can call me boring, but I’m tired of all this noise, all this fuzz, all that punk, of all the vocals buried deep in the mix. What’s the point of that? It betrays insecurity, which can be charming, but not if it gets in the way of a catchy melody.
The Baby Seals – My Labia’s Lopsided, But I Don’t Mind
The Baby Seals from Cambridge have got a simple strategy: sing about bogus taboo topics, and make it sound catchy as hell. “My la la la la labia’s lopsided” is a prime example. And you know, the trick works: it’s too hard not to sing along to this, so at some point we’ll have people on the streets with their earphones in casually singing about labia and periods, and that’s when we” have won.
-- Beautiful Freaks, January 22, 2017