Photo Credit: Brian Griffin

It is too dang hot outside. It’s the kind of heat that makes you want to move as little as possible because any movement just makes you hotter. You know what you can do without moving a lot? You can listen to music. Whether you brave this heat and listen to your summer playlist out by the pool or stay indoors and listen from the comfort of your couch, music is here to distract you from the scorching rays of the sun. I will be staying indoors this 4th of July week, only venturing out to grill various foods so I can eat. No matter what your plans are for the holiday you need music, so let’s get into this week’s Take 5.

Pale Waves – Noises

To combat the heat, you need something that’s cool. And Pale Waves is as cool as they come. They’ve spent all of 2018 proving that, with their excellent debut EP All The Things I Never Said showcasing their smooth electro-pop sound and songwriting chops. Nothing has changed in that regard on their new single “Noises,” and in fact Pale Waves have gotten even better. From the opening seconds of the song there’s a wonderful glimmering collection of synths that glide around the guitars and drums for the entire runtime. Heather Baron-Gracie’s melodic voice fits right in with the rest of Pale Waves’ sound, and I think we can all relate to the lyrics about our brain working overtime to our detriment. As the temperature rises, Pale Waves stay as slick and cool as ever.

Wolfie’s Just Fine – Metallica T-Shirt

If you’re anything like me, you know Jon Lajoie from his comedic career. A lot of that comedy revolves around music, so it should be no surprise that Lajoie has some serious musical talent even when not joking around. Lajoie has his own musical project called Wolfie’s Just Fine which just put out an EP, Perfection, Nevada. “Metallica T-Shirt” embodies everything that makes Lajoie great. Musically, it’s a folksy, expansive track that showcases Lajoie’s guitar playing and the fantastic sense of momentum and atmosphere he can build. While the concept of an entire song about not being allowed to own a Metallica shirt is definitely funny, it’s also a thoughtful look at how parents view the music their children listen to. Jon Lajoie can always make people laugh, and with “Metallica T-Shirt” he proves he can make that humor serve a great musical purpose.

Amy Darling – Flip The Bird

Sometimes everything in your own life gets to be too much and you just want to do whatever you want and say goodbye to your responsibilities. If you’re feeling that, Amy Darling‘s “Flip The Bird” is the anthem for you. As the title implies, it’s a big middle finger to everything that pains us in life. Darling is clearly a rock star through and through, as her attitude and her music both hearken back to the rebelliousness and sound of the best classic rock has to offer. The rattling strings, slight twang, and delightful piano hook speak right to the soul. Darling’s voice contains the same hint of mischief and carefree spirit, drawing all the other aspects together. “Free The Bird” is a cathartic and fun listen, and Amy Darling is quickly becoming an artist to pay attention to.

Marissa Nadler – For My Crimes

There are a number of things I think about when I’m picking songs for Take 5. A big one is if I hear a song early in the week and keep coming back to it over and over again, it’s going on the list. That’s especially true of Marissa Nadler‘s “For My Crimes.” Ever since I wrote about it last Tuesday, I’ve listened to it again every single day. Nadler and Angel Olsen’s haunting harmonies, the sparse instrumental, and the sorrow in Nadler’s voice and lyrics affect me every single listen. Relatively speaking, “For My Crimes” is not a complex song, but that doesn’t stop it from having a huge emotional impact on the listener. Marissa Nadler’s music has always been the kind of music that sinks into every fiber of your being, and “For My Crimes” is no different.

Charli XCX – No Angel

Everyone always love to hang out with the party animal. They’re a blast in small doses, but what happens when they can’t turn that mode off? Charli XCX has always been a fun-loving pop star, but this is the question she asks on new track “No Angel.” In a genre of music that often wants to focus on the benefits of lavish, no rules living, “No Angel” is an interesting turn. Charli XCX sings about how her impulses–up to and including infidelity–often end up causing problems, and this exploration of the realties of being a “problem child” as she puts it showcases XCX’s sharp lyrical mind. Of course this is still a pop song, so there’s still a bouny, synth-soaked instrumental to tap your foot along with. Charli XCX has been showing her emotional and musical range in recent months, and “No Angel” is another reminder that there’s no musical idea to different for her to tackle.


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