February 25th Release Day – Caustic Commentary: Superchunk, Sasami, Johnny Marr, Earthgang, Huerco S. & More

In a new weekly roundup, Glide drops caustic commentary on selected tracks from release day Friday.

Superchunk – “On The Floor”

Surprisingly, the best song of the week also came from the best album of the week. Even more surprising was that that song/album came from Superchunk, a band that’s been landing on lists like this for almost thirty-five years – but maybe none of this should be surprising. The song itself “On The Floor”, is better than any third single ever ought to be, transposing the kind of 90s angst that should be laughable coming from a bunch of fifty-somethings, into one of the sweeter love songs this year.

Sasami – “Call Me Home”

In retrospect, it seems obvious that this would be the direction Sasami Ashworth would take her music in. Her debut, for all its hooks and accessibility, owed little to hyper-pop, instead, diluting Ashworth’s persona down to broad strokes of refined genius. The strengths of Sasami hinted at something bigger, as did Ashworth’s larger-than-life personality, which threatened even the good taste of hyper-pop (Sasami, by all accounts, is not even a hyper-pop artist). Squeeze, however, with its metal and experimental flourishes doesn’t feel completely true to Ashworth either, just another hat to try on. Still, plenty of these songs strips away the pomposity of abstraction, leaving the stellar singer-songwriter from her first album. The best of these “Call Me Home” does pull a lot of its weight from its dynamic relief, but just as much from the strength of its writing. I’m not sure Ashworth knows which tracks and which album best represent herself, but it’s still exciting watching her figure it out.

WiFiGawd – “At Da Spot”

Don’t let the Pen & Pixel cover dissuade you (at least it’s better than Squeeze), WiFiGawd’s newest has been described as the album that will prove his breakthrough. There’s plenty to like, but if even half of those listeners make it to “At Da Spot”, they’re in for a treat. In just under two minutes WiFiGawd casts himself as more than the sum of his three album-a-year average, (this is already his second of 2022). Being prolific doesn’t necessarily mean he’s consistent, and he’s not, but he is getting better.

Johnny Marr – “Receiver”

Marr, elaborating on his EP from last year, dropped a double album today. I love Johnny Marr, but he’s going in the wrong direction, an hour and 12 minutes is a lot of time to spend with him. To make matters worse, only four of these 16 tracks are worth revisiting in the first place. All that aside, Marr got it right placing “Receiver” as the second track. Sure, if you’re in the wrong mood, some of these couplets and RadioShack references could ring hollow or inessential, but that’s what Morrissey’s for.

Conway The Machine – “Guilty”

A star-studded feature list works wonders for Conway The Machine, but maybe it says more that the stripped-back “Guilty” is the track that lingers most by the end of the album. Conway has never been the most consistent, and he could still work on trimming the fat a little, but if there’s any way to find the crux of who Conway is and how he can pull in this kind of talent, it’s buried somewhere in these bars.

Huerco S. – “Plonk III”

Plonk is an apt name for this batch of experimental electronic music. Compared to most of Herco S.’s output, his newest is noticeably noisier, putting a very distinct emphasis on rhythm. Still, his ambient roots shine here and there, and most tracks work as both singular entries and as part of the larger concept. The best of the Plonks is “Plonk III”, a six-and-a-half-minute stretch through the Daniel Lapatin-dystopian-synth we’ve become accustomed to. Herco S. spins the groove halfway through though, adding in a counter drum machine and in the process, finds the right note for what works throughout the rest of the album.

Earthgang – “Amen (feat. Musiq Soulchild)”

Earthgang was once hailed as the new OutKast, a moniker that’s both complimentary and a little misleading. They do have the shared Atlanta heritage, their nature as a duo, and a little genre-hopping, but Earthgang has done plenty to distinguish themselves. A track like “Amen” after all, owes plenty more to someone like Frank Ocean or Drake than it does to Andre, but maybe it’s that versatility that feels so familiar. A song this indebted to R&B and gospel could sound at odds with some of the trap and southern hip-hop tracks floating around it, but when it sounds natural? That’s what warrants comparison.

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One Response

  1. You couldn’t be more wrong about the Johnny Marr record. I think you should slow down and give it another listen. Thanks.

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