Fat White Family serve salad, Orville Peck masks the hate, Dressy Bessy speak the truth, Dub Trio and Troy Sanders fight it out and more in today’s Roundup. I just had breakfast for dinner! I’m crazy like that.
1 They are not fat. They are not really a family. They are definitely white. They are British troublemakers Fat White Family. And they are back with their latest video — for the buzzy electro-shuffle Tastes Good With the Money, from their upcoming album Serfs Up! For some reason, the Roisin Murphy-directed clip recreates the bloodthirsty carnage of Monty Python’s classic sketch Sam Peckinpah’s Salad Days, along with moments from other faves like Expedition to Lake Pahoe. If you have to ask why, you don’t know FWF. But whatever; I always knew my childhood Python obsession would pay off someday. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Talking about the video, Roisin said: The idea of referencing Monty Python partly came out of the somewhat absurd and confusing political landscape that we are now living in Britain, Python seems prescient. The British laughing at themselves, a certain kind glee even in the loss of empire, singing as the ship goes down, well it just seems so…of the moment. There is this deep ambivalence to the establishment that resonates with the Fat Whites’ own irreverent world view.” Anyone for tennis?
2 Who is that masked man? Well, apparently it’s Daniel Pitout, the drummer of Nu Sensae and singer of Eating Out. But the truth behind goth-country crooner Orville Peck isn’t nearly as important — or as interesting — as what the Canadian singer-songwriter has to say on his debut full-length. Withe the album finally arriving Friday, Peck — or whatever you want to call him — unveils what is presumably the last of several preview singles and videos: The sorta-live cowboy-bar video for the slow ’n’ sombre Turn to Hate. Ready to line dance at half-speed? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The video was filmed on a sweaty December evening in East Los Angeles. Peck performs on a broken-down stage, while a group of his friends, Caballeros & eager misfits compete for the cup in a smoke-filled, neon bull riding contest.” Saddle up:
3 A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Just look at Dressy Bessy. After eons away from the studio, the Denver power-pop trio returned to action with the acclaimed 2016 album Kingsized. And now, just a couple of years later, they’re putting the finishing touches on Fast Faster Disaster, their seventh studio set due June 14. Here’s a sneak peek: The video for the sweetly crunchy Stay True. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I think this is our best album yet,” singer-guitarist Tammy Ealom assesses. “There’s an undeniable sense of honesty and freedom to it, lyrically and sonically, and it came with a humbling ease. We pay close attention to current events, including politics, and have been profoundly impacted by the recent climate. There’s nothing like the threat of losing your basic freedoms and realizing the fragility of democracy to open up your eyes and pull you out of your personal bubble. More than ever, we’ve come to appreciate the importance of family, friends and community.” True dat:
4 Dub Trio clearly know how to make great friends — and great tracks. They made that clear last months with the New York outfit previewed their upcoming album The Shape of Dub to Come with the single World of Inconvenience, featuring Melvins frontman Buzz Osborne. Today they’re hammering the point home with another advance cut: The slow, deep and sludgy Fought The Line, featuring vocals from Mastodon’s Troy Sanders. Rick the dinosaur. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I’m always very humbled when someone wants me to be a part of their art,” says Sanders. “Fought The Line references struggle. It comes from a poem that I wrote inspired by a conversation I had with cancer itself. I stared at a face of beautiful soft skin and assured this face, ‘I will take care of you.’ We’re fighting one battle together. I’m right there, if things fall into my hands. The verses were therapy venting my anger. When people are fighting for their lives, it’s very easy to go off the line. If death is reeling you in, then you have to fight and do anything in your power to overcome it. I just wanted to be there to support.” What are friends for?
5 Rising Appalachia are from New Orleans, according to the Interwebs. Thankfully, that has never prevented sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith from unspooling authentically rustic Americana and mountain music — as the video for the raw acoustic version of the traditional song Cuckoo makes abundantly clear. Get more where that came from when their album Leylines comes out May 3. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Leylines, the band’s seventh studio album, was produced by Joe Henry—the title alluding to the concept of invisible lines believed to stretch around the world between sacred spaces, bonded by a spiritual and magnetic presence. That deep sense of connection is key to understanding Rising Appalachia as a whole.”
6 Simple is as simple does. Unless you’re talking about Simple Pleasures, the latest offering from idiosyncratic and complex Toronto oddballs The Holy Gasp and their unlikely frontman Benjamin Hackman. Taken from their last album The Love Songs of Oedipus Rex (speaking of complex), it’s an old-school torch ballad cut from the same jazz-blues cloth as standards like I Put a Spell on You. And in this live video from last fall, it’s swellegantly rendered with the aid of a massive orchestra. What could be simpler than that? SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I was looking at the moral responsibility of the mentally ill, how hurt people hurt people, and how our loved ones suffer as a result of our own suffering”, notes The Holy Gasp about the song. The powerful video for Simple Pleasures grasps the viewer and encourages them to consider those ideas for themselves as they watch the haunting performance.” He’s got a plum in his pocket:
7 Fans and followers of Patrick Krief know the singer-guitarist spent some time back in the day with Montreal rockers The Dears. But on Take the Night, the second preview of his forthcoming Dovetale album, he sounds more like another beloved Montreal singer-songwriter: Leonard Cohen. Assuming that the ladies’ man was also capable of delivering a searing, musculare guitar solo to go with his grim verses and gruff, gravelly vocals. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Take The Night is about becoming witness to evil and fighting back instead of allowing it to consume you. Produced mostly from the comforts of my own apartment, I replaced the drum machine that I used on the demos with live drums and spent weeks practicing.” Well played:
8 Well, that was quick. Barely a month after releasing their EP Let’s Try The After Vol. 1, Broken Social Scene have announced the release of the second part — fittingly and logically titled Let’s Try The After Vol. 2. You’ll find it at your favourite music spot on April 12. And you’ll find the first single — the punchy, grandly swelling heartland-fuelled pop-rocker Can’t Find My Heart — below. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “The theme is to continue,” says BSS co-founder Kevin Drew. “Sickness, suicide, uprise, love, death, betrayal, hurt, joy, sex, communication, battles and divisions … Let’s just get to their after and start building again. How do we do it within the isolation of self prescribe empty popularity? How does the ego revolt? How does the heart win? Can it? Maybe after we will find out.” After you:
9 I have been lucky enough to interview Mavis Staples a couple of times in my life, and I can assure you she is a sweetheart who is easy to talk to. I suspect she’s just as easy to work with, which is why she’s been able to enlist and entice everyone from Prince to Jeff Tweedy to produce her records. For her latest studio disc We Get By (due May 10), she joins forces with singer-guitarist Ben Harper, who certainly seems to be closer to her gospel-blues comfort zone than some others. Hear the first fruits of their partnership on the burnished, laid-back shuffle Change. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “These songs are delivering such a strong message,” Staples said. She looks to the formidable and progressive opening track Change as an example of the strength in the words she is belting. “We truly need to make a change if we want this world to be better.” Catch the spirit:
10 One creative rebirth at a time is apparently not enough for Cate Le Bon. While writing her upcoming solo album Reward on piano in the U.K. Lake District, the singer-songwriter also learned enough carpentry to make tables, stools and chairs from scratch. I’m not sure if any of the latter helped her pen the self-consciously romantic single Daylight Matters, but it probably couldn’t hurt. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “People hear the word ‘reward’ and they think that it’s a positive word” says Le Bon, “and to me it’s quite a sinister word in that it depends on the relationship between the giver and the receiver. I feel like it’s really indicative of the times we’re living in where words are used as slogans, and everything is slowly losing its meaning.” The record, then, signals a scrambling to hold onto meaning; it is a warning against lazy comparisons and face values. It is a sentiment nicely summed up through her woodwork: “Always keep your hand behind the chisel.” Measure twice, cut once:
11 Music is the gift that keeps on giving. Sometimes more than others. Anohni’s song Karma a tune that truly lives up to that sentiment. Written with J. Ralph and Canadian actor and activist Jade Bell — who was left permanently blinded and immobile by a drug overdose in 1997— the shimmeringly beautiful ballad is a fundraiser for Jade’s Kids, a non-profit foundation designed to creatively inspire youth. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: Anonhi reflects, “Jade is so great, and his work reaching out to kids is having a real impact. Living in the world today can be tough. So many more kids as well as adults across the world are addicted to painkillers and pharmaceuticals that can kill us so easily.” It’s time — and $2 — well spent:
12 You can be alone without being lonely. You can be lonely without being alone. But either way, you’ll be comforted by Ghost, the mesmerically soulful single from Montreal singer-songwriter Maybe It’s Madelline. And thanks to her rich and husky pipes, maybe you’ll even catch a glimpse of Amy Winehouse’s presence now and then. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Ghost is an anthem for embracing solitude. The song was initially formed as I felt overwhelmed by loneliness. It’s about emptiness – being surrounded by people but not feeling understood, listened to, or seen. It’s about social anxiety. It’s about feeling unwanted. If you feel anxious or lonesome, I hope that Ghost comforts you. It’s okay to be a lone wolf, but remember you are never alone with your feelings. Life is about making peace with your journey.” That’s the spirit: