2019’s music selection is coming out of the gate strong. This week saw a huge number of anticipated album and single releases, along with some under the radar tracks that are excellent, as well. It’s fortuitous for me that my area was slammed with snow this weekend, giving me the perfect excuse to sit around my house and listen to all of these releases non-stop. I would have done that anyway, but now no one can blame me for not changing out of sweatpants and slippers until this morning. Let’s take a taste of the stellar week in music with this great edition of Take 5.
Jared & The Mill – Dying Fear
I’ve been infatuated with Jared & The Mill’s sound since I first heard it. The combination of alternative and Americana is a winning combination, with the group embodying the best of both of those worlds in terms of structure and instrumentation. That’s evident on their latest single, “Dying Fear.” Hearing the twang of the strings against livelier, more intense drumming than you’re used to is an experience you won’t soon forget. There’s always a perfect balance on “Dying Fear” with each aspect of their sound coming forward when it needs to, from the powerful intensity of the chorus to the quieter, string-driven reflection in the verses. Frontman Jared Kolesar’s lyrics also connect, as he struggles to let go of a fear he’s held for a very long time. “Dying Fear” is unlike anything you’ve heard before, which is a pretty good summary for Jared & The Mill as well.
Maggie Rogers – Overnight
Heard It In A Past Life, the debut album from Maggie Rogers, was well worth the wait. It’s my favorite album of this young new year, and I really could have put any of the new tracks from it on the list. I chose “Overnight” for a number of reasons. To start with, it’s brilliant musically. The influence of early Rogers in the simple, folky structure is apparent, and it blends together perfectly with some of the more intricate production in the recent singles from her. In addition, the track is a prime example of the thoughtful, moving themes on Heard It In A Past Life of the changes that come with growth and fame, as Murjani Rawls so eloquently laid out in his review last week. Maggie Rogers is better than ever, and “Overnight” is a showcase of why that’s true.
FEVER 333 – ANIMAL
Need motivation for the week? FEVER 333 has the answer for you. The supergroup made up of Letlive’s Jason Aalon Butler, Night Verses’s Aric Improta, and The Chariot’s Stephen Harrison brings as much energy as you would expect considering the bands they’ve been in (hint: that means a lot of energy). The group’s debut STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS is now out, and early album track “ANIMAL” immediately leapt out to me. Harrison hasn’t lost a step in his guitar work, as the track is driven by his lightning-fast riffs. Improta drums his heart out, and Butler delivers the visceral, intense lyrics about overcoming the odds and proving everyone wrong. “ANIMAL” is a burst of adrenaline in song form, and it utilizes the best skills and tendencies of each member of FEVER 333 to create something great.
Terror Jr – Pretty
Catchy pop music with a message is always going to be a “yes” from me. It should then come as no surprise to you that Terror Jr is a band I’m into. Their latest single “Pretty” is one of their best tracks yet, and it excels in so many ways. The instrumentation will chill you in a good way. The sparse synths over a simple beat with just a few hints of light spilling out of the dark sound is phenomenal. It’s the perfect backdrop for the delicately delivered vocals, with the delivery itself part of the message. “Pretty” is track about the horrors and pain society expects women to go through in order to be deemed pretty, which is still the main and only way too many people and institutions value women. It’s a haunting thought, and Terror Jr translate that into an equally haunting track. “Pretty” is anything but, and it’s a must-listen this week.
PUP – Kids
I couldn’t write Take 5 this week without including the return of PUP. The Toronto band will release their third album Morbid Stuff in April, but we got an early taste with their new single “Kids.” PUP have never shied away from the heavier subjects in their lyrics, and that holds true here. Stefan Babcock’s words still contain the edge and the vividly detailed storytelling that have drawn so many fans to them on “Kids.” At the same time, PUP have always wrapped those heavy subjects and emotions into some downright joyful-sounding music. Steve Sladkowski brings warm tones into “Kids” with the guitar, and the track barrels along with a sense of delight in itself. “Kids” is a welcome entrance into 2019 by PUP, and their new album will surely be the talk on many fans’ lips come April.
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