top 5 songs of the moment

there’s lots i’d like to write about, and life has been busy. but i’d like to take this moment for a musical appreciation post, a belated follow up to last summer’s.

1) sunday candy – donnie trumpet & the social experiment
(aka chance the rapper feat. jamila woods)

i already loved this song & have been blasting it in my car on repeat to sing along to jamila woods’ gorgeous, sweet, & sensual hook. and then i saw this broadway-theater-style music video! all done in one continuous shot. perfect.

2) trial & error – slothrust

this song makes me wanna cry & i don’t know why. more than almost any other artist, slothrust always makes me want to make music. sometimes i do. even when i don’t, i take a lot of pleasure in hollering along to the abstract yet evocative lyrics and  occasionally headbanging to their “jazz and blues-afflicted rock.”

3) cold apartment – vagabon

i found this song in the interlude of a particularly frought episode of democracy now. when i looked up vagabon, they are one of a those up and coming brooklyn artists with whom i have a gazillion mutual acquaintances in common. it makes me laugh to think of amy goodman in conjunction with this music scene, swaying along in the crowd at silent barn with her arms crossed. i’ve since gotten into this whole album, especially because she has a song that says ‘freddie’ in it!

4) just friends – st. lenox

honestly, this is just a breakup song that hits where it hurts. it’s either blamey nor self-pitying. it acknowledges the points of conflict and touches on the yearning and fear that accompanies letting go. he seems like an interesting artist and upon glancing some intriguing song names (“21st century post-liberal blues,” “people from other cultures”) i want to hear more.

5) cups – anna kendrick (from the problematic/delightful teen comedy pitch perfect)

listen, i’m embarrassed about including this, but i would be amiss if i pretended that this wasn’t one of my favorite songs to sing along to these days. it is so ripe for harmonies, and has that old traditional folk song feel (probably because it did indeed originate from an old folk song that has been re-written and re-sung again and again). anyway, this song came into my life because i finally got around to seeing pitch perfect, and i don’t regret it (but i think my partner does).

bonus tracks:

pray for me (feat. willow) – tyler cole
astral plane – valerie june
spell – emily reo

hope you enjoy.

xo freddie


top 5 songs of the moment

i haven’t had the time to write like i’ve wanted to but i have been listening to a few amazing songs on repeat as we pack thousands of peaches from harvest into boxes for the farmers market. behold my current top five:

ultralight beam – kanye west

sitting through kanye west’s underwhelming crooning is worth it to hear chance the rapper, kelly price, the dream, kirk franklin, and a gospel choir absolutely steal the show. this song’s momentum shifts and builds with grace and excitement.

get bummed out – sports

there’s not a lot to analyze, it’s just a deeply enjoyable self-indulgent pop-punk song that makes me want to holler along and dive into angst. highly recommend covering it if you play an instrument: A F#m Bm D

temple – parson james

somewhere along our roadtrip, eli and i found ourselves at a party with our sweet friend J, a bunch of rad queer and trans folks, and a LHWB (long-haired white boy). the party format involved sitting around the living room and playing a song that was meaningful to us. shortly after LHWB played sufjan stevens, (“the best artist of our generation”) J busted out this soulful song of redemption and reclamation of self after loss and failure. it’s full of joy, and damn, this kid can sing!

horseshoe crab – slothrust

i went through a phase of listening to slothrust’s album “of course you do” on repeat and wondering why they haven’t blown up in a bigger way. frontperson leah wellbaum has a powerful voice and perfectly unsettling lyrics. last year i sent her a message on facebook asking for a recording of “horseshoe crab” having heard it live and immediately afterward got in a bike accident where i split my face open on the pavement. finally, i became rock n’ roll enough to REALLY listen to slothrust.

freedom – beyonce ft kendrick lamar

it seems so obvious to include a beyonce song but i guess that’s because she’s the queen. people can fret about her politics all they want but i think it’s pretty rad for a black woman and the world’s #1 pop celebrity to sing “imma riot through your borders, call me bulletproof.” and of course kendrick’s contributions are chills-inducing and inspiring.


review: “dry cry” by moodring

0007934838_10.jpgmy friend kieran parmelee is the brilliant artist behind moodring. on dry cry they experiment with sounds and techniques while sticking to familiar subjects: coy crushes, polyamorous text messages, and being at a party when you should have stayed home. the songs on dry cry are distinct, but blend cohesively to create a robust album. dry cry is divided into two parts: part one is composed of experimental pop, and part two of vocal-free electronic tunes.

dry cry begins with a minimalist and minor piano tune, “you could have faked it better” and transitions directly into “stay home.” kieran perfectly captures the feeling of staying at a party you should have skipped: “all this small talk is frying my brain / ten times i’ve said i’m doing okay / i’m always doing just okay.” this track sets the scene for the album’s mediocre-party vibe.

dry cry rises in playful flirtation on “nice vibes” and builds a sexual edge on my favorite track of the album, “me too.” kieran employs a catchy beat and a fuzzy, robotic effect on their vocals as they sing “when i met you i thought i might like you / when i met you i thought i might bite you / when i met you i thought i might ____ you / when i met you i thought you might ____ me too.” the cadence is clever and the sexual tension is palpable. the lyrical plot thickens as kieran muses “when i ____ you i thought i might love you / when you _____ me i thought i might love me too”. if you listen to one track on this album, let it be this one.

moodrings brings us back down again with “D.S.M”, also known as depression sugar mama. a melancholy R&B-inspired tune full of falsetto harmonies and ambivalence, D.S.M. is classic example of kieran’s dark and dry sense of humor:”do you want me to drop it low for you emotionally / i’ll demoralize you ’til you can’t see straight / i hope that’s your idea of a super hot date.” this tune and the rest of the album lend a sense of anticipated disappointment, and give the sense of going about the business of partying and flirting and fucking to forge through feelings of depression. “bad friend” and “;) sweet dreams” are equally catchy and enjoyable tracks that put a frank and clear lens on specific moments in intimate relationships and social dynamics.

moodring aka kieran parmelee

“enthused,” the final track of part one, turns inward with a single sincere repeated line: “i never knew to be enthused / until it was too late.” i felt touched by this admission and found myself wondering about the damage done, when it was “too late.”

part two is a collection of purely electronic tunes that continue to carry the listener through the energies and emotions of a party we are at whether we want to be or not. with track names like “high pony,” “dim light,” and “caffeine dream,” it’s up to us to decide what these songs are about. the instrumental melody of “interest of time” is reminiscent of “enthused,” and i am curious if it may not be too late for the album’s narrator, after all. the album ends with “thinking too hard,” the only track on part two that includes any vocals at all. it’s slow and dissonant, and leaves me wondering if my interpretations of the music are anything more than my own projections.

dry cry is the logical follow-up to beach goth, kieran’s two-piece “bittercute” garageband twice as nice’s 2015 release.