Mike D’s Top Tracks

Big Grams – “Lights On”
I love this song, should be a radio hit. Expectations were pretty high for this Phantogram & Big Boi collaboration, but the album didn’t quite live up to the hope given the range of the two talents. But this song is the exception. “Lights On” sounds more like a Phantogram dream pop jam with a Big Boi appearance than a new act, but it would still be my favorite Phantogram song. I don’t expect much touring out of this side project, but if you are going to a 2016 festival, keep an eye out for them.
Dilly Dally – “Desire” – Dilly Dally headline Great Scott in Boston 11.17
There seems to be a ’90s revival throwing shade toward the second wave (Hole, Garbage, etc.) of grunge bands going on right now and I am all for it. Just like Wavves, I find it way more interesting to see bands now take on these influences than I ever did bands like the Vines or Silverchair that were just behind the boom. Dilly Dally come from Toronto and their debut album Sore (on Partisan Records, home to Deer Tick) is a solid record worthy of a purchase. Katie Monk’s growling on “Desire” makes me feel warm and fuzzy.
PWR BTTM – “1994”
Up next, another trip down revisiting ’90s memory lane. This track has a The Rentals vibe with vocals that remind me of the Smoking Popes. The best songs are the ones that are short, sweet, and you hit replay right after its done, and I have been doing that a lot with this track. PWR BTTM hail from Hudson, New York, and are on Facebook according to them to “not make friends, we’re here to win.” I respect anyone who takes social media so competitively.
EL VY –  “Silent Ivy Hotel”
EL VY is a side project by The National frontman Matt Berninger and Menomena’s Brent Knopf. The National is one of those bands I never fell in love with or really followed, but everyone else around me did. EL VY is sooooo good that I really need to take some time and go back through both The National and Menomena’s old catalog. 95.5 WBRU is spinning their new single / title track “Return To The Moon,” but the stand out track to me is “Silent Ivy Hotel.” Berninger’s deep baritone voice mixes perfectly with garage lounge backdrop. I think of it as if Nick Cave tried making a ’50s Halloween track about trying to pick up another lost soul at the bar. You’ll be singing along after two plays.
Tate Kobang – “Bank Rolls (remix)”
There is no shortage of hip-hop breakout tracks with questionable dancing in 2015. What separates Tate Kobang from say Silento or Drake is the fact I wouldn’t make fun of his dancing to his face for fear of losing my life. Dude is from the country’s crime capital, Baltimore, and most likely as strapped as he claims to be. Silly dancing in the video aside, this track is fire. Tate’s flow is clear and fast as fire. The best thing to come out of Baltimore, “The City That Bleeds,” since “The Wire.”
Julia Hotler –  “The Sea Calls Me Home”
This track is the most fitting to fall of all these songs.  Julia Holter’s song has a touch of Nico / Velvet Underground mixed with french pop, and has a finality of the summer vibe to it. “It’s no wonder they’re shipping all my clothes;

Wear the fog, I’ll forget the rules I’ve known.” I am jumping to a lot of conclusions on this one, but I would rather be jumping into sea. Still warm with the feelings of summer, frightened of the regrets of inevitable winter. I should have been a trust fund kid with a sailboat.

Ryan Adams – “Wildest Dreams”
I gave in and searched for what all the hub-bub was about the Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift album. I avoided it for a while, but when I read he tried to reimagine her songs as played by Springsteen circa “Nebraska” I couldn’t help myself. While none of the songs match “Atlantic City,” he did a pretty good job. I only recognized two or so of the songs from having heard Taylor’s version already, but “Wildest Dreams” wasn’t one of them. I finally heard Taylor’s version at the ghost of a Hess Station buying Gatorade yesterday; I like Ryan’s cover a lot better. I give her the edge though for “Shake It Off.”
Graveyard – “The Apple And the Tree” – Graveyard headline The Middle East in Cambridge, MA 1.22.16
I could kick myself for not getting into this band earlier. Sweden’s Graveyard have been kicking around for almost a decade cranking out hard psychedelic garage rock, and I’m a dope for taking so long to finally listen to them. The name is pretty bad, but the riffs are sublime. They remind me of a more southern leaning version of the countrymen’s The Hellacopters. The best American Garage rock of the last 15 years has actually been coming from English-as-a-second-language rockers from Scandinavia.
Sweet Talk – “Borrow Your Stuff”
Record label 12XU has been cranking out some of my new favorite bands as of late. The label is run by Gerald Cosloy, one of the taste makers at the indie benchmark label Matador Records. Bands such as Pittsburgh’s The Gotobeds, Houston’s Snooty Garbagemen, Cleveland’s Obnox and Austin’s own Sweet Talk are part of the garage rock leaning labels stable.  This track is a sweet power pop garage blast about everyone’s favorite person, the dude is only your friend to borrow your shit. As a person with access to a guest list, I can most certainly relate.
Nicole Dollanganger –  “Angels Of Porn II”
It’s hard to tell whether or not I enjoy this. Nicole Dollanganger certainly knows how to spark an internal conflict within the listener. Her voice sounds angelic, but her soul and lyrics sound like they have been living in a sex dungeon for years upon years. Hearing her sing “I’d give my body to Satan / if I could only keep my soul / but I can’t seem to find the split / between them anymore” with her angelic voice is a sound to be heard. She reminds me of the first really sexually aware person you knew growing up; confident but almost tortured for being ahead of their time and being picked on by the confused peers around them. Check out her song “Chapel” for a less stark introduction. Also worth nothing, the video for “Angels Of Porn II” is interesting too. In case you were curious, it was too goth for Hot Topic but most people can’t tell the difference that teenagers do in the sunlight.