Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.

Eight Random New Tracks Reviewed, June 21

MusicMarc AlmondPopular Music (genre)

Phedre, “Haberdash.” There’s something in me, the hat-wearing classicist, that needs to love a band called Phedre which does a song called “Haberdash.” Unfortunately, this low-voice beat track—like Marc Almond without the bump-and-grind—doesn’t hold a candle to the band’s sensuous and mysterious album of a few months back. On the album, Phedre changes up moods and rhythms constantly, providing comfort for dazed clubgoers with short attention spans. Haberdash is like a too-long excerpt from a future Phedre epic, waiting to be switched up.

Still, its throbbing, deadpan heart is in the right place. Knowing that this track was released to raise lawyer-money for a Toronto club that was abruptly closed last month definitely makes you feel better about it… once you wake up.


Alex Gaudino featuring Taboo, “I Don’t Want to Dance.” A sentiment I applaud, while wondering if this cliché-ridden unapologetically dance-oriented single is toying with me.


Deep Time, “Clouds.” Teaser for what promises to be a sweet new album, due July 10. It’s a spare boy/girl duo from Austin, but I can’t get Squeeze out of my head when I listen. There’s that same complexity and wordplay and quick-trick pacing and  desire to fully entertain. This is what separates a pop song from a song.


Woods, “I Was Gone.” A freakin’ 11-minute video for the song as performed live in a field at the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, NY. The tough garage-rock beat keeps it from getting too jammy, the singer’s near-falsetto keeps it weird. And the electronic effects fit the trees-and-sculpture video environment. Not sure I could stomach a whole set by these guys (a new album’s due in September), but I happily stuck out the 11 minutes of goneness.


Hot as Sun, “Come Come” (Tokyo Police Club Remix) and “Only a Woman” (Blood Diamonds Remix). The performance-art project turned working band Hot as Sun are restrained, not freed, by these remixes, which render tunes that were fraught and frisky into lush, leisurely lulls. The good news is that the rethinks are come-ons for a rerelease of Hot as Sun’s debut EP, on which the original versions of the songs (plus these new remixes) appear.


Mount Eerie, “”Pale Lights.” This jarring, noisy, echoey three-minute burst of tempered confidence and quiet anguish is not part of Mount Eerie’s impressive May release Clear Moon. It’s the first track on a whole other album that’s ready to go, a companion piece to Clear Moon called Ocean Roar, set for release in early September. (A real reason to go back to college. It’s made for that crowd.)


Poolside, “Slow Down.” Well, that it assuredly does—slows down a dance-fever-style ’70s single to a modest pace. It’s the musical equivalent of dissecting a worm. I found it very appealing, since I don’t dance anyway. “Let this feeling last,” it says. “Relax.” And there’s no Frankie Goes to Hollywood irony about it.


The Orwells, “Mallrats (La La La).” Opens with a quote from an authority figure decrying juvenile delinquency, then jabbers and yowls for three awesome minutes.  The song, basically a sloppily sung riff powered by a unified drum/guitar beat/strum, starts feeding in on itself, distorting and distracting and distending, and then just ending. So you have to play it again. And again. And again. Lalalalalalaalalalaalalalala….  A full Orwells LP is promised for August.


Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun