Words by Brian LaBenne
Every month Off Shelf contributor and Best Song Ever Podcast host Brian LaBenne brings you the best singles of the month and puts together a playlist for your enjoyment. Below you’ll find five highlighted songs that stood above the rest, which is followed by the entire playlist. Please follow our Spotify account so you don’t miss any future playlists!
Brockhampton – Boy Bye (RCA Records)
The best boy band in hip-hop is back with some really excellent music on Ginger, which is out now! Boy Bye has one of the most fun and cartoonish beats, yet still manages to pull off some serious swagger and excellent rapping. Of course, as is the case with Brockhampton, you’ll be confused with exactly how many different people flow in and out of the track throughout, yet it never feels overstuffed.
Column – I (Grand Jury Music)
Made up of members of Post Animal and Twin Peaks, Column makes some really beautiful and psychedelic folky rock. That’s a pretty simplistic explanation of what they are actually doing, which you’ll see when you listen to the track. It’s a long song that begs to be lived in and experienced with some unexpected flourishes along the way. It’s an exciting combination of musicians making something a little off-kilter of what they normally do and I can’t wait to hear what’s next from them.
Bat for Lashes – Jasmine (AWAL Recordings)
The opening lyrics of the wonderful new Bat for Lashes song Jasmine sound like they’re ripped out of some long lost pulp novel:
“She drives hard through the June Gloom haze
Legs for days and bones of pearl
Her love hurtling down death’s highways
The hands of a killer, the heart of a little girl”
Wonderful and dark stortelling mix with fantastic 80s synths and the always arresting vocal performance of Natasha Khan. This is peak Bat for Lashes awesomeness and a really great example of what she does best.
Dump Him – Trash (Get Better Records)
This song (and the album that it comes from) rips so hard. Dump Him are a band from Massachusetts that make really loud, noisy and messy punk rock songs and do it really well. Touching on themes ranging from climate anxiety to disenfranchisement and lots of things in between. Trash is a good introduction to what they do best and if you like I strongly suggest you check out their album Dykes to Watch Out For, which is a quick and wild ride through some chaotic and catchy terrain.
Kindness – Raise Up (Female Energy)
“Build your people / Make them equal / Raise up your different ones” Could there be any better refrain for a song in 2019? Such a bold loving call for equality and empathy almost feels foreign at this point in time, but the artist, appropriately named Kindness, is overflowing with love and empathy. The message of the song is enhanced by propulsive and wonderfully catchy House-tinged music.