Daw’s Top Songs: A Year in Review

Happy New Year, my friends. I made a promise last year to write an article a week. That worked out great for about 5 months. Then, I went on strike. My strike was… well, not great. No one noticed. It wasn’t until a friend’s bachelor party where Mates flippantly commented “Oh, you were on strike? I literally didn’t notice. Haha you suck.” At that moment I realized that I am nothing and that my outburst was futile at best.

Which brings us to this moment, 2021 is the year of quality over quantity.

The music will still be topical. I will still make jokes that apparently only I think is funny. But now, there will be no expectation of timelines or general forethought. Off the cuff and off schedule is the name of the game for 2022.

This brings me to my next point. All of these end of year lists are too damn long. I get it. You listen to a lot of niche arthouse indie. That’s great. Good for you. But, I don’t want to trudge through 75 songs to see not one Wet Leg song was featured in your top songs for 2021, Mates. Give me the hearty stuff. It’s winter. I want meat, potatoes, and top tens.

So, without further ado, I present my top ten for 2021!

10) “Off the Dial” Native Sun

Brooklyn’s very own, Native Sun, came out with this track at the start of 2021. Native Sun are a band of immigrants and first generation Americans with musical tastes that are as eclectic as the product that they produce. “Off the Dial” is set up as an amalgam of two songs. A thrashing speed punk anthem followed by a deliberate and dark doom-rock break down. This anti-conformity anthem is one that I will be continuing to listen to throughout 2022.

9) “Pain Without a Touch” Sweeping Promises

We have some fast and funky New Wave with an electric feel on our number 9 track. This duo from Boston via Arkansas and, apparently, Mars are quickly ascending my list of indie bands to watch for. Pain Without a Touch is Sweeping Promises first release since their debut album: Hunger For a Way Out. Sweeping promises have been able to create a devote following for a band that has sparingly toured due to the pandemic. You can count me in as one of their henchmen ready deliver pain to anyone who does not sing their praises this new year.

8) “Head Cheerleader” Pom Pom Squad

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band lean more into their name than Mia Berrin’s Pom Pom Squad. I’ve been really into Pom Pom Squad since their initial release Hate it Here. “Head Cheerleader” is one of the more grandiose songs released by Pom Pom Squad to date. The sound is big, and powerful. It crests through the song until the eventual release on the bridge. The lyrics are clear and vulnerable. They take the listener through the turmoil of being lovesick for someone without a choice in the matter. This song has all the makings for a post-pop-punk anthem and I for one am completely here for it.

7) “Time Walk” Bnny

I am psyched that this one made my top ten for various reasons. Bnny is a Chicago band so that is just fantastic for me. They are on Fire Talk records which is my favorite indie label at the moment (with the likes of Dehd, Deeper, Mia Joy, and Wombo). As Bnny was releasing singles for this upcoming album I kept thinking to myself, “Man, this is going to be a great rainy day album. Lot’s of slow and subdued tracks that would keep me great company in front of the fireplace as I drink hot coco (read: whisky). I was very happily surprised when I saw just how varied this album really is. “Time Walk” shows this range that Bnny is developing. Where “Ambulance” and “August” are spacey and slow paced, “Time Walk” is fun and sped up. The tart guitar lines punctuate lead singer Jessica Viscius’ whisper singing.

6) “WUSYANAME” Tyler the Creator, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Ty Dolla $ing

The fact that this song is number 6 on my list shows just how strong 2021 was for music and indie music specifically. This song not only has one of the top 5 pickup lines of all time in it, it also has the best verse of the year. YoungBoy puts on an absolutely clinic. His sing song delivery pairs perfectly with the pseudo-soul instrumentals of the song like a fine wine and cheese pairing. I am the first person to use fine wine and cheese reference with NBA Youngboy and I’m fine with that.

5) “Bumps & Bruises” Boldy James

When is Boldy James not releasing new music? Call this man Boldy James Brown because he’s got to be the hardest working man in rap right now. Super Tecmo Bo is probably my favorite project this year start to finish. It’s really polished and Alchemist is completely locked in. What makes “Bumps & Bruises” my favorite off of this project? Boldy’s relaxed delivery pairs perfectly with the spaced out trumpets and slowed drums. At a few points in the song the beat drops out for effect.

4) “Too Late Now” Wet Leg

It is pretty well known at this point that I love Wet Leg. This duo of Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers have had perhaps the quickest ascent that I can remember in a long time. For reference, Wet Leg, has only 4 songs out and they are featured on 7 different Spotify verified playlists. I know that this is not the barometer of success, but to be featured on more verified playlists than songs released is just outrageous. “Too Late Now” is a departure from the other 3 songs they have released (so far). Rhian Teasdale sings in a trudges through the first two verses in a sing-song soprano over a steady bass line punctuated by sharp plucks of the lead guitar. This leads to an eventual breakdown both in the song and in the lyrics. As the music speeds up and the energy heightens the lyrics turn introspective. This song rocks and I could write about it for a full article but neither of us has time so we move on.

3) “Cigarette Packet” Sorry

This song is fast paced and a lot of fun. Cowbell to boot. I love a sped up bassline and this has that in droves. I love the drums a lot in this song as well. I think it adds a lot of texture to the song when the bass drum comes in. This song has just enough of an electric touch to it, activating my LCD Soundsystem lobe while also being completely unique and catchy on its own volition. Whenever I put this song on my feet automatically move. Dance people, DANCE!

2) “Gang Signs” Freddie Gibbs and Schoolboy Q

Finally, Mates and I agree on something besides the fact that the National League should really adopt the DH position. Gang Sings is a bonafied hit. I still cannot believe that this is the first song that Gibbs and Q have done together. They both are so similar in their subject matter and ability to paint a vivid picture in their deliveries while having completely unique sounds that play off each other so well. On this track we have Freddie Gibbs delivering his melodic delivery a la Bone Thugz and Do or Die. To balance it out we have Schoolboy Q delivering a verse in his typical, gritty delivery to offset the melody laid down by Freddie Gibbs. It’s a really well-balanced song. Oh, and the music video is great as well.

1) “Chaise Longue” Wet Leg

No surprises here. Chaise Longue is currently one of my top 5 favorite songs ever. It just winds me up and spins me around every time that I listen to it. I haven’t heard a song like Chaise Longue in a long time. The fact that this so polished as the first ever single for Wet Leg is amazing. Whenever I listen to this I hear a lot of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and even a touch of the Arctic Monkeys. The bass, the fast paced drum fills, and the ascending guitar riffs all comes together with some objectively strange lyrics to make a classic. The fact that this song is not on Mate’s 75 song end of year list is criminal and next time I see him I will be citizen arresting him.

And, that will do it! I hope you all enjoyed and I will be talking to you all soon.

So, I Witnessed a Murder

So, I’m flying out of Chicago to LA to spend thanksgiving with the girlf and her family. I got to the airport three hours early because I’m a historically punctual and anxious person.

With my extra time, I did what any responsible traveler should. I paid a visit to my safe space: Terminal 3’s Chili’s Margarita Bar.

The world can be a scary and mean place (see Cassie unleashing her bevy of burner accounts on me). So, the slightly sticky embrace of an airport Chili’s booth was exactly what I needed to make things right.

Then out of NOWHERE. A murder most fowl.
Metaphorically of course.

The man sitting at the booth facing me was thumbing through his menu. Suddenly, he becomes a board, as excitement washes over his body. A Yelp, a slight shimmy of the shoulders. Pumping his fist, he whispers, “Heck yes! Breakfast tacos!!” We make eye contact. I give him a nod.

My boy, Ted, I assume, is about to have himself a great start to his day.
As Ted cranes his neck the doors to the kitchen slam against the wall. His eyes widen in anticipation of a pre-flight breakfast fiesta. Without warning, his features harden and a frown creases his lips.

“That’s not what I ordered” Teddy grumbles

“Ok” waitress

“I ordered tacos” T

“And this is aaaa (lowers glasses and sarcastically inspects the plate) two egg breakfast. Scrambled.” W

“Well… can I have my tacos?” T

“No.” W

“Okay” T (accepts defeat, sadly eats a two egg breakfast).

Poor Ted. That’s probably it for him. One can only assume he has flushed all of his personal items and has begun a working manifesto. Opening line, “The world is a two egged breakfast of shit and I must cleans it of its sins”

Anyways, let’s talk some music. I decided since it’s been a while I would give you a bit of LONG FORMAT oooo.

Album: “Everything” by Bnny

New music from one of my top two bunny themed Chicago indie bands! Yay for me!! Bnny released this full length album on Fire Talk records (Home of a few other Chicago bands, including Dehd) towards the end of August.

Bnny’s stuff tends to lean a bit slower and subdued, which is great. But at times I began to regard Bnny as a bit of a one trick pony. As a proud one trick pony myself, I did not think this is a bad thing. Consistency is important in life. However, the album Everything definitely shows that I’m a wrong asshole.

Some notable upbeat and up-pace songs from this album are: August, Promises, and Take That Back. I really like all these songs, but am slightly partial to Take That Back. It’s got a little edge and angst to it. It has that sharp guitar sound that reminds me a bit of Jason Balla’s pre-Dehd project, NeHi. It is decidedly different from most of the Bnny tracks I’ve heard coming into this. Fuck consistency let’s sow chaos.

Don’t worry, my friends with seasonal depression. There’s plenty of slow moody shit on here too. We can all be friends. Some of my favorites are: Ambulance, Not Even You, Blind, and Dreaming. If you’re great at something why change the formula. And, Bnny is the 3x regional champion in slowed down space cowboy ballads. Keep on keeping on, Bnny

Single: “Pain Without a Touch” by Sweeping Promises

This is Sweeping Promises first release since their debut album: Hunger for a Way Out. This album received some pretty high acclaim, considering the fact that Sweeping Promises weren’t able to tour at all during the pandemic.

This band is cool to me for a few reasons.

First, their whole first album was recorded on a single microphone and mixed in mono. This makes for a sound that I can legally describe as “artisanal”. I can feel my mustache slowly curl at the tips in hipster agreement. “Psh, other bands just don’t get it”. I mutter to myself as I polish leather that I tanned, because this is how you art, damnit.

A second reason they are cool to me is because they sound like robot world New Order. Which I am super in to.

This new single just builds great continuity with their first album. It’s upbeat, slightly new wave, with a synth breakdown lurking around the corner with bad intentions. If this song doesn’t make you want to dance then we can’t be friends because you’re uptight and boring. I just can’t be bringing that energy into 2022. Thanks.

Listening Party: Wet Leg “Wet Dream”

We are now officially in the month of October. Spooky season is upon us. I, Indipong’s resident Scorpio, take this time of the year relatively seriously. To celebrate the season we set out some tasteful halloween decorations with plenty of skeletons soon to follow. I even took it upon myself to make a little halloween playlist.

I’m telling you, this playlist has it all. It runs the gambit of objectively sinister surf rock, dark and moody new wave, halloween classics a la the Misfits and Screamin Jay Hawkins. I even threw the most spooky song of all time in that sucker: Rock Lobster by the B52s. You’re welcome.

I mean give it a listen, it’s the perfect spooky playlist:

So, I’m sure you can assume, I was really really excited to show this to Brian Mates. His response, “Ew this paper planes sample. Would have rather not known.” He’s referencing “Straight to Hell” by English punk legends The Clash of course. Cold blooded.

Anyways, I needed something to cheer myself up. So, I was pumped to hear that a band that Mates, Cassie and myself LOVE, Wet Leg, had just released a new single!

This song is Discotheque Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I’m into it. Driving bass lines and clap tracks are pretty cool to me.

Wet Leg sticks with what made “Chaise Longue” such an absolute amazing song. Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers hit us with a wall of distortion-laden guitar offset by sped up drum licks and strong armed baselines. If it works it works, and damnit it works.

Pair all of that jargon with some of the most sexual lyrics this side of the 80’s and we have ourselves something very very special.

“I’m a F***ING LOBSTER.”

– Daw

Listening Party Returns – Dehd “Desire (Lala Lala Remix)”

It’s great to see you all again. As you may remember I have been repeatedly slandered; catching it from all sides. As a proud and active union member, I did what I had to do. I went on strike.

I had one demand: the respect of my superiors for my outstanding picks for the Song of Summer Series. It was and is a BIG DEAL.

My strike consisted of wearing a lot of sleeveless shirts to engage my inner power, repeatedly texting George, “Eat shit, Scab”, and most of all I listened to a lot of good new music and I told absolutely NO ONE.

Mates and Classy Cassie held their line. Not once was I texted to return to work. On a bachelor party with Mates I even attempted to mend fences and engage in good will negotiations in the spirit of matrimony and togetherness. Mates replied, “No way dude, you’re on strike! Lol that’s so random! I didn’t even notice.”

Hard ball. Didn’t have Mates pegged as an Art of the Deal man, but here we are.

In the end, I had to do what I had to do. Sometimes the strongest move you can make is exposing your belly and peeing in the air to signify complete subservience to the big dogs.

So, long story short, I’m back baby. Tail between my legs and covered in my own mess, but I’m back. Stronger than ever, people!

Let’s talk about some new tunes. In my opinion there is really only one way to come back. Gimme a Vienna Red Hot and throw some salty salty yellow mustard on there. We are heading to the Windy City pals.

Specifically, we are talking about two of my favorite artists out right now, Dehd (insert link to fancam) and Lala Lala.

Dehd has been slowly releasing remixes to their absolute BOP of an album, “Flower of Devotion”. Their most recent collab is just something special and I couldn’t contain it anymore.

This remix should be played in every single movie when the main character is walking away from their first love. Each heavy step is a punch of a piano key. The time just wasn’t right, and they were crushed. A crash of thunder and it begins raining as we slow pan to our dejected protagonist.


Ya know, when I first heard Dehd’s original rendition of Desire and I got to the bridge in the song where Emily Kempf repeats “You are my dream”. I thought to myself, “This is just so inefficient.” Apparently, Lala Lala agreed. And let me tell you, the looping and layering of this single mantra was such a wonderful touch. It brings texture and build through the song.

Anyways, enough of that sad boy shit. This is a dance album so dance people! I’m back, Dehd is back, and Lala Lala is serving (hot shit). I’m excited to again consistently blog. I’m here, bottom of the pack and HUNGRY.