1. Deerhunter “Living My Life” (From “Fading Frontier”)
Six albums into an already stunning career, Deerhunter continue to subtly tinker with their sound, pushing forward while remaining on a consistent continuum. “Living My Life” is one of Brandon Cox’s catchiest songs to date, but there is just enough autumnal melancholy to keep things in check.
2. Blood Orange “Sandra’s Smile”
Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, co-wrote Carly Rae Jepsen’s gorgeous “All That”, released earlier this year, but he is still most interesting when writing in his own voice, as this elegiac slow-burner proves. Dev has been vocal about the perpetual fear and ill-ease he feels as a black person in modern America, and this song is dedicated to victims of our brutal culture like Sandra Bland. It’s a great musical composition with a striking message; a reminder that we need art like this, perhaps now more than ever.
3. Neon Indian “Baby’s Eyes” (From “Vega Intl. Night School”)
Six or so years removed from the photo-filtered nostalgia haze of whatever “Chillwave” was supposed to be, it’s not surprising that Neon Indian is the one act from that era that has most successfully evolved and progressed into a true standalone musical force. Alan Palomo’s songwriting chops were always sturdier than his supposed peers and each album he has released has been better than the last. Simply put, “Vega Intl. Night School” is one of the most impressive albums of 2015 and “Baby’s Eyes” sounds like a lost classic and a truly spectacular gem of a song.
4. SOPHIE “JUST LIKE WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE” (From “PRODUCT”)
SOPHIE is the shadowy London producer of some of the weirdest, most inventive electronic music of the past few years (“Bipp” was one of the best singles of 2013; “Lemonade” one of the best of 2014). Closely tied to the divisive PC Music stable of equally strange, pitched-up pseudo-pop producers, SOPHIE is also responsible for production work on Madonna’s “Bitch I’m Madonna”. Is this whole movement an insincere piss-take on cutesy teen pop music, a gender-fluid post-modern dissection of consumerism (“Lemonade” was cheekily used in a McDonald’s commercial about…lemonade), or just fun and experimental club music? All I know is that this song makes me wish I could strap on a jetpack and fly through a dystopian cityscape, narrowly dodging flying cars after puffing on a dopamine inhaler. Pop music in the 2015 promised us by past future-fiction.
Timely Tunes Vol. 5
- George Harrison “If Not For You” (From “All Things Must Pass”)
- Deerhunter “Living My Life” (From “Fading Frontier”)
- R.E.M. “Electrolite” (From “New Adventures In Hi-Fi”)
- Future Islands “A Dream of You and Me” (From “Singles”)
- Blood Orange “Sandra’s Smile”
- Marvin Gaye “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) (From “What’s Going On”)
- Todd Rundgren “Don’t Hurt Yourself” (From “The Ever Popular Tortured Artist Effect”)
- Neon Indian “Baby’s Eyes” (From “Vega Intl. Night School”)
- Joanne Wilson “Got To Have You (Whiskey Baron’s Rework)”
- Ford & Lopatin “Joey Rogers” (From “Channel Pressure”)
- SOPHIE “JUST LIKE WE NEVER SAID GOODBYE” (From “PRODUCT”)
- Gang Gang Dance “Romance Layers” (From “Eye Contact”)
Christopher Piercy used to blog at Silence in Architecture and his mother keeps hoping he will revive the site. In the meantime, for a glimpse of how music has impacted his life, you can read “A Personal Music History” which he wrote a few years ago. It also explains quite a bit about our weird family.