It looks as if we’re bringing out Denton’s heavy-hitters for the July rendition of 3 Songs. Not only do we have a new Sarah Jaffe tune (fresh off her score for a recent Pixar short), but we also have music from the likes of one of Paste Magazine’s Best New Bands of 2011. Oh, and a band called Grammar that most of us had never heard about, too. Read on!
Sarah Jaffe - Defense
In the past few weeks, Sarah Jaffe has been releasing new songs like crazy. Aside from Defense above (and on Spin.com), the single, Satire, was featured on USA Today. Defense remains our favorite of the two.
Is Jaffe even considered “Denton” anymore, though? Last we heard, homegirl lives in Dallas now and we haven’t seen her scooter illegally parked in front of Recycled in a long time. She does still have that cool haircut, though (Jaffe did it first, Ms. Cyrus). That plus the fact that this song was produced by Midlake’s drummer and longtime Denton-mainstay McKenzie Smith make us think that it’s best to still claim her as “one of us” and give Defense a pass as local.
We’ve come a long way since Jaffe’s early folk rock balladry that gained her primetime fame and nods from musicians such as Norah Jones. This new single is far from any of the songs we heard on Even Born Again. While many folks were left scratching their heads when Jaffe went electric with The Body Wins, the album was arguably still great. That said, it does look as if we are finally coming out of Jaffe’s Chris Gaines phase. A few elements seem to have stuck around. A slinky synthesizer, plenty of guitar noodling and a penchant for room ambiance are evident throughout Defense.
It’s difficult to really critique this song on the same level we’re judging other local songs. It’s arguably a great tune and we’re sure to listen to it plenty of times, but at the same time we do feel that sense of nostalgia for the sad, witty Jaffe of yesteryear. She does still have that haircut, though, so what’re ya gonna do?
If you were wondering what happened to Jaffe’s earnestness, Seryn might have absorbed it. Don’t click play above if you don’t want to feel introspective. These precious, bearded fellas (and lady) are pretty rooted in expressing their emotions.
Ivory Black, the first we’ve heard from their upcoming album (the first in two years) is much more mellow than much of Seryn’s previous work, and that works in it’s favor. We’ve lost the tantric-sex factor that made the all-chorus We Will All Be Changed a mainstay on KXT, but retained the harmony-filled “Whoooa” and “Whoooa-oohhh’s” that are so difficult to ignore.
Slide guitar, St. David’s-level reverb and rhythm that sounds like it came out of a Hawaiian drum circle might sound like odd bedfellows, but they all work together pretty well here. Our interests are definitely piqued for the upcoming album.
The first few minutes of this organ-laden second single from local weirdos, Grammar had us wondering if the hippies of Brightblack Morning Light had reunited under a new moniker in Denton, but then the arpeggios and overly-enunciated Thom Yorke vocals hit and we knew this was a different kind of beast altogether.
Grammar have apparently been playing together for the past few years, but have only recently started releasing music and we applaud whatever type of alcohol or social lubricant fueled that decision because we’re digging this. José meanders in and out of your speakers unexpectedly, riffing on an idea of a song with vague lyrics and pitter-pattering drums for a few minutes before blowing the entire thing out of the water with all sorts of flourishes of arpeggios and that great looped drum sample.