SINGLE REVIEW: Be Careful What You Listen To by The New Occupants (ft. Mr. MooQ)

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http://newoccupants.com/

The New Occupants are a dance rock band based in Minneapolis. Although its accurate to classify them as dance rock, that doesn’t really do justice to the uniqueness of their musical style. They belong in the world of quirky pop, reminiscent in some respects of 80’s groups like Sparks and The B52’s, and the 90’s group They Might Be Giants. They have been releasing music for a few years, with past singles including Electric Angel, Blue Light and Its Time To Become Robots.

They have developed a worldwide fanbase, with Billboard magazine describing them as ‘a kiloton of dance fun’. This track, Be Careful What You Listen To, is part of a five track EP called Halloween Is Melting. The song starts with the catchy title hook backed by a blistering kick drum, before breaking down into a spoken word section about the forming of the band.

Lyrically, the track is about the influential power of music itself, as captured in the anthemic chorus: “Be careful what you listen to, it will change your mind and point of view….the world you know may slip away…”. The unusual juxtaposition of the humorous spoken parts with the sung sections is very effective, and the raw synth sounds combined with the acid house beat adds up to a truly arresting sonic assault.

Overall, this is a wonderfully original and inventive piece of alternative dance music, full of addictive hooks and unexpected left turns. It manages to work as simply a barnstorming dance track, yet has a lyrical message that says something true about music, with some very entertaining spoken word passages. This is the kind of refreshingly different music that deserves to become much better known and, who knows, maybe this is their breakthrough song.

 

VERDICT =  8.6 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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SINGLE REVIEW: Sex Robot by The Wyatt Act

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http://thewyattact.com/slamrock-manifesto/

It begins with a slinky groove and a dark sounding low-end synth that perfectly suits the nature of Guinevere Q’s lyrics. On the surface, it could be simply about the dominant perspective in a BDSM relationship: “You do what sex robot says, I’m gonna make you beg…”.

Putting my pretentious journalist hat on, knowing that The Wyatt Act has political leanings, I wonder if “Sex Robot” is about how technology is increasingly taking over our lives, suggested by lines like, “Gears and levers and cranks and wires and metal….”.

Either way, the technological vernacular of the era used gives the song an icy modernism: “Control Alt Delete, your memory is weak, rendered obsolete, I function, you bleed”. The repetitive chant of the title has a mesmeric effect and Guinevere Q’s passionate vocals weave in and out of angular Zappa-esque trumpet and sax lines, which are dazzling in certain parts.

The overall effect is an intense, claustrophobic musical atmosphere that borders on unsettling, yet utterly compelling, in the same way as David Lynch’s Eraserhead.

The Wyatt Act plays SlamRock, a fusion between performance poetry and rock and roll. Their sound is highly original and they belong to a lineage of alternative, avant-garde music that stretches back to Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart in the 1960’s. I also felt that there were aspects from quirky bands and artists such as Talking Heads, Patti Smith, The B52’s, Sparks, and The Fall, who fused poetry with angular rock.

The Wyatt Act is a sonic universe unto themselves and I hope that they continue to push boundaries, both musically and lyrically. In an era when free speech and freedom of artistic expression are under threat, their transgressive art becomes of political and social importance.

VERDICT: 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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