Astro Children – Plain and Fancy Killings

I wrote about ‘Play it as it Lays’ for The Wireless a while ago – it might’ve been one of my more favourite things last year, meaning one of the singles I write about and remember when I wake up at night in a cold sweat contemplating my fate as a member of the human race. The rest here is on the same lines – it’s as if Astro Children are working in the format of the 19th century pamphlet. Constant themes of boys, women, the body (!) and the politics of it/the politics of womenhood met with a barrage of phasers and carefully plotted out drums (the boring comparison is Joy Division, especially in ‘Boys Encourage Female Rivalry’ but insert yr own comparison here). I’m supposed to review singles here so let’s talk about the dulcet chorus of  ‘Plain and Fancy Killings’ and how it’s a perfect melody stripped of anything unnecessary – it is a Perfect Riff, as they say in Ramonesland. It’s lethargic yet never dull – ‘boys’ feels as considered as Tay Tay’s ‘never, ever ever’. So. A

 

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Bryce International Airways – Bad Day Good Night

New Year, New You. The other day I was riding in the car with my friend Matt and he was playing Brian Eno – you know, Brian Eno who wrote pop songs, not Brian Eno who hovers above London like some serious moon. Something about the the delightfully named Bryce International Airways has a similar feeling of joy. Matt was playing ‘Here Come The Warm Jets’, I think. By joy, I mean it’s the feeling of a musician exploring the form of pop itself – pop as a funny-shaped burger, say, or rather a blissful melding of lyrics and music into a kind of aesthetic perfection. BIA is deadpan but not ironic – I have a deep hatred for vapourwave music or whatever – tumblr music or whatever those camp a low hum hipsters like. It’s not an intellectual experience listening to BIA – there’s not a smugness about it – it’s dotted with references to funk, a good dose of Sly Stone but ever-so mechanical and less seedy. It’s an aesthetic experience, like looking at a particularly well designed spoon or table.  You could pick any song off here really – this is the best album so far into this very young year. I’m gonna pick Bad Day Good Night because of the funky funkster riff and the horns, played meticulously as if Motown was purchased by Mariah Carey, and it goes on for too long like 80s songs (or: The Decade Of The Extended Remix, a novel) . A