What We’re Listening To This Week: June 14-20

Little Nowhere Towns- The Tallest Man On Earth

The Tallest Man on Earth’s new album “Dark Bird Is Home” has officially taken him away from his direct roots in solo acoustic guitar playing and one track vocals. Where his older albums were marked by sparse recordings of him and his songs, this album is layered to the teeth. He has enlisted the help of horns and violins, as well as bass, synthesizers, and most markedly, backup vocals, which is something that has never appeared on a Tallest Man album before. Whether all of these new additions are for better or worse is still unclear to me, however, the song “Little Nowhere Towns” is a standout on this album.

“Little Nowhere Towns” is somewhat of a ballad of lost time. The lyrics speak of growing up and then “growing down,” and not paying attention when you pass through somewhere only to regret it later. This track seems to me to be the confession of a musician who feels he hasn’t been paying enough attention. As the lyrics say:

“And I barely can remember, little feet on solid ground.

And the drinking part is useless, when you’re buried away from sound.

Carolina, where are you ending up this time.

Say its silvery to hear, like the light of little nowhere towns.”

As a Swedish, non-native English speaker, The Tallest Man on Earth has always created lyrics that can be somewhat befuddling and up to interpretation, and these are no difference, however, as the song progresses the question arises as to whether Carolina is a girl or the state, and perhaps that is where some of the answer lies as well.

Musically this track is somewhat different from the rest of the album. A couple of years ago, The Tallest Man told a reporter that “he could only really play piano in the key of C.” His piano skills have obviously improved greatly since then (although he may still be in C) and this track begins with a pretty, jaunting piano melody that later accompanies his voice. The background vocals are almost angelic when they enter and they complement his own voice in a mysteriously beautiful way. He knew this while recording the album as well, as the vocals are attributed to “Angel Voices.” Little Nowhere Towns is both a step forward for The Tallest Man on Earth as well as it is a look back at where he’s been, which is pretty much everywhere. –August Packard

Wolves- Kanye West Ft Sia & Vic Mensa

This song was originally performed live at the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary in February. Although a studio version still hasn’t been released, Wolves is set to be on West’s new album. It features Chicago rapper Vic Mensa, who Kanye also worked with on the new song U Mad, and Australian singer Sia. Mensa takes on a singing role, contrary to his normal music and delivers:

“Don’t fly too high

Your wings might melt, you’re much too good to be true

I’m just bad for you

I’m just bad, bad, bad for you”

Sia’s soulful voice fits perfectly with the deep, bass filled background. It makes you wonder what other collaborations Kanye has in store for his next album. –Jackson Ferrari Ibelle

Coffee- Miguel Ft Wale

Miguel has enjoyed pop success in past years with hits like Adorn and J Cole’s Power Trip. In preparation for his album Wildheart, which is set to drop later this month, he released this love song featuring rapper Wale. The song has a catchy chorus from the singer and a solid verse from the DC rapper, who has lately switched a lot of his subject matter to falling in love. The two were successful with their 2012 song Lotus Flower Bomb, and with Coffee they have made another hit.-Ibelle

No Waves- Fidlar

“No Waves” is the fourth track off of the self-titled album by Fidlar, a surf/skate punk band out of Los Angeles. Fidlar has been together for about four years now and have become infamous for their live shows, which (quite obviously) have a tendency to become excessively rowdy and get shut down by the LAPD. They are also an internationally recognized band however, and they are signed on both an American label called Mom + Pop as well as two other international labels. The acronym FIDLAR actually stands for “Fuck it Dog Life’s a Risk.

At a live performance at Reading Festival the lead singer, Zac Carper, introduces the song “No Waves” by saying that “this is a song about rehab. Rehab sucks.” This fits well with the first lines of the song, which go on to say:

“I feel, I feel like a coke head.

I feel, I feel like I can’t get drunk no more cuz I’m on the floor,

Looking for some matches just to pick up the score.”

This song is in reference to the reported excessive drug use of Zac Carper, who is the lyricist for most of the songs on “FIDLAR.” This album has become almost legendary in its glorification of self-destructive behavior and what the band would call “getting fucked up.”

Fidlar seems to have the facile ability to accept fame with grace and humility while still living the lifestyle that got them there. They are recognized as an insane punk band, and they still do excessive amounts of drugs and drink cheap beer, but they are touring all around the world.

“No Waves” is just one of the many great tunes on this album, and it is the ideal soundtrack for driving too fast, drinking too much, and not regretting any of it. -Packard

Hail Mary- 2Pac Ft The Outlaws

Happy birthday to the greatest. RIP


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