If you like 1975 and Børns, you'll love these guys.
According to Billboard they are, "...a candy-coated nugget coming straight from Nashville that sounds ready to squeeze in alongside Børns and the 1975 on your fall alt-pop playlists." Well it's the middle of winter and we're still really into them. They recently premiered their music video for "Catapult" through Relix who called their work, " [a] series of rich, nuanced studio recordings." They released an EP entitled Chapter One just a week ago and Chapter Two is expected this Spring. This is all a part of their anticipated album Fashion out this summer taking the unique tactic of dropping the album in installments. These deep cuts can't be passed by.
Watch "Catapult" here.
Daniel Ellsworth, lead singer, remarks on "Catapult."
"Catapult' is a song about loving someone for their flaws, not in spite of them. It's about opposites attracting. It's someone saying "I'm a little crazy.You're a little crazy. Maybe we should be crazy together. When you find someone you really love, it's automatic. You love them through all the bullshit no matter what. I think there's a beautiful vulnerability in that. It's one of my favorite songs on the new record. I'm particularly proud of the arrangement we came up with. I love the way all the instruments play off each other and I love all the sounds we were able to dial in in the studio. I especially love Marshall's bass line. He always writes great bass lines, but this might be my all time favorite of his."
In the music video, Ellsworth dances with his wife. The two wear outfits as vibrant as their personalities though their performance style is silly and stoic. The video is interlaced with fun "couch hangs" with the rest of the band. Probably my favorite part of the video is how vibrant everything is but also how chill everyone presents themselves. I feel like this is pretty representative of falling in love right? Everything feels intense, but you do your best to keep your cool.
We wanted to know what Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes listens to. The band curated a playlist just for Popdust readers. Check it out here!
Dr. Dog | "I Only Wear Blue" (Marshall)
Guitarist Scott McMicken suggests that not only is the title of this song directly related to the fact that he only wore blue clothes for a period of his life, but also that this song is an apology to anyone. An apology based on the experiences we all have with each other, and the faults we all have as humans to over analyze and to not be faithful to each other. Regardless of the meaning this song moves in a beautiful flow, from a soft subtle opening, to a lighthearted bopping middle section, and then into a final burst of energy. Dr. Dog ends the song with the hook and a dirty guitar solo, making the payoff worth it.
Phoenix | "Countdown" (Daniel)
Always the perfect blend of rock and thoughtfully crafted pop. Phoenix are monster musicians with a penchant for great hooks. This song comes from their 2009 record Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - the album that really put them on the map with tracks like "Lizstomania", "1901", and "Lasso." But my personal favorites come at the back half of the album. "Countdown" has always been a track that takes me somewhere. That I get lost in. It starts with swirling layers of lush synths colliding and builds with guitar and pounding drums to the chorus and then it all drops out for my favorite line of the whole record "we're sick for the big sun." Something about it. It gets me every time.
The Band | "Thinkin' Out Loud" (Timon)
Like all of The Band's albums after Music From Big Pink (1968) and The Band (1969), Cahoots (1971) lives in the shadows. I love this album but especially this track. Rick Danko is singing and playing upright bass. It showcases his quirky rhythmic singing and he's really digging into the upright. There's some beautiful The Band-perfect harmonies and some out of the blue, historical nostalgia lyrics from Robertson. It sounds like he's describing a series of old photographs from decades ago, and it is that, but it's also all these metaphors for the decay of The Band itself and mid-century popular music as they knew it.
Ben Folds Five | "Don't Change Your Plans" (Daniel)
Ben Folds is probably the single biggest influence on what made me want to move to Nashville and pursue music as a career (he lived here at the time). As a nerdy, trying-too-hard-to-be-cool, piano playing high-schooler in Minnesota, he was everything I wanted to be. Punk, funny, an amazing songwriter, and best of all - he was a monster piano player who fronted a rock band. A few years back I had the chance to get to know him. It led to a night that I'll never forget - sharing a piano bench with him in his studio in Nashville and playing piano with him for over an hour, then hanging out and having drinks til 2 in the morning. It felt like life coming full circle. This song - "Don't Change Your Plans" - it was always one of the tracks that jumped out to me from The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner. It's a masterclass in pop/rock songwriting. The melody, the lyrics, the harmonies, the string arrangement. I always loved the dichotomy of the person singing the song being in love with someone, but knowing that where he was wasn't the right place that he needed to be. That tension plays out in the song in a really beautiful way.
Bjork | "Possibly Maybe" (Marshall)
In the late 90's and early 2000's I'd stay up late and listen to music and sketch.MTV used the droning electric piano melody from this song for one of their late night music video shows.This song is the perfect song to drift off to sleep to, or even dive into some deep thought.It's minimalist electronic music at it's finest.Bjork always finds ways to create lush sound landscapes and I love to close my eyes and pretend I'm flying through Iceland when I listen to this deep cut.
Charlie Mingus | "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" (Timon)
From his amazing Mingus Ah Um (1959), this track was a lament for his friend Lester Young who died prior to making the record. Truth be told, it's not really a deep cut and is pretty well-known but I had to include it here. The melody is played so beautifully behind the beat. It's sparse and stretched and tired. There are two tenor saxophones playing at the same time, and you can hear the valves and pads clicking and clacking as they play. It's haunting.
Wilco | "The Late Greats" (Timon)
I used to think that the first line of the song was "The greatest last track of all time," since it's the last song on the album A Ghost is Born (2004). Turns out it's "lost track." That sticks with me for some reason. But the song is so perfectly Jeff Tweedy. It's upfront, no frills, take-this-how-you-will. It's another great Wilco arrangement with breaks, stop-and-starts, like a machine that's breaking down and restarts. It fits so well with the lyric content. I guess this one is also a lament, and that's fine with me.
Kendrick Lamar | "Poetic Justice"
I don't think there's such thing as a Kendrick Lamar "deep cut" because basically every one of his songs have been hits on some level. He is one of the greatest rappers of our time and he makes amazing records. This track is hands down my favorite from good kid, m.A.A.d city. I love the Janet Jackson sample and his flow on his verses. Even Drake's verse slays me in this song. Plus it has my favorite Kendrick line ever: "If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room would you trust it?"
Tame Impala | "'Cause I'm A Man" (Marshall)
I've probably listened to Currents by Tame Impala 100 times, and this song always jumps out at me. The song is a drudgy, bass soaked ballad, with a soaring chorus and it's one hell of a catchy deep cut. The song is about his conflict between his impulses as a man, and a woman's desire to understand why men are the way they are. The second verse is an exploration of his own inner workings, and the faults that we all have as human men.
Paul Simon | "Wartime Prayers" (Daniel)
This track comes from my favorite Paul Simon album Surprise. Don't let the awful album art fool you - this album is incredible. I say it's my favorite because it was one of those albums that really hit me at the right time in life. Changed me. The lyrical content spoke directly to the way I was feeling about spirituality, religion, and the world around me. The "sonic landscape" was created by Brian Eno, and on this track in particular, Herbie Hancock was on piano. This is a beautiful and perfectly written song that I go back to time and time again, becoming only more relevant with age. Religion is a powerful tool. It divides us and it causes wars, while simultaneously bringing people peace and comfort when they need it most - oftentimes because of those very wars. Paul Simon offers up this perfect dose of humble honesty in the chorus - it's sort of become a mantra to me: "Because you cannot walk with the holy / if you're just a halfway decent man / I don't pretend that I'm a mastermind / with a genius marketing plan / I'm trying to tap into some wisdom / even a little drop will do / I want to rid my heart of envy / and cleanse my soul of rage / before I'm through"
Ryan Adams | "Amy" (Marshall)
I absolutely love the subtlety of this song. It's an understated love song cloaked in 60's era Mellotron, psychedelic Lennon/McCartney-esque melodies, and the erie waves of orchestral color and sound. Amy Lombardi (his former publicist) and Ryan Adams had split up before he wrote Heartbreaker, (arguably) his most iconic album.
David Byrne | "Au Found du temple saint" (Daniel)
This one comes from one of Byrne's great solo efforts, Grown Backwards (2004). This is a cover, not written by Byrne, and is beautifully recorded and arranged with the Tosca Strings and others. I never translated the words into English because I don't want to know that he's saying. I don't think music is a universal language, but I do believe in one's ability to make something from nothing, especially in terms of building a connection to something they don't really understand. Overall, I think this is one of the best records of our time.
Wilco | "Reservations" (Daniel)
I know we've already got a Wilco song on here, but they're my favorite band of all time and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is my favorite album of all time, so I had to include this one. It's the last, and often overlooked, track on what I believe is a perfect record. I love the sentiment behind it - that he's a completely flawed person who is unsure about a lot of things, but the one thing he is sure about is his love for the other person in the relationship. It's a piano ballad, but the electronic noise flourishes and percussion and the strings help create this really beautiful, almost chaotic tension underneath the whole thing.
Loved their playlist? Check out their new EP Chapter One here.
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