This weekend I’m pleased to bring you 3 songs that will give you a little pep in your step… all in different ways. Indie melodies reign supreme at KCRW but for this weekend enjoy some, pop, hip-hop, and rock ‘n’ roll.
DJ Shadow – “Rocket Fuel” (feat. De La Soul)
The mastermind beatmaker extraordinaire DJ Shadow has just released his sixth studio album. And it does NOT disappoint. Our Pathetic Age, released about a week ago, is a double album, containing 26 tracks. The first 11 are primarily instrumentals with some turntablism aspects and the other 15 feature an assortment of vocalists. It’s a who’s who of underground and mainstream Hip-Hop - MC’s include Gift of Gab, Lateef the Truthspeaker, Nas, Pharoahe Monch, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Run The Jewels, and De La Soul.
Paul Banks of Interpol also shows up and there’s a really great breakbeat dance song with Samuel T. Herring of Future Islands. Critics will say, “it’s not Endtroducing….good.” But DJ Shadow made that album already. Over 20 years ago. This album is perfect for now, and I especially appreciate the social commentary contained within. Check out this banger featuring De La Soul.
Car Seat Headrest – “Fill in the Blank” (Live at the Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH)
This next track by Car Seat Headrest is not new by any means, but I just happened to see the band perform it live in Mexico City and was reminded about what an excellent song this was and is. It’ll certainly rev you up for the weekend, so here we go!
Car Seat Headrest opened with fan favorite, “Bodys” and then carried that energy to “Fill in the Blank” which has their characteristic clever lyrics and a playful song structure. The opening guitar riff got the crowd frenzied. It’s def one of my favorites from Will Toledo who recorded 10 albums before being signed to Matador and has since re-recorded a couple of them with his now 5 to 7 piece ensemble of excellent musicians based in Seattle. Check out this live version of “Fill in the Blank” from a 2019 official live album release title Commit Yourself Completely. It's all the energy you will need to carry you into your weekend and that album title is a good mantra as well.
Girl Ray – “Girl”
The North London-based trio just released their sophomore LP, which is a delicious pop & R&B inspired record. The title track “Girl” hooked me immediately with its meandering synth lead. The rest of the song has a pop reggae guitar rhythm that has me longing for the twilight of summer, which always feels inspiring and exciting.
Girl Ray have gone from UK Indie sounds to completely embracing their affinity for pop. I’m sure working with Christine and the Queens/Metronomy producer Ash Workman had something to do with the brighter sound, but regardless, the end result sounds genuine and gets us primed for the weekend.