5 tracks to kick off your weekend

Welcome back to Schnide’s 5™️! Two weeks in a row, wow. Let’s get this Friday party started.

So far 2023 < 2022. Last year felt like the culmination of all of the previously unreleased creative exploits produced during the pandemic. Once life got “back to normal” and artists were able to go out and perform and promote their work properly, there was a flow of great albums that seemed to come out almost weekly. The flow has turned into more of a trickle this year; however, today’s new releases are a Dadrock Christmas of new albums from favorites such as Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Jenny Lewis and Janelle Monáe. Gifts that keep on giving.

Kendrick Lamar & Baby Keem, “The Hillbillies”

I put Kendrick at the tippy top of artists who have the most public excitement surrounding any new music they put out. I’m sure the Swifties would give Taylor the nod, and maybe you can make the argument for Beyonce, Adele, Bad Bunny etc. I’m going with the current greatest rapper alive. There was some mystery (or confusion?) surrounding “The Hillbilles” when a teaser first dropped a couple weeks ago. Is it a one-off? The first single from a new super group? A promo for Camp Flog Gnaw at Dodger Stadium in November? The track itself is aaaight. I didn’t hear it and think YES, this is the jam that will dominate the summer, but what do I know? While I have a phD in dadrock, there are so many elements of this track that are outside my depth as an old dude. References to Wales Bonner and Martine Rose, super high fashion brands – $626 for a pair of shitty beige cargo shorts? I spent $80 on shorts at Lululemon once, but that was because I forgot to pack them for a summer vacation like an idiot. Are the references to Messi a harbinger of his move to the MLS? Who are the Compton Cowboys, and do they ride horsies? Like any good mystery, more questions are generated than answered. Regardless, the excitement is there, as evidenced by the 7+ million views of the video, and the fact that the Flog Gnaw presale sold out without an official lineup announced. I guess we need to stay tuned for additional information. One element that struck me when watching the video was that they’re wearing four figure outfits and five figure jewelry whilst driving six figure cars and flying in seven figure private planes, yet the video looks like it was shot on a first edition Go Pro and edited in iMovie. I guess a penny saved is a penny earned. How else can they afford those $626 cargo shorts?

Jenny Lewis, “Puppy and a Truck”

New Jenny Lewis music is always cause for celebration. Looking forward to putting her new album Joy’All in heavy rotation. The track “Pupppy and a Truck” came out a little while ago and features some great lyrical couplets:

My forties are kicking my ass
And handing them to me in a margarita glass

and

I need a dog that’s hypoallergenic
In the poodle milieu and photogenic

Preach, Ms. Lewis! Jenny also got the aging hipster demo excited this week by suggesting she’s open to a Rilo Kiley reunion. Mind blown emoji.

Foo Fighters, “Under You”

This may go against the dadrock grain, but I’m not a huge Foo Fighters guy. I will say that their debut album was a musical touchstone, and I really enjoyed Dave Grohl’s memoir The Storyteller. I mean, how can you deny Dave’s general good guy-ness? On the one hand, he’s been blessed to participate in collaborations with some of the biggest legends in music (the name dropping in The Storyteller gets to be a bit much at points), to say nothing of being in the biggest rock band of the 1990s. He’s also emerged as a simpathetic figure, having lost two of the most important collaborators in his life (Kurt and Taylor Hawkins). Ultimately, I have found the last few Foos albums to be a bit generic, not inviting repeat listenings. That being said, I feel like I’ve got to champion rock bands when they come along, and their latest But Here We Are is a bit of a comeback.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, “Death Wish”

Before we get into Isbell’s latest, I urge you to watch the HBO documentary on him, Running With Our Eyes Closed. A fascinatingly honest portrait of a musical perfectionist who somehow has lived through the common rock cliches of addiction and sobriety, yet has emerged as a survivor who avoided becoming a cliche himself. One moment in the doc that struck me pertains to his awareness that his audience is listening to, and perhaps hanging on, his every lyric. So he will fret about a subject pronoun for several minutes, in search of the perfect article to use. There’s never a wasted moment with Jason. Can’t wait for the Greek show next month.

De La Soul, “Itzsoweezee (HOT)”

I don’t know about you, but I’m really loving the 2023 De La Soulaissance. They made up for many years where their catalog was lost in musical oblivion by re-marketing themselves and re-releasining their seminal 1989-96 albums, and have officially emerged as the front runner for most listened to artist of 2023 on my Spotify Wrapped in December. They have also been dropping single mixes of album tracks every few weeks. I don’t know what makes the single mix of “Itzsoweezee” different from the version that appeared on 1996’s Stakes Is High. Nor do I really care. It’s just great to have De La Soul back in my life. RIP Trugoy The Dove.

Happy listening.