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Saturday, October 17, 2020

David Shaw + Middle Kids + Don't Fear the Natives + Springsteen + introducing Flor and the Sea

David Shaw: Shaken

The frontman of New Orleans rockers The Revivalists is out with two singles ahead of an upcoming solo album. According to Glide Magazine: "Despite having a red-hot 2019, the band was planning to take a little break and Shaw was ready to take a leap of intuition into some music without his bandmates." (However, the band's website shows they're planning new shows in the spring.) Shaw describes "Shaken" as a song "for anyone who feels different, left out, misunderstood, or insecure – I want you to know that the things that make you feel that way now can be the same things that can lead you to your purpose or passion, to your happiness or success." The accompanying video portrays a teenage guitarist persevering despite bullying.

Middle Kids: R U 4 Me

Photo: Daphne Nguyen
Coincidentally, the video for this song also depicts a boy being bullied - at a military school where he's clearly out of place. Clash Music calls the track "a tightly wound, perfectly portrayed blast of adolescent ennui." Lead singer Hannah Joy recounts: "I was at university once and there were all these signs on the walls saying 'Be Nice It's Not That Hard.' The tone of the message itself actually wasn’t very nice or kind… We are always looking around at other people thinking ‘are you on my team?’ I think this just results in us all feeling lonely." True to form, the Sydney, Australia, trio wraps its angsty message in bouncy, upbeat pop. 

Don't Fear the Natives: Catch a Wave

This six-piece band from Ireland's County Donegal made a splash last year with its debut EP, Stupid Heart. Now comes the first single from a planned LP. The group is known for mixing folk and rock sounds, and this track opens with a few chords strummed on an acoustic guitar before it's drowned out by crunchy electric guitar and drums. Then Clair McDaid's vocal rings out clearly above the racket, creating a sharp contrast that makes for an exhilarating listen. Says McDaid: "We love to rock it out, but there's an edgier, occasionally delicate side that we love exploring - the vulnerabilities of relationships, the heartaches, and sometimes those small victories in between."

Bruce Springsteen: Ghosts

This is the second single released head of the new album, Letter to You, which is due out this week. It's a tribute to late E Street Band members Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici, Springsteen assistant Terry Magovern - and by extension, others of the dear departed. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Springsteen said: "I live with the dead every day at this point in my life. Whether it’s my father or Clarence or Danny, all those people sort of walk alongside you. Their spirit, their energy, their echo continues to resonate in the physical world.… A beautiful part of living is what we’re left by the dead.”

Flor and the Sea: A Candid Lie

We've just been introduced to this dreamy electro-pop from Munich. Marc Aretz (guitars and synths) and Chaem (vocals) were part of a five-piece band that released a couple of singles before breaking up in 2017. The two decided to keep Flor and the Sea alive, released a couple of singles as a duo, and developed an elaborate live show involving light works, masks and backing musicians. They adapted the show to a livestream to preview their upcoming debut album, Kings & Queens, which includes this new single. It's described as "built around its loop-like complex beat, its synth hook and its haunting vocal refrain" and filled out with "vocal samples, guitar lines, feedback, additional synth layers and bass modulations, all carefully arranged to give the listener something new to discover with each listen."

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