Top8 - 02/05/2024

February 04, 2024 - 11:15 PM

Welcome to Top8 for the week of 02/04/2024. Very excited for new music this week from Stephanie Lambring. Andrew and I brought you this on The Crows Nest this week. We've both been huge fans of her's for a while now. New stuff from Gossip was also a surprise as I didn't realize they were still kicking around. Also, glad to bring a new track from a West Virginia artist. Please send your gushing praise to WTSQ.org/contact.

 

Fat White Family - Bullet of Dignity

First up, the return of Fat White Family. The London band is certainly well established in the scene. To me though, they have always seemed like a strange presence lurking around the periphery of the post-punk revival. This is definitely not a bad thing. Genres get locked into habits of orthodoxy. Fat White Family don't seem interested in any of that. More than anything else, they remind me of The Fall's stubbornly contrarian tendencies (probably not a surprise from a band who released a song called "I Am Mark E Smith"). In any event, the new single is Bullet of Dignity, released ahead of the album Forgiveness is Yours. With a sort of wub-wub-wub synth beat, the song could at first be mistaken for bog standard 2000s indie pop in the vein of M83. There is something sneering and sinister in the bubbling just under the surface though. With lyrics obliquely touching on cannibalism and politics, you just don't quite know what to expect from this band. 


Gossip - Real Power

At long last, the return of Gossip. Long associated with the dance-punk era of the early 2000s, The band here returns with something that flips the script. More Donna Summer than The Rapture, Real Power feels like a straight up disco song. The track simmers more than boils, but still offers genuine passion in Beth Ditto's vocal and the band's bouncy beats. The little flourishes of strings are also a lovely touch, cementing this as a full-blooded evocation of the late 1970's club classics. 

 


Twin Tribes - Santuary

If you're going to do 80s style darkwave, you may as well paint your face white a like a ghoul and talk about death. If you like that sound, Twin Tribes is for you. They have the Dave Vanian looks. They have the gated reverb drums. It's absolutely perfect. A person could make an argument that recreating this soun is boring and derivative. This seems like a hollow argument to me though; we allow endless iterations of traditional folk music, why not darkwave? The two-piece have a whole new album out called Pendulum. I am highlighting the track Sanctuary. Put this on, drive around in a black Camaro, and fight the undead. Like the movie says, "One thing I never could stomach about living in the Kanawha Valley, all the damn vampires."


 Mary Jane Dunphe - Fix Me

Mary Jane Dunphe doesn't seem like the new kid on the block to me. There's something about her music that feels much more like a well established artist with a healthy back catalog. Unless I am just completely mistaken, this isn't the case. She released a full-length album last year, and a two-song single this year, and that appears to be it. Fix Me is an interesting collage of electro-clash compression and Dunphe's own yearning, distorted vocal. Fix Me strikes me as a sort of deconstructed Sleigh Bells track. All the pieces are there, but they are all doing other things in the song. I can't stop listening to this.


Dehd - Mood Ring 

Dehd are a band I have played a lot on Attention Please. There's a surfy quality to a lot of their music. The guitars usually have that early 60s echoey reverb that makes you think of Dick Dale or the Ventures. Mood Ring starts out with something that sounds more like a heavily distorted Ty Segal growl, before very suddenly becoming something Kurt Vile-ish. It's a pleasing dichotomy for a track that otherwise might be a little too tepid. As it is, the groove works for me. 


Savak - Will Get Fooled Again

When I first heard Savak I thought the band was named after the Vulcan character from Star Trek II. Then I remembered that name is spelled Saavik. Savak was the Iranian secret police for a few decades in the last century. The band is apparently named after the latter. Their new album is set to be released on March 1st. We are taking a look at the single Will Get Fooled Again. It sounds like a silly thing to make note of, but I really like that the pleasingly distorted guitar lead is panned mostly to the right channel. It's fallen out of fashion in the last few decades, but I have always thought it was cool. The fuzzy guitar and monotone vocal are classic indie rock – like Wussy but a little quieter. Savak seems like a band who have probably had to stop a show because someone spilled a beer into an amp. And I like that.


Sweet Pill - Eternal 

Sweet Pill is the warm emo hug I didn't know I needed this week. I'll admit though, when I was younger, I was way too cool to like emo. Sure, I'd cry my face off to Radiohead or The Cure, but The Get Up Kids? That was for the kids at the mall. Dashboard Confessional is the band that got through to me. Maybe it was the collective catharsis of a mob of sobbing teenagers that moved me. Maybe I just thought Chris Carrabba was hot. Either way, I eventually found myself in 2024 listening to the new single Eternal from Sweet Pill. The song starts with a lullaby soft wave and quickly settles into breathy verses that can clearly be screamed along to. The guitars are quietly mathy and are joined by some really lovely little production choices like a touch of piano here and there. When vocalist Zayna Youssef finally sings, "no one wants to hear about the sad stuff" I must beg to differ. 

 


Erica Lilly - Classic BLT 4.99

People talk to me at shows sometimes. From time to time I am too drunk to remember. Luckily that wasn't the case at the recent Local Honeys show in Huntington. Erica Lilly walked up and introduced themselves. After I looked at their instagram the next day, I realized they were a musician themselves. The song is called Classic BLT 4.99. There is an outsider art quality to Lilly's guitar playing that I find striking. Their voice has a delicate Appalachian quality which warbles a bit around the edges. It's easy to imagine it carrying an old mountain song as well as this. In turns, the song is sweet, sad, and sentimental about a relationship or connection that has never quite worked. There's a music box quality in this to me. That little wheel of teeth that speeds up and slows down as it recites its little tune before finally winding down. Maybe that's the wheel of emotions that inspire a song like this. 


 Stephanie Lambring - Good Mother

Finally, a new one from Stephanie Lambring. There's no one else writing songs like this. I am not even sure anyone else even wants to write songs like this. Lambring finds a place where something hurts and pushes on it until you are crying. She has a real penchant for talking about things that people have a hard time facing like religion, eating disorders, and in this song, a woman's complicated feelings about motherhood. Women are expected to either love being a mother without reservation or else stay childless forever. If someone feels any regret over becoming a parent, they are vilified. Yet, the speaker in Lambring's song feels deleted by motherhood. She laments, "I miss being pretty, and having something to say." You don't have to agree with the perspective of the song, but you should listen to it. In fact, you should listen to everything that Lambring has ever done. She's just that good. 

 


Extra Innings

MJ Lenderman - Knockin'

Boygenius - True Blue

The Cure - The Same Deep Well As You

Deftones - Digital Bath

Mediogres - Burt Reynolds Owes Us One

And everything in one playlist - Top8 - 02/05/24

-emily

See also

Top8 - 02/12/24

Top8 - 02/12/24