I was working on this post, a celebration of the best new songs in the Fall of 2016, long before the latest Trump tape surfaced; but I’ll tell you, playing these tracks loud and proud is the perfect way to cleanse your ear holes from all the filth his rhetoric has brought into the world. Let’s just say, when you want to smash shit the fuck up after watching The Day in Trump on TV, this is the playlist to do it. For less violent people, it’s the best workout mix ever.
For this roundup, I’ve looked beyond the boundaries of Beyonce and Bieber, the one-percenters of pop radio, to find fresh new talent and HUGE new pop songs that are original, sexy and a little bit dangerous — the way pop music was when Prince, Madonna and George Michael last shook things up in the Reagan Era.
This is one of the best playlists I have ever created. If I had to do that desert island thing and trade all but one playlist on my iPod for food and water, I could survive for years on these tracks alone. As much as I’m sure these artists would appreciate the cup of coffee a million streams would pay for their work, I highly encourage you to support the artists you love by buying their songs. Amazon links included because I detest iTunes and their freaking DRM.
Ready? Let’s go.
K.Flay “¢ Blood in the Cut
HOLY FUCK this is such a good song. It marries the dark dance floor wallop of early Nine Inch Nails with the visceral urgency of early Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In my playlist, I sandwich this banger between the YYY’s “Date With The Night” and Tracy Bonham’s “Mother Mother”, all three immediately followed by the Miya Folick track I talk about below.
All I can wonder now is, who the hell is K.Flay and where has she been all my life? Her epic ‘Can’t Sleep’ video features freerunning icon Jason Paul and a rap style that out Macklemores Macklemore (and that’s not a diss, I LOVE my hometown homeboy).
K.Flay has a ton of music I need to catch up on, such as her last full length, Life as a Dog (where you’ll catch ‘Can’t Sleep’). But right now, her new EP, Crush Me, is a freaking steal at $2.96 (on Amazon MP3) for four epic tracks of awesomeness, including ‘Blood in the Cut’ and the ominous ‘Hollywood Forever’.
Miya Folick “¢ Pet Body
‘Pet Body’ marks the most dramatic sonic makeover I’ve heard from any artist in ages. Folick’s previous EP, Strange Darling, was dark, delicate and restrained in comparison; it is such a delight to hear Folick and the band she met on Tinder hook up, let loose and kick off a danceable punk party that I hope lasts throughout 2017 when their full length is due.
“Pet Body’ crackles with joy and manic energy; crunching guitars and thundering drums topped by Folick’s euphoric vocal squeal that reminds me of my beloved punk goddesses We’ve Got a Fuzzbox (and We’re Gonna Use It). LOVE this track. Pick it up on Amazon MP3.
OK, now to transition this playlist to the following song, mix in Luscious Jackson’s ‘Daughters of the Chaos’ (1992) and Book of Love’s ‘All Girl Band’ (2016).
Seth Bogart “¢ Sunday Boy
What would I do without the Shazaam! app? I was at a party when KEXP played this new single by the hunk from Hunx and his Punx. It’s a delicious throwback to Eighties sonics and the video is on point with what cable access was producing back in the day. All it needs is a star wipe.
As someone on the first steps of living an authentic life outside of the gender binary, I can appreciate Bogart’s campy, femmetastic video, but the new wave 80’s vibe is the real draw here. The vocals, techno blips and sexy synth beds are utterly fantastic.
NÁ¸ise “¢ Little Lions
Years ago, I was planning a post called the “D’arcy Awards” to celebrate the best women in modern rock, focusing on non-lead singers of otherwise all boy rock bands — alternate title, “Big Kim Deal Awards”, coulda also worked. It was going to include Merritt Lear (Assassins, Butterfly Child), Sean Yseult (White Zombie), Amanda Tannen (Stellastarr*), Abi Harding (The Zutons), Bridget Regan (Flogging Molly), Paz Lenchantin (Zwan, A Perfect Circle), and Candida Doyle (Pulp). But by the time I got my shit together, most of those bands had disappeared.
Well, Lenchantin has replaced Deal in the Pixies and now Lear is finally in the spotlight as the lead singer of NÁ¸ise, a supergroup featuring pop artist Shepard Fairey, John Goff and Lear’s longtime musical cohort, Joe Cassidy. The Little Lions EP features the title track and a B-side, ‘Automatic’, along with a motherlode of remixes by industry icons including The Crystal Method, Moby, Tim Armstrong (Rancid), Phil Hartnoll, Z Trip, Nico and Touch, SSI and John Goff.
The video, directed by Rickett & Sones, capitalizes on just how mesmerizing Lear is on stage; I first saw her live when Assassins opened for Zwan during their Chicago residency at Metro shortly before both shoulda-been-platinum-bands imploded on takeoff.
Pick up the remix-packed Little Lions EP at a value price on Amazon MP3. Read more about NÁ¸ise in their Rolling Stone feature. In the meantime, Cassidy’s day job, Butterfly Child, follows up Futures, #12 on my Popdose list of the best albums of 2015, with A Shot in the Dark, a 5-track EP featuring a remix by legendary producer Stephen Hague.
Caity Copley “¢ My Head
Facebook gets a lot of crap for narrowing people’s world views and I’ll be the first to admit, I have filtered most pro-Trump, anti-LGBTQ, “All Lives Matter” and women’s disempowerment people out of my feed. On the PLUS side, being friends with kindred spirits is a great way to discover new music. Case in point, Caity Copley, who I discovered through my social media fashion network by first following a gifted fashion and portrait photographer, Nikki Closser, and in turn one of Closser’s amazing makeup artists, Katie McMullen, who did hair and makeup on this video.
From a breathtaking couture perspective, this video is one of the year’s best. It was directed by Andrew Vallentine and features luscious cinematography by Tansy Simpson; the duo shot the video in a gorgeous French chateau without a crew. All of this talent would be wasted if the song sucked, but Copley’s vocal (and video) performance is stunning and just when you get lulled into the romance of it all, wait for an epic chorus, a monster hook and some dark and potentially deadly twists and turns.
Leon Else “¢ Black Car
Oh I wish I had never seen this creepy AF video for one of my favorite darkwave dance songs of the year; but then again, what better way to illustrate this sinister dance floor banger than a clip that is simultaneously a case study for Uber, a Matthew McConaughey Lincoln ad gone to hell, a Muppets episode directed by Donald Trump — and that’s all before the animated collage that recalls Hedwig & The Angry Inch (the movie) breaking through Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
Step into Leon Else’s ‘Black Car’ by buying it immediately on Amazon.
Need more? POPDOSE is currently also obsessed with these tracks:
Pick up this party essential, ‘Electrify’ by Oliver featuring Scott Mellis, on Amazon MP3.
I was chump and bought the final Beastie Boys album on CD; the film Bad Words brought this amazing iTunes (fuck I hate iTunes) bonus cut into the spotlight. Their best random offering since ‘She’s On It’ from the Thank God it Was Recently Re-Released Krush Groove soundtrack.
Reuben Hollebon “¢ On and On
Intense video, wicked song — I have yet to hear the album, but you can find it on his recently released album Terminal Nostalgia. Get it here.