The Flavorwire staff (and, it would seem, the world at large) spent much of this week memorializing David Bowie, one of the most popular geniuses to ever fall to earth. But even in a week where we spent most of our time thinking about, watching, and listening to all things Bowie, there was plenty of new music to get excited about.
This week’s column features a cover of the mixtape mantra that became a Canadian anthem, the stripped-down soul of a promising new artist, finding “Heaven” in the Majical Cloudz, and a warning against a succubus with a honky-tonk twang. But first, new music from the great American tragedy that is School of Seven Bells:
School of Seven Bells – “On My Heart”
The first single from the upcoming (and likely final) School of Seven Bells record, “On My Heart” is an somber pop jam that somehow finds a way to reconcile the sorrow of member Benjamin Curtis’ death with the joy of his life. Alejandra Deheza’s vocals are as dreamy as ever, but unlike the wide-eyed wonder it evoked on previous records, it sounds just a tiny bit resigned, if not defeated. Free of context, it’s pretty, but the pain in her voice is clear.
Dilly Dally – “Know Yourself (Drake)”
We imagine Drake must be a polarizing figure for hip young Torontonians; either you love his music and rep “the 6” hard AF, or you’re offended by his ubiquity and cringe every time you hear someone talking about their “woes.” Dilly Dally’s Katie Monks appears to have switched camps from the latter to the former—such is the strength of The Force in Aubrey Graham. “I’ve grown tired of being annoyed by it, and decided to embrace my surroundings,” she told Vulture. “It’s like, he’s just part of the scenery now. Another cool skyscraper or landmark. Something that we all share together, for better or for worse.” Bask in Monks’ sandpaper growl, and do your best to forget about Drake’s mortgages.
Kelsey Lu – “Morning After Coffee”
Classically trained cellist Kelsey Lu hails from North Carolina, but has since graciously bestowed her residence upon the City of New York. Both she and her music seem well-suited for any setting, however, as proved by this woodland escapade video for “Morning After Coffee.” She doesn’t flex her chops on the strings too much here — rather, the minimal arrangement does a good job of staying out of the way of her voice. We’re looking forward to whatever else she has in store for us.
Majical Cloudz – “Heaven”
Only a few months removed from the release of his stellar LP Are You Alone? (which we included in our 2015 year-end albums list), Majical Cloudz’s Devon Welsh surprise-dropped a five-track EP today called Wait & See. Sonically it sounds like an extension of the album, though it’s easy to imagine Welsh deciding that the songs just didn’t quite fit. Any of these songs could have been B-sides for that album’s singles, but since that’s not really a thing anymore, the EP certainly seems like a better medium. Our favorite, “Heaven,” marries an atypically driving rhythm with the restrained croon and macabre lyrics we’ve come to love. This will likely stay on repeat throughout the weekend, a perfect soundtrack for bundling up and watching the winter pass by your window.
Loretta Lynn – “Everything It Takes (ft. Elvis Costello)”
Loretta Lynn belongs on whatever country music’s Mt. Rushmore would be, so it’s a treat that she’s still writing new music. And it’s no slight to say that it sounds like she wrote it in 30 minutes (which she did), because sometimes the best songs are divined rather than torturously crafted. Elvis Costello mostly stays out of her way here, as she delivers instant-classic lines like “She’s cold as ice but you still think she’s hot/ She’s got everything it takes to take everything you’ve got.” The beautiful harpy may be a country music trope, but she does it so well you remember how it ever became one.