Listen Up! The Singles Roundup - June 15, 2007
Fri, 15 Jun 2007 15:58:44
From a new cut from hip-hop maven Common to a remake of the Transformers theme song, undiscovered 7-inches and cheesy retro-'80s dance numbers, we're laying it on thick this week. Plug in, and play along...
Mute Math - "Transformers Theme"
The Transformers theme song gets a hilarious makeover by Mute Math (pictured above) for its movie debut. It's hard to capture the weirdness of re-hearing this blast from the robotic past, but think: The Police-meets-drum 'n bass, with a sleazy, bleepy edge.
Federation - "18 Dummy" [video]
Key players in the Bay Area hyphy scene, this trio prove that going dumb hasn't gotten old yet, with this uber-catchy cut that underpins spastic electronic samples with some serious bass. And checking the vid's bugged-out stunna shade fashions and camo-clad fly girls is almost as fun as the song.
The Grey Race - "On the Chin"
Jon Darlings' soaring vocals definitely have a whiff of The Shins' James Mercer, but since he can sing "hoity-toity" falsetto-style and still sound cool, we're gonna cut him a break. That swelling chorus just captures our emo-infected little heart. Only on their first (quite nice) EP, this New York trio bear watching.
Common - "The People"
With a great squidgy-funk bassline and revivalist-sounding "Louder!!!" and "Yeah!!!" samples, this Kanye West-produced track has got a kind of I-don't-need you infectiousness as it hums along behind Common's always excellent flow. Best line: "Why do white folks focus on dogs and yoga?"
Chromeo - "Fancy Footwork"
This Montreal duo are the type of guys who have keyboards supported by shapely lady legs. Translate this to music. If you still need more description, Chromeo churn out electronic '80s-ish dancefloor kitsch with such sincerity and aplomb that even skeptical listeners must eventually surrender to its boogie.
Spoon - "The Underdog"
This first single off of Spoon's forthcoming album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is a sly little ditty; just when it seems like standard issue pop perfection, the band dips into some girl groupish ooohs and aaahs, overlays ticking clock samples, and polishes it all off with a rousing strum sprint, handclaps, and trumpet. Not bad.
Straylight Run - "Soon We'll Be Living in the Future"
Somewhere on the spectrum between pop, emo, and alt-rock, Straylight Run sound like a million other bands—compressed here into one shiny, irresistible summer gem of a song. "Soon We'll Be" has the kind of insta-familiarity and emotional connection that renders sorting out the comparison name-checks irrelevant.
Los Campesinos! - "Don't Tell Me to Do the Maths"
This cut sounds very much like something we could have been listening to in our dorm room on a split 7-inch with a band like Huggy Bear. With their deliberately lo-fi production and smart-people-slumming lyrics (hatin' on Jane Eyre!), Campesinos! sound like they've jumped in a twee-rock time machine, but we're down for the ride.
Aly & AJ - "Potential Breakup Song"
Apparently brainwashed by our recent tween-pop article, we've been able to see the "potential" of this Aly & AJ song. Seriously, if you dropped out the circus-like bassline and added in some more guitars this could be Kelly Clarkson's kick-ass new single. What teens sing about having their boyfriend sending back his stuff in boxes, anyway?
—Jocelyn K. Glei
Click here to read last week's installment of Listen Up!