NAILED Songs of the Week #46

Editor Staff, Music, June 15th, 2016

"Something I carry with me, my breath, something closer. An anxiety."

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Carrie Seitzinger, Editor-in-Chief of NAILED:

“Cecile” – Pumarosa

When listening to Pumarosa I find that with my chest I’m tapping my foot to their moody, hefty songs. Their sound reminds me a bit of Tori Amos and Siouxsie and the Banshees. They are equal parts dream crackling, telepathy body dance, and perceived jazz. This is their newest video. Meet you at the meditation rock on the other side.

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Shenyah Webb, Arts Editor of NAILED:

“Bhikshu (Live)” – Hustle and Drone

Hustle and Drone is a beat-based trio that pairs a shitload of synths with beautiful three-part vocal harmonies. These three extremely talented musicians: Ryan Neighbors, Ryan Moore, and Andy Black, have their formula and epic electronic sound completely dialed in. When I caught their live show recently, they had at least 15 machines on stage with them; so many keys, pedals, buttons, and knobs, with little flashes. It was super pretty. I was mesmerized and it felt really right.

Although, it was nearly impossible to track what was coming from where with all of the gadgets (except for the bass guitar and vocals), there wasn’t a moment of muddiness. The sound was distinct, yet thickened by both buzzy and round bass, with layered vocals perfectly placed. Their sound was an explosion of pure lovely. These dudes know how to bring the magic, the same feeling you get when you are understood, like it is when all of the chaos moving around inside clicks together and makes sense or no sense, but it’s okay. Their stage presence, song writing, and overall feelings summoned through their music made them a newfound favorite for me!

Hustle and Drone’s next performance will be on August 24th at Doug Fir Lounge in Portland.

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Matty Byloos, Publisher and Contributing Editor of NAILED:

“Anxiety” – Preoccupations

Death is an old friend of mine; we go way back. It’s there all the time, a twin shadow, but one that goes before me. I’ve thought on my own death before, not in the suicidal sense, but in the acceptance sense — I’m fine with it. Mostly. A couple years ago, something shifted around inside. The thought of death, less abstract. More present than shadow. Something I carry with me, my breath, something closer. An anxiety. I’ll share a secret. There’s a mirror on the wall in my bedroom. From across the room, I can see half of my face when I’m laying in bed. With the lights just dim enough, when all there is to carve bodies out of darkness in the space is the blue and white glow of the television, I can squint my eyes closed soft enough to still see my face. It’s how I’ll look when I’m dead. I try to imagine friends, loved ones in front of my casket. Morbid, I realize, but honest nonetheless. An anxiety. The more I dwell in the imagining, the more my face looks lifeless in the mirror, deflated, made up. The more death becomes meaning, becomes alive. And this song is the cocoon of that imagining.

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Guest Editor, Adam Strong, writer and host of the reading series, Songbook, A Literary Mixtape.

“Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” – Car Seat Head Rest

“In the backseat of my heart, My love tells me I’m a mess.” The song starts off with vocals coming in through the other end of a bad landline. “I couldn’t get the car to start.” We are here with them, here in this car, and he is drunk. Then there’s the kind of keyboard sound you’d hear in a horror film, the sound of a man dealing with the night before. The vocals from lead singer Will Toledo are high falsetto, the kind of thing you tell someone out of the corner of your mouth, the kind of thing you never cop to, how he couldn’t get the car to start, this drunk driving the thing we already know is wrong, but it just gets easier for him.

“It comes and goes in plateaus, one month later I’m a fucking pro.”

He is talking though the process, his thoughts happen at the same speed as the lyrics, we share the shame. Then he goes on about how this car ride or rides by this point is all a part of an overall coasting that’s happening to him. It’s the kind of line that only works when it’s as well-earned as it is here.

“But if we learned to live like this maybe we can learn how to start again.”

It’s delivered in such a bittersweet way, like admitting this to himself was half the battle. Like this whole drinking and driving thing is a way to figure out this whole adult thing. Then the chorus kicks in and it’s a chorus that will be stuck inside your head all summer.

“It doesn’t have be like this, it doesn’t have to be like this, killer whales, killer whales.”

Sooner or later he’s got to turn this problem around. He’s running out of chances to make the kinds of mistakes kids can still make. And by the end, these thoughts are going around in his head like the chorus we can’t help but sing along with. And through this there’s a voice developing in his head. And this voice is “giving you shit again, but you know he loves you, he does not mean to cause you pain.”

He’s taking himself to the next time when he wants to drink and drive and this time he will listen to the voice in his head, to pull the keys out of the car, to have the guts to grow up, to face the facts that the things we do affect other people, that it’s up to us to take responsibility, to get out of the car, and walk.

 

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Check out Songs of the Week #45 for even more great music from the editors and contributors behind NAILED.

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Staff

More than one editor and/or contributor was responsible for the completion of this piece on NAILED.