The Cutprice Jukebox

We Talk About Music

Single of the Week: Stress by Kylie Odetta

19-year- old songstress Kylie Odetta has done it again: and by done it I obviously mean she has produced another tale of relationship woe wrapped up in a soulful package. Where previous single You Don’t Love Me had Odetta slowly coming to the painful realisation that her relationship only went one way, STRESS is a lot less subtle and a lot angrier.

Another aspect of Odetta’s musical approach that STRESS cements is her skill at lulling the listener with her relaxed instrumentation. STRESS is held together by an almost swooning piano riff, perfect for those long, soon-to-actually-be-here, summer days.

That is, until she hits you with the full force of the songs subject: stressing about keeping her relationship together. Granted, it’s more of a cushioned blow than a full-on gut punch but it’s effective nonetheless. Odetta speaks frankly about the storm she’s trying to weather, at times almost collapsing under the weight of it, but she keeps herself, and the listener, afloat all the same.

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Single of the Week: Shapeshifter by Coincidence Bizarre

After Coincidence Bizarre confounded and entertained me in equal measure with Invisible Man, it’s only fair that I give Shapeshifter a shot: the second track from the collective’s debut EP.

More than anything else, Coincidence Bizarre stick to a theme like the glue they definitely weren’t sniffing when they recorded this track. Just as they did with Invisible Man, the group uses Shapeshifter to expand on the theme suggested by the title. The song is a typically weird mix of cinematic soundscapes tempered with trip-hop beats, and the title is no joke as the vocals flex and change when the song requires it. There are a lot of ,moving parts to a song like this, something that will invite further listens, but at the outset Shapeshifter is a groove filled jam that underlines how every song is in some way a Shapeshifter. Admittedly that could be a reach, but hey –  that’s part of the fun of experiencing this singular group.

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Single of the Week: Everything by Chantal Monte

Chantal Monte is here to seduce you, and with “Everything” she succeeds. As one of the featured tracks on her forthcoming EP Syrup: a collaboration with Portugal producer Nuno Meneses, “Everything” is a startling introduction to this artist’s considerable charms.

As someone who proclaims herself as the flower child that blossomed in the 1970s San Francisco Love-In scene, it’s no wonder that Monte has a fascination with topics like sex and spirituality. The great thing here is the fact that, since she chooses to investigate these themes with ambient electronic music rather than what could be termed as the hippie option, she is more likely to engage listeners that otherwise, through their on preference, may have passed her by.

There is more of a manipulation in electronica which suits her as she tells us to relax as the shimmering synths engulf us, the seduction has begun. This is coy, unaggressive approach that accentuates Monte’s subtly commanding vocals, asking us to dive into her, physically and spiritually. Connection is “Everything”, whether it’s through sex or otherwise, Monte wants to connect with us, and with music this patently hypnotic, and her subtle vocals, it’s hard not to fall under her spell, to connect.

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Single of the Week: Invisible Man by Coincidence Bizarre

Not much is known about West Coast collective Coincidence Bizarre apart from a website full of slang and their first single, appropriately called Invisible Man. It’s a brisk, relaxed track, with subtle beats that contrast and confirm the point that they want to make with this song.

This point is loud and clear in the lyrics, as the collective rhyme off all of the icons that they associate with; usually, name-dropping like this would be a way of bragging about your talent while also giving listeners a type of context for what kind of act you want to be. Instead, Coincidence Bizarre uses this context to do the exact opposite, using the name-dropping as satire, spotlighting the type of obvious move that it is.

Invisible Man is a groove filled indictment on today’s music industry and the ways to get to the top of it, which also makes time for the invisible men that get lost in the sprawl of noise. It’s an accomplished debut single, perfectly introducing the group, what they stand for, and what side of the media they are on. I’ll give you a clue: it’s not Pitchfork’s side.

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Single of the Week: Ziegfeld Girl by Sarah Lassez

“Fluctuat nec mergitur” roughly translated means “she is tossed by the waves but does not sink”. A fitting motto for the city of Paris, as well as singer-songwriter Sarah Lassez, as the spirit of the city is all over her new single Ziegfeld Girl.

The song, which charts the downfall of the titular Ziegfeld girl, has a feel to it that is uniquely Parisian, and not just because that’s where the story is set. There are certain musical signifiers that help ground the song with a sense of place. Most songs don’t bother with a location as it’s just the feeling that is important, but Lassez has a writer’s eye for detail as Ziegfeld Girl is more like a short story put to music.

And what a story it is: full of heartbreak, melancholy, a sprinkle of humour, and woe, all offset by Lassez bright vocal delivery. There is a sense of disconnection within the song that actually benefits it. You don’t rush to the idea that the Ziegfeld Girl is actually Lassez herself (even though it probably is) – instead Lassez fulfils the role of narrator, helping the listener to engage with this character without the preconceptions that most artist bring to their work. It’s a compelling story that Lassez tells, a story that, no matter what her role is in it, it still has her soul.

Ziegfeld Girl is from Sarah Lassez’s upcoming EP, Paris in Tears, which is out on May 12th.

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Single of the Week: Playing Tag by Analog Monoxide

As a lead single for an album called Songs for the Road, Playing Tag is an incredibly appropriate musical statement from Nordic glitch master Analog Monoxide. This isn’t fist pumping spring break, sleeping in a van with your friends while going cross-country. Instead, Playing Tag is an intricate, intimate conversation Stian Høyberg is having with himself, or the reflection of himself that comes in and out of focus as each street lamp hits the interior of his car as he passes by.

It’s the kind of song, with its downbeat tempo, almost whispering vocals, and pleasant textures that invites you to get lost in. The muted drum-loop and different electronic components merging together gives the song an early hours of the morning feel. It’s as if Høyberg is walking briskly away from his problems rather than running, with lyrics mixed in a fog of nostalgia and regret, making for a poignant listen.

Playing Tag is a deeply comforting listen, layered with Nordic noir that is both dark but still reflective. If the album is as good as this single then I call shotgun for the full trip.

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Single of the Week: Saviour’s Hands by Colin Onderdonk

Saviours Hands, the second single from Texan singer songwriter Colin Onderdonk, consolidates the young artist’s position as one to watch. Taken off of his debut EP Proximity Effect, Onderdonk continues to show maturity in both his lyrics, delivery, and musicality.

There is something shambling  about Saviours Hand: Onderdonk sounds exhausted and the percussion sounds like it’s coming from the multitude of tombstones mentioned in the song. That’s another way that Onderdonk excels: mood. Like his previous single, Tidal Bomb, Saviours Hands is packed full of big questions, big ideas, and proves that this young man is a big deal.

It’s a song about temptation, all the forms it can take, and the consequences it brings. Lines like “I walk in a minefield of my own flesh/ disguised by wicked seduction” can be read as a fear of romantic entanglement, the promise of pain that is as inevitable as happiness; further symbolised by the tombstones of all his fallen friends. It could also be interpreted as a warning, or fear of passion, the beauty is that while the song will mean something specific to its creator, Onderdonk has left just enough wiggle room for us to mould it to our own ideas. That is how songs become popular, and that is how artists last.

 

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Single of the Week: Iodine by Cashavelly Morrison

Cashavelly Morrison’s debut album, The Kingdom Belongs to a Child was one of the best albums I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing on this site. So when I found out that Iodine, one of the albums most haunting singles, was getting a release along with a new music video I snapped at the chance to heap more praise on this exceptional artist and her band.

The video for the song, which was directed by S. Cagney Gentry and stars dancer and choreographer Dominica Greene, is an appropriate companion for the song that speaks of a mother tending to her dying child. The video of Greene dancing in an empty house and empty street highlights the isolation that the mother of the song is looking into at the prospect of her son’s death. Like all great music videos, it enhances the artistic statement of the song, and also adds new, and unexpected layers to it.

The song itself is still fantastic, perhaps even more so outside of its place on The Kingdom Belongs to a Child. As more than a part that makes the album whole, Iodine is a scaring statement on grief, and its effect of life, legacy and memory. The chorus repeats that Morrison speaks her child’s last words, and if there is any justice these word will be heard by a lot more people.

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Single of the Week: Let Them Eat Cake by Dan Webb

In a post-truth media landscape where alternative facts rule and a reality star resides in the Oval Office the need for questioning from the art community is of the highest importance. One artist who is using his talent as a platform for this questioning is Australian singer-songwriter Dan Webb: his new single, entitled “Let Them Eat Cake” is a vitriolic rant against addressing the hacking of the DNC’s email servers.

Webb’s harsh but important stance questions the media, how they spin news, how they report it, and who benefits from both. He’s not worried about making enemies, knowing that he doesn’t have a chance at radio play with the opium of endless pop clogging up the airwaves say nothing at all, loudly.

“Let Them Eat Cake” is reminiscent of Bowie’s Berlin years: the effected piano groove, the cool delivery of withering words, the sweet repetitive chorus, itself a satire on the pop music he’s lampooning except he’s actually condemning them. It’s an exceptionally confident, daringly concise and timely release, and a great sign of things to come from this exciting new voice.

Single of the Week: Tidal Bomb by Colin Onderdonk

The fact that Colin Onderdonk is only 18 years old means that his grasp on the human condition will be underestimated. After all, what could an 18 year old kid from Texas understand about the world at large? On the evidence of Tidal Bomb, the answer to that question is, well, a hell of a lot actually.

 

Tidal Bomb has a lot going for it: it is intricately put together, and has a good mixture of tempos, but the song’s real strength is Onderdonk’s lyrics. The ocean is a popular symbol for the sub-conscious: that great unknown world just below the surface, a place where, depending on your beliefs, we all came from. Onderdonk plays with this idea of going into the unknown, with the titular tidal bomb a stand in for many different possibilities: it could be literal, or a more ambiguous revelation, like something you can only admit to yourself or about yourself, if you can regain some measure of peace.

Colin Oderdonk has proved with Tidal Wave and his debut EP Proximity Effect that he is an intelligent artist who can play with big ideas in a way that doesn’t downplay the quality of his music. Sometimes artists need to choose what will be more powerful: the idea or the finished product. Colin Onderdonk is good enough to never need to make that choice.

By Kevin Boyle

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