Untitled Document

And here we are at the end of April already! How'd that happen? And there certainly have been a lot of showers around here. I sure am ready for those May flowers. And May music is always good too, so let's bring that on!

After three weeks atop the singles chart, we have to bid adieu to Dan Auerbach, or at least knock him down a few spots. There are dual chart toppers this week with The Kooks' new single "Be Who You Are" from their upcoming best of album tied with Royal Blood's "Lights Out." Then on the album chart, Father John Misty reclaims the #1 position that he held just two weeks ago with Pure Comedy, while the latest single from that record, "Total Entertainment Forever" comes in at #3.

Future Islands hold onto the #2 album spot with The Far Field, but they have to share it this week with The Black Angels' Death Song. The Jesus and Mary Chain's first album in a couple decades, Damage and Joy, lands at #4, followed Spoon's Hot Thoughts at #5, and a tie at #6 between Gorillaz's Humanz and Little Dragon's Season High. The top ten albums are actually the top twelve as they close out with a five way tie at #8, featuring The Afghan Whigs, Black Lips, Brick + Mortar, Dirty Projectors, and The New Pornographers.

Back to the singles chart, Chicano Batman comes in at #4 with "Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm), followed by a couple ties. "Arabian Heights" from the aforementioned Afghan Whigs shares the #5 spot with the former three week top single "Shine On Me" from that guy from The Black Keys. Then it's another big (four way) tie to round out the top ten with Brick + Mortar, Broken Social Scene, Diet Cig, and Wavves. You can investigate the details of those ties and lots more on the charts below.

I'll catch you back here on Fleet Foxes' favorite date, the "Third of May" (and of course Arcade Fire's favorite month to make a record).

~ Josh Landow
Twitter: @JoshTLandow

Updated 4/26/17
# Artist Track Label
1t THE KOOKS BE WHO YOU ARE ASTRALWERKS
  ROYAL BLOOD LIGHTS OUT WARNER BROS.
3 FATHER JOHN MISTY TOTAL ENTERTAINMENT FOREVER SUB POP
4 CHICANO BATMAN FRIENDSHIP (IS A SMALL BOAT IN A STORM) ATO
5t THE AFGHAN WHIGS ARABIAN HEIGHTS SUB POP
  DAN AUERBACH SHINE ON ME EASY EYE
7t BRICK + MORTAR ONE LITTLE PILL SELF-RELEASED
  BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE HALFWAY HOME ARTS & CRAFTS
  DIET CIG BARF DAY FRENCHKISS
  WAVVES MILLION ENEMIES GHOST RAMP
11t (SANDY) ALEX G PROUD DOMINO
  ALT-J IN COLD BLOOD CANVASBACK / ATLANTIC
  THE BLACK ANGELS I'D KILL FOR HER PARTISAN
  GORILLAZ WE GOT THE POWER PARLOPHONE UK / WARNER BROS.
  PARAMORE HARD TIMES FUELED BY RAMEN
  SKATING POLLY LOUDER IN OUTER SPACE EL CAMINO
  THE WAR ON DRUGS THINKING OF A PLACE ATLANTIC
  THE XX I DARE YOU YOUNG TURKS
19t BISHOP BRIGGS THE WAY I DO TELEPORT / ISLAND
  HOOPS RULES FAT POSSUM
  LITTLE HURRICANE OTL MASCOT
  MAC DEMARCO ON THE LEVEL CAPTURED TRACKS
  SPOON CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU MATADOR
24t MAGIC GIANT SET ON FIRE WASHINGTON SQUARE / CONCORD
  RISE AGAINST VIOLENCE VIRGIN
  SLOWDIVE SUGAR FOR THE PILL DEAD OCEANS
 
Updated 4/26/17
# Artist Album Label
1 FATHER JOHN MISTY PURE COMEDY SUB POP
2t THE BLACK ANGELS DEATH SONG PARTISAN
  FUTURE ISLANDS THE FAR FIELD 4AD
4 THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN DAMAGE AND JOY ADA / WARNER
5 SPOON HOT THOUGHTS MATADOR
6t GORILLAZ HUMANZ PARLOPHONE UK / WARNER BROS.
  LITTLE DRAGON SEASON HIGH LOMA VISTA
8t THE AFGHAN WHIGS IN SPADES SUB POP
  BLACK LIPS SATAN'S GRAFFITI OR GOD'S ART? VICE
  BRICK + MORTAR DROPPED AGAIN SELF-RELEASED
  DIRTY PROJECTORS DIRTY PROJECTORS DOMINO
  THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS WHITEOUT CONDITIONS CONCORD
13t CHICANO BATMAN FREEDOM IS FREE ATO
  SLOWDIVE SLOWDIVE DEAD OCEANS
15 DIET CIG SWEAR I'M GOOD AT THIS FRENCHKISS
16t HOOPS ROUTINES FAT POSSUM
  WALKER LUKENS AIN'T GOT A REASON MODERN OUTSIDER
  WAVVES YOU'RE WELCOME GHOST RAMP
  WHITE REAPER THE WORLD'S BEST AMERICAN BAND POLYVINYL
20t MAC DEMARCO THIS OLD DOG CAPTURED TRACKS
  SKATING POLLY NEW TRICK EL CAMINO
  THE XX I SEE YOU YOUNG TURKS
23t CHARLY BLISS GUPPY BARSUK
  LITTLE HURRICANE SAME SUN SAME MOON MASCOT
25t BLEACHERS GONE NOW RCA
  LOW CUT CONNIE DIRTY PICTURES (PART 1) CONTENDER
  REAL ESTATE IN MIND DOMINO

Los Campesinos!
Sick Scenes
(Whicita)

After a some time out of the spotlight, veteran U.K. seven piece Los Campesinos! returned earlier this year with their sixth album Sick Scenes. I recently had the opportunity to chat with band leader Gareth David about the new album. Gareth, along with band members Tom Bromley, Kim David, and Jason Adelinia, also recorded acoustic versions of two songs "A Slow, Slow Death" and "The Fall of Home" for our latest FMQB SubModern Session.

FMQB: You've been around for almost a decade now, how did you keep things fresh the sixth time around?

Gareth David: I think certainly the time apart has helped. This has been the largest gap between releases for us. Our fifth album came out in 2013, so this one is more than 3 years later. But I think that time away has made us even more excited to do this than ever before. We all work day jobs. I guess it's at the point where the band is a hobby rather than our occupation, which is beneficial. It means that we approach it with the same sense of fun and enjoyment that we did ten years ago. We've never been the sort of band that will come back with a new record and have completely remodeled our sound or anything. That's not the sort of band we are or would want to be. But this one I think, there's a real energy to. I guess by now I just repeat what reviews have said in praise of it.

FMQB: You have no opinion of your own!

GD: I find it really hard to until about a year later. I still find myself so totally involved in the songs and the album that I can't objectively comment on them, so I have to rely on the positive reviews of course.

FMQB: Right. Well, there are no negative reviews. There shouldn't be because the album is really good!

GD: Thank you.

FMQB: One thing I always notice about your music, and this album is no exception, is that the songs sound super upbeat, peppy, and fun, but there are some dark, depressing lyrics. That definitely is the case this time as well.

GD: Yeah I think so. I've always written incredibly openly and honestly. I don't think I'm smart enough to tell stories or invent things so I've always written from a very personal perspective and I've always taken the opportunity to write about mental health and the lows that I've often felt and stuff. That's no different in Sick Scenes. Sick Scenes was also written at a time when we in the U.K. were dealing with the EU referendum result, which saw the U.K. leave the European Union, which was something that really set off a string of terrible political things in the U.K., which informs the sort of dour nature of the record lyrically. A lot of people like that about the music, but also a lot of people enjoy the music without even paying attention to the lyrics and they can enjoy it because there's so much going on in its creative musicianship, and you don't need to get bogged down in my depressing lyrics.

FMQB: Was that always your goal to kind of hide the messages?

GD: Not really. I don't think we've ever had an intention of how to write music. We've just sort of written and how it's ended up is how it's been. It just became something that people enjoyed. I think that also by now there is a lot more nuance in the music than perhaps that first record in particular, which was pretty much relentlessly upbeat, with quite depressing lyrics. But these days I think there is more variation in the musicality of it as well.

FMQB: You self-funded this album. Were record label politics part of the reason for the long break?

GD: Yeah, after the fifth album we stopped working with our then management and record label, which was a mutual decision, but one that I think really did benefit us and a decision that I wish we'd made several years prior. I've worked music industry jobs as well so I understand how it works, and I developed the abilities and the tools for us not to need to pay twenty percent to a management company or to have to borrow tons of money from a record label, which is the way the industry works, and has been for years, and doesn't really show much sign of changing. The fact that we do have such a loyal fanbase and that people did seem to be hungry for a new Los Campesinos! record after a few years away, meant that we were able to raise the money through selling merchandise and playing gigs, and not having to go to a record label and be like "Can we borrow money to record an album that we will then spend the next several years paying back to you?" That was a really liberating and positive thing for us to do.

FMQB: Yeah, that's awesome! Did you go the Kickstarter route at all or did you avoid that?

GD: No. I'm skeptical of that. It's kind of become the norm by now, but for us personally, there's no need to. I think that with a Kickstarter, you're kind of indebted to people who like your band and I think that could potentially be detrimental to what you create because you sort of enter into a contract, which has the artists saying, "You have paid of us, so we will produce something that you will enjoy," which should be the case, but that shouldn't be what informs songwriting and the approach to making a record. I think it's all a weird sort of capitalism that I'm not entirely convinced by yet.

FMQB: Of course you're always indebted to fans for supporting what you do.

GD: Absolutely! And we're so privileged to have fans like we do. This tour of being in the States properly for the first time in like five years has really hammered that home. I think the relationship that we have with people who like our band is so incredibly normal and healthy. We try to remove any sense of hierarchy between us as a band on the stage and the people who come to the shows. It's sort of a mutual contract that we enter into.

FMQB: I'm gonna have to curse you for making me say "5 Flucloxacillin" all the time. What is that? An actual medication?

GD: Yeah, it's an antibiotic for like a skin infection or something like that. Just one that I've had to take in the past for numerous ailments. It's just so musical sounding, right?

FMQB: I don't know how you get through the song every night! So, what made you write a song, not actually about the medication I guess? What is the correlation?

GD: It kind of is. The song is about spending your life on different medications, dealing with depression, sort of trying to use medication to make yourself feel better. Sort of totaling up how much of your life you spend taking different medicines for different reasons. When I started writing it, Flucloxacillin was one that I was taking at the time. Truth be told, that was a song that I couldn't decide on a title for so I just went for the most difficult word in there to annoy people, which I do tend to do. I'm not regretting it yet!

Find out more about Los Campesinos! latest goings on at LosCampesinos.com or Wichita-Recordings.com. See the video for "5 Flucloxacillin" here and listen to their SubModern Session performance here.

By Josh T. Landow


 
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Nikki Nite,
VP of Prog. & Ops,
Entercom/Austin

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