All the Rage no. 78, March 30, 2020: Isolation – Shut In

Sixty minutes of the best in left-field pop from Canada, Australia and beyond to get your through your self isolation and social distancing.

This week, a couple of timely self-isolation tunes: a Joy Division cover from YACHT and the eerily timely Shut-In from Nova Scotia’s Beauts. Also! Transcendent punk from Welland’s Dboy, loundness from UZI and Gutter Girls, Ottawa’s Surrender w/ some tasty 80s synthpop, new Pet Shop Boys (fact: the U1 is a party train), Sparks and Donny Benét. Also, Danko Jones takes us up the mountain.

The show:

The setlist:

YACHT
Isolation – Single

Pet Shop Boys
Will-o-the-wisp

Willaris. K
DETACH

Surrender
A Lifetime Away

Australia
Physical!

Tanaya Harper
Evan Keele
triple j Unearthed Embedded Player

Corridor
Topographe

Heart Beach
Elastic

UZI
Competencia

Dboy
Scavengers of Luv

Gutter Girls
The Bullet

Wares
Surrender into Waiting Arms

Sparks
I’m Toast

Donny Benét
Girl of My Dreams

Beauts
Shut In

Danko Jones
Mountain (Live)

All the Rage no. 77, March 22, 2020: Anthropocene Dream

As always, the best in new and indie music from Canada, Australia and beyond. There’s no better way to enjoy your social isolation, right?

On the show: mellow chillness from Kashka and Molly Drag, tasty loudness from Montreal’s Double Date with Death, delicious power pop from NOBRO and Bloods, poppy confections from U.S. Girls and Hello Seahorse!, Heart Beach with a side dish of homesickness, a spiky punk punch from Cable Ties and Rata Negra.

I really need to get something to eat.

The show:

The setlist:

KASHKA
It’s Winter Now

NOBRO
Marianna

Double Date with Death
La princesse de l’au-delà (feat. Laurence Gauthier-Brown)

OPT/out
Holocene

Cable Ties
Sandcastles

Rata Negra
¿Qué Tendrá?

Bloods
U & M E

Spectres
Provincial Wake

U.S. Girls
Overtime (feat. James Baley & Jake Clemons)

Hello Seahorse!
Gratitud

Funeral Lakes
Anthropocene Dream

Victories at Sea
Ice Data Centre

Art d’Ecco
I’ll Never Give You Up

Diamondtown
The Voice

VIM
Waiting

Crystal Eyes
Wishes

Heart Beach
Together

Go Get Mum
Moving Day

Molly Drag
Walking Out

 

All the Rage no. 76, Jan. 19, 2020: The in-between period

The best in left-field pop from Canada, Australia & beyond! This week, some great tuneage to kickstart your new year: Dreamy pop from Melbourne (Flyying Colours, Spiral Perm), Sydney (The S-Bends) & Aukland (Na Noise) Canadian electronic tuneage from Smaller Hearts, Molly Drag & Lié. Alien Nosejob and Psychic Void get punky! Edmonton’s Brunch Club and Hobart’s Quivers deliver some exceptional guitar pop. And so much more!

Your setlist:

Greg Dulli
Pantomimia

Dead Little Penny
Talk Show Goth

Flyying Colours
Goodtimes

The S-Bends
Datsun

Molly Drag
Exist

Ramon Chicharrón
Apretao feat. Boogát

Smaller Hearts
Possible Futures

Salad Boys
This Issue

Heir Traffic
Is it to Clamber, to Climb?

Spiral Perm
No Bones

Alien Nosejob
Television Sets

Hockey Dad
I Missed Out

Psychic Void
Sweet Dreams

No Museums
An Engine Submerged

Brunch Club
Dandelion Dreams

Na Noise
Bad Dreams

Quivers
When it Breaks

All the Rage no. 74: Best tuneage of 2019

It’s the end of the year, which means it’s list time! First up, my 30 favourite left-field pop songs from Australia, Canada and beyond. Enjoy.

30. BBQT
Flinch

Delightfully bouncy guitar pop from Montreal. Not a bad way to kick off at top 30 list.

29. DZ Deathrays
Shred for Summer

A perfectly named song from this Brisebane trio. Definite Jane’s Addiction vibe going on here.

28. Moody Beach
Slave

Sydney sultriness.

27. Miesha & the Spanks
The Girls are OK

In a world of microgenres, it’s nice to know that straight-ahead rock and roll, in this case courtesy of this fine Calgary outfit, is still a glorious thing.

26. Booji Boys
New Repacement

Ditto for punk rock. No-frills, unadorned noisy perfection, straight out of Halifax.

25. The Vovos
Venus

This weird and wonderful tune, from Melbourne’s The Vovos, is the epitome of left-field pop. Probably the most purely delightful song on this entire list

24. Ausmuteants
Forever Cops

Melbourne’s Ausmuteants nail punk’s proud tradition of standing up to unjust authority. “Hands up; we’ll still shoot.” A harrowing glimpse of the nasty side of 2019.

23. Nooky
Blackfellas

A harrowing, desperate cover of a 2009 Steel Warriors song from this Yuri man from New South Wales’ South Coast, who also happens to be one of Australia’s most exciting rappers.

22. IV League
Comedown Sensation

Yet another soaring pop anthem from a Melbourne group that over the course of only a few songs has demonstrated an uncanny knack for soaring pop anthems.

21. Heart Attack Kids
Do What You Do

Two guys from London, Ontario, who know how to bring the noise, with a detonating sound you can hear from space.

20. The Double Happiness
No Place Nundah

A nostalgia-washed homage to a backwater town from this Brisbane band. I kind of love this song.

19. Quivers
You’re Not Always On My Mind

Exhibit A for the theory, which I am starting right now, that Hobart’s Quivers are time travellers from the late 1980s. A mellow tune that has classic Dad Rock written all over it.

18. Tram Cops
California Way

Jittery, wistful lo-fi goodness from a forward-looking Melbourne outfit.

17. Big Mike & Gianni La Bamba
Bad Boys (Single Edit)

Seeing Big Mike & Gianni La Bamba open for Donny Benét (twice!) was one of the highlights of my year in Germany. Big Mike is a hulking, muscled blond dude from Cologne who looks like he’s either just come from or is going to the gym. He raps (in German) about working out and partying – he’s basically a Teutonic Andrew WK. And his music, courtesy of Mr. La Bamba, is a delightful throwback to hard-edged 80s dance music. One highlight of their live show (other than the very fit, shirtless men that seem to comprise 50% of their audience) is a rap that’s done to the tune of the Hall and Oates’ hit “Out of Touch” that kind of sneaks up on you (“Is… is he rapping in German to a Hall and Oates song?”) This song isn’t that one, but as a celebration of Kolsch Bad Boys, it’s almost as awesome (in the 80s sense of the word).

16. Ultra Magnus
Duck

Nice heaviness and great flow from this Toronto rapper. Yes, please!

15. Jackie
New at Drugs

Joyous power-pop from Toronto’s Jackie. I’m pretty sure I’ve never before heard a song about a mom (your mom) trying drugs for the first time. Jackie packs a lifetime of history and a staggering amount empathy into three minutes.

Fuck, what a great pop song.

14. Dead Little Penny
Honeycomb

Curve-y shoegaze from Auckland. Mmmmmmmm…..

13. Hello Seahorse!
Mujer

I’ve been a fan of Hello Seahorse! from the moment I saw them open for The Killers in Mexico City in 2009. Ten years later, they’re still delivering phenomenal tuneage, their secret weapon being Lo Blondo (Denise Gutierrez), who has one of the distinctive voices in all popular music – any language, any genre. Mujer, their latest, continues the winning streak.

12. Gold Fields
Glow

Ballarat heroes return with some dancey goodness that showcases Gold Fields’ growth as a band.

11. The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience (The Lonely Island)
Bikini Babe Workout

Few things brought me more joy in 2019 than The Lonely Island’s 30-minute ode to the Oakland A’s steroid addled heroes. There is no reason why The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience should exist – I’m pretty sure no one was clamouring for a 30-minute set of raps about/by Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire, but the world is a better place for its existence. It’s only a matter of time before The Lonely Island pull and Parker and Stone and stage a Broadway musical, right? Please say yes.

10. Donny Benét
Second Dinner

An 80s disco-style ode to the joys of four square meals a day, this is vintage Benét.

9. Smaller Hearts
Circuitry

The standout song from these Haligonians’ strong second album. Picture a warm Pet Shop Boys, or an optimistic Depeche Mode. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold.

8. Tropical Fuck Storm
The Planet of Straw Men

Angry, righteous, off-kilter and noisy, with the best male-female vocal tradeoffs in the business, Tropical Fuck Storm is the 2019 band we both need and deserve.

7. Pale Lips
You’re A Doll

Another highlight of a year in Germany: Seeing Pale Lips play a small room in Münster in February, at a time when I was pretty much ready to head home but still had months to go. Tight, poppy, 60s-style rock and roll that I could listen to until the sun goes out.

6. Heart Beach
Cliffhanger

Hobart’s (now Footscray) Heart Beach somehow find another gear. Cliffhanger injects an already fully formed sound (deliberate drums backing Yo La Tengo-style dissonance) with an epic level of soulfulness courtesy of Claire McCarthy plaintive vocals. A song made for movies – you know the scene. There’s something special about this band.

5. JuliaWhy?
Starman

Sydney’s (now London, UK) JuliaWhy? take the next step. Muscular dreampop. Their new album is excellent. I can’t wait to see where they go next.

4. Sampa the Great
Final Form

“Young veteran; new classic.” Long may she rule.

3. Sahara Beck
I Haven’t Done a Thing Today
triple j Unearthed Embedded Player

Sahara Beck, the Brisbane artist who’s been recording since she was what, 15? (my goodness), gifts us with a wonderfully upbeat, Killers-esque tune in all the best ways. One of my 2019 go-to mood-lifters.

2. Sunscreen
High Over Love

Pure, joyous guitar pop from a Sydney four-piece. Seriously – just go listen to it. I’m running out of adjectives.

1. Calmly
Pet Tornado

This Perth four-piece (née Childsaint) has finally released their first album (huzzah!), and it doesn’t disappoint. Eight songs of heartbreak, regret, reseignation and resolve, capped by this quietly haunting acoustic tune. Beauty in despair.

All the Rage, no. 67 June 9, 2019: Soft Loud Soft

As always, your biweeklyish 60 minutes of the best in new left-field pop from Canada, Australia and beyond. On the show: Heart Attack Kids, Noughts, Necking and Metz sonically pulverize the house, Jess Ribeiro and Sun Sets West get languid, IV League do the anthem thing, Ali Barter gets real, Kenora and Jade imagine do pop their own ways, and Wordburglar celebrates Ontario’s capital city. Also a 2014 Black Cab superhit, just because it rocks. And so much more.

Your setlist:

Sun Sets West
Soft Touch

Jess Ribeiro
Young Love

Kenora
Living in L.A.

Wordburglar
Torontaun (prod. By Diagnostik 80 w Fresh Kils, cuts by More or Les)

Noughts
The Antithesis

Necking
Big Mouth

METZ
Pure Auto

Heart Attack Kids
Do What You Do

Ali Barter
Ur a Piece of Shit

No Museums
Did You Land Your Mark Upon the Sun?

The Plastic Fangs
Kickback

Big Supermarket
SuperHwy

Atom
Parasite

Jade Imagine
Big Old House

IV Leauge
Comedown Sensation

Brutal Poodle
Crowd Control

Black Cab
Sexy Polezi

Nice Biscuit
Goodbye Luya

All the Rage, no. 66 May 20, 2019: What’s the theme?

As always, your biweekly hit of the best in new left-field pop from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week, though, with a couple of thematically appropriate non-new tunes, one from ATR all-timers Pet Shop Boys and another from Toronto’s Leslie Spit Tree-o. I’ll never understand why these guys weren’t so much huger than they were. They sound as good in 2019 as they did when this song came out, what, almost 30 years ago. #thatcantberight

What’s new? How about some punk energy courtesy of White Dog and Batpiss? And Danko Jones! Pop-wise, Gold Fields and Yothu Yinki and the Treaty Project establish a nice groove. Also in here: BBQT! Fritz! Holiday Sidewinder! Just go listen.

Your setlist:

Gold Fields
Solar

Yothu Yindi & the Treaty Project
Mabo

Pet Shop Boys
In the Night

Gauci
In the Night

Bleached
Hard to Kill

Holiday Sidewinder
Forever/Whatever

Danko Jones
I’m In a Band

MUM
Luka

White Dog
Storm the Streets

Batpiss
Nothing

Eagles of Death Metal
Long Slow Goodbye

Eaglemont
Hound

Fritz
Ghost Poke

BBQT
Flinch

Local Authority
Oil Rigs

Syrup, Go On
Don’t Go (Riding Down the Cosmic Drain)

Leslie Spit Tree-O
One Thought Too Long

All the Rage, no. 64, April 15, 2019: Still biweeklyish, honest!

As (almost) always, your biweekly(ish) hit of the best in new left-field pop from Canada, Australia and beyond. It’s been busy. True biweekly service to resume once I’m back from Australia next month.

This week: I think this mix turned out particularly well. Then again, that’s easy when you Tropical Fuck Storm, The Sex Geckos and Greys providing the noise, Bronswick, Skinnyfish Soundsystem and Errhun providing the beats, and JuliaWhy?, Skydeck, and Rey Pila providing the indie rock cred. And that’s just scraping the surface of this 18-song smorgasbord. Dig in!

Your setlist:

The Sex Geckos
Black Dots

Ausmuteants
Forever Cops

Sauna
Felt

Tropical Fuck Storm
The Planet of Straw Men

Greys
These Things Happen

Errunhrd
Atbp2

Skinnyfish Sound System
Smoking Ceremony (feat. B2M, Birdz & Tasman Keith)
triple j Unearthed Embedded Player

Slumber
Salty

Skydeck
Solid State

Raave Tapes
Stabs
triple j Unearthed Embedded Player

Australia
Get My Shit Together

Rey Pila
Flames

JuliaWhy?
Starman

Bronswick
La dérape

Scary Bear Soundtrack
Investment Plan

Polycool
Polywood

Lorelle Meets the Obsolete
Lineas En Hojas

Hannah Georgas
No Need to Argue (feat. Lucius)

 

All the rage no. 61 – February 14, 2019: Why yes, I do believe I will “bring the noise”

As always, your biweekly hit of the best in new left-field pop from Canada, Australia and beyond. This week we go heavy on the “beyond,” with new tracks from Ladytron, Bob Mould and (be still my heart) Pet Shop Boys. We also go heavy on the noise courtesy on Perspex, Danko Jones, Alien Boys without forgetting the value of straight up pop, from Fatamorgana and so, so many more.

Yer setlist:

Soft Science
Undone

Perspex
Cheap Gossip (demo)

Danko Jones
Burn in Hell
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/XDjZEFje79Y

DZ Deathrays
Shred for Summer

Pale Lips
Show Me Another Way to Your Heart

Fatamorgana
La Altlántida

The Eclipse
When You Say You Want More, I Want Less

Pet Shop Boys
Give Stupidity a Chance
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/P9jEuHbB0GQ

Ladytron
Far From Home
https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/H3TqaBxmevQ

Heart Beach
Better Than This

Bob Mould
I Fought

Alien Boys
Night Danger

Jackie
New at Drugs

Antonia & The Lazy Susans
R U OK?
https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/6167581

Soviet X-Ray Record Club
Weekend

Anemone
Sunshine (Back to the Start)

Monnone Alone
Do it Twice

All the Rage no. 59, December 6, 2019: Batting cleanup on 2018

Your biweekly source of the best left-field indie pop/rock/punk/dance from Canada, Australia and beyond.

This week: Some great tuneage from the back end of 2018, from the cool hiphop of Okenyo and the smooth electropop of Gauci to the compelling drone of Negative Nancies and the joyous guitar pop of faves Pale Lips. And so much more.

Yer setlist:

Okenyo, Hang Your Hat

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/6IyttRCxu3bChKYCUt8kP2

Gauci, Paradise

Rackett, I Please Myself

Sweater Curse, Mon’s Song
https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/6613086

Slag Queens, Waterfall

Negative Nancies, The Dogs

Bloods, No Fun (feat. Girls Rock!)
https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/3VOjrUNhPVDtiyYw4EP1MT

Pale Lips, You’re A Doll

RAT!Hammock, June

Little Desert, Happy

Blessed, Thought

Hexdebt, Covenant

WLMRT, Dark Dollars

Milk Buttons, Some Impression

Sarsaparilla, Postcard
https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/7477881

Charlie Collins, Mexico
https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/7612901

Contrast, Black Hole
https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2951354323/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=4247329356/transparent=true/

Julia Jacklin, Head Alone
https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=171742989/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/license_id=407/tracklist=false/artwork=small/track=308383436/transparent=true/

All the Rage no. 58, December 12, 2018: My favourite songs of 2018

In which I look back at my favourite left-field pop songs of 2018, from Canada, Australia and beyond. So many excellent songs, so many excellent bands came our way in 2018 that this list only scrapes the surface. Let’s get to it! Your setlist and song-by-song reviews below.

 

  1. Rebel Yell, Stains (feat. Gussy)

So many great songs passed over the All the Rage airwaves in 2018 that it was incredibly difficult to choose the cut-off song, as it were: my “Rest of 2018” list is 33 songs long. That said, isn’t this a great piece of menacing electronic tuneage? I think my first exposure to Rebel Yell, a.k.a. Brisbane’s Grace Stevenson, was via a remix of a Lovely Head song. So when Hired Muscle, her debut album arrived last June, I was definitely on board. All in all, not a bad way to begin the countdown.

  1. Smaller Hearts, Chipper

Pet Shop Boys meets Stereolab, with hints of Depeche Mode? Yes, please. “Chipper,” and their whole album, hint at greatness to come from these Nova Scotians.

  1. Würst Nürse, Hot Doctor

I like to think my musical tastes are pretty eclectic, but if there’s anything that I’ve learned in putting together this show and podcast for the past three-plus years it’s that I definitely have a type, or a few types. And one type is definitely loud, aggressive, melodic punk with a social conscience and a sense of humor. Which is to say that I’ve got all of the time in the world for “the world’s first and best nurse punk band.” Being serious is easy; writing a straight-up Rawk song about sexism that includes the line, “I want your hot beef injection,” is something else. And that something else is Satirical Feminist Transcendent Rock Awesomeness.

  1. IV League, Superstar

Pure, anthemic pop. A glittering fight song.

  1. Civic, New Vietnam

Punk as fuck.

  1. Haolin Munk, Deep Space Float (feat. Lee Reed)

Chill as all get-out. And from just down the road in Hamilton. And it’s part of an odd concept album about aliens and space or some such. Check it out.

  1. Savour the Rations, Thank the Lord (feat. Domba, Kwame, Raj Mahal & Gibrillah)

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/5738271

Hard, heavy, profane Australian hip hop. Um, yes, I’m in.

  1. Choses Sauvages, Ariane

Mellow Québécois pop. I’ve already used the word “chill” to describe another song on this list, but it definitely applies here, and I’m too lazy to check a thesaurus.

  1. Donny Benét, Love Online

Finally seeing Donny Benét live (in Paris, no less. On a boat, no less) was a personal highlight of 2018. (I have no doubt that his January concert in Cologne will feature similarly in my 2019.) So was the release of his latest album, The Don. 80s-style synth-based pop combined with sexy-adjacent lyrics is his stock in trade. Think Chromeo-style come-ons delivered by someone posing as a gone-to-seed Lothario who, despite outward appearances, still has It. His secret is that the music is tight and his lyrics are clever without ever descending into parody. Being serious and sincere is easy, being funny and clever is difficult. Anyway, yeah, “Love Online” is a great song, but I could’ve picked any song from The Don. Treat yourself. Check him out. You deserve it.

  1. Flowertruck, Come Across

But just because it’s easier to be sincere than funny and clever doesn’t mean there’s no place for sincerity in my favourite songs, “Come Across” being a prime example. It leans heavy on the melancholy and angst and hits those feels like a pro, ably assisted by a chorus that’s been lodged in my mind for months.

  1. Speedy Ortiz, Lucky 88

See above re emotional heft, which Speedy Ortiz has become expert at delivering. They’re fast becoming one of the United States’ most dependable and exciting rock bands.

  1. Paupière, Défunte Lune de Miel

And now for some bouncy Québécois pop. Still disappointed that I missed them when they came through Toronto earlier this year.

  1. Babygirl, Over in No Time

Sad, beautiful dreampop from Toronto. Wonderful delicateness.

  1. Tram Cops, stolen land

A moody and haunting track out of Melbourne. Yeah. It sticks with you.

  1. Constant Mongrel, 600 Pounds

Heavy, in tone and content. A song from the soundtrack of a world in a bad spot and spiralling.

  1. Orlando Furious, Rage

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/arD_5YGJdQ0?rel=0

Stream of consciousness unlike anything else I heard this year. Discordant, dissonant, unsettling. 

  1. Tim & the Boys, Hey

Driving, straight-ahead rock and roll with a nice aggressive edge…. Geez. I feel like I’m trying to write about wine. You can use words like “mouthfeel” all you want, but it basically comes down to, do you like it? Yeah, I like this song. I like it a lot. It’s my 14th-favourite song of the year. It rocks. It annoyed me to no end that I couldn’t buy these Sydneysiders’ album in Canada until months after it was released Down Under.

  1. Confidence Man, Don’t You Know I’m In a Band

In 2018, Confidence Man followed up on a couple of ridiculously enjoyable singles with a ridiculously enjoyable debut album. Case in point, this tongue-in-cheek assertion of pop star entitlement that is itself a near-perfect pop song. I want Confidence Man to be around forever, please.

  1. BBQT, High Wasted

Charming, off-kilter indie pop from Montreal. One of my two go-to summer songs on this list.

  1. Muncie Girls, Picture of Health

So, Muncie Girls is one of only three non-Canadian or -Australian bands that made my top 30, which should give you a good idea of how much I like this song. “Picture of Health” is pop-punk done right, and I’m particularly taken with their stuttered repetition of words in the song’s earwormy chorus. I’ve never heard that done before, and it Sounds. So. Cool.

  1. Little Ugly Girls, Tractor

Australian (from Hobart) riot grrrl band with tracks preserved in amber since the 1990s and whose album was only released this year. “Tractor” roars.

  1. Chromeo, Room Service

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/B-_xw6lf9T8?rel=0

We’re all running low on energy. Chromeo makes the case against going out, and for staying in and getting down. I’m convinced.

  1. JuliaWhy?, Pocket

More proof that the future of rock and roll is female.

  1. Metric, Now or Never Now

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/4Eh6mc993AIHTEpj3LFIlp

The live version of this song was a standout when I saw Metric in Utrecht in November, leading me to revisit it on the album. Verdict: It’s among Metric’s best.

  1. Petra Glynt, Surveillance

Probably the most epic tune on this list, “Surveillance” is an uncompromising and abrasive piece of artpop that had me thinking of U.S. Girls or an unvarnished Grimes. Bonus points for making a danceable song about living in a surveillance society.

  1. Sunscreen, Tide

My choice for 2018 summer song. A gentle pop tune that nails that end-of-summer feeling. 

  1. Phantastic Ferniture, Fuckin ‘n’ Rollin

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/00F5GpqtjDr750q3M2Bkfm

Reminds me of Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phonenix in that all of the guitar pop songs on this Sydney band’s debut album sound timeless, like they always existed. Perfection.

  1. Sahara Beck, Here We Go Again

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5s2JcXMkuhkEF8MYeWFrW1

I’ve been a fan of Sahara Beck since coming across her song “Brother Sister” on triplejunearthed.com. After a 2016 debut album on which she seemed to be trying to do everything at once, Beck comes through in 2018 with the superb “Here We Go Again,” a song built on the same emotional depth that characterized her previous work. I’m very excited to see where she goes next.

  1. Superchunk, Reagan Youth

Who would’ve thought that a 30-year-old band would deliver the year’s most insightful take on how everything went wrong in the United States. A song that is as musically vital as it is emotionally necessary.

  1. U.S. Girls, Incidental Boogie

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5DZBl18zByeRXwRotKcVvF

From the first time I heard U.S. Girls’ “Incidental Boogie” in 2015 (on the Free Advice Column EP), it was clear that Meg Remy was someone to watch. Fast forward three years later, and U.S. Girls’ latest album, In A Poem Unlimited, is deservedly topping best-of lists. The whole album is great: rage at social injustices mediated by elaborate, sultry (and sometimes menacing) pop arrangements. In writing and performing a pop album of great substance, Remy (working with myriad conspirators) is performing at pop’s highest difficulty setting and succeeding brilliantly. Easily the best album, with the best songs, of the year. And the re-recorded “Incidental Boogie” is just harrowing in its bleakness.

So there you go. See you in 2019!