Some recommendations can be quirky things. U2 on a flatbed truck in Las Vegas? A member of Spinal Tap going off on the Barbie phenomenon? And is emo really back? These things and more with this week’s Five Songs.
1. U2, Atomic City
Recommended If You Like: Whatever U2 is up to these days
This Friday, U2 will open their residency at the MSG Sphere in Las Vegas. Fans had been expecting some kind of new music ahead of this—hey, it’s just the kind of thing U2 tends to do—so “Atomic City” debuted as part of a pop-up thing on the back of a flatbed trailer on Freemont Street. Bono described the song as being the spirit of late-70s post-punk. And yes, that’s is Larry Mullen playing drums. He won’t be at the Sphere shows because he’s still having post-op therapy on his back, but it was nice to see him with the rest of the band.
2. Lowest of the Low, Hey Kid (You Got Soul!)
RIYL: 90s memories
Just as U2 is preparing for their Sphere gigs, there’s a documentary on Lowest of the Low entitled Subversive: The History of Lowest of the Low that has started having screenings. (Yes, I’m in it.) It’s nice that there’s a new LoTW single to go along with that. You’ll definitely feel the need to skank along with this.
3. Derek Smalls, Must Crush Barbie
Single (Bottomland Productions/Immortal Records)
RIYL: Barbie hate
I didn’t see this one coming. Spinal Tap bassist Smalls has decided that enough is enough with the whole Barbie phenomenon and wants to eviscerate it with a song that he describes as “an excoriating attack on the pink sensation … that advocate of everything pink and fluffy, Barbie. The self-described embodiment of lukewarm water reaches boiling point with Smalls’ first track in five years.” The bio goes on for quite a bit, too. No word on the status of David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tuffnel, or which drummer died during the sessions. (Yes, yes, it’s actually Harry Shearer, but just go with it, okay?)
4. The Moss, The Place That Makes You Happy
Single (Hollywood Records)
RIYL: Feel-good songs
Coming out of Salt Lake City, The Moss is a four-piece that specializes in straight-ahead anthemic and poppy guitar rock (for this song, anyway) and has the slightest bit of country twang to it. A number of publications have tagged them as a band to watch.
5. Taking Back Sunday, S’Old
152 (Fantasy Records)
RIYL: The current emo revival
There’s no question that after hiding its bedroom for the last decade or so, emo has returned, let by some of the stars of the early aughts including My Chemical Romance, Thirty Seconds to Mars, and now Taking Back Sunday. We shouldn’t be surprised, really. Emo goes well with a tough economy and lots of political uncertainty. And yes, emo is definitely a nostalgic sound, but the times are right for this revival. This TBS record—their eighth and first since 2016—will be out October 27. Oh, and the title of the album comes from a section of a road between Highpoint, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh where the band and their friends would meet up as teenagers.
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