Listen: GRMLN’s new song “White Lung//Black Lung”

GRMLN

GRMLN

 

When singer-songwriter Yoodoo Park, aka GRMLN, moved from Japan to Southern California a few years back, he immediately distilled his music with the region’s carefree dynamic and innately sunny vibes. The result was 2012’s Explore EP and last year’s Empire full-length, both of which were born out of a romantic approach to free-wheeling pop-punk. Now, after lengthy touring and a bit of personal reflection, Park finds himself exploring much darker waters on his sophomore album, Soon Away, due out September 16th via Carpark Records.

The 10-track effort was written in Japan and while Park was traveling stateside. During the latter, Park holed himself up in Different Fur Studios in San Francisco alongside Empire collaborators/producers Patrick Brown and Sean Paulson. He recruited friend and drummer Keith Frerichs and his brother/bassist Tae San Park to round out the recording lineup

According to a press release, the result is an “aggressive album, darker and heavier than what’s come before. While it carries these characteristics, there’s a certain peace to Soon Away, thanks to Park’s personal growth. The album grapples with letting go and getting used to good-byes. The singer-guitarist sees the constant changes of life allowing people to embrace the true nature of living. The teachings of Krishna were an inspiration to Park while writing the record and it’s a force that helped define Park’s perspective in these songs.”

Already Park has shared the driving lead single, “Jaded”; today, he unveils “White Lung//Black Lung”. Clocking in at five minutes in length, the track packs the immediacy and surging energy of early ’70s punk. Yet even as Park has renounced its poppy undertones for utter hopelessness, the song still vibrates with slight tinges of pop-punk optimism.

Listen in below.

 

Jake Bugg, Shangri La – First Listen Track-By-Track

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Jake Bugg, Shangri La – First Listen Track-By-Track

Just 13 months after his hugely successful debut album was released, Jake Bugg returns with its follow up. ‘Shangri-La’ was recorded in Malibu with superproducer Rick Rubin, who’s worked with Beastie Boys, Run DMC and Kanye West to name a few. The resulting album is an energetic snapshot of a young songwriter buoyed with the sort of confidence you would expect from a teenager with the world at his feet.

There’s A Beast And We All Feed It
A brief intro for the album, this short skiffle sees Bugg worry to himself about living life to the max and having someone to hold close when times get tough. It also includes the line, “scared someone will tweet it”, a rare nod to the modern world from Bugg.

Slumville Sunrise
The song that comes complete with a video directed by the legendary Shane Meadows. The frantic caper caught on camera by the director of This Is England is matched by a jaunty tune, the second in a row on the album. Having toured his debut album relentlessly, including gigs with Noel Gallagher and The Stone Roses, ‘Shangri-La’ opens with the feel of an album Bugg will tear through on stage and have a bit of fun with.

What Doesn’t Kill You
Drummers on ‘Shangri-La’ include Red Hot Chili Peppers’ member and Will Ferrell lookalike Chad Smith as well as Pete Thomas, who recently worked with Arctic Monkeys on ‘AM’. As you would expect, there is a sharp energy that runs through the percussion of the album and ‘What Doesn’t Kill You’ is one of Bugg’s tightest songs to date as well as one of his catchiest. It seems hanging with the legends is rubbing off on the lad.

Me and You
“All the time people follow us where we go,” sings Bugg on this laid-back acoustic ode to a lovelorn relationship. Nods to “flashes” (camera?) as well as the lyric “all of these people want us to fail,” and celebrity gossipers suggest this song is about Bugg’s short relationship with top model Cara Delevingne.

Messed Up Kids
Bugg said in the lead up to making ‘Shangri-La’ that he wouldn’t be able to write about the council estates and characters of Nottingham any more now that he’s touring the world and selling thousands of albums. While this is true for the majority of the album, ‘Messed Up Kids’ is a return to the social realism that made Bugg’s name. Telling the story of drug dealing Johnny and homeless girl Jenny, this song is also a nod toward Bugg’s ability to write a crowd-rousing anthem, and suggest that he has been listening to more Oasis than Don McLean in recent months.

A Song About Love
Jake Bugg is arguably at his best when he’s rattling through a fast-paced scuttling song, densely packed with lyrics and melody. However ‘A Song About Love’ sees his progression as a big time balladeer. While his voice struggles to carry the demands of such a huge song, it’s comforting to see him tackle such an ambitious track.

All Your Reasons
Earlier this year, Bugg spoke of his disappointment at working with songwriters in Nashville and discovering they had become lazy. “They were presenting songs they’d already written, not caring what I wanted,” he said. “I had to say: ‘No mate, let’s get our guitars out and see what happens together.’ It was really disappointing.” Sadly, ‘All Your Reasons’ sounds like a song that was recorded before he built up the courage to make his voice heard. A largely forgettable blues number and the first time ‘Shangri-La’ dips in quality.

Kingpin
Channeling the same 60s icons as The Strypes mainline with every blues riff and R&B howl, ‘Kingpin’ is a vintage firecracker from the Bugg canon and one which will be a live favourite.

Kitchen Table
“We’ve not been together for some time now, after how I handled it you’re not to blame,” sings Bugg as he laments the end of a relationship and his own role in its downfall. “We just grew out of love,” he cries – sounding heartbroken and soulful.

Pine Trees
Brittle to the point of breaking, ‘Pine Trees’ is a lo-fi moment on an album which sounds thoroughly expensive throughout. Just Bugg and his guitar, it’s a timely reminder of the rough and ready charm which endeared us to the Nottingham teenager back in his early days.

Simple Pleasures
A slow-burning build up gives way to a rip-roaring chorus and ponderous, almost psychedelic guitars in a song that places Bugg close to Richard Ashcroft in the urban poet stakes. “Maybe it’s all that you’ve done wrong, so just bite your silver tongue that you lied with, lied to yourself,” he snarls, angrily as the atmosphere around him escalates to breaking point. A momentous release never quite arrives but ‘Simple Pleasures’ adds new textures to the album and feels more modern than a lot of the retro material found elsewhere.

Storm Passes Away
This final song brings the album to a close in intimate style with Bugg kicking back and delivering an effortlessly breezy goodbye kiss to ‘Shangri-La’. Similar to ‘Pine Trees’, this feels like a closer look into Bugg’s soul, as if we’re joining him in his bedroom as he knocks around ideas for songs and jots down notes for lyrics.

The 10 Worst Songs So Far

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Pop band Haim

1. Biggest Hype of 2013 – Pop band Haim (divine in Hebrew) – EP Falling
It’s a warning sign when critics write a review which for the most part is focused on the looks of the band members as they try to attract the reader’s attention to something other than the dumb, cheesy songs of the band they are promoting. In the case of  pop-synth band Haim, the lyrics leave a lot to be desired, and the band’s EP “Falling” released on April 1, consist of two mediocre songs (Falling and Send Me Down) + two remixes of the same title song (Falling). The critics, in choruses of praise, hankered “the sisters sit at the precise intersection of taste of Fleetwood Mac nostalgists…” and insist “their success thus far is largely owed to the fact that they write “solid songs, and “Falling” is their best yet.” Almost immediately they focus on the band’s history which sounds more like a fairy tale. So, does “Falling” live up to the hype? Disappointingly it’s little more than a single release, with just two decent remixes accompanying the title track, of which Psykemagick’s groovy remix is particularly worthy of mention. Ignoring these, the title track might get most listeners dancing. However its shortcomings hold it back, and had the song been released in the era it emulates it’s difficult to imagine it having had much impact. Ultimately, as entertaining as it is at points, “Falling” falls short of the mark.

The music industry is after anything they can exploit and make money with, good or bad, as long as they sell millions of records. And unfortunately, there’re millions of people out there with limited cranial capacity ready to buy whatever the mass media try to sell to them.  It seems like  all the reviews about the mediocre  EP “Falling”  had been written by the same person. “Falling” takes the band “to the precipice of something big and unspoken, with handclaps, bass licks, and quick-skipping harmonies that gather thickly around them until they leap into a chorus of cascading echoes: “Now I’m falling, falling, falling… oh oh ” a critic wrote. We just hope that Haim don’t end up falling into the precipice, because if that is the new face of rock, we have a problem.

“Falling” is the boring nouveau L.A. style hippie-synthpop single remix from HAIM, and it’s also the title track from their new EP. In the song’s new video, the three sisters in the band travel deep into the jungle without mosquito repellent, and get on their back-to-nature shit, practicing backwoods archery and pulling fish out of rivers bare-handed. The instruments are generic, content in serving their purpose rather than achieving anything exciting. The song’s lyrics seem at first as if they were found on a motivational poster or lifted straight out of an episode of LazyTown. Upon closer inspection, sickeningly cheesy lyrics such as, “Don’t stop, no, I’ll never give up, and I’ll never look back, just hold your head up, and if it gets rough, it’s time to get rough” are actually revealed.

2.Taylor SwiftTaylor Swift Has Officially Written The Worst Song Ever
Video also available at http:/UMG is blocking this vid on phones, Ipads, and maybe more because the numbers aren’t rolling over. They have a completely legally deficient argument. Parody and satire is an exception to copyright. Dear Taylor Swift boyfriends: Be nice to Taylor. Not only will she write mean songs about you, but the rest of us will have to hear it.

3. One Direction – The Worst One Direction Song: What Makes You Beautiful

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I… what? Which one is it? Why make a declarative statement, only to spend three lines disagreeing with yourself? Is… is this how British jokes work? If so, I’d like to try one: “One Direction is a good band / But they sing lyrics like this / Which have zero regard for common sense /D on’t listen to One Direction.”

It’s no surprise the boyband got the the thumbs down from the magazine’s indie/rock-loving readers but we’re still trying to work out why they voted Harry as the biggest villain, beating off stiff competition from David Cameron.

Maybe they’re jealous of his curly locks and success with the ladies? Or it could just be his collection of crap tattoos.

Whatever the reason, Hazza clearly isn’t bothered – he’d already said he’d like to win the award.

4.Lana Del Rey – Chelsea Hotel (cover)

There are no tigers, bikers, poolside romps or A$AP Rocky in Lana Del Rey’s new video – but be aware: the nine inch nails, the two inch fake eyelashes, the heavy makeup and big head are still there. Del Rey, is not doing a cover of Nine Inch Nails, she’s doing a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” which the Canadian rock poet wrote when he was having a fling with Janis Joplin. Sitting on a couch in a gloomy room and fumbling occasionally with a cigarette and matchbook, Del Rey tries way too hard to show us that she is a good singer and performer but fails to convince.  Del Rey shows no emotion at all, she stares into space like a dead doll that is running out of battery power. “Chelsea Hotel No. 2.” directed by Ant Shurmer, and ‘Blue Velvet,” directed by Johan Renck, and which she made for H&M, share a dull and dreary, hollow and emotionless Del Rey. But Miss Del Rey is not the Damsel in Distress type, she’s the Damsel in need of Therapy type. She’s all white to me; empty, frigid, weak, sterile, cold, and vapid. If Miss Del Rey would get rid of all the posing and trying hard to please, and just be herself, the results might be positive without so much effort.

5.Justin Bieber – The worst song ever: Baby

First it was Donny Osmond, The New Kids On The Block, The Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, and The Jonas Brothers. Now it’s Justin Bieber and in a year or two there will be a new talentless heart throb for teenage girls to waste their time and money enjoying. Bieber’s new single entitled “Baby,” features famous rapper Ludacris and I really wish I had something good to say about this song, but I have to be honest, it kind of hurts to listen to it.  The thing I hate most about all of Bieber’s music is that none of it allows the listener to read the lyrics and relate to it in their own way, the lyrics are so simple that you don’t have to use your brain to develop your own understanding and relation to them. The opening verse is “Oh whoa, Oh whoa, Oh whoa, You know you love me, I know you care, Just shout whenever, and I’ll be there, You are my love, You are my heart, and we will never ever-ever be apart,” which is no different from any other tween love song.  The chord progression sounds like it came from the 1950s, the kind of music that your grandpa might have listened to when he was your age, except with (what sounds like) a little girl singing with it. This is the prime example of what is killing music today, the musicians who actually write their own music aren’t getting discovered because it’s too hard to get noticed with music that isn’t like everything else. Bad music is in, and it won’t fade away unless we do something about the fakes tweens  and teens idolize.

You have to watch the video in YouTube.

6.Mandy Moore –  Cry (of course!)
Of the teenybopper/jailbait trend of the late ’90s/early thoughts, Britney had the best production, Xtina had the best voice, and Avril had the anti-Britney (except in I.Q.) crowd sewn up, while Hillary Duff became the poster child for asexual purity and wholesome values. Then there’s  Mandy, whose overwrought production fails to hide her middling vocals and lyrics as poetic as any found in your average schoolgirl’s Hello Kitty diary.  Mandy may be a terrible singer and actress but she’s the Queen of Grin & Sneer. No one can make so many facial gestures per minute like Disney Princess Mandy Moore.

7.Lady Gaga – The Edge Of Glory
Music video by Lady Gaga performing The Edge Of Glory. Obviously, Lady Gaga went over the edge with this song.  The song was made about her grandfather dying, and  of course it won’t be an upbeat dance video.  Well, if  you think  sexually bopping around on fire escapes while neon pink lights glow through smoke up your cooch is an acceptable way to pay tribute to your dying grandfather, then go for it.  I think it’s time for her to revert back to her popular cheerleading days.  But wait,,,  what is that sound I hear? Oh yes, it is the tick tick tick of her 15 minutes of fame are almost over.   If we want to find excuses, perhaps after spending way too much money on videos that will never possibly make her anywhere near as much in return, Gaga was advised to scale back and rest on the popularity of the song and her persona alone. But after a series of mind-blowing videos, her fans have  been conditioned to expect much, much more. Lady Gaga’s  ‘The Edge Of Glory’ is no good. We just need to accept that Gaga has released an awful album and video. The rumored on-set drama between Gaga and the videos one time director Joseph Kahn: “We don’t really know what happened but it sounds like both of them threw their toys out of the pram and now look rather silly. But was the video worth all the fuss? Gaga  new ride has two wheels and lots of gold. While she recovers from hip surgery, the singer has commissioned a New York designer to create a bejewelled, leather-lined wheelchair. “I certainly wasn’t expecting that phone call,” Ken Borochov told the New York Post. “[I] have never done a wheelchair but am always up for a challenge and was thrilled to create what I affectionately dubbed the Chariot, a chair fit only for a queen.” That’s right, Queen Gaga.

8. JOHN MAYER “Your Body is a Wonderland” 2001

Get this man a cold shower.

“Ohhh,” the women of the world sigh, “why can’t I just find a nice guy — you know, someone who’ll compare my breasts to a theme park?” Yearn no more, ladies! Drool never sounded as sweet as it does on this slow-stirred ode to daytime sex — but even from the otherwise charming Mayer, it’s still drool. What’s more, sunny acoustic guitars belie some creepy undertones: When Mayer rasps “Discover me discovering you” and “I’ll use my hands,” it sounds as though he’s sitting in a dark room, playing pocket pool to a camera he planted in the women’s lavatory.

Worst Moment Mayer describes the “deep sea of blankets” on his bed. Ewww!

9. Pop duo Starred – Liza Thorn wanders and hitchhikes – ‘No Good’ video
This seems like ‘Theory of Self-verification’ meets ‘Being Wasted and Loving it,’ with  Miss Thorn, a wanna-be-Courtney-Love-rock-star with disheveled bleached hair and wearing a Comme Des Garçons ss 13 coat  is left to gaze into a mirror, have a smoke, and mostly look forlorn as she tries to thumb a ride on the highways and byways mostly in vain. Bandmate Matthew  Koshak’s spare guitar figures nudge heavy-lidded sighs out of Thorn, the rest filled out by pockets of vast space.   The song’s  mood evoke the type of glam-rock where the focus is on being wasted as opposed to getting wasted.  Nevertheless the video is narcissist and pointless.

Koshak (and Thorn) recently relocated to New York and is making something of a cottage industry working with indie blonds.  Thorn was in the now disbanded Curls. In a recent interview, when asked who were her major influences, Thorn replied: “Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Jennifer Herrema, Lou Reed, Genesis P Orridge, George Harrison, The Doors (I just went and laid in Jim Morrison’s grave.)”

‘No Good’ is a fashion video for potential Meth users,   that seems to have been ripped from American film director Gus Van Sant.

10. R.E.M. “Shiny Happy People.”  What were they thinking? It’s difficult to imagine the circumstances that led R.E.M. — intelligent, literate, subtle even when rocking out — to record this. Not only is “Shiny Happy People” an annoying song, but you also get the distinct sense that it’s going out of its way to annoy you. What other explanation is there for its riff — which sounds like a cellphone ring tone chosen by a sociopath — or its lyrics, which resemble something you would force children to learn as a punishment, or the backing vocals of B-52 Kate Pierson, which defy rational description?  Worst Moment “Throw your love around, take it into town, put it in the ground, where the flowers grow.”