Hello songbirds! Welcome back to the Captain’s Log, a column that harkens back to the footloose and fancy-free early Autostraddle days when I used to head down to SXSW and painstakingly document all the new bands I could absorb in one whiskey-soaked weekend. Nowadays, while glorious paid vacations are a bit more difficult to come by, new artists are fortunately still popping up all the time. Here are some new songs I think you might enjoy.
M.I.A. – Bring the Noize
Last we heard from M.I.A., critics were getting a little bit tired of her politics, and a particular incident with a truffle fry didn’t do her any favors. Although “Bad Girls” was a great song and an even better video, the resulting album “MAYA” was a commercial flop. It’s reassuring, then, that “Bring the Noize” is a return to form – mesmerizing layers of drum machines and synth chirps that remind me more of “Arular” than anything she’s done lately.
The Coathangers – Derek’s Song
The Coathangers are basically everything I could ever want in a rock band – badass women who write catchy, garagey music I can drink to. They released “Derek’s Song” (an ode to a friend of the band who passed away last year) this past February on a limited edition split record with labelmates Nü Sensae. This brand new video sees the Coathangers raging in a hotel room with typical rock’n'roll aplomb – until a series of mysterious murders threaten to derail the party.
Haerts – All The Days
Brooklyn-based Haerts first caught my attention with their gorgeously catchy first single “Wings” – a melancholy, perfectly satisfying synth pop track that seems tailor made for moping in air conditioning all summer long. For their second single “All the Days,” Haerts shot a video in a Hollywood salsa club and filled it with local dancers. The track is about as far from salsa as you can get – reverb-soaked and moody, more suited for swaying in the dark than tossing a partner around – but somehow the dancers and the relationships between them make it totally work. The video premiered on Aritzia’s website last week and will hit Vevo in a couple of days. Haerts are on tour now with Atlas Genius, and I’m excited to see what they come out with next.
Shannon and the Clams – Rip Van Winkle
I’ve been hearing about Shannon and the Clams for a couple of months, but it wasn’t until I heard them play with Mikhail Cronin in New York last week that I finally realized what all the hype is about. The Oakland-based trio write clever, charming songs that sound straight out of the 1960s, topped off with a little bit of rockabilly snarl.
The Julie Ruin – Oh Come On
Has Kathleen Hanna ever done anything wrong, or even anything mediocre? It seems highly improbable. Originally conceived as a lo-fi solo project sometime between Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, the Julie Ruin are a currently a five-piece band led by the riot grrrl pioneer. “Oh Come On” is our first taste of what they’ve been cooking up in their secret underground headquarters, and it’s everything you could ever want in a Kathleen Hanna project – eminently danceable, with anthemic, sing-song vocals and raucous guitars. This lyric video will be very helpful for all the times you’ll undoubtedly want to jump around your bedroom shouting this song into a hairbrush. The Julie Ruin just announced that they’re playing this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, and they’re heading out on tour this fall in support of their record “Run Fast,” out September 3.