Staff Pix 3/10: New Releases
The Milk Crate staff’s favorite tracks of the week, presented with blurbs worthy of a promotional sticker on a jewel case. Tune in Fridays from 2-3 EST to the Staff Pix radio show.
Good Time by The Dare
When Harrison Patrick Smith aka ‘The Dare’ came out with his follow-up track to his single Girls, I was neither in the city, the club, nor online. I was sitting in my friend Antonio’s 2006 Honda Accord parked in a sonic drive-in at 12 AM. With its rumble basslines and techno bang, you would think it came out the same year as the car, manufactured to be played on a Gossip Girl soundtrack. But alas in 2023, there is a slow uprising of Indie sleaze for those who were still listening to their parent’s music for its first wave. Smith takes on the flash visuals of house parties made for connections and combines them with a sound that makes you see the future of what the night has to offer. It’s cocky and arrogant, as all great dance music is. Although songs about having fun while being broke and owning the night might be overplayed and annoying, The Dare takes that general idea and makes it into his own ideology. He makes it seem as if train rides home at 4 am didn’t exist without him. Screaming “I’m in the club while you’re online. I hope my set sounds good outside” at a pitch so sharp it turns heads. Having a good time requires a certain mindset, luckily this song has it in the name.
Wild Animals by Liv.e
Since creeping onto the underground music scene in 2017, Dallas native Liv.e (pronounced Liv) has been cranking out project after project of off-the-wall RnB greatness. Her style is best described as a nebulous marriage of neo-soul, glitch, and hip-hop, and her latest album, Girl in the Half Pearl, is another impressive notch to add to her belt. Amidst the noisy experimentation of the album, “Wild Animals” stands out like a sore thumb. And thank God it does. The song begins with a chopped piano loop that just oozes atmosphere. The drums are a fuzzy accompaniment that march along in the background, and the entire affair is interjected with electronic blips and ambient swells. It’s easily some of the most original and addictive production I’ve heard this year, and it makes the song simply impossible to turn off. Liv.e’s vocals are gently delivered ruminations on men (AKA wild animals) who dog after her and waste her time with posturing shenanigans. Her lyricism is razor sharp (“You just a pack of dogs, but everybody likes their boys with toys”), and the melodies are just so fun to sing along to. If you haven’t heard Girl in the Half Pearl yet, do your ears a favor and check it out as soon as you finish reading this article; Liv.e does not disappoint.
I Want to Go to There by Take Van
Up and coming rave and house music artist Take Van (she/they) blesses our ears with new song “I Want to Go to There.” Although the song is just under two and half minutes, it’s full of lyrics and beats to fill a dance floor instantly. Take Van is truly impeccable in her ability to create songs to dance to. Full of bass, snares, and a mash-up of synthesized digital sounds, “I Want to Go to There” is sure to be a new staple of any fan who loves club music. Although the lyrics are fairly simple and repetitive, Take Van opens the song with the lines of “I can't tell if I wanna be her or if you need her/ Who's that girl? I know you see her/ I'm gonna meet her” instantly queering the song. The chorus is a repetition of “yes” over and over again, hyping up the listener to keep dancing and let loose. I am really excited to see where Take Van goes with their music career in the next year. They have released so many viral hits like “In My Head” and “Time Goes By,” but are constantly releasing new hits.
A&W by Lana Del Rey
In her latest single ahead of her album, the sad and bad girl queen Lana Del Rey solemnly laments on her existence, and then transitions into a shimmying, fun dance beat a lá some of her earlier work - see Born to Die and older unreleased tracks like “You Can Be The Boss.” The lyricism of the first half - named the “American Whore” section - rings with the same frequency of the gut-wrenching depression of Ultraviolence as Del Rey asks us “Did you know a singer can still be/looking like a side piece at 33?” In her melancholic introspection she says “I’m a princess/I’m divisive/Ask me why, why, why I’m like this,” examining her public image and persona. Halfway through, the song transitions into an upbeat alt-pop banger, otherwise known as the “Jimmy” section. With a groove similar to her older tracks, Lana magically repeats the lyrics “Shimmy shimmy koko bop/Jimmy jimmy ride,” entrancing listeners into dancing to her sad, sad, beat.
Ring of Past by Men I Trust
Men I Trust is back with another whispery dreamy track with “Ring of Past”. The vibes reflect the music video, a 1970s roller rink. The lyrics are a bit difficult to listen to under the leads soft voice but the lyrics are pretty, “Spin in a ring of past /I dive through memories that are locked around thee /In blind days, when I’m lost /The dreams that we cherished foremost soar through me” They seem to reminiscent of a past lover, a sort of longing for those memories to come back with the chorus, “I will always love you/Forever with you/Reliving youth with/You”. This track totally screams walking through the Common vibes at 3am.
coogie by Dijon
If you haven’t jumped on the Dijon train yet, I’ve got your ticket right here. Released just last Friday, “coogie” is an atmospheric ballad that evokes a warm, hazy feeling that calls you home. In it, Dijon croons about a lover’s quarrel, displaying his determination to work through it with lines like “If it pleases you, honey / If it pleases / Well, I’ll do my best to bear it,” while his pleading, soft tone of voice brings home his message. “coogie” begs for you to grab your lover and hold them close, swaying to Dijon’s raspy sensuality. The balance between the sparsely picked but crucial guitar notes, the ethereal crooning of mysterious backup voices, and his heartfelt words have culminated in the my favorite Dijon song to date.
only wanna dance by almost monday
I don’t get nearly as many opportunities to write about almost monday as I’d like, but I jump at all of the chances offered. “only wanna dance” sonically follows the band’s signature California-beachy-feel good sound, featuring strong drum breaks and guitar riffs that I strongly believe are unmatched by anything else on their discography. This song, released Feb. 24, relays an adventurous and playful vibe about that one person you’re attracted to, but can’t quite identify why. “only wanna dance” is unmatched and proves to be almost monday’s best song to date.
40k by Gee Tee
If the phrase “chain punk vs. egg punk” makes any sense to you, it might be time to get off Twitter. You might also be interested to know that Aussie egg-punk exemplars Gee Tee have released their sophomore full-length, Goodnight Neanderthal, a scorching 17-minutes of off-the-wall rhythms played with, well, Neanderthal precision. Produced by Erik Nervous, best known for his work on the Liquids instant-classic Life Is Pain Idiot, Goodnight Neanderthal has all the makings of an album in line with the rest of Gee Tee’s genre-defining body of work. Gee Tee have got the backing of egg punk’s finest and Australia’s rich punk history in their corner, and are only getting better with every new release. So if lo-fi fuzz, verse-chorus-verse songwriting and monophonic synth leads scratch your brain the way they scratch mine, try this ten-track on for size — and if it’s somehow not your speed, you’re only seventeen minutes in the hole. No-risk, high-reward — you’d be a Neanderthal not to give this LP a listen.
Tulip Sniper by Charmer
Michigan-based emo rockers Charmer just signed to Counter Intuitive records and their first release through the label does not disappoint. Tulip Sniper is the opening track on the four song EP and it definitely deserves that first spot. A song almost definitely named after an Aqua Teen Hunger Force character, its lush guitars and understated vocals make for an experience that’s like no other. And it couldn’t have come at a better time personally, too. The night I saw Charmer had dropped an EP I was overwhelmed with work and at my wits’ end, but when those guitar chords graced my ears all the stress of pre-spring break school washed away. It’s a different sound for the band, leaving behind their signature mathy arpeggios for something more acoustic. They’ve said that their original sound will be back in full force on their next full length though, which makes my life easier because I can listen as much as I want without having tofeel like I miss the band I know and love. I’m seeing Charmer play Arts at the Armory with Ogbert the Nerd, Oolong, and Pomegranate Tea in Boston on March 17th, and with any luck I’ll get to hear Tulip Sniper live! Until then, I’ll just keep listening anytime I get a little too stressed out.
Bang Bang by Momma
I was introduced to Momma last August when I saw them open for Snail Mail at Fete Music Hall in Providence, RI. Sometimes, when I first listen to an artist, their songs sort of meld together in my head. It’s not necessarily a bad thing — the same thing happened with me and Phoebe Bridgers, and I wrote a 1500 word article on Stranger in the Alps last semester. It just takes a second to get into them. This happened to me when I saw Momma perform, but I think it was due in part to me being anxious to hear Snail Mail and this was the second opening act we had to get through. Reminiscent of 90s alternative outfits like Veruca Salt, Momma undoubtedly piqued my interest. Of course, I never got around to the deep dive into their discography I meant to take because I always end up falling into my comfortable listening habits, until now. Released on March 1st, “Bang Bang” is consistent with the apathetic, Daria-esque sound that I heard this past summer. It’s simple, it’s quick, and it’s the perfect track to use as a lead single for an upcoming album. Momma gives the people what they want, while still keeping a few tricks up their sleeve for what’s to come.
If Looks Could Kill by Destroy Lonely
Destroy Lonely’s "If Looks Could Kill" demo has had a mass spread online from apps like Soundcloud to Tik Tok. It's been nearly impossible to escape this dark yet catchy track and all the memes associated with it. Although this song has been circulating online for weeks, it wasn’t until last week that the official full-length studio version was released. With lyrics like, “If Looks Could Kill/ Baby I’m The Fashion Demon,” Lonely merges vamp-rock, trap, and rap-rock elements to create a unique sound. With the gaining popularity of Playboi Carti’s label Opium, artists like Destroy Lonely and Ken Karson have been pushed into the spotlight, and for good reason. Destroy Lonely and artists alike are pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and rap, merging genres and aesthetics that might not typically be associated with rap and hip-hop. "If Looks Could Kill," with its hypnotizing 808s and reverbed layered guitars, is one example of this emerging genre that I can’t stop listening to.
Nothing’s Free by Angel Olsen
In her previous album Big Time, which came out in 2022, Angel Olsen was coming to terms with growing up whilst simultaneously dealing with her mother’s passing. It was heavy. This newly announced album — Forever Means — sounds equally promising in heaviness, but for changed reasons, surrounding a different subject. The first single of the four-track album, “Nothing’s Free” was made as a response to a time in which Olsen wrestled with her sexuality and identity, that point when “you notice how long you’ve been restraining who you are.” The simplicity of the lyrics demonstrates this brilliantly: “That old cell / The one you thought had kept you safe / But nothing's free / Like breaking free.” These lyrics are sung throughout the beginning of the song only. As Olsen sings, a smooth saxophone follows, echoing a few beats behind until her voice drops out, allowing for the instrument to explore the feelings that cannot be put into words. Its melody is strong, emotional, and hypnotizing. As the song nears the end, a jazz synth joins the swing drums, saxophone, and piano. It feels like you’re in an old jazz club, learning life lessons from experienced musicians that you wouldn’t be able to access anywhere else. Olsen cries out one last phrase, “I’m broken,” whose meaning is unclear: Has she broken free from her cage? Has she broken down? Or does she believe that her sexuality is what makes her broken?
Smog by Indigo De Souza
Indigo De Souza’s last single “Younger and Dumber” absolutely gutted me with its devastatingly relatable lyrics and bluesy beat. I was reluctant to listen to “Smog” because I did not want to reenter the pits of despair that “Younger and Dumber” put me into. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the upbeat synth pop wonder of “Smog.” De Souza “comes alive” on this track, with punchy, danceable choruses that deviate from her existing discography. While the beat is cheerful, the lyrics reflect the anxiety that derives from the inability to hear yourself think. The track packs a playful punch, and has created immense anticipation for her next album, All of This Will End.
CooCool by Róisín Murphy
Róisín Murphy’s first single since her 202 album Roisin Machine is a fun, light nu-disco hit. After the more intense and lengthy singles from her past album and the remix album Crooked Machine, “CooCool” is a return to her more silly and atmospheric tracks. In her signature word-play style of lyricism she bounces around the word “cool” until it falls into a rhythm, cooing back and forth between the washes of disco sound. Róisín is the sleeper hit of dance music, having put out exceptional work since her time with Moloko and her first solo debut in 2005. “CooCool” is a nice reentry into her sound, and wherever she goes next, it's sure to be coocool.
California by Oh He Dead
This newest release from Washington D.C.’s Oh He Dead arrives just in time for the spring break season—it’s got instrumentals that’ll make your hips move, infectious lyrics, and good mood groove perfect for the week ahead. Wherever you’re off to, no-matter the compass direction, “California” will fit perfectly into your plans for the week off. Don’t get parched from a lack of new music this March! Give it a listen, and tune into the good vibes. Happy Spring Break ‘23!