This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Callan Tansill-Suddath.
Spring 2016 has been phenomenal for music with exceptional releases from big name artists like Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper and even independent artists. Now that school is over and concert season is upon us, it’s the perfect time to make playlists filled with new music. Here are a few of the tracks we have enjoyed this season:
“Just Another Face”
Modern Baseball was born in Brunswick, Md. out of two high school friends’ desire to make music in their basement. What began as a creative outlet for the jaded suburban kids to cope with their disdain for school, trouble with girls and the overall mundanity of daily life, has blossomed into an influential punk band. Though much of their music echoes themes the genre has built itself on, Modern Baseball tackles issues affecting people who largely don’t have voices.
Founding member Brendan Lukens discussed his mental health struggles after his diagnosis with bipolar disorder in an online documentary released by the band’s label.
“Just Another Face,” the final track off the group’s recently released third album “Holy Ghost,” captures the internal struggle of someone trying to control his declining mental health while attempting to not burden those around him. Reflective lyrics (I’m a waste of time and space / meandering unwanted days / I don’t know how I got here) paired with cacophonous drums and catchy riffs make the song an anthem for those who have known someone dealing with mental illness or who have dealt with it themselves.
Modern Baseball will perform at Baltimore Soundstage on June 28.
“Three Packs A Day”
Courtney Barnett is a powerhouse of creative energy and arguably one of the most refreshing artists making and producing her own music. She has built an image on being unapologetically herself and challenging the arbitrary standards of who women in music should be. With its raw instrumentals and deadpan lyrics, her sound rivals some of indie rock’s female greats like Carrie Brownstein and Patti Smith.
“Three Packs A Day” is Barnett’s most recent release following her debut LP “Sometimes I sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” last May. While one may assume the track is about cigarettes, it’s an ode to another vice – ramen noodles. With an air of 90’s pop rock in its sound and tongue in cheek lyrics (That MSG tastes good to me / I disagree with all your warnings / It can’t be true / That they use glue to keep the noodles stuck together), Barnett has solidified her role in a new age of indie-rock goddesses.
Courtney Barnett is currently touring the U.S. and is set to begin the European leg in late June.
“The Colour in Anything”
In late April, James Blake arranged four murals by Sir Quentin Blake to be displayed in Brooklyn and London. The artwork, it turned out, was the album artwork of Blake’s third, highly anticipated album, “The Colour in Anything.” At midnight on May 6, Blake dropped the album fewer than 24 hours after he announced the release date.
The 76 minute LP features collaborations with Bon Iver and Frank Ocean and proves Blake’s dexterity as an artist. The album’s 17 songs revisit Blake’s characteristic and familiar rawness – each song sounding different from the last with a clear overarching theme of love lost.
In “The Colour in Anything,” the album’s namesake track, Blake uses a minimalistic approach by pairing only melancholic piano with his deep, velvety vocals. The song demonstrates his exceptional vulnerability, and its soft and slow sound may lull you to sleep, unlike the upbeat “Retrograde” from his last album.
James Blake is currently touring around the United Kingdom, and he is expected to announce an international tour soon.