By Tom Reardon, March 2020 Issue.
Musically, 2020 is off to an interesting start. There is a ton of cool stuff coming out and some of it is even local to Phoenix. It might not be the newest material, in some cases, but luckily music can be recorded, saved and even improved upon with the right technology. Here are some singles that you should listen to this month and maybe a few you want to avoid.
Grey Daze — “Sickness”
Off the upcoming
album Amends, “Sickness” features the late Chester Bennington’s first
band, Grey Daze, revisiting some old vocal tracks done by the Phoenix native
when the band was active in the middle ‘90s. Bennington went on to help form
Linkin Park, as you probably know, and later sang for Stone Temple Pilots as
well, but this track is definitely worth a listen for fans of Bennington’s
music and even for those who just dig the heavier alternative music of the ‘90s
and want to hear something you probably missed out on if you weren’t living in
Phoenix in those days. “Sickness” delivers a nice antidote for some of the pain
Bennington’s fans may be feeling after his 2018 suicide. It is certainly nice
to hear his beautiful voice again.
Clutch —“Spacegrass (The Weathermaker
The first thing you
should do before listening to this song is hit your local dispensary and ask
for the strongest dose of THC they have. After paying and tipping your
budtender, get to safe place, grab a bag of Oreos and a pint of ice cream, toke
up, and hit play. For a band like Clutch, who sometimes are too self-indulgent
for their own good, “Spacegrass” finds them at the top of their game. Stony,
heavy, and perfectly formed to melt your brain and prolong the munchies long
enough for the ice cream to be ready to scoop. At just over 7 minutes long,
“Spacegrass” is the perfect length to get your buzz going.
Napalm Death — “White Kross”
Even if you don’t like the more extreme genres of metal, everyone should
see Napalm Death at least once in their life. Seriously, there is nothing like
a Napalm Death show and you get to tell you friends things like this, “I went
to see Napalm Death last night” and then check out the confusion on their
faces. “White Kross” is a Sonic Youth cover off their iconic Sister
record and boy do Napalm Death deliver the noisy weirdo goods here. Don’t be
scared, friends, you’ll live to see another day and who knows, you might even
find that you like it.
Pixies — “Mal de Mar” (Demo)
Raise your hand if you remember when the Pixies used to be interesting?
You’re probably over 40 if you’re sitting there with your hand raised and
probably mad at yourself for raising your hand and even madder that the Pixies
have been reduced to churning out releases of their own demos. Let’s face it,
stuff like this should only exist in a shoe box in the back of the drummer’s
closet, in this case David Lovering, because there is always one pack rat in
every band. Don’t waste your time with this version of “Mal de Mar” because it
Anna Calvi/Courtney Barnett — “Don’t Beat The Girl
out of My Boy” (Hunted Version)
Anna Calvi, with
help from Courtney Barnett, delivers a haunting little ditty with nods to Cat
Power and The Clash in “Don’t Beat The Girl out of My Boy.” Fans of Calvi will
remember this song from her killer Hunter record from 2018, but this one
is decidedly different in both feel and flavor. Barnett adds some vocal
stylings that complement Calvi’s song completely. This track is from Calvi’s
forthcoming record, Hunted, which will come out later this year and
revisit the songs of Hunter with multiple guest musicians helping out.
Definitely a must for Barnett fans, as well.
Morrissey — “Love Is On Its Way Out”
In this song, Morrissey sings, “Did you see the headlines?” before he goes on to talk about the “sad rich hunting down elephants.” Unfortunately for the singer fans call Moz, the headlines regarding himself haven’t been so kind in the last few years and what could have been a passable piece of his musical history just sounds trite and a little constipated. While there is an ongoing argument in the music and popular culture world about separating the art from the artist, songs like this from an artist like Morrissey just make it hard to accept anything the man does anymore without feeling a bit ripped off for liking this douche in the first place.