Fine Tuning 9/30/16

Written by Gabe Fine

“See Her Out (That’s Just Life)”  Francis and the Lights – Electronic

Francis and the Lights’ new single, “See Her Out (That’s Just Life)” feels, upon first listen, largely stripped down. After producing a track on Chance the Rapper’s album Coloring Book, and collaborating with Kanye West and Bon Iver to release his hit “Friends,” Francis is probably eager to rekindle the solo-producer feel that used to characterize his work.

Lacking the prevalent drumbeats or shimmering chords that have characterized his other recent releases, “See Her Out” is instead driven by a dark, resonant synth line that is as provocative as an 80s cityscape as Kavinsky’s “Nightcall.” With a voice like Peter Gabriel laden in Francis’ idiosyncratic vocal effects, lines like, “Whole damn world is a cage,” mirror the bareness and powerful effect of the track. “See Her Out” is an homage to 80s electronic simplicity, teasing out a depth of feeling through its tone, rather than through an abundance of production technique. For Francis fans, the song is an exciting glimpse into the producer’s upcoming album.

“Never Be Mine” – Angel Olsen – Folk/Rock

“Never Be Mine,” the second track off of Angel Olsen’s new album My Woman, is everything you could want and more from an indie folk rocker. Starting off with a high note from Olsen’s fluttering, anti-girl-pop voice that falls somewhere between Joanna Newsom and Patti Smith, “Never Be Mine” could be a track right out of a Velvet Undergound-lover’s basement recordings.

As the reverberating chords roll into the first chorus, Olsen’s prowess as a singer/songwriter becomes evident. “Never Be Mine” sounds like a clear distillation of Kinks-style 60s British folk with the structural simplicity of Lou Reed, and Olsen’s own indie, almost-punk attitude.

When you hear Olsen sing lines like, “Heaven hits me when I see your face/ I go blind, every time,” you feel as though you’ve heard this song before–both because the song is so clearly a culmination of past rock and roll influences and because it still manages to be original.

If you think the delayed acoustic guitar riff sounds like it is coming right off of on The Beatles’ track, “Help!,” you will have to remind yourself that Angel Olsen wrote this song, not George Harrison. That’s the truly impressive nature of “Never Be Mine:” it is so simple, so original, and yet it is so all-encompassing that it seems as if you can hear George Harrison’s guitar, or Bethany Cosenito’s unrequited punk-love angst, or Patti Smith’s rebellion, or Jeff Mangum’s indie folk, all inside of one song by Angel Olsen. 

“Lyk Dis” – NxWorries – Rap/R&B

“Wouldya know, wouldya know it? / Good love in the mornin’?” Anderson.Paak asks tenderly on NxWorries’ “Lyk Dis,” the first single of his upcoming duo-album with producer Knxwledge. The song is like Marvin Gaye on Viagra, featuring a sexy, undulating beat over synthetic strings.

The song is predominately .Paak crooning step-by-step descriptions of how best to make love. You can take the lyrics for what they are (a song written by two men that almost explicitly details how best to have sex, which is either hilarious, sexy, absurd, or all three).

On the other hand, if you take the track as the musical piece that it is, it is nearly impossible not to move your body if not along. Paak’s guidelines, than at least to the R&B-driven beat.

Knwledge gained some notoriety when he was featured on Kendrick Lamar’s album, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” “Lyk Dis” certainly resembles this album with the jazzy production that Lamar brought to the limelight and the semi-raspy melody that .Paak sings.

This song may be a little too much to put on the stereo during a candlelit dinner, but it is good enough to make you enjoy the stellar production and soulful harmonies, as well as to look forward to NxWorries upcoming album.

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