THE EDIT: 06/04
A bite-size run-down of the best stuff of the week.
1. This Rap Recap of Game Of Thrones Season 6
If, like most of the civilized world, you're completely obsessed with Game Of Thrones—and low-key pissed that Season 7 got pushed to July—you're definitely going to appreciate this first pick. Ras Kass, a West Coast rapper known for his 90's albums like Soul On Ice took it upon himself to make a super-helpful rap recap of Season 6. With his entertaining bars (anyone know what rhymes with Hodor?) and comprehensive knowledge, it's the perfect way to study up before Season 7. Like Cliffs Notes—but more rhyming.
2. "Out Of Me Head" by Steve Lacy
I'm not sure I would even call this a song. It's more like a sketch, a sample, a morsel. But DAMN I love everything this kid does (including his work on Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. Ew. I'll stop). It's sticky, it's gooey, it's got that groove that makes you think of summer—and he posted it on his SoundCloud two years ago so obviously I'm super up to date on what the kidz are doing. I think my favorite part is how he wrote "literally all i can come up with lol i sucks at writing," as the description underneath it. Love this guy.
3. "Holding On" by The War On Drugs
Anyone who knows me will tell you that my heart basically beats for Bruce Springsteen, so anything that even borders on being sonically related to his music is always going to get my attention. Enter "Holding On." You've got Born In The USA synths, the twinkling glockenspiel of Born To Run, and a classic Boss refrain: that of hanging in there 'til you see the morning light. I mean: "I went down a crooked highway/Alone outside the line/I've been rejected, now the man has turned and I'm out of time." Have you seen Brucier lyrics written by a non-New Jersey hand in your whole entire life? Every time I listen to this, I'm half-expecting an elfish Courtney Cox to appear.
4. The Lemon Twigs' Over/Under
I found three things in this video to truly be of value.
1. I love when anyone recounts their bit part in Law & Order/CSI/et al.
2. Their very logical argument that "Pants shouldn't reflect what the leg does. Pants can do their own thing."
3. Their painfully relatable mixed feelings about Johnny Depp.
5. This Slice of LaCroix Madness
I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me why drinking LaCroix is now a required part of being a Los Angeles-based human being, but I have a feeling no one will be able to convince me of its magic more than Big Dipper. By the time he's wearing the wings made of cans of his beloved beverage, you'll probably want to crack one open and indulge in some "water juice" yourself.
P.S. This video also taught me I've been saying "LaCroix" wrong for quite some time. Embarrassing.
6. Witness by Benjamin Booker / Waiting On A Song by Dan Auerbach
Two albums were on heavy rotation this week, the first being Benjamin Booker's Witness—his sophomore, gospel-soul-r&b effort that has shaved some of the punk edge off his 2014 debut, replacing it with a lyrical one. Over Motown strings and irresistible grooves, Booker comes to terms with his internal conflict, as well as his place amidst a world set on tearing itself apart. You can listen to the album and read my full review here.
The second album is Dan Auerbach's Waiting On A Song, a star-studded, Nashville-influenced number from the Black Keys' more prolific half. John Prine, Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler, and rockabilly hero Duane Eddy all make appearances for the kind of retro-centric affair we've come to expect from Auerbach.
There's a little something for everyone. The fat beat of 70's soul-number "Malibu Man" will have you walking down the street like Nixon is still in office, the exuberant "Shine On Me"—that's Knopfler thumb-picking away—is shallow but inescapable sing-a-long fare, "Undertow" has Auerbach doing his best Marvin Gaye over soaring strings and a humming organ, and "Show Me" is a sweet little country-tinged pop-nugget that sounds like one of Glen Campbell's classics.
Don't come here for lyrical depth—compared to the GORGEOUS production and catchy melodies they actually seem like an afterthought—but the album is a joy to listen to. It's a meticulously, thoughtfully engineered piece of work, yet it feels totally effortless—a true throwback to another time, when catchy pop gold was being churned out like boxes of Cheerios.