Wanna get your groove on this week? Listen to this new music brought to you by our very own Sylvia June. Just do it. You’ll like it.
Release Date: August 7, 2020
Why I Like It: I first heard Glass Animals in my best friends car on a road trip, and it was probably the perfect introduction. She saw them at some festival she went to and has loved them ever since, and now I do, too. The Oxford, England, band’s spaced-out psychedelic pop is always danceable and hella fun. But I honestly didn’t even realize there were three other members besides frontman Dave Bayley, since the production is so electronic.
Dreamland is largely autobiographical, written by Bayley. He came up with the idea for it after bandmate Joe Seaward was hit by a truck in Dublin while biking, breaking a leg, fracturing his skull and suffering from severe brain damage. “During those weeks in the hospital, it was so difficult to look forwards that I found myself looking backwards. Digging around in my mind, pulling up old memories, finding comfort in them even if they were uncomfortable in themselves,” Bayley wrote on the band’s Instagram account of the album. “Speaking to friends and family, I’ve realised that a lot of people are experiencing a similar sort of confusion now. We can’t be out creating new memories, so… we’re diving back head-first into the old ones.”
Side note: “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” was inspired by a childhood friend of Bayley’s who was caught planning a school shooting.
- “Tangerine” — When you have loved and known someone for a long time, but you see them changing into someone almost unrecognizable. “Hands, knees, please, tangerine, come on back to me”
- “Your Love (Deja Vu)” — “Your Love (Déjà Vu),” described by Dave Bayley as a “conflicted booty-call anthem,” is about toxic relationships that you know are bad for you but can’t seem to cut off. And buddy, I know about that. “Everyone who sees you falls in love / You eat us up / You live like you’re on camera / You slide on top / A moon to all the juice in us”
- “Heat Waves” — It’s about realizing you can’t make everyone happy. “I just wonder what you’re dreamin’ of when you sleep and smile so comfortable / I just wish that I could give you that / That look that’s perfectly un-sad”
Release Date: June 18, 2020
Why I Like It: Phantom Planet got famous for two reasons: their theme song for The O.C., “California,” and actor Jason Schwartzman being their drummer. But Jason isn’t in the band anymore, and they hadn’t put out any new music for 12 years. I had never really been a fan, so I was prepared for another album that I’d skip over. But I was immediately HOOKED and couldn’t stop listening.
This album is full of fun pop rock that also has thoughtful lyrics, which is really my thing. It’s fun with a purpose, you might say. The band released the record a day early in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement as to not take focus from Juneteenth, the June 19th holiday that marks the official end of slavery in America. That could be considered a bit of theater, but they are also matching up to $10,000 in donations through their website to Color of Change, a non-profit dedicated to pushing for policing reforms.
- “Only One” — The groovy intro is everything and keeps up through a song about longing. “Loneliness can kill ya in some ways you’d never guess / There I was driving down some memory, racing towards an end out west”
- “Time Moves On” — A bittersweet song about moving on through life, something we can all use a little help with once in a while. “As time moves on / It’s gonna change before too long / And the doors will keep revolving with everyone who’s come and gone”
- “Leave A Little Light On” — I like how they layer vocals on this uplifting tune that reminds me a bit of the Beach Boys. “But when things get black, black / I’ll leave a little light on”
Release Date: June 26, 2020
Why I Like It: This pop punk quartet (Emma Cleveland, David Combs, Katie Park and Daoud Tyler-Ameen) has only been making music together for 5 years out of Washington D.C., but they really mesh well and their talent is highly underrated. I have been reading everything I can about them to find out more about the band members, and of course I squeed when I found out Katie is queer because I love my people. A few weeks ago, SPIN named them #46 on their list of “50 Best Rock Bands Right Now.” I would put them even higher. When they start playing again, I’m there.
The band said on its Facebook page that “It’s a record fired in the anxiety and exhaustion of our historical moment: 12 very personal and political songs about surviving in a perpetual state of crisis.” But the whole dang recording makes me feel like I’m at a house party, and I love it. Their first single, “Party With the Kids Who Want to Party With You,” is a total bop, and so is their video for it below. Untenable is their second full-length album.
- “Local Radio” — A biting opener about the life of those of us just trying to survive late-stage capitalism. “Tell me who bites the hand when the hand feeds you / Who bites the hand? I guess you got to believe / You got to open your eyes to all the ways that they bleed you while they’re buying your life up in cheap little pieces”
- “Same Bad Friends” — This tune reminded me of how Sleater Kinney sounds, who I also love. “Frigid fingers fumble in airtight pockets, worn from wondering / You had time to turn out precious, now you have less / It seems you’re just reckless”
- “End of Time” — The album goes out with a bang on a song that talks about crossword puzzles. “And you’re having a good time / But the clue says, “You alright?” / Maybe this all ends up fine, or maybe it’s the end of time”