Song of the Week: serpentwithfeet Gains Traction with Soulful “Same Size Shoe”

The experimental singer-songwriter continues to create hype for his new album, DEACON

serpentwithfeet, photo by Braylen Dion
serpentwithfeet, photo by Braylen Dion

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, serpentwithfeet gains traction with “Same Size Shoe”.

There are two types of hype in the music business. One type makes it feel like an artist has the primal forces of nature behind them, controlling all media and advertising to make it seem like their next album will not only be the next canonical masterpiece to change music forever, but also the antidote to all that ails our suffering species and planet. And, then, there’s the type of hype that seemingly finds root in the tiniest speck of soil imaginable and slowly grows from there — get this — as the actual music continues to touch us time and time again. File serpentwithfeet into that latter category of hype.

Experimental musician Josiah Wise, a Baltimore native now creating out of Los Angeles, was a blip on the margins of our radar at best going into 2021. But that’s changing in a hurry as his next album, DEACON, creeps nearer to its March 26th release on Secretly Canadian. Just three weeks ago, “Fellowship” crooned its way into our weekly honorable mentions with its organic percussion and life wisdom about friendship. A week later, Wise takes us to a similar place with “Same Size Shoe”, but it’s far from the same experience — like looking at a breathtaking landscape from two very different vantage points.

We recognize Wise from the first seconds of “Same Size Shoe”, even though atmospheric puffs and a more Gospel-tinged vocal greet us this time around. There’s an unmistakable essence the artist imprints on his songs — a thoughtful enlightenment and jubilation as he pieces together what meaning he’s made of circumstances — and while the range of these first two singles doesn’t seem particularly broad, it’s amazing how much eclecticism can exist in small spaces when we allow ourselves to embrace nuances. It also helps that Wise will do something as unique as call for a trumpet in a bridge and then vocalize the part (“fa-fa-da, fa-fa-da”) rather than have the instrument itself appear.

“Me and my boo wear the same size shoe,” Wise repeats happily in the choruses. The song’s warmth stems from that same type of homespun wisdom we heard in “Fellowship”, the artist using the imagery of shoes and feet to celebrate that he’s found his match, his soulmate, someone he can trust. It’s a jubilant moment that Wise packages as such a small, good thing here in “Same Size Shoe”. Listening to his songs has become like taking a bite of fresh-baked bread or sipping hot tea. His music is a reminder that life’s blessings often come through moments of simple awareness and that hype doesn’t have to be a garish, overblown proposition. It can simply be the gradual appreciation of a good thing.

–Matt Melis
Editorial Director

Honorable Mentions

Alice Phoebe Lou – “Dirty Mouth”

Alice Phoebe Lou is ready to speak her mind on the new song “Dirty Mouth”. It’s the latest single from her upcoming third album, Glowdue out in March. “Dirty Mouth” kicks off with warm and sunny guitars. But as the lyrics make clear, the warmth comes from a lack of inhibition rather than pleasant feelings. “I got tough,” she sings, “‘Cause I had enough/ I was a girl with a big heart/ And they really roughed me up.” Her own sense of freedom comes with a warning to others. “Do you still really/ Wanna mess with me?” she wonders, warning her would-be detractors that, “I’ve got a dirty mouth/ I’m not gonna wash it out.” –Wren Graves

Art d’Ecco – “Head Rush”

Neo-glam rocker Art d’Ecco is gearing up to drop his sophomore album, In Standard Definition, on April 23rd via Paper Bag. He’s now shared a new single called “Head Rush” and a glitzy music video to give fans a taste of what to expect. Like the previously released single “TV God”, this new track is full of punchy glam-rock and melodramatic vocals that recall David Bowie in his snappiest moments. Of course, Art d’Ecco puts his own spin on it by examining the ways in which celebrity power and the entertainment industry keep listeners under their thumb — a prominent theme on the upcoming 12-track record –Nina Corcoran.

Dizzy Fae – “360 Baby”

Twenty-two-year-old Lizzo protégé Dizzy Fae has dropped her latest single, “360 Baby”. With a bouncy, electronic beat, the Stelio-produced song is ready for post-covid dance parties. The Minneapolis singer says the “sex-pop” track draws inspiration from Missy Elliott and Peaches. In the song’s lyrics, Dizzy unabashedly brags about her sexual presence. With a confident delivery, she sings, “I can make your butt cum and tell me I’m relevant/ I can make your future always look at my presence/ You don’t have to call me daddy to know I’m the  eldest/ And I’m a grown bitch so I might let you lick up on my anus.” “‘360 Baby’ is about visualizing what you want and then going out and getting it,” Dizzy said, via a press release. “Manifestation plus persistence, simple as that!” –Eddie Fu

Iceage – “Vendetta”

After much teasing, Copenhagen punk rockers Iceage have announced a new album. It’s called Seek Shelter, and it’s due out May 7th via Mexican Summer. To celebrate, they’ve released a new song titled “Vendetta” alongside an accompanying music video. “Vendetta” is a disco-pop spin on blues rock, and it fits Iceage surprisingly well. Perhaps some of that is thanks to Sonic Boom, the Spacemen 3 member who produced the record and helped illuminate their expansive tone. In a press release, lead singer Elias Bender Rønnenfelt explained the inspiration behind their new single. “Crime is the undercurrent that runs through everything,” he said. “If you don’t see it, you’re not looking. In its invincible politics, it is the glue that binds it all together. ‘Vendetta’ is an impartial dance along the illicit lines of infraction.” –Nina Corcoran

Mister Goblin – “Hook in the Eye”

Sam Goblin, the frontman of Two Inch Astronaut, is set to return this week with the latest album under his Mister Goblin solo moniker, Four People in an Elevator and One of Them Is the Devil. The lead-up included sharing a new track called “Hook in the Eye”. Previous single “Six Flags America”, which featured Sadie Dupuis, was a sparse number, bordering on indie folk. “Hook in the Eye”, by contrast, would fit more in with late ’90s indie emo music — but as if Ben Folds fronted Saves the Day. Melodic verses tell the story of a telemarketing scammer, preying on the vulnerable to bilk them out of their bank accounts. There’s warranted self-loathing behind the words (“This is my theater, your landline my stage now/ Somebody cut the spotlight”), but as the belting chorus comes shredding in, there’s also resignation and even pride: “Slide me the Pulitzer Prize/ ‘Cause I coax tears from your eyes/ It’s just acting/ You know what, besides, I got to make a living someway.” –Ben Kaye

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