I understand there are a lot of people out there who love Phoenix (the band, not the city…but there are plenty who love that as well). I could count myself among the ranks of Phoenix fans, but that’s become increasingly more difficult for me to deal with through their meteoric rise in popularity. Here’s the thing: I’ve been listening to them since their 2004 album Alphabetical, when I couldn’t understand why they weren’t one of the biggest bands in the world. Even their 2006 record It’s Never Been Like That continued that trend of positively amazing, addictive synth pop songs worthy of being played ad nauseam at radio stations everywhere. I’m pleased to say during my time working in the programming department of a radio station I added the Phoenix songs “Everything Is Everything” and “Long Distance Call” to the playlist and people loved them. Then Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix arrived in 2009, and it was like a switch had been flipped. Suddenly they were everywhere, and their songs “1901” and “Lisztomania” were on every radio station on repeat and as background music for commercials and TV shows. This band I always thought deserved to be huge, became huge. It got to the point where in 2010 they actually headlined one night of Lollapalooza. To me it was sort of a WTF choice, because most everyone was only familiar with the 2 singles and nothing more. How that qualifies any band to headline one of the biggest music festivals in North America, I’ll never know. And somehow that continues even today, as Phoenix is set to headline Coachella this year. Of course they do have a new album out on April 23rd called Bankrupt!. The first single “Entertainment” came out a few weeks back, and while it’s a familiar slice of Phoenix pop, it doesn’t quite hit me as hard as their past singles have. Is my hearing damaged due to some invisible prejudice I might have against little indie bands that go massively mainstream, or have I been listening to this band for long enough that they’re starting to sound a little stale? I mean, if you’ve only listened to their last album and didn’t obsess over their back catalogue for years, does the new material make you more predisposed to like it compared to my extensive history with this band? It’s a good question to ask. I’ve not heard more than the single song from the new album yet, but early word is the full tamale is as good as their previous stuff. So I’m holding off a greater judgment for later. We’ll find out next month. Until then, let’s do today’s Pick Your Poison. Let me recommend tracks from Circle, Fat Tony, Joaquin, LVL UP, Tremor Low and Web of Sunsets. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream tracks from Azealia Banks, Best Coast (covering Roy Orbison), Cold War Kids (covering Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), The Twilight Sad and Four Tet’s remix of the new Justin Timberlake single.
Web of Sunsets – Fool’s Melodies
Azealia Banks – Yung Rapunxel
Best Coast – Crying (Roy Orbison cover)
Boys Noize – Ich R U (Justice Remix)
Cold War Kids – Opium Tea (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds cover)
Justin Timberlake – Suit & Tie (Four Tet Remix)
The Twilight Sad – Tell Me When We’re Having Fun