You know this works by now,. Every week I pick some songs. Good songs. And hopefully you like them. If not... oh well, I tried.
Emperor X -- “Sad React”
The problem with songs about how technology has flattened our emotional lives is that they sound... well, like songs about how technology has flattened our emotional lives. We don’t need to be told this shit—we live it. Chad Matheny instead captures the sensation from the inside here, even as he spells out what it’s like to be only able to respond to everything from “Somebody just stole my laundry” to “They threw our friends in a labour camp” by clicking on an infantile emoji.
Diet Cig -- “Night Terrors”
Straight-ahead indie duo hones in on a straight-ahead indie topic—sleeping badly—and does so suitably straight-aheadedly. “Sorry when I sleep I scream,” Alex Luciano declares as Noah Bowman drums away dutifully behind, and when she gets to “promise not to kill you in my sleep” I almost believe her.
Four Tet feat. Ellie Goulding -- “Baby”
Kieran Hebden just keeps geniusing along. Here he chops Goulding’s voice into yet another rhythmic element while somehow allowing it to remain spiritually whole, crafting a track where electronic bliss coexists so sweetly with the natural world you’ll remember why they used to call him “folktronica” (even though they shouldn’t have).
Shopping -- “For Your Pleasure”
I’m not entirely sold on the widespread recent shift from jagged guitar to colorful synth in the indie world (see also Frances Quinlan, who generally does make it work, and Margaret Glaspy, who I’m not so sure about yet). But while I hope this UK post-punk trio’s new full-length, All or Nothing, features more of Rachel Aggs’ ax than this burbling track does, as a change of pace this does the trick, offering and questioning pleasure in equal measures.
Megan Thee Stallion -- “B.I.T.C.H.”
Cribbing from Tupac, Meg dives into earnest, explanatory mode here, the beat slowing to a humid roll so she can spell out her identity and make points she shouldn’t have to like “It's 2020, I ain't finna argue 'bout twerkin'.”
Hailu Mergia -- “Abichu Nega Nega”
The rediscovered Ethiopian-born organist returns with a new album this year, and this largely instrumental jam will ease newbs into his sound well enough, with plenty of hot organ vamping. OK, “hot organ vamping” sounds kinda gross, I shouldn’t have phrased it that way. But still: Good stuff!
Every week, music editor Keith Harris scours the vast musicscape for six worthy tracks to add to City Pages' ever-expanding 2020 playlist.