“This Must Be The Place,” Sure Sure: By now, every indie band and their mother has covered The Talking Heads. While Iron & Wine’s take on “This Must Be The Place” still ranks high on my list of premium covers, I recently discovered a worthy contender in that of fresh-faced L.A. outfit Sure Sure. Mostly staying true to the original, the band props the melody against an even funkier groove using breezy riffs and keys to update the classic jam. Even though the band hasn’t released a full LP yet — it’s mainly produced singles over the last two years — I strongly advise that you do yourself a favor and not sleep on Sure Sure, especially if you’re looking for something to bump on your last trip to the beach.
“Can’t Get It Out,” Brand New: As a reformed emo kid from Long Island, I would be remiss if I didn’t include this song (or this band) on this week’s playlist. With the surprise release of their (alleged) final album, Science Fiction, Long Island quartet Brand New dims the lights on an 18-year career with a promise to its devout fanbase: The music, however dark, has always meant to comfort and heal. In particular, on the album’s second track, which can only be described as a true rafter-shaker, frontman Jesse Lacey taps into his crippling sense of self-awareness when he tears into its apex in the final chorus: “I’m just a manic depressive / toting around my own crown / I’ve got a positive message / sometimes I can’t get it out.” As it closes the book on nearly two decades of music, Brand New offers some closure for its following and genuinely expresses hope that it impacted its fans in a positive way despite its perceived air of bitterness.
“I Dare You,” The xx: If you’ve ever listened to The xx — the British indie pop trio that emerged in the late 2000s — you could (lazily) contend they sound like descendants of The Cure, using more ambient guitars and drums. However, on their latest album, I See You, the group turns up the beat to invoke more of an R&B sexiness that will get people moving, especially on its second single. It’s an ideal track to blast out of your car windows while racing down the highway to ward off the end-of-summer scaries. (Plus, the video features teen powerhouse Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things. What other proof do you need?)
“Run For Cover,” The Killers: Last week, The Killers released an official video for the third single off their forthcoming album, Wonderful Wonderful, highkey projecting the gloomy Pacific Northwest essence of Twilight onto a glorified Calvin Klein ad. (Granted, the slow motion effects at 2:41 are pretty rad, to say the least.)
The song itself harks back to the band’s early days (circa Hot Fuss) with an uptempo drumbeat and driving power chords. At the same time, the glitz-pop veterans appear to invoke even more of a new wave style through their expert use of guitar distortion (New Order, anyone?). For this record, lead vocalist and lyricist Brandon Flowers has delved into more personal territory by way of introspection, all while channeling the American zeitgeist: “He got a big smile, he’s fake news / Just run for cover, you’ve got nothing left to lose.” Overall, we get a refreshing look into The Killers’ return to the studio and it doesn’t seem like it will disappoint.
“New York,” St. Vincent: Gearing up for the release of her next album, St. Vincent (aka Annie Clark) has started to sprinkle unreleased songs into her live shows while on the road. The only recorded track we have from the Texan singer-songwriter so far is this pseudo-ballad, which she worked on with Bleachers frontman and record producer Jack Antonoff. (In case you didn’t know, Antonoff has been credited for most of this summer’s biggest hits — okay, except one.) In the song, Clark laments the end of a relationship relative to their shared Manhattan home, namechecking the hippest spots over tender strings and a lone piano (New York isn’t New York / without you, love / too few of our old crew / left on Astor”). So, if you’ve ever fallen in love in New York — and, I mean, who hasn’t? — then you should definitely give this song a listen.
You can check out all of the tracks on this week’s playlist on Spotify here.
Featured image courtesy of YouTube.