Jams of the Week: Rihanna, Gorillaz, fun. and more
A day late but by no means a dollar short, your latest batch of jams:
Rihanna featuring Chris Brown - "Birthday Cake (Remix)"
How could this happen? We could spend days dissecting the significance of Rihanna dueting (about freaky sex, no less) with her former domestic abuser, Chris Brown. "Birthday Cake (Remix)" instantly becomes one of the most newsworthy singles of 2012. But musically, how does it stand up? Mighty well for a bedroom banger, even though the repeated "cake cake cake" lyrics make me think they're singing about the KKK.
Gorillaz, James Murphy and Andre 3000 - "DoYaThing"
Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz), James Murphy (ex-LCD Soundsystem) and Andre 3000 (OutKast) each have damn near unassailable resumes, so the prospect of getting them together for a song is way more enticing than your average blog-bait hookup. "DoYaThing," the cartoonish syncopated party jam the trio recorded for Converse, delivers on that promise.
fun. featuring Janelle Monae - "We Are Young"
Not sure which secret back room conversations decide which rock bands are going to break through (or maybe fun. genuinely built up steam like Foster the People), but I heard "We Are Young" nonstop on WNCI and 102.5 this week. Pretty catchy tune, brosephs, though no sign of Janelle Monae to these ears. The band will play the Newport on April 19, though with the kind of wall-to-wall radio promotion they're getting, I wouldn't be surprised to see them jump to the LC.
Spanish Prisoners - "Know No Violence"
Leo Maymind has come a long way since leaving Columbus for NYC. And he'll come all the way back on March 25, when Spanish Prisoners play Kafe Kerouac on the way back from Columbus from SXSW. "Know No Violence" is a gorgeous little Unicorns/Flaming Lips sort of indie pop tune from the band's new "Gold Fools."
Strand of Oaks - "Spacestations"
Last week was jammed with incredible rap songs, this is a banner week for indie singer-songwriter bros of many stripes. On the beardy side is Timothy Showalter's ace Strand of Oaks project, which unveiled the relatively sprightly "Spacestations" for Weathervane Music's "Shaking Through Volume 3" compilation. Be sure to check out Strand of Oaks' first two albums, both of which are top-shelf.
Sun Kil Moon - "Sunshine in Chicago"
Mark Kozelek must be the saddest man in music, and while some might say his songs are becoming rote and routine, I still find them comfortably familiar. Sun Kil Moon's new "Among the Leaves" is out May 29.
A creepy, crawly crooner with traces of Jens Lekman, Way Yes and maybe even a little Trent Reznor. Lots going on with a little here. An incredibly beautiful ballad from the former Polmo Polpo frontman
A brittle-sounding demo from the Fleet Foxes frontman.
Django, Django - "Default"
I feel like somebody spliced up "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers and infused it with a Washed Out song. Not even sure how to make sense of this song, but it's growing on me.
Odd Future plus money equals this bizarre concoction, a video featuring (among other monstrosities) deformed male nudity, semen that transforms women into cats and a centaur snorting a pile of cocaine that would make Len Bias blush. I think I would get fired for posting something this NSFW, so have a look at the link. "Rella" will appear on "OF Tape Vol. 2," out March 20 on Odd Future Records.