Joe Fox & The Frantics – Smoke Show
“If you ain’t gonna use it, we sure will.” That seems to have been the sentiment of many an indie-rock band in search of dance-hooks once it became apparent that the Arctic Monkeys would be unwilling to chart similar territory as their monumentally successful AM album.
The clever, British punks from Sheffield stumbled on to a sound and aesthetic that, it turns out, the entire world, America especially, heavily desired. Almost all of the songs on AM became modern radio staples. Many other indie-rock groups, like Portugal the Man and The 1975, had success with similar music that showcased the same high-end production and boss drum grooves.
The throne has been left vacant by monarchs unwilling to extend their stay. It’s only fitting then that groups like Joe Fox & The Frantics would try to occupy it. Smoke Show is their bid. Street-wise wordplay, a groove so deep it could swallow a phonograph needle, and a fair dose of swagger make this single a dance-rock continuation of a sound that has yet to tire audiences.
Cool Cat Funk – Cat’s Life
There’s no real way to kill pop music. Not for now, at least. The main reason, I reckon, is because pop music has always managed to detail the state of the world in accurate detail, with or without trying. Its more high-brow rivals, jazz, classical, folk music, take themselves far too seriously to bother with such trivial matters.
In 2021, of course, most of pop music reflects the darkness and confusion that much of the world feels. However, there’s another segment born out of the habits and consumption habits of many members of society. If in the 1970s, stoner music and movies seemed eccentric, they are today a bonafide genre in itself.
A musical project obsessed both with growing your own, as well as, strangely enough, the life of friendly felines is Cool Cat Funk. Their predilection for chemical relaxation is part of the recipe that lets them slide smoothly into the comfortable daze of Cat’s Life, a tune about the enviable life of felines. It’s funny, it’s lazy, and it feels like a wake ‘n’ bake weekend with not much to do, but watch your pets playing in the yard.