No Trivia: Baltimore's Top 10 Most Desirable Singles! Chiffon! War On Women! Abdu Ali! Lower Dens!
By BRANDON SODERBERG
Feb 21, 2015 | 6:45 PM
Oh boy, so earlier this week Baltimore Magazine released a list of the "top 20 bachelors and bachelorettes in Baltimore," or as I've taken to calling it, "the top 20 all straight, mostly white bachelors and bachelorettes in Baltimore who generally don't leave the Canton-Federal Hill douche corridor, though they might venture to Hampden once in a while, who hey, for the most part could take or leave living in Baltimore two of which have some weird Jennifer Aniston fetish." Oy vey, I really can't with this. Seriously though, one of these dreamboats' favorite place in Baltimore is the "Under Armour Campus," which like, really bro? No words. But in the spirit of fairness, I thought I'd answer Baltimore Magazine's questionnaire. I'm not really trying to fuck any of you assholes, but here are my answers anyway:
Brandon Soderberg, 30, Music and Screens Editor Baltimore City Paper; never been married. What type of relationship are you looking for? Someone who'll smoke weed with me and watch "30 Rock" over and over and over again. What are your thoughts on mobile and online dating? It's chill, don't sleep on Twitter for hooking up! Celebrity crush: Meek Mill, Michelle Williams in "The Hawk Is Dying." One thing on your bucket list that you'd like to accomplish this year: Fuck a bucket list, I'm just trying to wake up every day and fight the urge to walk into traffic, you feel me? Favorite place in Baltimore: THE UNDER ARMOUR CAMPUS OF COURSE DUH. Do you see yourself settling down in Baltimore? Again, just trying to fight the urge to off myself every day on this terrible, unforgiving planet, who has time for future plans? Describe your perfect fit: There is a weird Eugenics-y quality to this question and I refuse to answer it. Why haven't you found the one yet? Because I am an impatient, argumentative asshole.
Now read below for Baltimore City Paper's own list of HOT SINGLES. Not really, but his month has been amazing for Baltimore bands releasing new singles, so I thought I'd run through my favorites:
-Abdu Ali, 'Keep Movin (Negro Kai)': An Eddie Kendricks 'My People...Hold On,' spoken word sort of thing. At least until Abdu Ali declares, "These chains so heavy, they don't mean shit to me" (a poetic paradox that accurately diagnoses where oppressed people's nihilism comes from), at which point, a saxophone crudely, beautifully honks all John Coltrane-like (he gets a shout out earlier in the song when Ali raps, "my heart beats like the jazz of Coltrane while listening to Howard Zinn") and the song gets free. A cathartic conclusion of whip sounds or maybe sci-fi lasers blasts (probably both) follow, compelling Ali to howl "freedom." Holy shit.
-Barnyard Sharks, 'Dundalk Viking Funeral': Yeah, yeah, yeah, Baynard Woods of the Barnyard Sharks works here and he's my boss and a friend (right Bay? We're friends?), but this nudge nudge, wink wink growl metal, prog-rock mock epic from the new Barnyard Sharks album, "We're Not The Cops," is like 'Show No Mercy'-era Slayer, the bad-ass parts of early King Crimson (and none of the hippie-dippie junk), and the cool but boring parts of late Tortoise all got a humpin' and had an arch, ironic, monster riff-making threesome baby.
-Bond St. District, 'Terror Era': A stoned-and-alone, single-verse rap song about how fucked the world is, whether it's right down the street or on the other side of the planet, with a clear and cogent thesis: It is painfully obvious that certain people's lives, especially European and European-American lives, matter a lot more than other lives, namely black lives. "The world stopped when the terrorists/ Killed 12 people in Paris," DDm raps, "They murder millions overseas from Kenyan to Congolese/ But nobody give a fuck about no nigga shit." Meanwhile, producer Paul Hutson's beat never quite settles down, because how could it when the topic is global chaos?
-Chiffon, 'Venerable': A maximalist, stitched together retrofuturistic R&B collage that recalls all of those bizarre, trippy instrumentals that popped up on R&B-pop in the late '80s. Stuff like: Bobby Brown's 'Cruel (Prelude)' and 'Cruel (Reprise)'; Five Star Orchestra's 'First Avenue'; Guy's 'Teddy's Jam'; and Kashif's 'The Mood.' This song is formless in a good way, as if 'Venerable' has too many emotions inside of it to settle on one, so it's gotta skip from one sound to the next to not freak out. Fitting for a song whose sensory and unsure lyrics capture the temporal qualities of love and lust.
-Dan Deacon, 'Learning To Relax': Here, Dan Deacon does a nervous version of Kraftwerk's 'Autobahn,' in which the freedom of the open road is nowhere to be found and, hell, being stuck in a killer car would just make things worse, so Deacon pleas "just take me out of my mind." The trick is that the song will calm the stressed-out and terrified listener. That's the thing about Wham City: Rolling Stone and everywhere else branded this shit as DIY acid dude weirdness, but that's mostly superficial bullshit because there's always been a gut-level sadness to Wham City's work. See: every Future Islands song ever, Ponytail's 'Honey Touches,' the suburban-corporate dread of "Unedited Footage of a Bear," and this song (and the rest of "Gliss Riffer").
-James Nasty, 'Good Perereca': James Nasty has dedicated his recent work to pairing Bmore club music with other regional dance musics ("Bmore Bounce" mixed club with New Orleans bounce and 'Fan Dem Off' from "Calvert Street EP" employed dancehall) in a way that feels both studious and visceral. You could write a grad school paper on these songs, but you can also dance your ass off to them. 'Good Perereca' ("good pussy"), a late '90s-style, haiku-simple Bmore club take on 2010s global dance, is the third point in Nasty's world-spanning club music thesis statement. Listen closely for the frog sounds.
-Lower Dens, 'To Die In L.A.': In which Lower Dens kind of make a Mike and the Mechanics song or some shit, which is just fine by me, but might not be enough for you "serious" music snobs out there, so we'll just fib a little and say it's a bit like a "Tunnel Of Love" Springsteen song, or a less stoned Kurt Vile track, or a far less skeezy Twin Shadow rocker or something, though really, you're going to need to lighten up and learn to love THA EIGHTIEZ because Wang Chung's awesome "To Live and Die In L.A." soundtrack is primarily the influence here. As reimagined by the genuine outsider intensity of Jana Hunter, of course.
-Schwarz & 333 Boyz feat. Gurl Crush, 'We Out Here': A naive slow jam with an intro nod to Spandau Ballet's 'True' that sounds like the Lisbon sisters from "The Virgin Suicides" as played by Ariana Grande, Dej Loaf, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, and Tinashe, all cooped up in their room collectively singing along and swaying to a Rihanna ballad. "I don't care where we're headed, if my posse's energetic," vocalist Gurl Crush intones.
-War On Women, 'YouTube Comments': This War On Women song grabs its lyrics from the dumbass, douchebag, dickhead trash talk that has been pooped out in the comments section of videos for the bands' songs on YouTube: "I can't quite figure out if they're crazy feminists or they're just being ironic"; "better than expected and hot actually." The band's feeding the fucking trolls like they're Mr. Creosote from "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" here, and good for them. Meanwhile, the music, hardcore yet unabashedly shiny and even kind of glammy, doesn't stop to breathe.
-Zane Campbell, 'Layaway Plan': The self-titled album from Cecil County sad-as-fuck country cult figure Zane Campbell is the best record of 2015 (full disclosure: "Zane Campbell" was produced by City Paper contributor Travis Kitchens) and 'Layaway Plan,' about being a fuck-up and not calling mom on Christmas and eating fast food alone in a halfway house is the harrowing, hilarious highlight. "It's not that I don't love you, it's just that I put my life on the layaway plan," Campbell sings, which is one hell of a way to describe a self-destructive, quasi-suicidal bender now isn't it? Idea: Have Zane perform this at that new fucking Shake Shack downtown.