Songs of the Week: Arctic Monkeys, Pity Sex, and Thundercat

Arctic Monkeys, “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High”

Admittedly, I didn’t pay a ton of attention to these guys when they were this year’s model in laddish, sloppy Britpop in the late ’00s. But Arctic Monkeys’ evolution into witty, glam-rockin’ misanthropes has been a welcome (if not surprising) development. The group’s latest, AM, takes an old-man’s stance toward the night life (the incongruously “No. 1 Party Anthem” is a majestic Beatlesque ballad that you can’t even waltz to), but standout track “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” exhibits Alex Turner’s still stinging lyrical perspective on how relationships get warped between pint-pulls and bong-rips.

Wooden Shjips, “These Shadows”

Over the course of three LPs and numerous singles and EPs, Wooden Shjips have been able to essentially write the same song over and over again, and somehow write this song better each time. The San Francisco space-rockers’ forthcoming record, Back to Land (out November 12), is their best album yet, and “These Shadows” might very well be the prettiest distillation of melody and drone that they’ve committed to tape.

Pity Sex, “Wind Up”

What if Japandroids were a guy and a girl who only thought about going out and partying all night? Itmightgoalittlesomethinglikethis!

Doomriders, “Dead Friends”

Head Doomrider Nate Newton is best known for playing bass in the punk-metal institution Converge, though in his side project he leans more toward the metal side. The upcoming Grand Blood (out October 15) is similar to Mastodon’s more straightforward rock! moments, as evidenced by the furious “Dead Friends.”

Boogarins, “Erre”

Os Mutantes is the obvious reference point for any Brazilian psych-rock outfit, but on Boogarins’s debut As Plantas Que Curam it’s clear that Fernando Almeida and Benke Ferraz are more directly inspired by younger groups like Tame Impala and Dungen. The mind-bending “Erre” is a highlight of the record, with its shape-shifting swirl of pop, jazzy rhythms, and weeping acidhead guitar.

Ulcerate, “Confronting Entropy”

Your mid-column metal smoke break.

Thundercat, “Evangelion”

Thundercat’s Apocalypse is one of my favorite albums of the year, and I’m not sure why it hasn’t quite caught on with Channel Orange–loving, spaced-out R&B partisans. “Evangelion” isn’t the most mind-blowing song on Apocalypse — it’s probably the simplest, actually, but this record’s singularly weird DNA is embedded in its silky wandering.

Balance and Composure, “Reflection”

So long as there are depressed 15-year-olds whose angst is as enveloping as a massive grunge-emo guitar riff, songs like “Reflection” will never not sound awesome. (There’s plenty more where this came from on Balance and Composure’s soaring new The Things We Think We’re Missing.)

Arnold Dreyblatt and Megafaun, “Home Hat Placement”

The composer Arnold Dreyblatt and brilliant avant-folk trio Megafaun convened recently for a jam session that was recorded for the delightful new album Appalachian Excitation, which explores and explodes traditional Americana styles. This is my favorite album to write to lately, I think, because I hope a little of the energy and boundless creativity on display will rub off on me.

Citizen, “The Summer”

Because summer officially ended this week, and I don’t wanna know.

Filed Under: Songs of the Week

Steven Hyden is a staff writer for Grantland. His first book, Your Favorite Band is Killing Me, will be released in May.

Archive @ Steven_Hyden