New Music: August

Whew! The longer I do this column, the better I get at finding new music, and the more I realize just how much music comes out every month. This month, we have music from Birds of Bellwoods, Ariel Pink,, Leaves’ Eyes and more – a mix of genres if I’ve ever heard one. And those are the ones that didn’t make it onto the list! I also made a point of sauntering over to the punk and metal charts, since that’s usually more my style, so there’s some more of those genres on here this month as well.

1. Love Too Much – Keane

Keane was one of my childhood favourite bands, especially as I went through a difficult move from England to Canada. However, upon the release of their third album Perfect Symmetry I drifted away from their music, finding it wasn’t the same anymore. ‘Love Too Much’ is the first single from their upcoming album Cause and Effect, and it’s not quite a return to form, but something much more interesting – a fusion of the heavy beats and rhythm from Perfect Symmetry and onwards with the thematic depth and hopeful tones of their first albums.

2. Cross You Out – Charli XCX and Sky Ferreira

Is there anything better than two enormously talented women teaming up for a hit song? That song being a heartfelt, empowering goodbye to a toxic relationship. Charli XCX and Sky Ferreira both embody a dark-pop style that’s been getting more and more popular, and that style is used to fantastic effect on Cross You Out, a moody song that is best described as radio-friendly industrial. Charli XCX is a new artist for me, but with this single, I can’t wait for her new album.

3. Tear Up – Area 11

Area 11 is another new name for me – a British four-piece that apparently genre-hops as much as they like. This song is a pop-punk anthem in the style of McFly, Fall Out Boy or Death Cab for Cutie, albeit with a more electronic bent to it. The main singer’s voice is distinctive – at first listen I wasn’t fond of it, but it’s grown on me, and I don’t think the song would be as good without it. It’s a song about the end of the world, catchy and foreboding, with a unconvincing promise that it’ll ‘all work out’.

4. Separate Houses – Press Club

Despite the overarching feeling that there aren’t enough girls in the punk/hardcore scenes, there’s actually plenty – it’s just that they often get overshadowed or ignored in favour of the more “traditional” male acts. But Press Club’s Natalie Foster is impossible to ignore in ‘Separate Houses’ – she’s a hot mess, falling apart and trying to hide, crying out ‘am I letting you down a little more than you’d like? I keep saying I’m fine, I hate it’ and ending the song with a repeated, desperate, “I keep on pretending that I am getting better”. It’s an immensely relatable song, especially for people on the uphill climb of recovery, and I haven’t been able to stop listening.

5. Miracle Pill – Goo Goo Dolls

That’s right, there’s more Goo Goo Dolls music! Miracle Pill (and the new album as a whole) is a significant break from their signature sound, putting guitars aside for a smoother, synth-and-piano pop sound. It’s not a widely-beloved change, but I for one am quite enjoying it. Miracle Pill is immensely catchy with amazing lyrical writing, about – appropriately enough – the past weighing you down. (The song ‘Indestructible’ is also amazing, but I didn’t want to include two of their songs.)

6. No Muss No Fuss – Ralph

Ralph is a rising star in the Canadian pop world, a quirky fashion icon who writes smooth disco songs about love and jealousy and manages to combine the aesthetics of David Bowie and Regina Spektor. ‘No Muss No Fuss’ is a excellently produced song about the most banal, frustrating of things – the ex that won’t leave you alone, or get the hint. Ralph’s gorgeous vocals and songwriting mean that even those who have (miraculously) never experienced this will be bopping along.

7. KURT KOBAIN – Velvet N*groni

Velvet N*groni’s first album NEON BROWN is experimental R&B with a dark side, smooth synths sliding together with syncopated beats. KURT KOBAIN is my favourite off of it so far (and not just because of the title) – the music video is in ghostly monochrome, with muted, distorted vocals. The lyrics for this song have actually not made an appearance anywhere online yet – which means the content of the song mostly suggests itself through the video and atmosphere.

8. Unsainted – Slipknot

(TW for eye contact, flashing and religious imagery in the video)

Time for a proper metal song on here! First off, if you’re not a fan of metal and guttural vocals, you won’t like this song. If you don’t usually like Slipknot, however… give it a try. ‘Unsainted’ uses more melodic contrast than usual for Slipknot, and the chorus melody is echoed by an operatic chorus in the background, giving the song a lot of power behind the intense guitar riffs and growling that mark the verses. The lyrics are incredible, too – I’m reminded of how many people listen to ‘Snuff’ and are shocked to find out that Slipknot’s lyrics are actually really good. Some of the standouts for ‘Unsainted’ are ‘I’ll never kill myself to save my soul’ and ‘You killed the saint in me, how dare you martyr me’ – strong statements against the Church.

9. Teeth – 5 Seconds of Summer

BIG TW for the video for flashing, claustrophobia, and medical stuff. It’s an extremely good video and I HIGHLY recommend it.

5 Seconds of Summer’s ‘Teeth’ is from the soundtrack of 13 Reasons Why, but don’t hold that against it. It has a killer riff, and a chorus that’ll get stuck in your head for the next week. More than that, though, it’s another installment of ‘industrial pop’ with a hell of a message – it’s about a toxic relationship and an abusive girlfriend who just won’t let go. It’s not often we get songs about bad girlfriends that don’t treat it as her just being naggy or a cheater but instead monstrous and abusive; the video makes this even clearer with some incredible cinematography. I have to admit, I’m fascinated to see where this goth/industrial trend in pop is going.

10. Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem) – Anamanaguchi 

TW: Lots and lots of flashing for the video.

As much as I’ve been nerding out about lyrics in this column, Anamanaguchi proves with this song that you don’t need lyrics that make sense to make an amazing song. ‘Lorem Ipsum’s only lyrics are, as you might have guessed, the ‘lorem ipsum’ text – for those who don’t know, the text traditionally used as filler text to test formatting when printing books or other material. “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet” is the opening part, and the section used in the song. I particularly enjoy the amount of research obvious in the music video, down to using actual manuscript illustrations and zooming in on the actual original of the ‘lorem ipsum’ – a Cicero text that actually says ‘dolorem ipsum’. (Lorem is not a word in Latin.)

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