Tunes You Should Have Known: How To Dress Well, Antonio Paul, Tiny Victories, Wolfrider, and Conner Youngblood
For 3 years, I learned how to put words together by writing Brightest Young Things’ weekly ‘Tunes You Should F*cking Know’ column. Most of it is hot garbage, as I was writing about 1,500 words a week (for free) while working a real 9-5, but there are a few diamonds in the rough. More importantly, there are more than a few bands that I wrote about over that time which deserve the old publicity shot in the arm. Consider this column that needle.
“Every great work of art has two faces, one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity.” – Lester Bangs
Usually I’ll be grouping these babies into themes like “Bands that broke up too soon” or “Bands who songs don’t have words” or something super fun and creative, but for this inaugural episode, I figured it was worth bringing it back to where it all began. Here’s my first column entry ever for BYT, in all its run-on glory…
How To Dress Well – “Ocean Floor Everything”
A few weeks ago, there was an unofficial moment where Frank Ocean took over the world, signifying a decisive change in the direction of contemporary R&B, and while it seems like this heavily-etherial, meticulously-complex-while-simple-sounding new breed of R&B has come out of nowhere, it’s good to note that a fair amount of these neo-crooners have been layering their falsettos for quite a while now.
This is especially true for Brooklyn’s Tom Krell, aka How To Dress Well. His Love Remains LP received the prestigious Best New Music award from Pitchfork back in 2010, but only recently has he seen real traction. “Ocean Floor Everything”, a standout from his forthcoming LP, Total Loss, could easily have been the result of The Weeknd and Xiu Xiu taking too many muscle relaxers, but it still floats along well enough to make you want to hit the replay button when you realize it’s over. He’ll be at the Rock and Roll Hotel on October 11th, so make sure to grab your tickets for that one.
Antonio Paul – “City Dreams”
The surf-pop sound that these 21-year-old Western Australian’s kick out is earnest, enjoyable, and incredibly infectious. They describe their music as “an outlet of fun, good times,” and I don’t know if I can say it better myself.
While it’s apparent they found their parents’ copy of Pet Sounds (while also making sure to add all the standard synth-pop trimmings and trappings), I can’t help but hear the honest enthusiasm that is prevalent on any Cap’n Jazz or Jets to Brazil album. The occasional group-vocal insertions, octave-guitar riffs, or bouncy piano breakdowns make it hard to not smile along with these young kids out of Bunbury, but as they say in this adorable video, “This is just fun. This is just happy music; and is that really a bad thing to make people happy?”
Tiny Victories – “Get Lost”
I fully admit to a bias when it comes to this band. After they stole my Hype-Machined heart(s) with their songs “Mr. Bones” and “Lost Weekend”, I caught them live at my first ever visit to the infamous Paperhaus.
There is nothing quite like seeing this band (which consists of just Greg Walters and Cason Kelly) create a cacophony of melody with the keyboards, synths, and other electronics at their disposal. They even sampled random crowd noises and shout-outs midset, looping them into the seemingly never-ending bombardment of catchy pop riffs they have in their arsenal. They brought their hypnotically-enticing energy to one of All Things Go’s New Noise events at the Gibson Showroom in June, and I have been keeping my fingers crossed that they make their way back down from NYC again soon.
Wolfrider – “For You (Traveling Bags)”
Hey, do you like whistling but hate Flo Rida? Well, luckily, there is Wolfrider, the latest “they only have one song but it’s really good” band out of California. They’ve even thrown in some handclaps for those of us that have a hard time actually whistling (I promise I’ve tried to learn, but it’s hopeless). The bass drum and toms help carry this anthemic jam across the fringes of few different genres in a mere 3 minutes and 59 seconds, but it will be the simple “FOR YOU!” hook that keeps this song stuck in your head for days.
Conner Youngblood – “Monsters”
I know only a few things about Conner Youngblood: His Twitter account says that he is based out of the diametrically-opposed locales of New Haven and Dallas, he played two small showcases at SXSW, and every song he has put out this year has been better than the one before it. His first EP, Sketches Pt.1, is available for free on his Facebook page, along with two more-recent singles, “Gold” and “Warpath”.
While it’s hard to put a definitive label on his sound, as each song of his is impressively diverse in sound and scope, “Monsters” mixes a back-talker, a faux-celtic folk guitar riff, hauntingly whispered vocals, and a grimey dub bass riff to perfection. And in all honesty, do you really need to know anything more than that?
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