Happy Memorial Day! You may have the day off of work, but that doesn’t mean the music stops. In fact, you may want to turn it up with a fresh set of downloads including tracks from Beta Days, Big Fresh (ft. Robert Schneider), Cool American and The Solars. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Adam Pearce & Miles Away, Coast Modern, Crumb, Dasher, Death Grips, Desert, Downtown Boys, Felix Hagan & The Family, Katie Ellen, Marnik & Miami Blue (ft. Marano), Swet Shop Boys and more!
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Tuned In is a feature in which special guests from the world of pop culture share a playlist of songs based on a topic or theme of their choice.
Jena Friedman is the definition of a multi-hyphenate. She’s been a field producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and a correspondent for National Geographic Explorer. She’s written for The Late Show with David Letterman, and is currently hard at work on her first film Serial Dater, starring Imogen Poots and John Cho. She wrote and is directing that one. So yeah, you could say that she’s got a lot of talents, and has been putting them all to good use. It’s left her plate very full, yet you might not know it because she’s not in front of the camera that often.
On a personal level, I found out about Jena Friedman a few years back via her stand-up comedy. She is tremendously funny and possesses that rare quality of being able to make you laugh about some of the darkest and most challenging topics facing our world today. Her recent, pre-election stand-up special American Cunt dives headfirst into politics, feminism, abortion, guns and religion without losing sight of our shared humanity no matter what your personal opinions might be.
After getting her start in comedy here in Chicago more than a decade ago, Jena Friedman is coming back to town next Friday, June 2nd for a set at her old stomping grounds, The Hideout. It is part of the Onion/A.V. Club’s 4th Annual “26th Annual Comedy Festival,” and promises to be a hilarious late night of stand-up with plenty of whip-smart insight about the pitch black turn our world has taken in recent months.
Friday, June 2nd at The Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia Ave.)
10:30 PM / $15 / 21+
Memorial Day weekend is dead ahead, and Pick Your Poison is here to supply a fresh batch of tunes to keep your BBQ going strong. There’s something utterly compelling about Children of Pop’s new song “Poids” that defies easy explanation. It skitters and scrapes along at an almost minimalist level with vocals that barely rise above exhaustion, yet you don’t really want to turn it off or ignore it. DAWN continues her streak of spectacular R&B with an emotional yet soaring unreleased track. Chicago’s own Pink Frost return after a short break, and it’s clear things have changed in a big way for them, particularly since the light, semi-psychedelic acoustic guitar strums and piano combination is a far cry from the intense, loud and not-very-radio-friendly noise rock/drones of their earlier work. I mean, they had softened up a bit on their last album in 2013, but this is almost completely defanged. But it’s still pretty great, and I’ll happily recommend that you give it a shot. Other tracks in this set come from ALASKALASKA, Allure, Braqueberry, David Nance, DonMonique, Elysia Crampton, French Horn Rebellion, SAM F (ft. JVZEL) and Wafia.
Children of Pop – Poids
DAWN – Break Me
Pink Frost – Avian
There’s something about “If Before I Wake,” the new song from The Districts, that feels like a gritty mixture of Interpol and Joy Division. Granted the vocals are largely responsible for that comparison, but there’s also some gripping aesthetics at play as it charges forward, like a man walking against high winds during a storm. Much more mellow and heartfelt is the slowed down, acoustic version that Maggie Rogers put together for her hit single “Alaska”. It makes a good case for the original version, which is not to say this acoustic one is bad, just so different that you understand better why the final record version earned her so many fans. If you prefer dreamy songs with a heavy synth component, I’ll also recommend the gorgeous new one from Sleep Party People. Other artists in this set include Amine (ft. Missy Elliott & AJ Tracey), Love Theme, Madou, Marnie, T-Pain & Lil Wayne, Xan Griffin (ft. WILD) and a whole bunch of remixes.
The Districts – If Before I Wake
Maggie Rogers – Alaska (Acoustic)
Sleep Party People – The Sun Will Open Its Core
In terms of disco revival sounds, Luxxury do a remarkably good job of blending those classic flourishes with modern era influences to create something unique and fun and addictive on their latest single “I Need You”. After scoring a moderate radio hit earlier this year with the gospel-tinged acoustic ballad “Shine”, Mondo Cozmo keeps soaring with a sky-high anthem that burns bright with positivity. Then to balance it out, STRFKR create an emotional black hole on the appropriately titled mellotron ballad “Downer”. They can’t all be upbeat party songs. There’s plenty of other great stuff in this set too, from artists such as Baba Stiltz, The Floozies (ft. Ryan Zoidis), Jay Prince, Nina Las Vegas, Sofi de la Torre, Two Inch Astronaut, USA/Mexico, VACAY and Zola Blood.
Luxxury – I Need You
Mondo Cozmo – Automatic
STRFKR – Downer
It’s Monday, so let’s skip the small talk and jump right into the new music. You’ll want to check out downloads in this set from Flying Lotus (x2!), Jet Trash, Stay Away and W I N C H E S T E R. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream tracks from Andy Stott, Art School Jocks, Au.Ra, Beach Fossils (x2!), DWNTWN, Liana Bank$ (ft. Ayo Jay), Lil Yachty (ft. Evander Griiim), Mikey Young, Naomi Punk, Needles//Pins and more!
Pretty much once a week, there’s an edition of Pick Your Poison that really hits it out of the park. I mean, every one is great in some form or another, but ten great songs is still better than eight great songs, y’know? Anyways, I can’t think of a better way to head into the weekend than with this collection of tracks. Briana Marela has a new record out this August titled Call It Love, and you won’t be able to “Quit” the ethereal and catchy first single below. There’s a great playfulness that oozes out of Dent May’s “Across the Multiverse” as it blends the sounds of ’70s MOR pop with squiggly synths for a very Of Montreal-meets-The Clientele sort of feel. Throw in some guest vocals from Frankie Cosmos and it’s an early summer delight. Fans of Broken Social Scene’s early, mostly instrumental recordings (think Feel Good Lost) will find a wonderful kinship with Public Service Broadcasting’s latest, which surges and sparkles with horns and glockenspiels. I don’t know about you, but I can’t ever recall Rivers Cuomo lending his vocals to any sort of electronic or dance track. Of course I’m not keeping that close of an eye on Rivers’ activities outside of Weezer, so maybe I’m wrong. But his collaboration with RAC actually works better than you might expect. Then again, given Weezer’s recent trend skewing even more pop than usual, this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Still worth a listen though, as are tracks in this set from Hayden Calnin, Holmsey, Jackal (ft. Josh Congress), The Kickback, Mutoid Man, Oumou Sangaré, Travis Scott and Young Thug.
Briana Marela – Quit
Dent May – Across the Multiverse (ft. Frankie Cosmos)
Public Service Broadcasting – They Gave Me A Lamp
RAC – I Still Wanna Know (ft. Rivers Cuomo)
I’m not a huge fan of describing any music as angsty, primarily because it has come to denote a certain style of music that doesn’t always have positive connotations associated with it. Yet Great Grandpa’s latest track “Fade” kind of perfectly fits the angst label without succumbing to a lot of the red flags that might otherwise come to mind. It’s also a fantastic vocal showcase for Alex Menne, so give it a shot! If you’re in the mood for something a little funkier and more soulful, Kwaye has you covered with his new single “Little Ones”. You may be pleased to learn that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are putting out a new record this July. The first single from it is called “Anymore,” and it’s pretty much right on target with their throwback dream pop style, complete with fuzzed out guitars and keyboards. There’s a certain appreciation I have for slightly off-kilter, genuinely odd pop songs. The hooks might not grab you immediately and the obtuse melodies may make you want to shut it off initially, but sticking with it brings rewardds. Plus, who doesn’t like the excitement of not knowing where a song will go next? Palm tends to do a solid job in making that sort of music, and their latest “Shadow Expert” is a strange delight you need to hear. It’ll grow on you, I promise. Other tracks in this set come from Abhi//Dijon, Carneyval (ft. Hudson Thames), Doldrums, Jaymes Young, Steve Aoki’s remix of Mangchi, Mothica, No Vacation and Stillwave.
Great Grandpa – Fade
Kwaye – Little Ones
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Anymore
Palm – Shadow Expert
In terms of fun dance tracks, Coucheron’s latest “High by the Riverside” is probably the best you’ll hear today. It definitely has enough pop sensibility to be a hit, the question is will it get enough attention to make that happen. There’s also something smooth, sexy and fun about JMR’s new track, which is a brighter and more buoyant R&B than you might be accustomed to. Fans of Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten and Mitski will find plenty to love in the new Miya Folick song, as it really showcases her vocal versatility and killer guitar work. I’m also really enjoying the joyful synth pop of Slow Magic’s “Mind,” which gets an extra assist from Kate Boy. Other artists featured in this set include Bobby Saint, Chronixx, Gang of Youths, HIRA, Isaac Lee, Jarami, The Steoples and more!
Coucheron – High by the Riverside (ft. ARY)
JMR – Bound
Miya Folick – Trouble Adjusting
Slow Magic – Mind (ft. Kate Boy)
It’s a sunny Monday in Chicago with temperatures in the 80s, so I’ve got no complaints. Throw in a bunch of new music, and that’s a recipe for greatness. Don’t miss downloads in this set from Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, KPT, Little Reader and Weatherboy. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream tracks from Bjorn Torske & Prins Thomas, Bryson Tiller (ft. Young Thug), Cende, CUZ Lightyear, Danny Brown, Deadboy, Maribor, Michael Nau, Now Now, Paperwhite and Physical Therapy.
There’s a very waltz-like quality to Hazel English’s new synth pop single “That Thing,” a song that also manages to worm its way into your head and stay there for awhile. David Bazan’s (Pedro the Lion) new band Lo Tom have finally released their first track, a pretty standard-sounding rock song. That’s not intended to be a bad thing, just a descriptor so you’ll know what to expect before hitting play. Fans of bratty and visceral punk should definitely give the new Single Mothers song a try, in all of its exhilarating glory. Then to mix it up, there’s a new Swet Shop Boys track for your enjoyment, which is the hip hop duo of Heems and actor Riz Ahmed. Other artists in this set include Ahadadream, D.Dan, Kent Jones, Little Simz, Lod, oddCouple, Teflon Tel Aviv and more!
Hazel English – That Thing
Lo Tom – Overboard
Single Mothers – Long Distance
Swet Shop Boys – Thas My Girl
Chastity Belt skirt the line between dream pop and shoegaze with the latest teaser track from their forthcoming new album. The intensity giving way to pure noise and chaos is invigorating in the best way. Legendary avant-garde band The Monks have been gone for decades now, but somehow Jack White’s Third Man Records uncovered a few unreleased tracks and are planning to put them out this June. You can hear one of those below. Remember the TV show How I Met Your Mother? The lead character in that, Ted Mosby, was played by Josh Radnor. In addition to being an actor and sometimes screenwriter/director, it appears he’s now ventured into music by teaming up with his friend, musician Ben Lee. Together they are Radnor & Lee, and you can hear their first single below. I’d also like to mention the new See Through Dresses track below, which is gorgeous in all of its hazy, guitar-strewn glory. Other artists with songs in this set include Death Cab for Cutie’s Dave Depper (ft. Laura Gibson), Die Antwoord, Goodwood Atoms, Lost Balloons, Meek Mill (ft. A$AP Ferg), Michael Mayer, Mielo (ft. Danel) and Vera.
Chastity Belt – 5am
The Monks – I’m Watching You
Radnor & Lee – Be Like The Being
See Through Dresses – Pretty Police
Really great collection of songs to stream today, spread across a wide variety of genres. Of course, that’s kind of the point behind Pick Your Poison in the first place. There’s a new record from Big Thief on the way soon, and the latest track from it keeps up the band’s streak of pairing the beautiful with the melancholy. You could say something very similar about “De-pression,” the new single from Jesse aka Jesse Jenkins, the bassist for Pure X. The way the beats, keyboards and bass guitar interact with one another makes for a markedly relaxed yet addictive melody. The piano and horns combo that punctuates the breezy “Through Your Fingers” from Pace gives it a very Motown vibe, which is quite enjoyable. Then there’s the fuzzy blend of garage and shoegaze that TOPS do so well, in yet another stunning preview of their forthcoming album. Don’t sleep on any of those, or the other tracks in this set from BOYBOY, Dirtyphonics, EMBRZ (ft. Meadowlark), RJ, Shine 2009 and more!
Big Thief – Shark Smile
Jesse – De-pression
Pace – Through Your Fingers
TOPS – Dayglow Bumbo
Yeah it’s Monday, and that generally sucks, but the knowledge that there’s lots of great new music to indulge in should make it a little less painful. Specifically, there are some great tracks in this set from Goose (ft. Saba & Ano Ba), Junior Astronomers, Radiator King, Sebastian Blanck (ft. Sharon Van Etten) and Turtlenecked. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Cody ChesnuTT, The Dears, Galantis, Ingrosso & Salvatore Ganacci (ft. Bunji Garlin), Kid Froopy, Late Night Episode, MINKA, Noah Kahan, Sleep Party People, Tony Quattro (ft. Nani Castle), Urban Cone and more!
If you’re a fan of bands like Bully, Speedy Ortiz and Palehound, you’ll find plenty to love about Adult Mom. Get a taste of their upcoming record with “Drive Me Home” below. It’s great to hear that Joywave are back with a catchy new tune that’ll probably wind up soundtracking some commercial or something. The guitar riff that forms the skeleton of the song is just the right amount of bouncy, and the chorus is just addictive enough. In terms of ironic song titles, it’s certainly not “Torture” to listen to the latest single from Chicago’s own Knox Fortune. You may recognize the singer/producer as the voice behind the hook of Chance the Rapper’s hit “All Night,” but his solo work is quite different and very dynamic. Speaking of Chicago artists, the duo of OHMME have super impressive harmonies and piercing guitar riffs that are more than worth your time and attention, so get on it. Other tracks in this set come from Carmen Villain, courtship., Gila, Jarami, Jason Loewenstein, Moglii, Sweet Spirit and more!
Adult Mom – Drive Me Home
Joywave – It’s A Trip!
Knox Fortune – Torture
OHMME – Woman