Words by Brian James
Every month Off Shelf contributor Brian James brings you the best singles of the month and puts together a playlist for your enjoyment. Below you’ll find six highlighted songs that stood above the rest, which is followed by the entire playlist.
SPELLLING describes “Little Deer” as a thesis track, going on to say “ I feel that way because it not only showcases the greatest range of instrumentation that is featured on the album, but also because it accomplishes this strong impression of theater that I was striving for with the album as a whole.” Theatrics are definitely showcased well in this stunningly beautiful and strange first single from The Turning Wheel.
Doss’ previous singles for 4 Hit Songs have been awesome, clubby jams so I was taken aback when hitting play on “Strawberry.” There is an underlying electronic club backbone to the song, but it’s fleshed out with big Shoegaze energy. It really is a gorgeous, driving song that shifts shapes as it builds and gets better with every listen.
This has to be in contention for best chorus of the year. It’s impossible not to smile and fist bump along when that wonderfully disco’y chorus hits! It does make me sad that this isn’t on CHAI’s upcoming album; however, the fact that it’s the theme song for a new anime called Dinosaur Biyori is as totally awesome and fun as the song itself.
I still can’t get over how amazing of a mood this song sets in the first 15 seconds. Every time I start it I get chills from the way the fragmented piano hits together with the beat. It’s really an astounding piece of music and luckily it only gets more interesting as it goes on. I’m so thankful that a friend of mine posted about this song because it had escaped my radar and it is easily in contention for one of my favorite songs of the year so far.
Have you ever wondered what Kate Bush would’ve sounded like if she were making music as a teen in the early 2000s? Well, wonder no more. It’s impossible not to hear the Bush’ian vocals from the start but the fact that it then morphs a bit into early 2000s teen pop with the chorus is both confounding and inspired. Lydia Ainsworth is operating at another level right now and is on a non-stop winning streak of awesome singles leading up to the release of Sparkles & Debris later this month.
If you’ve ever wanted the B-52’s to release paranoid, aggressive and catchy rock music then I’m very happy to introduce you to Squid! The Fred Schneider vibes are strong in the vocal delivery especially throughout their new song “Pamphlets.” ““It’s about all the rubbish right-wing propaganda you get through your front door. It imagines a person with that as their only source of news being taken over by these pamphlets.” The frustration and paranoia are palpable across this 8 minute long jam, which manages to balance catchiness, aggression and total freak out perfectly.
If you don’t have time for the whole playlist but want a handful more awesome songs, check these out!
But, really, just listen to the whole playlist here: