The 5 Best Songs We Heard This Week: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Killing Joke


We’re still nursing our CMJ hangover, but amazingly it hasn’t soured our taste for loud guitar music. This week we’ve got new tunes from the original lineup of Killing Joke, an ode to parental shame from some Chicago punx with a grotesque name, a Bowie tribute from Terrible Records, and a throwback from a ’90s fetishist.

But first, Jen Goma and James tell us more about the pains of being pure at heart.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Laid (James cover ft. Jen Goma)”

Kip Berman’s indie pop project The Pains of Being Pure at Heart has been relatively quiet since touring behind their third LP, Days of Abandon, dropped last spring. This week they announced a three-song LP, Hell, as they prep for upcoming tour dates in London and Asia. The EP is out November 13 on the band’s own Painbow records, and “Hell” is the only original song; “Ballad of the Band” is a Felt cover, and this track, “Laid,” is a cover of James’ wondrous one hit from the 90s. A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s Jen Goma lends her vocals, as she did on Days. We think it’s soooo prettyyyyy.

Killing Joke – “Euphoria”

Pylon, the new full length from post-punk industrial influencers Killing Joke, is out today on Spinefarm Records. Almost 40 years into their storied career, their brand of doom and gloom might not sound as fresh as it did in the ’80s, but that’s probably because we’ve been saturated by the fruits of their influence for decades. This single, “Euphoria,” features the original lineup of Jaz Coleman, Geordie, Youth, and Big Paul, and builds on themes of “stark, brutal industrial suicide” from the first two albums (Absolute Dissent, MMXII) of the triptych that Pylon completes.

Split Feet – “Selective Mommery”

The newest record from Chicago’s Split Feet, Shame Parade, deals with the ways in which shame is used to control us, from an early age, and often by those closest to us; look this way to attract a partner, “you’ll never get a husband like that.” Sounding like a deep cut from a ’90s-era Kill Rock Stars comp, “Selective Mommery” pulses with energy. And while the lo-fi vocal aesthetic makes it difficult to place her exact lyrics, frontwoman Jes Skolnik helpfully explained the song’s message to Noisey: “Even parents who are very kind and conscious can feel this social pressure, this idea that a ‘successful’ kid grows up, gets married (heterosexually, monogamously), and all of us internalize that idea and pass it on from so many different angles. It’s really gruesome.”

Kirin J Callinan – “The Teacher”

Australia’s Kirin J Callinan may enjoy collaborating with famous friends on occasion, but he’s very much a solo artist in the sample-loop-vocals vein. His yet to be titled sophomore LP is due out in 2016, and “The Teacher” is the first single. We can’t be sure, but “The Teacher” sounds like a bit of a creepy ode to an inappropriate student/educator relationship. It also sounds like an unholy marriage of David Bowie’s plastic-soul-era croon and the ghost of chillwave’s synths. Whatever he’s actually singing about, we’re into it.

PWR BTTM – “1994”

With the 20-year nostalgia cycle firmly planted in the mid-90s, “1994” oddly feels very much in the present. And “Genre-queer” pop-punks PWR BTTM are very much of the moment. This sweet-yet-scuzzy jam isn’t exactly new; it made the rounds in the blogosphere after it premiered early last month. But it wasn’t until we caught the duo at their label’s unofficial CMJ showcase that we fell in love with “1994,” which just begs to be played on loop. With two simple verses and a “OOOoooOOO” hook, the melodies are laid bare, and get out of the way for Ben Hopkin’s epic finger tapping at the 1:30 mark.