Song of the Week breaks down and talks about the song we just can’t get out of our head each week. Find these songs and more on our Spotify Top Songs playlist. For our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, two longtime friends form a new band and find a new sound.
The past year of our lives has taught us that loneliness comes in several shades of blue. It can feel like total isolation, separation from dear friends, or even the tedium of seeing the same faces every single day. Those among us who have fared best have either found ways to beat the loneliness (a little Zoom went a long way there for a while, didn’t it?) or embrace it as a chance to remain in the moment and accomplish something. Jay Som (Melina Duterte) and Palehound vocalist/guitarist Ellen Kempner definitely managed to do the latter in 2020. Duterte put out multiple Jay Som singles and safe-collaborated with no less than beabadoobee and Soccer Mommy while Palehound have managed to keep a steady stream of singles coming during the downtime.
But they also had a secret that no doubt gave them the ultimate quarantine combatant: something to look forward to. In January of 2020 — a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away — Duterte and Kempner, longtime friends, had begun a new project together and done some recording during a tour break. Suffice it to say, Duterte and Kempner are enthusiastic about finally circling back to that venture. There’s an almost palpable giddiness bursting out of the first line in the pair’s press release: “We’re so excited to finally share this song with y’all and announce our new band!” Their band is Bachelor, and that song is “Anything at All”, a debut single that won’t have you wanting to listen to anything else for at least a couple of days.
It’s a pairing that makes a lot of sense aesthetically. Both Jay Som and Palehound specialize in a brand of bedroom rock that occasionally threatens to take matters downstairs and outside to the garage. On “Anything at All”, we hear both artists come together on a song that, most likely, neither one would’ve quite gotten to alone. As the band tell it, Bachelor all started with Duterte landing on a particularly funky bassline and waking up Kempner to lay down drums and eventually co-write the lyrics. The final effect is a stone-cold groove that turns into a jump-rope ditty and ends in a sonic rocket ship ride. Duterte and Kempner call the experience of creating and finally putting out the song “hopeful and joyous.”
A song that brought two friends together and effuses hope and joy. That’s a great look for 2021 and, more importantly, something for the rest of us to look forward to as well.
Noname – “Rainforest”
Barely five years after releasing her debut mixtape, Noname is gearing up to drop what may be her last album ever, Factory Baby. This week, she teased its release by sharing a new single called “Rainforest”, featuring fellow Chicago rapper Adam Ness. Clocking in at just under three minutes in length, “Rainforest” is the latest track to showcase Noname’s unique, mellow flow and her penchant for slick retro-themed beats. While the hook is seemingly a forlorn take on trust in relationships (“How you get closer to love?/ How you lemonade all your sadness when you opening up?”), the rest of the song concerns itself with the realities of hustle culture, the environmental ignorance of greed, and the intersection of capitalism and race. –Nina Corcoran
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – “Hand of God”
Surprise! Nick Cave and longtime Bad Seeds associate Warren Ellis have unveiled a brand-new album called Carnage, and you can stream it in full via Apple Music or Spotify. The eight-song project was written and recorded by the two musicians during quarantine. They’ve been collaborating with one another for nearly 30 years, both in The Bad Seeds and on multiple soundtracks, but Carnage marks the first batch of songs that they’ve ever released as a duo. In a press release, Cave described the album as “a brutal but very beautiful record nested in a communal catastrophe.” Meanwhile, Ellis shared that “Making Carnage was an accelerated process of intense creativity. The eight songs were there in one form or another within the first two and a half days.” We recommend starting with opener “Hand of God” and listening to the album non-stop until it comes out on vinyl on May 28th. –Eli Enis
J.I.D – “Skegee”
J.I.D packs a history lesson about man’s inhumanity to man into his searing new track, “Skegee”. The song takes its title from the infamous and horrifying Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the African American Male. It’s an ugly moment in American history, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see an artist approach it with anger. But J.I.D’s take is more philosophical, rapping over a moody beat by Cristo that’s built around heartbroken choral riffs. “Skegee” comes with a music video co-directed by J.I.D and Michael Kelly. It shows the rapper in black and white, standing in fields where sharecroppers might have toiled. The camera lingers on Black families, especially children, emphasizing the unbroken chain between the men whose lives the study ruined and the hope of the next generation. It’s one of the most thoughtful, powerful musical statements of the year, and you can check it out above. –Wren Graves
Warish – “Seeing Red”
Warish, the punk trio led by Riley Hawk, are set to release new album Next to Pay on April 30th. The band premiered the LP’s latest single, “Seeing Red”, right here at Heavy Consequence this week. The band’s heavy sound ranges from Misfits-like horror punk to Bleach-era Nirvana to Black Sabbath doom, with “Seeing Red” falling more into the horror punk category. Riley delivers spooky vocals over the hard-driving track, which also calls to mind The Stooges and early Social Distortion. Regarding the new single, Riley told us, “This song is about being stuck in a bad pattern and getting angry with yourself for turning a blind eye and just making the same mistakes all over again, in many different aspects of life.” –Spencer Kaufman
Mother Nature – “MOMENTZ”
The Windy City MC’s Klevah and TRUTH have been putting out music together as Mother Nature since 2016 and have kicked around in the Chicago local scene ever since. Both rappers strike a delicate balance between classic, craft-minded form and the compelling personality that dominates the present-day landscape. They have a new mixtape coming out later this year, and this week they gave fans a taste with a new single called “Momentz”. The beat on “Momentz” features watery synths, a hefty kick, and clattering hi-hats that fit snugly in producer BoatHouse’s eclectic repertoire — right in between the indie-rap precision of Open Mike Eagle and the moist cloud-rap of LUCKI. Mother Nature aren’t offering any further details about their upcoming mixtape, but they have confirmed that “Momentz” will be on it and indicated that it will arrive soon. –Eli Enis
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