The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: Beach House, Deerhunter, Wax Idols


This week has been a little intense; we’ve been running all over downtown Manhattan and north Brooklyn, covering the 2015 CMJ Music Marathon, catching sets from knowns and unknowns from noon to midnight. And while we’ve been basking in the glory of live music all week, the world of recorded music keeps chugging along, with several notable releases coming out today.

Below, we’ll preview new albums from Beach House, Deerhunter, and Wax Idols, as well as a new single from Patrick Wimberly and Caroline Polachek. But first, an unassuming nascent country star in New Balances lets his guitarist shine in Austin, Texas:

Sturgill Simpson — “Listening to the Rain/The Motivator”

If you haven’t listened to Sturgill Simpson’s breakout 2014 LP Metamodern Sounds in Country Music because you “don’t do country,” you’re fucking up. Simpson is one of those artists that knows the rules and history of his genre, if only so he can expertly break them to suit him. And even the Old Gods are paying attention; he’s scheduled to play three sold-out dates at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, starting later this month.

In this clip, Simpson brings his band to PBS’s Austin City Limits Live, which just recently started its 41st (!!!) season. Simpson’s episode premieres Saturday, but you can see his band tear through bluegrass standard “Listening to the Rain” and T. Rex’s “The Motivator” right now. It’ll be hard to miss his Estonian phenom guitarist Laur Joamets, aka Lil’ Joe; the effortless shredding on his classic telecaster steals the show.

Beach House — “Majorette”

It’s hard to figure out Beach House’s marketing strategy, but maybe that’s the point. The Baltimore duo is not even 60 days removed from the release of their last LP, Depression Cherry, and they’re already onto the next one. Thank Your Lucky Stars dropped today, and the band will play a show in the intimate confines of Baltimore’s Ottobar on Saturday, October 17. We’ll have some deeper thoughts after we’ve had some time with the record, but for now, check out the opening track, “Majorette,” which glistens with chimes and the angelic, androgynous voice of Victoria Legrand.

Deerhunter — “Living My Life”

Deerhunter’s latest, Fading Frontier, is a tight nine-track LP that wouldn’t sound out of place on a mellow beach day. We previewed the first single, “Snakeskin” last month, and while the rest of the album, like “Living My Life,” is a bit more mellow, Fading Frontier is coherent from start to finish. Look for a double dose of Bradford Cox on his tour supporting the album, during which his solo act Atlas Sound will open for Deerhunter.

Wax Idols — “Severely Yours”

Hether Fortune’s Wax Idols has been at the center of the PharmaBro controversy that ultimately killed the funding source for Geoff Rickly’s Collect Records — the band’s latest release, American Tragic, was the last album that was too far along in its release schedule to do anything but trudge forward.

And trudge forward they have. Wax Idols recently played the BrooklynVegan-hosted Collect Records showcase at Baby’s All Right for CMJ, and will play a string of more dates to promote the album. We previewed “Deborah” in our Fall Music Preview; now check out “Severely Yours,” which tells of a sexual dynamic reminiscent of Fortune’s salacious (and oft-referenced) past as a dominatrix — though on this track, at least, the roles appear to have been reversed:

I want you to hurt me/don’t you tell me that it isn’t right/lay your burning hands upon me/I stay on my knees tonight/you can be the Marquis tonight/I’m begging please tonight

American Tragic is out now on iTunes and Spotify.

Chairlift — “Ch-Ching”

We admit to being a bit perplexed by the concept of the video for Chairlift’s new single, “Ch-Ching,” which features Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly clad in red-orange gear while vamping in various nondescript New York City locations, from the auto shops of Queens’ Willets Point to the bowels of Manhattan’s West Side Highway. But it’s inconsequential; we’re involuntarily mesmerized by the combination of Polachek’s voice, cape-flowing dance moves, and sultry stare — not to mention the beat’s catchy handclap percussion and synthetic horns. We still don’t get the whole “Bitcoin in the mouth” thing (is 27-99-23 the combination to a Bitcoin locker?), but we do want to keep watching this video over and over again.