Hello and welcome to a new weekly feature I’ll be running named “Sunday Convene”. Every Sunday, I will pick apart and discuss any music I may have come across in the previous week. This could be music I’ve been enjoying, disliking, or just have something to say about. I’ve chosen Sunday as new music drops on Fridays, therefore if I want to talk about new releases it’ll give me reasonable time to forge initial opinions. Also, it’s the final day of the week.
This recurring feature will be a lot less formal than reviews and other articles I publish, and of course I’ll be writing in the first person unlike those. Think of it as a weekly music diary where I informally string off my thoughts. Therefore, without further ado, let’s jump into what’s been tickling my mind as of late.
Latest thoughts on Queens of the Stone Age’s new single ‘The Way You Used to Do’
On initial listens, I was skeptical about this new single. In true Queens fashion, it is wholly different than anything the band has recorded before. The closest comparison would be a mix between Smooth Sailing, a hella-groovy cut from …Like Clockwork, and Gunman from Josh Homme’s side project Them Crooked Vultures.
It took me more than a few listens to now say that… I really like it. It absolutely NEEDS to be best experienced through a solid sound system, or pair of headphones.
Though, it’s not without its flaws. Mark Ronson’s production does make the main distorted guitar refrain sound a tad flat, a little too ‘tinny’ for my liking. Especially when there is no change in mix from the intro, into the first verse. What I really like about the cut is Homme’s vocals and his relationship with the supporting instrumentation.
His trademark falsettos are so gentle and do a lovely job in matching the ebb & flow of the multi-layered guitars. Mikey Shoes provides a great stunted bassline, yet Jon Theodore and his primal playing style is criminally underused on this particular cut.
What’s really exciting though, is the last fifteen seconds, which is presumably an instrumental interlude into the next song on the tracklisting Domesticated Animals. A demented, broken-sounding synth lick paints a very eerie picture indeed. Whilst The Way You Used to Do is a nice upbeat refreshment, it makes me hungry for more of the mellow, sombre side to the band’s songwriting and their ability to muster up wacky sonic soundscapes.
As Queens are now touring and are beginning to debut some of the new songs, I expect a second single to arrive sometime in July, presumably Feet Don’t Fail Me, which we heard a short snippet of in the recent teaser video.
Delving into Pond’s back catalogue
A couple weekends back, I saw Pond perform at The Wardrobe, Leeds (here’s my review). Prior to seeing them live, I had only spent time with their latest studio album The Weather (again, see my review here). Therefore, after seeing them perform live, I really dug a fair few of the tracks they played, prompting me to check out their previous albums.
Hobo Rocket in particular resonated with me as it’s certainly their heaviest and grooviest record. Similarly, Man It Feels Like Space Again had a positive effect on me, being their last true psych rock affair. I was surprised how much their debut record channeled The Doors in terms of keyboard prominence with a lot of ‘Manzarekking’ going on.
Pond have very close ties to fellow Perth psychs Tame Impala (Kevin Parker used to be a member and produces many of their records) but have a more jam-y, raw attitude to them. I’ll have a Ranked article up in the near future for sure.
Revisiting Foo Fighters’ eight studio albums
Following the announcement of their ninth studio album ‘Concrete and Gold’ due to drop in September, I decided to revisit Foo Fighters’ existing discography in preparation for a Ranked article dropping very soon. I used to listen to Foo Fighters a lot, although not so much in recent years due to my music taste expanding to more alternative avenues.
I find the Foos a tad generic and target the mainstream rock market a bit too much. Their newest single ‘Run’ had a metal edge to it which albeit is refreshing to see as a lead single from a popular rock band. I’ll keep this short so stay tuned for the Ranked article dropping this week.
Discovery of Oklahoman indie rock band BRONCHO
I saw someone mention this band on r/qotsa, saying to check them out and that Josh Homme had endorsed them himself through his radio show The Alligator Hour. Since then I have run through each of their three studio albums and I’m digging the material quite a bit.
Their first record, ‘Can’t Get Past the Lips’ tops out at a measly 21-minutes – a quick lo-fi affair but doesn’t leave much to digest afterwards.
Their second record ‘Just Enough Hip to Be Woman’ released in 2014 and is a large improvement, practicing a dusty indie/garage rock sound similar to The Black Keys, but with a poppier edge. Standout cuts from that record include ‘Stay Loose’, the groggy groover ‘Taj Mahal’ and closer ‘China’.
Their third record ‘Double Vanity’ released last year and was quite a move away from their previous material. It takes on a heavy-set, downtempo, new-wave identity, with many of the vocals and instrumentation akin to something along the lines of the goth rock of The Sisters of Mercy. It’s very bassy and slow-moving, but I felt many of the tracks sounded a lot like one another, with little variation in sonicality.
So that wraps up the inaugural Sunday Convene. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it fresh each week and keep the chat moving about everything I’m listening to. So, see you next Sunday…