Little pleasures can go a long way. For the past few months I keep finding myself gravitating back to songs that make put an instant smile on my face and give me a few minutes of solace in a painful time.
This week’s Quarantunes are a small window into my mind, and songs that keep me going. Maybe there’s something new hear or a favourite of your own! Hopefully these carefully chosen tracks can bring some joy to your dark days, and get you dancing around in the speckles of July sun.
PUP – “Dark Days”
A perfect combination of forced optimism and Pop-Punk energy, “Dark Days” by PUP has become a rallying cry for all of us struggling to get by. PUP’s flavour of Rock is catchy, loud and painfully sincere. “Dark Days” is on the Pop side of Rock, with lyrics calling back to Fall Out Boy but grown up.
It gets your blood pumping and reminds you that one day we will get through and end up on the other side. It is an ode to all of us who struggle but persevere, as sung in the chorus, “This winter hasn’t been so rough, it was cold but still it wasn’t cold enough, to freeze the blood beneath my spine, but at least I survived”. No matter your demon, you will survive.
Toronto-based PUP continue to excite Rock fans everywhere. With tracks like “Kids” and “Morbid Stuff”, off aptly named record Morbid Stuff (check out the insanely accurate album art!), and The Dream Is Over’s “If This Tour Doesn’t Kill You I Will” and “DVP”, you can definitely see why.
Their live shows are filled to the brim, reminding us that there’s no better feeling in the world then sweaty dancing in a crowded room to thrashing guitars. While we live the quarantine life, check out one of these live gigs for yourself.
Twin Shadow – “Saturdays” (featuring Haim)
If I could, I’d put “Saturdays” on every playlist. It brings me such an immense feeling of joy it is almost indescribable. Twin Shadow really outdid himself with this one, taking his New Wave style and combining it with what we love from Pop music to create an infectious track.
I remember hearing it on Netflix’s Someone Great and thinking they could not have picked a better song for that moment of the film. Things are good, excitement is in the air and all you can think about is this one person that makes life worth living. “Saturdays” is a must-listen for Pop music fans everywhere who need to remember how great it feels to fall in love.
Twin Shadow, born George Lewis Jr., is a Dominican-American musician who has been a trailblazer for New Wave. Based in Los Angeles, he has been releasing consistently critically acclaimed albums. In 2018 he released Hollow Days on his own record label Cheree Cheree, followed by EP Broken Horses.
From Pop to Dominican inspired Bachata, Twin Shadow continues to experiment with music and impress us all. You can finds his music on various music platforms and follow him on Twitter. Check out his video for “Saturdays” below or the acoustic version here.
The Front Bottoms – “Funny You Should Ask”
“Funny You Should Ask” is self-deprecating and incredibly honest, two things fundamentally linked to The Front Bottoms. It reminds us that we were all young once, and we do things we wish we could take back. But we learn from our mistakes and even if we might have hated who we were we keep trying to become the better version of that person.
“Funny You Should Ask” is filled with angst, pent up frustration and lyrical outbursts that manifest into a killer chorus. “Funny You Should Ask” is a window into growing up and knowing that what you felt was valid but now you know better.
West Virginia natives and childhood friends Brian Sella and Matthew Uychich make up The Front Bottoms, a fan favourite in the Punk scene known for their specific Folk Punk stylings. They spent their early career touring New Jersey and eventually found themselves traveling all over the United States, and eventually abroad.
Tracks like “West Virginia” and “Twin Size Mattress” show how sensitivity is universal, and something we can be more open about. You can listen to them on Spotify and Apple Music, and follow them on Twitter.
Lucy Dacus – “Dancing In The Dark”
Yes, I’m one of those American kids that loves Springsteen. Take his songwriting, mix that with his passion for politics, and you’ve got a working-class hero turned social justice warrior. Many may mistake him as a voice for the conservatives. But if you still think that then you do not know Bruce.
Lucy Dacus wanted to honour this musical legend and say a big happy birthday to her Springsteen-fan father, covering this number one hit off of Born In The U.S.A. There’s an intrinsic coolness that exudes off this track, and Dacus embodies that perfectly. Her vocals are raspy and confident. She keeps the music’s tempo high, leaving us with a track we want to dance to.
Lucy Dacus has been rising in the Indie music charts, both as a solo artist and as one part of Boygenius, where she creates music with the likes of Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. She found her way into the spotlight with her first single “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore”, and continues to release painfully emotional tracks, like my personal favourite “Night Shift”.
Bad Moves – “Crushed Out”
“Crushed Out” is all about those giddy feelings you get when you know you will see that special someone soon, and you just can’t seem to keep your cool. It is cute and silly, and just what you need when the sun is out and you find yourself with an ice lolly. Bad Moves takes us back to the simpler times of innocent, new love.
“Crushed Out” is the perfect combination of quirkiness and cuteness, tied together to create a quality Pop track. While other tracks like “The Verge,” off their record Tell No One focuses on the harder things in life, I keep finding myself back at the sweetness of “Crushed Out”.
Bad Moves, based in Washington D.C., are a special band in the DIY scene. Showing that Pop can be political, they weave catchy lyrics with political opinions and show that standing up for what you truly believe in is the way forward.
They recently released their record Untenable, with memorable tracks like “Cape Henlopen” and “Working For Free”, while supporting the Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ movements. They continue to speak out for justice through music, and we are here for it.
Words by Claudia Arnoldo