Hand picked jams. Just for you.
This week the planets aligned just right for me and I was able to go on a little live music spree. Last Monday I saw Cut Copy in a fancy ballroom at a downtown Phoenix hotel. Wednesday I attended a special screening of Arcade Fire’s The Reflektor Tapes concert film. Thursday I caught Hozier at the first night of Summer Ends Music Festival at Tempe Beach Park and returned for the final day on Sunday to see Pusha T, Chance the Rapper & the Social Experiment, Travis Scott and Kanye West. Tonight I wrapped up with Royal Blood at the Marquee Theater. Please exuse any erronious syntax or spelling. I’m exhausted.
Here are the most memorable songs from the past week:
“Lights & Music” – Cut Copy
No song captures the spirit of Cut Copy better than “Lights & Music”. Their tunes are a testament to the timeless power of synthesizers, atmospheric “Ooohh”s and “Aaahh”s , infectious bass lines and elegantly simple choruses. “Lights & Music” is Cut Copy’s go-to live show finale and when they perform the final build, it explodes into cathartic dance floor anthem.
“Get Right” – Arcade Fire
One of several new tracks released on the deluxe edition of Arcade Fire’s magnificent 2013 album Reflektor, “Get Right” was one of the highlights of The Reflektor Tapes. What starts with a roots rock riff evolves into dark sprawling electro-stomp that is gorgeously arranged with all the trademarks of Arcade Fire.
“Jackie and Wilson” – Hozier
Hozier doesn’t get enough credit. As much as I liked his powerful (and dreadfully inescapable) breakout single “Take Me To Church”, I was very skeptical about Hozier. But I have to admit, his underrated self titled debut album and live performances showcase his talents as a singer, guitarist and songwriter and he deserves better than his One Hit Wonder status. Entirely manic from track to track, Hozier’s sound is either bright with wide eyed optimistic infatuation like on “Jackie and Wilson” or apocalyptically dark and erotic. On Thursday, he played a cleverly arranged cover of The Beatles “Blackbird” and a hilarious and possibly genius interpretation of Ariana Grande’s “Problem”. His synth tinged rhythm and blues gospel is way more interesting than I ever expected. Trust me on this one, Hozier has the goods.
“Sunday Candy” – The Social Experiment
Released as the only single from Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment’s fantastic free album Surf, “Sunday Candy” is among the most warm and joyful songs ever to come out of the hip-hop genre. On stage, Chance the Rapper’s presence is colossal. With energy and charisma to spare, Chance the Rapper led The Social Experiment through a vibrant set that combined music from both of Chance the Rapper’s mixtape as well as Surf. The charming music of The Social Experiment is designed to make you smile until you glow with confidence. Who doesn’t like to glow?
“Out of the Black” – Royal Blood
The final song of my whirlwind week. Royal Blood stretched their ferocious “Out of the Black” into an extended hard rock thunderstorm. They blended in Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” riff and confirmed the first thought I had after listening to their 2014 self-titled debut album: these dudes must have listened to a ton of Sabbath. Their live set was a precisely executed barrage of massive riffs and deafening percussion. Ozzy & the boys should be proud. Royal Blood is a worthy heir to the British hard rock throne.
Check back next week for another installment of 5 Tracks ‘Til Friday.