Songs of the Week, With Special Guests FIDLAR
For today’s edition of Songs of the Week, we turn to L.A. punk rockers (and past SOTW honorees) FIDLAR. Their name stands for “Fuck It, Dog, Life’s a Risk,” they write perfect, two-minute bangers about drinking and smoking, and they have some very well-developed opinions about Taylor Swift. Take it away, FIDLAR drummer Max Kuehn and bassist Brandon Schwartzel:
Jason Lytle, “Get Up and Go”
Max: It has a cool synth sound.
Brandon: Grandaddy (Lytle’s ex-band) always had cool synth sounds. They never sounded shitty. They always sounded cool. We haven’t really gotten into synths [as a band]. I don’t think we’re necessarily against it. We just haven’t gotten into that world.
Max: I don’t know if we’re totally down with them. This is just one of the cooler synth sounds. I’ll get into some other synths that I don’t like as much down the road.
Ke$ha, “Die Young”
Brandon: It’s not as good as Ke$ha’s singer-songwriter shit, her lo-fi shit. You know, Ke$ha, before, she was kind of, she was a singer-songwriter? More laid-back, kind of?
Grantland: Wait, really?
Brandon: No, I’m just kidding … if I was a Swedish raver, I might like this.
Max: If I was in a sorority I could dig it. Sorority jam.
Grantland: You guys ever attend a sorority date function?
Brandon: I’ve definitely tried … I’m not quite tough enough. Not quite jockish enough.
Max: The neon-green short-shorts [that sorority girls wear] kind of turn me on.
Brandon: Yeah, the green shorts that say “BOOTY” on the back.
Frank Ocean, “Blue Whale”
Brandon: I love Frank Ocean. That Channel Orange record, I love that record. I don’t know how I feel about his rapping.
Max: I actually kind of like it. I think it’s really cool.
Brandon: It’s good, yeah. He always talks about pretty real shit, which is cool.
A*M*E, “Play the Game Boy”
Max: This was a little weird.
Brandon: It actually sounded like a video game. Not in a good way.
Max: A lot of synchronized dancing. A lot of blue wigs.
Grantland: Did you guys used to play a lot of Game Boy?
Brandon: Fuck yeah, dude. So much Game Boy.
Max: It’s tight when you’re playing Game Boy and it sounds like that. But listening to music, I don’t necessarily want it to sound like Game Boy.
Grantland: What were your favorite Game Boy games?
Brandon: Pokemon Red.
Max: Hell yeah — that one was so good. I liked Bomberman.
Brandon: Bomberman was super good! I forgot about Bomberman. Shit. We gotta get Game Boys.
Juicy J, “Bandz a Make Her Dance”
Max: It was all right until Lil Wayne came in, then I was like, “Whaaaaat, Lil Wayne?”
Brandon: I liked when they made his face look like a skeleton.
Converge, “Shame in the Way”
Brandon: I really liked when the horns came in, and the vocal melody is pretty incredible. [Laughs.] It’s kind of hard to listen to. I can appreciate it for what it is, but I’m not really into that super-super-crazy hardcore. Seeing those shows are kind of cool, though, because they’re just, like, crazy. But it’s not what I’m putting on in my car.
Max: I grew up more going to punk shows than hardcore shows. So yeah, it was a different world.
Brandon: I have a few friends who are in hardcore bands. We went more just to see my friends play. Or to try to push someone around. Or to get pushed around.
Paul Westerberg, “My Road Now”
Max: I really liked this song. I liked the beginning, the little “fuck.”
Brandon: “Fuck!” It’s cool when people just go for it and leave mistakes. It’s not perfect. I like that.
Max: Yeah, he had a few pitchy moments in there. It gives it some character.
Brandon: We like leaving little weird shit in [our music]. Little clicks and people talking in the background sometimes. It adds to the vibe.
Taylor Swift, “Begin Again”
Max: I’ve seen Brandon, once in awhile, throw down a whole Taylor Swift song from memory.
Brandon: I’m a sucker for some pop-country. I liked her earlier hit.
Max: Before you were like, “I like her singer-songwriter stuff” — now you’re not kidding.
Brandon: Yeah, I’m totally serious. All of her songs are the fucking same. How many fucking dudes are you gonna go out with? Go on to the next thing. It’s obviously not their problem, it’s your problem. She should check herself and look inside herself.
Max: Before she wrecks herself.
Brandon: That’s what I’m saying. I like her original singles [starts singing]: “She wears short-shorts / I wear T-shirts” and “it’s a love story, baby, just say yes.”
Grantland: What do you guys listen to in the van on tour?
Brandon: We usually do podcasts. We get down with some This American Life.
Crystal Castles, “Plague”
Max: I think there was too much reverb on her vocals. They overdid it a little bit on the reverb.
Brandon: It was a little too arty for me. I don’t listen to that category very much, but I think they’re doing that genre well. I was mostly focusing on the video and being like, “What the fuck is going on, I don’t fucking understand.”
Project Pat feat. Nasty Mane, “Kush Ups”
Brandon: I’m always down with some dirty weed rap songs. There were some pretty good lines.
Max: Project Pat’s pretty funny.
Brandon: Something about eating pasta? “Smoking like a rasta and always eating pasta”? And I was like, “That’s kind of true. I like to eat pasta when I’m stoned.”