Top8 - 04/15/24

April 14, 2024 - 02:37 PM

Controversal sweetheart Emily Beane back with another Top8. I want to say you couldn't pay me to stop doing this, but actually you probably could. Times are tough. But it would be a lot. Please direct all better offers to


I am really excited for the new John Moreland album, and I very pleasantly surprised by the new Andrew Bird single. Lots of great music coming out right now. 

Aluminum - Behind My Mouth

Five seconds into "Behind My Mouth" I was thinking of the Madchester scene. If you're a fan of bands like The Stone Roses, you'll like this track, and this band in general. The underlying "shufflebeat" rhythm works in the same dancy repeating figures you find in those bands. And just like those bands, the real stars here are the bass and drums. This is one of my favorites of the year so far. 

John Moreland - Gentle Violence

John Moreland came out of nowhere for me. I was turned onto him by my dear friend Andrew Adkins (co-host of the Crows Nest with me – every Sunday at 4!). Moreland writes the saddest, most perfect songs you've ever heard. He's actually been around for quite a while, and while the songs are always great, he occasionally veers into a Tom Petty-ish Americana vibe. While these songs are also good, Moreland is at his best playing quiet, acoustic songs. The new album Visitor is in this vein. I am focusing on the song "Gentle Violence" here. Moreland is a fine guitar player, and the supporting band does their job well here. The key here are the lyrics though. Moreland's songs look closely at the pain of living. "Gentle Violence" is a reminder that not all abuse or pain comes from a fist. 


Killgurls - Cradle

If you want my attention, get a loud crunchy guitar and a woman screaming. Killgurls do this quite well on "Cradle".  This is a thrashy four-minute affair that puts me strongly in mind of L7 or the Gits. Girls to the Front.


Kaia Kater - In Montreal (ft. Allison Russel)

Thank god for the relatively recent wave of black women banjo players. I believe that a lot of this has to do with Rhiannon Giddens kicking the door in. I have no issue with all the white dudes playing banjo; those guys are great and they should keep doing what they are doing. That said, 1.) the banjo is an African instrument and it makes sense to see black folks claiming it, and 2). women need a louder voice in folk / country / americana music. So here comes not just Kaia Kater, but also Allison Russel. "In Montreal" uses instrumentation that your ears expect to hear in traditional music, but it frees those pieces up to be something rhymically distinct and clearly modern.


The Drin - Tigers Cage

The Drin come from just over in Cincinnati. This is a brilliant fusion of Osees / Black Angels psych with a post-punk edge closer to The Birthday Party. There's also quite a lot of a post-hardcore, Slint feel to this track. On "Tigers Cage" the band weave a slithering, chugging rhythm over a monotone vocal that feels threatening but entrancing. 


Francis of Delirium - Ballet Dancers (Never Love Again)

A couple years ago, I was at a party and extremely incapacitated when I got a message from station founder Chris Long. Through the haze of intoxicants, the noise in the room, and the static of my phone, I made out a station ID from Francis of Delirium. How cool is that? Like a lot of people, I got turned onto the band because of the stellar 2020 single "Quit Fucking Around" a song so good that it had to be played on the air inspite of the fact that I had to edit it. Their first full-length, Lighthouse, is out now and is every bit as good as that early promise. I am focusing on "Ballet Dancers (Never Love Again). The band captures that same explosive possibility but pairs it with something more gentle and heartbreaking. Break up with your partner, get drunk, and scream along to this one. 


Halo Maud - Celebrate

One of the best things about songs in other languages is that the listener is not burdened with the job of understanding lyrics. So you're off the hook for some of "Celebrate", just bob your head along and rock out. Anyway, the English parts and the music let you know what's up. Stop regretting life and start celebrating what you have. "Quelques pas de danse avec mes soeurs." Cela me semble une bonne idée.

Andrew Bird - I Fall In Love Too Easily

Usually surprises are terrible. Your idiot boss is suddenly walking around where the work is done trying to look like they actually do something. Your uncle sends you a youtube video about the dangers of "the 5G" when you thought he was sane. And then there's Andrew Bird. Andrew Bird could surprise me with a slap in the face and I'd probably still give it a positive review. He's just dropped a single with a couple jazz standards and it's one of the most exquisite and perfect things I've ever heard. "I Fall In Love Too Easily" is a Jule Styne / Sammy Cahn song. I'd guess the most famous version is by Chet Baker. Bird's reading here is delicate without being reverent. His violin tone breathes and sings like a jazz wind instrument. And yet, almost magically, this still sounds very much like an Andrew Bird song. It's backed with a gorgeously sentimental version of the My Fair Lady classic "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face". I cannot stop listening to this.


And this week's extra innings, other things I've been listening to –

The Birthday Party - Mr. Clarinet

Slint - Good Morning, Captain

Drive Like Jehu - Golden Brown

Girl Cologne - Don't Wanna Hear It


Mediogres - Outta Town

And a playlist with everything - 

Thanks for reading and listening!